NYC store only sells light bulbs

Thirty-seven years ago, David Brooks left a job practicing law in St. Louis to run a family member's light bulb shop in Manhattan.  "We stock 36,000 types," he said.

An enemy of darkness in this city ever since, Brooks now sells several thousand light bulbs every day out of his Just Bulbs store to some customers looking to light just one corner of their living rooms and another in charge of illuminating the entire Plaza Hotel.

"Pink light bulbs are very popular with older women," Brooks said, "because it makes their complexions look good."

When manufacturers stopped making those anti-wrinkle bulbs in 2007, Brooks' Just Bulbs created its own version, delighting soft-lighting customers who install the pink bulbs in every fixture in their homes.

"Now she's sending them away as Christmas presents to her older friends every year," Brooks said of one especially delighted customer.

Just Bulbs plans to leave its 60th Street location April 12 but instead of downsizing or disappearing like so many other long-time, mom-and-pop brick and mortars in this city, Just Bulbs is moving just two blocks away to a larger location to accommodate more bulbs and more customers in search of light.

"I'm doing more business than I did a year ago," Brooks said.

Nearly all of Brooks' competitors turned out their lights for good in the last couple of years, leaving Just Bulbs responsible for bringing light to the darkness of an entire city -- one that often struggles to purchase the correct bulbs online.

"Since they don't really know light bulbs," Brooks said of online shoppers, "what they buy is often not what they really want."

No light bulb lives forever and when the lamp of one's life extinguishes, those relying on its light on the Upper East Side or elsewhere in this city come to a place where it's always lit to find a replacement.

"It's interesting because you solve a problem in people's homes they didn't even know they had," Brooks said.