Alexandria Lighting & Supply, Inc., Alexandria, Va., a family-owned and operated business now in its third generation, will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2011. Edward Delman and Irwin Goldberg teamed up to create Alexandria Lighting & Supply in May 1961. Edward had worked for electrical wholesalers in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria and met Irwin, who was a lighting salesman at the time. The two opened for business in the Powhatan Shopping Center and moved to the company's present location at 701 North Henry St. in 1963. Edward's wife, Edith, served as bookkeeper for the business. The three operated the business for three years before hiring their first employee.

The second generation of leadership, Edward's son, Eric, entered the business in 1979. Edward's daughter, Ellen, joined the firm two years later in 1981. The firm welcomed the third generation in 2008 when Eric's son, Sam, entered the business. Eric currently serves as president of Alexandria Lighting & Supply and Ellen as secretary/treasurer.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the “Electric Deli” became a trademark of the business. The term evolved from a buffet held at the business every Saturday. Regular clients made a point of doing their buying on Saturdays when they were assured of being treated to coffee, bagels and Danishes.

Various U.S. government agencies make up a large portion of Alexandria Lighting's business, along with local municipalities such as the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Prince George's County and Arlington County.

Now that the company is nearing its 50th anniversary, the management's business plan is to stay small, manageable and competitive. Alexandria Lighting has maintained a profit-sharing plan from its inception and plans to continue sharing profits with its employees.