Bolstered by strong sales, Knoxville, TN-based Avolites America Inc. is setting up distribution centers across the country. The US leg of lighting control equipment maker Avolites Ltd. has grown from two to six staffers since it was set up seven years ago, "but our products are selling so quickly, we can't handle it all ourselves," reports Avolites America vice president Cathy Steel.Steel says the base of Avolites' West Coast operation, o ut of Santa Monica, CA, is A-1 Audio; the Avolites sales representative there is Paul Dexter. In the Chicago area, handling mid-central US sales, is Russ Armentrout at Pete's Lights. Eric Bernstein at Austin-based Premier Sound & Light is covering Texas. Avolites America will continue to handle Northeast sales, but Steel says someone else will be hired for that region, and a Florida representative is being sought.

Steel attributes Avolites' US growth to marketing surveys and intensive interviews with domestic lighting designers and installers. "We asked them what they thought Avolites needed to have in the US market, they told us what they were looking for, and we did it," she says.

Steel adds that the firm's Pearl 2000s are being used exclusively throughout the House of Blues chain. Avolites' Azure console, primarily geared toward installations, is attracting interest from the amusement park, nightclub, cruise ship, and church sectors. "Avo's high-end products are still the lifeblood of the company--the Rolling Stones and Prince have them on tour--but the new products come in at $20,000 less than the original Avo product did. We've come out with something less expensive and still very powerful."