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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — If you drive past Shannon Lamp Service, you might think it’s just a place to get a light fixture or pick up some bulbs. But go inside and you’ll see things that are one of a kind.

“We have a reputation of being able to make a lamp out of anything,” said owner David Shannon. “We do a lot of porcelain vases, bourbon bottles, candlesticks, figurines, but also do unusual items– electric meters, fire extinguishers, roller skates, anything you can think of.”

Shannon is carrying on the business his dad, Coleman Shannon, started in 1956.

If you want a trophy or toy turned into a lamp, he can do it. If books turn you on, he can turn them on, as well as bait buckets, blocks, or bowling pins.

In 1972, Shannon’s dad had an idea. You might say a light bulb went off. He decided to start making his own lampshades.

“My mother thought he had lost his mind. He made a couple of appointments, and they drove to Chicago and brought back a vanload of fabrics and trim and started making lampshades with absolutely no idea of what they were doing,” Shannon said.

But they learned, and custom shades make up the biggest part of the business.


Shannon has more them 3,000 patterns for shades. He said a big box store may stock just 20 to 30 sizes.

“I’m very particular. To get the lamp to look correct, the shade has to be correct,” he said.

Shannon lost his dad in 2016, so this is just a two-person operation now. He and his wife, Amy, still use the equipment his father bought 50 years ago to shape the shades and add the trim.

This little shop gets custom orders from all over the country because they’re willing to make just about any type of lamp or shade.

“Sometimes people have a certain collection. They may collect cows and may want a shade with a cow print on it, we can do that,” Shannon said.

In a world full of mass production, this shop stands out as an example that small businesses can have a bright future by being plugged into the past.

“I feel our business is a stronger now than it’s ever been, but we don’t take it for granted,” he said.