Rally podcast: Lighting entrepreneurs overcome financial crisis, industry doubts

Photo of Macaela J. Bennett

In 2009, just as the full effects of the financial crisis were being felt, two longtime friends decided to start a small business.

Greenwich natives Ron Young and Bob Ostrander believed their business had huge growth potential, but some told them it was “just a fad.” Their company was premised on the growing LED lighting industry.

By 2010, the founders realized they had a lot of work to do before Tri-State LED could expect to sell many lightbulbs. For the first two years, Young and Ostrander focused on educating potential clients about the advantages of transitioning to LED. Meanwhile, they both refused paychecks, opting to hire and pay employees over giving themselves salaries.

On this week’s episode of Rally, Hearst Connecticut Media’s podcast about business leaders facing failure and bouncing back, the co-founders tell their story of overcoming obstacles, such as the tumultuous economy and early-stage LED technology to build Tri-State LED into a successful business that was acquired by Stamford-based Revolution Lighting in 2013.

The high school friends turned business partners grappled with banks unwilling to give them loans, regulators challenging the safety of some of their most popular products and industry giants slow to adopt the technology. Within a decade, Young and Ostrander had outgrown its first office and moved into a bigger place in the Byram section of Greenwich.

Every week this month, you will find a new episode of Rally available via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and SoundCloud. You can subscribe on those platforms to have the latest show delivered to your phone automatically or listen online. Each episode will tell one businessperson’s story of things going awry and the lessons learned that eventually led to success.

If you’d like to learn more, please reach out by emailing Rally@ctpost.com or follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at Rally_Podcast.

Contact the writer at mbennett@greenwichtime.com; Twitter @Macaela_