Bright idea works for Heirloom

Matthew Santoro talks with a customer about refurbishing an antique lamp at Bayside’s Heirloom Lighting Galleries. Photo by Nathan Duke
By Nathan Duke

Business owner Matthew Santoro literally brightens the days of customers who visit his 32nd Avenue shop in Bayside.

Heirloom Lighting Galleries, near the Flushing border at 199−04 32nd Ave., specializes in a variety of lighting services, including the restoration or repair of antique lights and chandeliers, selling lamps that are manufactured around the globe and transforming old oil and gas lamps into electrical lights.

Santoro, who lives in Maspeth, said the business will soon expand to include interior light design, chandelier installation and more lighting products.

“I know antique lighting like the back of my hand, from 3−year−old lights to 300−year−old chandeliers,” Santoro said.

Santoro said he frequently restores lamps or chandeliers that are several hundred years old back to their original condition. He said there are likely only three or four other business owners in the five boroughs who provide similar services to Heirloom.

“It’s a rare commodity to find someone who practices this line of work,” he said. “Nobody does this anymore.”

Santoro said he began working at now−defunct Brooklyn lighting warehouse Green’s, where he learned his craft, and stayed for a number of years with the company. For the past few years, he has offered his services out of his home until he opened Heirloom one year ago.

Santoro said he has not only provided lighting for city landmarks such as the Russian Tea Room, the Waldorf Astoria and the Trump Plaza Hotel, but also home lighting for Donald Trump, Star Jones and Sigourney Weaver.

Heirloom’s lamps range in price from $25 for a basic lamp to antiques that cost several thousand dollars, Santoro said. The cost to refurbish antique lamps and chandeliers starts at $25, he said.

He said his services cost significantly less than Manhattan lighting specialists.

“This is a mom and pop place,” he said. “I try to make our prices lower because my customers always come back.”

Santoro said he plans to eventually upgrade his store to a full−service lighting warehouse. He said he plans to provide lighting consultant services to customers as well as allowing visitors to consign their old lamps.

“We are going to be a complete one−stop shop, whether customers are looking for parts or to have an antique lamp wired,” he said.

He said Heirloom, which is open every day except Wednesdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., will also add polishing and lacquering services for bronze and brass items, not just lamps.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

More from Around New York