It began seven years ago when Vic and Betty Johannesen were thinking about how to celebrate 25 years in business. The Johannesens, members of West End Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, are owners of two of the largest lighting stores in Alberta—Park Lighting in Edmonton and Cartwright Lighting in Calgary. “We decided to celebrate by giving $25,000 to four charities over four months,” explained Betty Johannesen.
By now, what they call “Charity Days” has become a tradition. The only difference now is that each year on one Saturday during October, November, January, and February, both stores donate the sum total of the day’s sales to one of their chosen causes. Typically, two of the charities have a local focus, while the other two focus on aiding the global community.
“We choose charities that are very dear to our hearts,” said Betty Johannesen, “and those with whom we have a personal connection.”
Their “Charity Days” have been very successful. On October 12, 2013, for example, both stores together donated over $87,000 to World Renew’s ongoing flood relief work in High River, Alberta. More recently, on November 23, both stores together donated $78,692 to Rehoboth Christian Ministries, an association that offers services to adults and children throughout the province who are developmentally disabled.
As this year’s Charity Day season draws to a close, Park Lighting and its sister store have donated a total of $363,975 over four busy days to local and global charities. The stores also raise awareness of the various charities with displays and by making special shirts for employees to wear.
Park Lighting is a family business. The Johannesens’ son, Jared, sales manager, is the third generation of Johannesens working full time in the store together with some of his siblings and a number of their spouses. “We’ve been given so much,” said Betty Johannesen, “and we need to give back.”
Related article: Store Lights Up Embrace AIDS Campaign