Keeping Northern Kentucky powered is a Smith family trait.

Their commitment began when Robert Ash and Lawrence Smith teamed up in 1969 to help provide the Tristate’s power needs.

“When they started off, it was just my father and him,” says Tom Smith, A&S Electric Supply, Inc. president and son of Lawrence Smith. “There was only one electrical supply store in Northern Kentucky when they started.”

Initially started to support electricians at the industrial park in Florence, A&S has transitioned into a leader in residential and commercial electrical supply.

Tom became sole proprietor of the business in 2000, but was active in A&S long before. He’s witnessed first hand how the business has changed to keep up with technology.

“When I started, all the switches were either ivory or brown, and that’s not the case now,” says Smith. “Now we have to keep up with electricians’ responsibilities. We’ve seen their responsibilities grow and what we have to provide them grows as well.”

The company strives to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology.

The most transformative item in the store is the LED (light-emitting diode) bulb. The item has become increasingly popular as traditional light bulbs take a backseat to more energy efficient LED lights. While the cost of buying LED lights might dissuade customers from buying them, Smith believes it’s a worthwhile purchase.

“It’s a little pricey, but if it’s going to last 10-15 years, it’s worth the investment,” says Smith. “Depending on the kind you buy, some can last even longer.”

With LED lights, customers consume roughly 20 percent of the energy it takes to power a traditional light bulb. The latest LED lights can also outlast fluorescent bulbs by several years depending on the type purchased. Along with the long-term savings, Duke Energy Corp. offers rebates to customers who purchase the new lights.

“Fluorescent lights are going to the wayside,” says Smith. “With [LED lights] the color is better and there is more when it comes to options.”

LEDs are just one aspect of A&S’s business. It also offers electrical fuses, wire, wiring devices and other electric hardware. It’s not just equipment for electricians. A&S also carries a critical device that saves countless lives every year: smoke detectors.

“Most people don’t realize how long it’s been since they replaced their smoke detector,” says Smith. “Manufacturers suggest you replace them every 10 years to keep them running at peak performance.”

While stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot have become commonplace for electricians and homeowners, A&S stays competitive with a knowledgeable staff and top quality products.

“Our saying is ‘don’t confuse the price with what it costs,’” says Smith. “Some people get a heck of a deal but two years later they are replacing it. We don’t do that here.”