Our Story

Lampshade Gallery Store Image

We, at The Lampshade Gallery come from an extensive background in lighting; three generations strong.

Let me share with you our story…

Our legacy began in Des Moines, Iowa in the 1940’s. As a young electrician, my grandfather Clifford Albright, moved his family to Tennessee to help out with the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) a government project to help get the country out of The Depression and provide electricity to build planes and bombs for World War II. A few years later, he relocated his family back to Des Moines where he established a business called Albright Electric in the 1950’s. As an electrical contractor, he worked with electricians while my grandmother, Lucille ran the store. They sold appliances and as a supplement to fill space, she thought it would be fun to include some lamps and shades. Low and behold, lighting outsold the appliances and became a booming business. Hence, the appliances where phased out and Albright Electric became a full retail lighting store.

In 1970, my mother, Sharon Merical and aunt, Shirley Gourley opened their own lighting store across town called Albright Lighting & Interiors. After a devastating fire nearly destroyed their business in 1971, they managed to rebuild and become one of the leading lighting retailers in the state of Iowa. Despite being competitors, both businesses thrived for many years. My uncle, Alan Albright eventually took over Albright Electric when my grandparents retired. I remember as a nine year old coming to work with my mom on Saturdays to help out. Rain or shine, even at the age of 80, Grandpa Clifford was there every Saturday to re-wire lamps in the backroom.

After many trips to visit friends in San Diego, my parents made the bold move to leave Iowa in 1986 and buy a small business called The Lampshade Gallery in La Mesa. My father became involved in the business and I worked part time while finishing high school as well as through my college years. In September 1990, an old legacy ended as a new one began. The day we buried my grandfather Clifford, our second location in Del Mar opened its doors. Our selection grew upwards to over 10,000 lamp shades in stock. The Lampshade Gallery also became known for its unique collection of table and floor lamps. We started manufacturing our own lampshades on-site to include custom shades and recovering.

In 2001, we decided to downsize and close our La Mesa location. In 2011, we celebrate 25 years of business in San Diego. Between my father, mother, and I, we offer our customers over 100 years of combined knowledge and great service in the lighting industry. Perhaps I am a descendant of Thomas Edison! (And by the way, Grandma Lucille Albright will celebrate her 102nd birthday this year!)

Thank you for reading our story and for supporting our business through the years.


"Your lamp selection is so different from other stores! I always come here when I want to find something different."
- Y.B. , Carlsbad, CA.

Tips from the professionals

Bent tipped light bulbs are generally not recommended when using a clip-on lampshade, because they cause the lampshade to sit crooked and too high, therefore exposing the light bulb below the bottom of the shade. Many times people assume they need a longer shade, when they just need to use the proper light bulb. Also, clear light bulbs will cast lines and shadows through the shade and on to the ceiling/table. “White Torpedo” light bulbs will distribute an even light all around and hold the lamp shade properly.