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Lights out: Dorman's Lighting & Design closing its doors in Lutherville-Timonium after nearly eight decades

Lights out: Dorman's Lighting & Design closing its doors in Lutherville-Timonium after nearly eight decades
Dorman's Lighting & Design's logo (Courtesy Photo/Dorman's Lighting & Design)

Dorman’s Lighting & Design, which moved to Lutherville-Timonium 25 years ago, is closing its doors.

“The retail climate has changed,” owner Stan Dorman said April 16. Starting with the 2008 financial crisis pressures from online shopping have created a “gradual slide” for the lighting fixture shop, he said.

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“We’ve just been near break-even for the past several years and I decided it was time to cash in,” said Dorman, who announced the closing on Friday.

The tipping point was when Dorman, 78, experienced health issues for the first time last year.

“… The lure of retirement is certainly a contributing factor in making this resolution,” Dorman said.

Dorman said 14 employees, including eight full-time, will be out of work.

Towson Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Hafford, whose organization has members on York Road in Timonium, said Dorman’s is not the only brick-and-mortar business in the area to face challenges in the internet age. Even legacy businesses have had to change drastically in recent years to keep up with customers, she said.

“They’ve had to change their product, change the way they market, the way they advertise,” Hafford said. “It’s not the same kind of doing business that it was for our parents or our grandparents. It’s all different.”

Dorman’s will be offering discounts each week, starting at 30 percent off, until the inventory is gone. Dorman said he expects to close by early June.

The residential lighting showroom has been in the Baltimore area since 1941, when Dorman’s father opened a shop on Lexington Street in the city when the Dorman was just a year old. He started dusting shelves in the shop at age 5.

“Good news and bad news is, if you have a father who starts a business which is successful, and he comes out of an impoverished background, you don’t get a vote as to what your future’s going to be,” Dorman said.

Dorman said overall he has enjoyed running the shop, but is looking forward to what comes next.

The Monkton resident is looking to spend time on his farm, which has a garden, a pond and a couple of dogs. He plans to catch up on reading for a variety of courses he takes each week in subjects like philosophy. Dorman said he might do some writing or painting.

“I’ve enjoyed the business,” Dorman said. “It’s nice to have a place to go where you’re connected to other people every day. But I’m looking forward to reinventing myself.”

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