Dorset man stumbles into illuminating career - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Dorset man stumbles into illuminating career

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DORSET, Vt. -

From the outside, the Dorset barn looks like many Vermont farms.  But inside, everyone and everything is lit up.

"It's the finishing touch for any room," said Cal Rosenwald. For the past 37 years Rosenwald has made lights for his company, Brooke Grove Lighting, creating custom lights and fixtures.

Rosenwald never got formal electrical lighting training. He was a real estate broker in a three piece suit before ever touching a light. "We closed our real estate business. We were mega dollars in debt. We were doing some flea markets to generate some income," he said.

Rosenwald was in love with green shade banker lights, so he restored a few lights and sold them at the flea market. The rest is history.

He began just doing antique restorations when he realized clients needed more than one of the same antique fixture, so he created his own collection, reproducing antique style fixtures for architects and public buildings. Since then, he's made thousands of custom lights, solving all kinds of lighting problems.

You can find Brooke Grove Lighting in many historic courthouses and homes around the world, but his most impressive customer may be the U.S. government.  He has created lights that shine brightly in the White House, the Library of Congress and the Capitol building -- just to name a few.   

Reporter Gina Bullard: Tell me about this light Cal.

Cal Rosenwald: Originally I designed that for the ambassador of Ethiopia, which they put in their ambassador's private residence in Washington D.C. And since that time I've made eight or nine more.

But his high-end business has been targeted by global copycats.  Rosenwald took down most of his website after foreign manufacturers from Russia, France and China stole his designs and sold their products for less money. "I'm figuring out new ways to utilize antique parts mixed in with repurposed parts to create something that no one else has created yet," he said.

The newest trend is industrial lights, which took Rosenwald a little time to take a shine to. "Getting started was very very, difficult. I had to get mentally psyched up to build them. Now it's getting more fun every day," he said.

At 75 Rosenwald says he'll never retire -- only slow down -- saying these Made in Vermont lights illuminate his life.

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