John Meletio could be described as the last member of a dynasty.

“I’m the only one left now who’s still with the business,” he says of the Meletio family, as in Meletio Electrical Supply Company at Preston Road and Forest Lane.

His grandfather, Alex Meletio Sr., founded the company, a lighting and electrical distributorship, in downtown Dallas in 1920.

“The original building still has the old neon sign from the 1940s: MELETIO ELECTRICAL SUPPLY,” Meletio says proudly.

After surviving the Depression, the company thrived during the postwar years, focusing in recent decades on both commercial and
residential lighting. (“We do about fifty-fifty,” he says.) Some of the current business associations, such as that with Hunter Fan Company — or, more accurately, the company that later became Hunter — go back 81 years.

A trip to Meletio Electrical Supply is totally unlike a visit to the typical home design center. There are no on-the-job trainees to try one’s patience; the staff consists of informed and experienced lighting experts who’ve been with the company an average of eight to 10 years, and some much longer.

They can help with the selection of period reproduction fixtures. They can recommend the best way to illuminate a Picasso — or a parking lot. When a client walks in with a given lighting task to accomplish and a limited budget, they’ll talk over ideas, look over blueprints, and design — at no charge — the best overall plan for that price range.

Yet much of the company’s business is with high-end custom homebuilders. They’ve designed partial or complete lighting systems for the residences — and, often, the landscapes — of some of Dallas’ most high-profile people: Deion Sanders, Lee Trevino, Mike Modano, Don and ex-Cowboy Herschel Walker, to name just a few. They supplied the contractor who built homes for Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. Even Ralph Lauren’s
Colorado ranch has lighting from Meletio.

The company also provided lighting for local restaurants Star Canyon and Aquaknox, and their warehouse ships to restaurants throughout the country and internationally for such chains as Chili’s, Macaroni Grill and On The Border.

For customers near the store, a visit can be a learning experience, even for a professional
designer. There’s much to know about the varying quality of recessed fixtures, for example, or the different colors of fluorescent light, or the features of an efficient ceiling fan. A look around Meletio’s showroom provides an overview of the numerous lighting styles available today.

Often, the client leaves the store with what he wants — even if the floor sample is the last one left. But in case the perfect fixture isn’t in stock, Meletio Lighting has strong relationships with factories and can order from just about any manufacturer.

In addition to the neighborhood showroom,
Meletio also has a 67,000-squarefoot main location on Harry Hines Boulevard. An education in lighting wouldn’t be complete without stopping by.

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