Small Business Success Story
Murphy Lighting Systems
“Florida Capital Bank knows our business better than other banks we’ve dealt with in the past, and even many vendors in our industry.”
The call came from Chris’s father, Gene, who asked him to join him at Murphy Lighting Systems, a small family business that represented several manufacturers of production lighting equipment. His dad challenged him to try it out for “just a year.” In the fall of 1988, Chris moved across the country to Central Florida to run the company’s satellite office in, what turned out to be, a lifelong professional switch.
In later years, Chris and Gene relocated the company’s headquarters from Atlanta to Gainesville, and then to Orlando; converted the company from a representative, commission-based firm to an independent dealer and system integrator; and opened the first non-factory, independent service center in the U.S. for Strand Lighting, one of the biggest companies of its kind at the time.
Chris and his wife, Kristina, bought the company from his dad in the early 2003 with a loan arranged by, Peter Allport, an officer of a large regional bank who would later join Florida Capital Bank. As Murphy Lighting grew, Chris and Kristi needed a larger facility and a line of credit; thankfully, they already had a relationship with the lending partner who was now a Vice President at Florida Capital Bank. They checked with other lenders, but chose Florida Capital Bank because of the relationship, rates, and personal touch.
“We felt like they gave us the best deal and have always been on our side,” Chris said. “The whole staff is helpful, service-oriented, and straightforward.”
The loan Murphy Lighting Systems received covered the cost to purchase real estate and convert the property to suit their needs, while the sizeable line of credit provided critical cash flow at times of business growth.
“Florida Capital Bank knows our business better than other banks we’ve dealt with in the past, and even many vendors in our industry,” Chris said. “They don’t know it because they came in as experts, but because they invested the time to come out and see what we’re working on, meet with us, and understand what our company does.”
Both products allowed Chris to grow Murphy Lighting Systems’ client list to include big names like Disney and Universal Studios, as well as CNN, Home Shopping Network, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, in addition to the many churches, schools, television studios, and meeting spaces that choose Murphy Lighting Systems for equipment, service, and support.
“Florida Capital Bank worked closely with the other parties involved in every interaction we’ve ever had with them, “said Chris. In business, it gets complex when you’re bouncing between attorneys, CPAs, and a bank. They’ve always been so helpful because I can reach someone quickly and get correct answers. The personal nature can’t be beat – I can pick up the phone if I have a question that relates to anything financial and talk to real, knowledgeable people."
Chris has also worked with Florida Capital Bank to fund other real estate mortgages and investment property purchases, and even has his personal accounts with the bank.
“I find that the smaller number of locations works in my favor — we can use Presto ATMS at locations like Publix. This give us better access to cash than people with larger banks,” he said.
As for the business, Chris plans to continue to grow the company, attract the highest tier clients, expand his employee base, and continue to find tools that allow his company to perform ahead of its competitors. For future financial needs, he will not hesitate to call upon Florida Capital Bank — and he recommends other businesses do the same.
“Florida Capital Bank has been fantastic for us, and they have been instrumental to our company’s success — we couldn’t have grown how we did without them,” Chris said. “The personal service and attention, and the desire to know what the company does so they know how to best support us, makes them a great resource. They seem to genuinely understand that their success is contingent upon our success.”