AMBOY – Pat Riley had a bright idea to turn a pleasant childhood experience into a glowing business.
The 30-year-old from Amboy is the owner of Extreme Lighting, a business focused on designing, installing and tearing down Christmas light displays in the Sauk Valley.
He and his crew of Brach Martinson, 31, and Crystal Gries, 25, both from Amboy, opened in October.
Riley is the master planner, tasked with designs, materials and programming. Martinson is the “ladder-man” who climbs rooftops and installs the lights, and Gries is the “MVP” and jack of all trades in the crew.
“She can do it all, design displays and install them; she’s got the special touch,” Riley said.
The group, which also recruits volunteers to pitch in, pride themselves on doing a shining job.
“After it’s all said and done, and you take a step back to look at the lights, you can’t help to let your jaw drop and say ‘we did that’,” Martinson said.
Riley’s imagination was sparked when he was 10 when he, his dad and grandfather were coming home from Chicago and went through the Christmas light show in Elgin.
“I’ve loved putting up my own displays ever since,” Riley said, adding that he started doing his own designs at 13.
However, it wasn’t until the last few years that Riley thought to make a business out of it.
“I started asking around to see if there was a need for this type of service, but there were those who discouraged me saying there wasn’t any money in the business, and I put it off for too long,” he said.
He likes to recreate the experience he had as a kid for others.
“This is more about the kids and adults who enjoy seeing the displays. I just love Christmas lights, and I want to share that with everyone,” Riley said.
He’s also found a niche being the go-to for those with a busy schedule or don’t have the time to spend hours setting up the lights.
“There’s definitely a business here because as we get older, the days go by faster, so we are the ones who can put these up while people are working,” Riley said.
They handle a wide variety of projects, big or small.
“There’s no job too big or too small for us.”
204 N. Jefferson, Amboy
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday
Online: Find Extreme Lighting on Facebook