June 2017

Billy Wood Appliance: History with Wow-Factor

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Just what is the wow factor? For homeowners, the wow factor scales from modest, well-functioning features, to over-the-top, jaw-dropping instruments and apparatus. And for 45 years, the team at Billy Wood Appliance on Hilton Head Island has been perfecting their selection of equipment and accessories to make the kitchen sizzle, the barbecue sear, and the laundry room hum.

Billy Wood opened his appliance shop in 1972 when the island was in the early days of residential development and tourism. Taking over the reins in January 2016, owners Mike and Brantley King appreciated the work that went into building a business focused on providing homeowners with unparalleled selection and service. “He [Billy Wood] fixed appliances around the island,” Mike King said. “He was really in demand so he opened a little shop.” Today, Billy Wood Appliance offers a splendid showroom experience, where customers have 40 (give-or-take) manufacturers from which to choose to create their wow factor, a staff of talented personnel at their disposal for guidance and advice, and a terrific hands-on buying experience.

The penultimate showroom experience within their wide-ranging showroom, may be in the Billy Wood Appliance Living Kitchen, designed and presented by Sub-Zero and Wolf, the twin stars of innovative cookery and refrigeration. “Everything is either live or demo mode, so people can play around with the computers and see how everything works,” King said. Like a life-size doll house, The Living Kitchen is a series of individual display kitchens within the thoughtfully-designed Sub-Zero and Wolf domain at Billy Wood Appliance. “We show almost everything they have to offer.” That includes every cooking option, every handle, and every panel and installation choice.

The possibilities presented in The Living Kitchen will pique the interest of anyone with an eye for great design or the food fantasies of the culinarily inclined. With refrigeration, cooling, and freezing columns and drawers in widths from 18 to 36 inches, and a variety of cook surfaces and ovens offering different heat-source options, the path to putting together a kitchen with all the wow factor one could want is a distinct possibility. If there were a king of the castle here, it would be the Sub-Zero 648Pro, an 800-pound “monument to food preservation,” per Sub-Zero’s website. “It’s stainless steel inside and out,” King said. “It gives you a professional look, and odors can’t absorb into stainless steel, where they can in plastic.” With stainless trays and stainless shelves that slide in and out among its many attributes, the Kings said that designers love these refrigerators.

THE BILLY WOOD APPLIANCE TEAM: (from left to right)
Ronald Simmons, Jason Williams, Vincent Pham, Lynn Adams, Mike Haertel, Betsy Miller, Kimberly Walls, Brantley King, Mike King, Marcos Castelvi

In addition to The Living Kitchen, the Billy Wood Appliance showroom continues its tempting tour of manufacturers and appliance options, where their team of experienced consultants work to match just the right equipment with their customers’ needs, wishes, and budgets. “Our people average 15 years of sales experience,” King said. “They’re knowledgeable and patient.” With showroom space set aside for customers, designers, and builders to sit, lay out plans, and spend time working out all the details, the team helps to make the selection process as stress-free and seamless as possible.

Whether new construction, a complete renovation, or a one-appliance replacement, today’s technology provides the appliance industry with the ability to offer equipment customizable to the customer’s lifestyle: built-in espresso makers, teppanyaki gas griddles, steam ovens and warming drawers, outdoor grills, washers, and dryers big enough to clean up after a team or to fit into a slight space. “Induction cook surfaces are becoming very popular,” Brantley King said.

Considered to have more precise heat control than gas, induction cook surfaces are considerably safer too—an attractive feature for households with children. “These new surfaces work by an electro-magnetic reaction, and the pan works as the conductor to heat the food. The heat molecules bounce around inside the pan, cooking your dinner. The process happens in the pan, not on the cook top.”

With many of their prices set by the manufacturers (for most brands, price is not a competitive factor between retailers), the Kings know it is their customer service and relationship building that sets them apart. “What makes us good is that all we sell are appliances, and we have installation guys with tremendous experience,” Mike King said. “They give a great deal of attention to the details, and create excellent relationships with project managers.”

Maintaining solid relationships with builders has been a hallmark of Billy Wood Appliance over its 45-plus years, and the Kings continue that focus. “People like to shop local, and builders are loyal to their subs,” King said. “If you take care of them, they’ll keep coming back to you. It’s customer service and being there for them. It’s saying, yes, and making their job easier.” In addition to supporting various local charities and community organizations, the Kings and Billy Wood Appliance are involved in the Home Builder’s Association, and have been known to turn up at a builder’s office with breakfast for their crew.

A year and a half into their new venture, the Kings are settling in to their Lowcountry life and business after a rather long hiatus away. The couple met in high school in Bluffton, and after attending different colleges, they married and moved to the Northeast where Mike King built a career in stock trading. By 2015, they were ready to come home with one son in college and two other sons in-tow. After a search assisted by Mike’s dad, Dudley King, owner of Plantation Interiors on Hilton Head Island, the right opportunity was found with Billy Wood Appliance. “We jumped right in,” King said. “We’re going with our gut and working hard.” All that work is working; business is booming.

The wow factor may be as simple as a new dishwasher in stainless steel, or it may be as mind-blowing as all the bells and whistles of a Sub-Zero and Wolf kitchen renovation. At Billy Wood Appliance, the sky’s the limit…wow! 

Billy Wood Appliance is located at 6 Marshland Road, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please visit billywoodappliance.com or call (843) 681-8441.

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