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Lite Company Owners Passing the Torch

The Lite Company, a 40-year-old family-owned Flagstaff business, is operating in 2019 with a big change.Long-time owners Mike and Kathie Knapp have just sold their beloved business.

The Lite Company has always been Flagstaff-family owned and operated and it was important to us to make sure it stayed that way.

On Jan. 2, The Lite Company sold to two new local Flagstaff families, Kai and Stacy McSwain and Wade and Teena Patten. These two families have been long-time friends and intend to run the store as partners, with Kai McSwain serving as the operating partner and Teena Patten working in the showroom. The Knapps have signed a two-year consulting agreement and will continue working alongside the new owners. “We want to ensure a seamless transition,” Mike said. “So, we are going to be here as long as they need us.”

Mike and I have owned and operated The Lite Company for the last 14 years. Mike was the company’s general manager for four years prior, making our devotion to this company total 18 years. When we purchased the store in 2005, we didn’t come from a retail background and we certainly knew little about high quality home furnishings. We were excited and scared all at the same time, as we left secure, better paying jobs to be small business owners. We had this wild idea to transform the business into a whole-home destination for finer home furnishings, beautiful home décor and to even expand our offerings in the area of lighting.

But that’s not all. We wanted to create a company where employees, customers and our suppliers all felt highly valued, like a respected part of our team. We weren’t going to succeed without them and we wanted to always show our appreciation. We wanted The Lite Company to be a place where neighbors and friends liked to come and hang out and bring their guests when they were visiting Flagstaff. We hoped people would never feel pressured into buying anything when they walked through our doors but knew we were here to help.

As Christian business owners, we also dreamed about getting to use our business to help where there was real human need. We wanted to be able to support non-profit organizations like the food bank, blood drives, cancer recovery support, charitable foundations, homeless shelters, Child Help and youth centers that were making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

As we hand over the keys to The Lite Company, we feel we were able to accomplish all we set out to do. This business is 40 years strong; it’s survived a major economic recession and a roof failure and it just ended its best year ever. We know we are passing forward a great business. The McSwains and Pattens will have new dreams of their own. We hope they will grow to love this business as much as we do. They are great people and they will do an awesome job keeping this Flagstaff legacy known as The Lite Company going strong! FBN

By Kathie O’Brien Knapp

Kathy O’Brien Knapp is the former co-owner of The Lite Company, located at 2109 N 4th St. in Flagstaff. She and her husband, Mike Knapp, will continue with the business as consultants.

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