Northwest Indiana supermarket receives $100,000 grant for energy-efficient lighting

April 13, 2015  

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. and MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. - A Michigan City, Indiana, supermarket will be more energy efficient thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Energy Development to retrofit the lighting system with light-emitting diodes.

Lake Shore Foods Corp., which owns and operates the Al's Supermarket on S. Franklin Street, received one of the OED's 2015 Community Conservation Challenge Grants.

Alexis Pontius, vice president, said the project would positively impact the company.

"Retrofitting the lights will make the biggest initial impact toward energy conservation and also improve customer experience in the store. LEDs are smaller than incandescent light sources, have longer lives and consume less energy," she said. "The company makes responsible decisions about energy conservation and waste, and this project is a great step toward our goals."

Pontius and her colleagues worked with Northern Indiana Public Service Company to conduct energy audits in the store to investigate methods to conserve energy. NIPSCO put her in contact with Sigma Energy, a tenant of the Purdue Research Park of Northwest Indiana, which customizes energy solutions to drive down controllable costs for clients.

Matt Evans and Ryan Rettig, partners at Sigma Energy, credited Pontius for her leadership and vision.

"What's great about Al's Supermarket going green is that the company has a vision to get rid of the damaging lighting system that hurts the environment," Evans said.

Carl Lisek of Legacy Environmental Services Inc., another tenant in the Purdue Research Park, had shared information about the OED's grants with Evans and Rettig.

"When Carl told us about the grants, I knew that Al's Supermarket was a terrific candidate," Rettig said. "Matt and I set up a meeting between Al's and Legacy Environmental Services to share information and begin the process to apply for the grant."

Lisek said retrofitting lighting systems with LEDs is an excellent business move.

"There are financial and environmental benefits to this change and everyone involved in this project brought that knowledge to the process to apply for the grants," he said. "Al's Supermarket had the vision, Sigma Energy has the product experience and my colleagues at Legacy Environmental Services and I have the grant-writing skills. It was a terrific partnership."

Rettig said Legacy Environmental Services worked on short notice for the grant approval.

"Carl and his team wrote the application and met the state's requirements in about three weeks," he said. "Matt and I coordinated with them every day, providing numbers to use in the application and putting everything together. It's been fantastic to work with Legacy."

Evans said Sigma Energy will install roughly 3,000 LEDs for the project.

"We're customizing solutions for the supermarket, section by section, so it provides the quality of light and atmosphere our clients want," Evans said.

Pontius credited the OED for encouraging businesses to invest in sustainable technologies and become stronger stewards of their communities' energy resources.

"Without the help of the OED and the 2015 Community Conservation Challenge Grant, it would have been challenging to find the funds to invest in taking the leap toward better conservation of resources," she said. "We are thankful for the opportunity to obtain this grant and invest in more energy-efficient lighting in our Michigan City store."

Evans also credited the OED in making Indiana a national leader in encouraging business owners to be environmentally aware.

"It's important that the Office of Energy Development is providing these opportunities for businesses like Al's Supermarkets to go green," he said. "Not only do these grants and other opportunities from the state strengthen Indiana, but they also strengthen business owners who want the best for this and future generations of customers."

About Legacy Environmental Services Inc.

Legacy Environmental Services Inc. is a future-focused environmental consulting firm. Legacy works with businesses, industries, schools and municipalities in their efforts to adopt green, clean activities and practices that help improve energy usage, cut costs and become more sustainable in their business practices.

About Sigma Energy

Sigma Energy initiates a needs analysis focused on effective cost reductions and customizing solutions to drive down controllable costs. Staff abides by following a unique method listening to concerns of the business owner, remains on course with vital concerns providing suggestions/solutions valuable to the business' financial gains. Sigma Business Consultants are problem solvers, do what we say and instill proactive communication. Business owners see, understand and realize savings that are customized specifically for them.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park is the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The Purdue Research Park manages the Purdue Technology Centers in four sites in Indiana: West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The more than 260 companies located in the park network employ about 4,500 people who earn an average annual wage of $63,000. The park is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at 

Purdue Research Park contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342,

Sources: Alexis Pontius, 219-879-3357, ex. 320,

Matt Evans, 219-313-7432,

Ryan Rettig, 219-313-1882,

Carl Lisek, 219-644-3690, 

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