In the midst of the depression, Harvey Hansen was faced with the need to provide for his family. Being that there were virtually no job-opportunities available, he decided that he would use his artistic skills to help put food on the table. Going door to door, Harvey began to sell various handcrafted items. On one of his stops he saw a woman making lampshades and decided that this was something he could do too. Although his original plan had not been to sell lampshades, this trade quickly became one of his skills. He even began making trips down the coast selling them from hotel to hotel.He would take orders in the morning, manufacture the shades that same evening and delivering them early the next morning before heading off to the next stop.
When it became apparent that a living could be made from this, Harvey and his wife Emily opened for business at a Greenlake location for $25 rent per month. In 1944, the couple purchased a building on Phinney Ridge for $6,000, giving a permanent location to the new business called Hansen’s Lamps and Shades. Harvey worked there with his sons Harold and Gail for many years before he retired in 1962.
Previous to Harvey’s retirement, his oldest son Harold decided that he wanted to open a shop of his own. So in 1957, Harold and his wife Millie opened Harold’s Lamps and Shades at 2105 N 45th. Ten years later, Harold purchased the building across the street (1912 N 45th) and it has been located there ever since. Around this same time, Harold’s sons, Peter, Kim and Scott, began to work with him. Eventually Peter and Scott went their separate ways leaving Kim to carry on the legacy.
Kim Hansen has now worked in the family lighting business for over forty years and currently enjoys working along side his own son and daughter, Joel and Tiffany. The Hansen family, along with a great team of employees, has expanded the business over the years to include an outside sales team, working with trade customers and hotels. Going back the roots of selling lampshades to hotels just like Harvey did so many years ago. The team also strives to continue to improve the showroom of lighting, stocking different and unique things to improve any home. The lighting tradition has continued for four generations and has moved into the millennium with great anticipation.