US Lighting Group is used to rolling with change, carefully moving from LED lighting to vehicle electronics to its latest deep dive into molded fiberglass campers, prefabricated homes and high-performance boats.
"There's only so many vintage after-market parts you can create for cars, but after looking at the multibillion-dollar RV industry, we said let's shift gears," said Anthony Corpora, CEO and president of US Lighting, the holding company for subsidiaries Cortes Campers, Futuro Houses and Fusion X Marine. "Instead of making electronics, we can make the vehicles ourselves."
Motivated by a pandemic-driven boom where more than 11 million households own a recreational vehicle, per RV Industry Association figures, US Lighting recognized a marketplace where it could still make a significant impact.
In 2021, the Euclid, Ohio-based company built out distribution for "composite products and structures for the outdoor, active lifestyle," it said in a statement at the time. Work began at its 28,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on a 17-foot Cortes Campers travel trailer made from lightweight fiberglass.
The subsidiary sent its first camper to a dealership in Idaho early last year, representing a year's worth of research and development from a staff knowledgeable about fiberglass construction.
"The beauty is our lead engineer had previous boat-building experience that got us into this molded fiberglass space," said Corpora. "You can build a camper like you do a boat. It was a seamless transition for us."
Growth was flat for US Lighting for part of 2022, which Corpora ascribes to time spent in R&D instead of sales. The company did enjoy a million dollars in growth over the second half of last year, with Corpora expecting an additional upswing as 2023 kicks off.