Company History

After working for years at a leading lighting manufacturer as an outside salesman, James Nelson decided that he wanted the freedom of being his own boss. However, with a wife and three children James was unsure if it was wise to start his own manufacture representative agency. After witnessing the U.S. land on the moon on July 20, 1969 James got the courage to move forward with his own venture. On the next day, July 21, 1969, James S. Nelson & Associates was founded.

With his background in the lighting industry, James was able to gain three lighting manufactures to represent during the early stages of the company. Together with these manufactures James began selling standard residential lighting which included incandescent bulbs, table lamps, fans, chandeliers, etc. His primary customers were lighting showrooms, electrical distributers, architects, engineers and specifiers. With persistence and hard work James was able to expand his customer base throughout the state of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. As a result of the increased amount of customers and territory James had to hire another employee to help with the workload. In December 1978 he hired his first employee, his eldest son Jim. With the help of Jim the business continued to thrive and expand. Due to the success of the company James once again hired another employee, his youngest son Jon, in January 1990.

James has since retired from the business but to this day James S. Nelson Associates continues to be a successful residential/commercial lighting manufactures representative agency. The business has expanded to represent over 20 different manufactures selling anything from LED light bulbs and luminaries to specialty outdoor lighting. The company now covers seven states; Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Upper Michigan and Wisconsin. Along with the continued leadership of Jim and Jon and the help from the third generation of the Nelson family (Jim’s two sons, Jason and Michael, and Jon’s son Josh), James S. Nelson & Associates will continue to expand and flourish in the lighting representative industry.