Last year, two cousins took a sad occasion and turned it into a positive venture. Now the two want to share their light with others.
Edmund Zarou and Alex Solounias, part owners of the family business Zaro’s Cafe in Huntington Station, founded Night Light 3D in October 2019. The company takes customers’ photos and turns them into nightlights that project the image on a nearby surface.
Zarou said in an email that it all began after purchasing a 3D printer and making photorealistic nightlights with his dad Charlie’s image on them. His father passed away Dec. 26, 2016, after a bout with leukemia, and Zarou said it was a way to honor his dad that brought some comfort to his mother, sister and grandparents.
When friends heard about the nightlights the cousins created featuring Zarou’s father, they asked if more nightlights could be made with images of their loved ones. That’s when Zarou and Solounias decided to start Night Light 3D, extending their reach to people all across the country.
The success of the business is one that surprised Zarou at first.
“We have gotten nothing but positive feedback,” he said. “The amount of joy these nightlights bring is incredible.”
The pair now own five 3D printers to keep up with the demand. Earlier this year, Zarou used the printers to create face shields for local frontline workers who didn’t have enough on hand when the coronavirus infection first began to spike.
While customers can order nightlights with any type of photo on them, as the business grew, the cousins noticed that memorial nightlights were popular. One person told Zarou “that their loved one would continue to light up a room even though they’re gone.”
Zarou said he and Solounias decided to offer the nightlights for free for one month starting on the anniversary of his father’s passing, Dec. 26.
“Instead of us sitting here and mourning his passing, we’re going to honor his memory,” Zarou said.
Solounias said the goal is to help others, too.
“We really just hope to bring some comfort to someone in mourning,” he said.
He added that he hopes customers see that they care about their customers.
“We just want to lighten up some people’s nights with a picture of a loved one,” he said.
Both added that there is only one thing that they ask of those ordering a free memorial nightlight — to email a brief story of their loved one that will be posted on their social media.
“This is our way of keeping their memory alive,” Zarou said.
Starting Dec. 26 for one month, customers can order a free memorial nightlight. When visiting the website www.nightlight3d.com, customers can use the coupon coded “CHARLIE” at checkout. Shipping charges still apply.
Zarou said they are excited about making the memorial nightlights for everyone.
“We are grateful to be in the position to do this, and I know my father would want nothing more than for us to honor him this way — giving back,” he said.