By Chatham Kennedy
If you are passing through Ridgeland, you are guaranteed to see the illuminations of Magnolia Lighting. Dozens of chandeliers adorn the roadside window, which acts as its own billboard to anyone traveling down I-55 beside the company’s newest location.
However, more than just lanterns, lamps and bright lights shine from this building. Owner Pam Whitfield does her very best in using her career as an active ministry. It is her passion and dedication that helps bring this business to life.
Magnolia Lighting flipped the switch and opened its doors in 1986. The industry started with an 8,000 square-foot showroom in Hernando, Mississippi. Whitfield joined the company after her father-in-law asked her to come work for him. A mother of two children, Whitfield says, “The business had a special love to help me take care of my children and work.”
At the time, she was the bookkeeper and absolutely adored her job. However, sixteen years ago, her role drastically shifted when she became the manager of the company. Since then, Whitfield’s life has been decorated in Visual Comfort, Feiss, Minka, Legendary, and Metropolitan, all of which are lighting brands that Magnolia sells.
Whether you are shouting “Hotty Toddy” in Oxford, visiting the Hernando delta, singing Elvis’s “Hound Dog” in Tupelo, or enjoying the Ridgeland air, you will be able to satisfy all your light installation needs at one of Magnolia Lightings four locations.
Each store is divided into multiple vignettes that cater fixtures geared towards a specific theme. The variety of fixtures will meet all of your indoor, outdoor, hunting, and grandiose lighting needs. You will also find beautiful, Mississippi-made jewelry and fabulous furniture available for purchase.
Whitfield shares her secrets on how to buy the perfect lighting display for one’s home. Scale and proportion are key. She says, “…one of the biggest mistakes people make is not having a big enough fixture for their front door. The lights can be a third of the height of your front door. You need to consider what it would look like from the road. We encourage people, if they are not sure, to take it and try it.”
When purchasing for one’s dining room, one should add the length and the width of the room together. For example, if the room measures 12 feet by 13 feet, a twenty-six-inch wide fixture would do best. For the height of the fixture, multiply 3 inches by the ceiling height and convert that number to inches. For example, a nine-foot ceiling height can handle a 20-inch tall chandelier easily. It should never be larger than one’s dining room table. The fixture should be hung between five and a half to six feet from the floor.
Style is another important thing to consider when purchasing for one’s home. Gold is all the rage in the lighting industry. Brass and gold fixtures are adorning up-and-coming homes. In addition to this surge, Whitfield says, “…I think the most interesting thing right now is that people are not afraid to be more eclectic. Each room can be independent of the other.” Individual personality is definitely something to consider when buying lighting.
Fixtures are not everything at Magnolia Lighting. Walk into the building, and you’ll see Whitfield shining as bright as a Coppersmith lantern. She is a daily testament to her faith. Whitfield says, “You are in touch with so many different people. We may not witness out loud, but we hope that what we do, and how we treat people, and how we love is always a witness to our customers and to our people. It (Christianity) shows who we are.”
Actions speak louder than words, and this is definitely true for Magnolia Lighting.
Chatham Kennedy is a senior at Jackson Prep and a member of Pinelake Church.