Brantley King is a very good listener — and businesswoman.
As co-owner with Michael King of the iconic Billy Wood Appliance, a retail institution on Hilton Head Island since 1972, she had been hearing the suggestions from developers, contractors, designers and homeowners to expand into Bluffton.
The Kings bought the well-known store in January 2016, rebranded it as Billy Wood Appliance, and set about redesigning the 3,500-square-foot-space to showcase the latest in quality appliances: ranges, cooktops, wall ovens, hoods and kitchen ventilation, microwave ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, specialty items and even outdoor grills.
It makes complete sense to have a more easily accessible store.
Importantly, the appliances are showcased in functioning vignettes that include custom cabinets, luxury countertops and task lighting, just like one might find in any new or recently remodeled home.
Brantley had remodeled homes in the past, so the commercial renovations at BWA went smoothly and impressed customers. The redefined showroom was visually striking and provided an inspiring collection of ideas for her customers.
It didn’t take long before the suggestion of expanding to the mainland became part of everyday conversations with her clients.
Brantley listened. Dedicated to helping clients in the growing Bluffton market, the Kings decided to open a second store in Old Town Bluffton.
“It makes complete sense to have a more easily accessible store,” said Brantley, who grew up in the Lowcountry. “We wanted to better serve our clients. And our clients and vendors are excited.”
The vendors comprise an impressive lineup, from high-end brands like Sub-Zero, Wolf and Jenn-Air to the ever-popular GE, KitchenAid, Bosch and Whirlpool lines.
Brantley devoted time and attention in 2017 to finding a convenient location with adequate space for parking and a high-traffic presence in Bluffton for the second BWA store. Late that year, a lease was signed to occupy 5,000 square feet within the remodeled plaza at 1223 May River Road.
Developers Geoff and Kim Block hired Court Atkins Design of Bluffton to provide the architectural magic — but keeping with the Old Town Bluffton feel. The look includes painted brick, reclaimed wood and fiber cement siding and canopies. The plan received the blessing of the town of Bluffton’s Historic Preservation Commission. The space was constructed by Kenneth Scott Builders of Bluffton.
Because of the store’s size, Brantley enlisted the talent of two friends and colleagues, interior designer Kelley McRorie and custom cabinet designer Arlene Williams, to help transform the space into a beautiful showroom.
“Imagine building one beautiful kitchen — and then repeating it 13 times,” Brantley said, expressing wonder at the challenging task. “I want everyone to walk into a kitchen and say, ‘I just love the whole thing.’ The cabinets, the backsplash, and especially the appliances. That’s the experience we’re trying to deliver in this showroom.”
A soft opening is scheduled for early February at the new BWA in Bluffton, with a formal grand opening planned for March.
Customers will quickly discover, as Brantley said, “there are simply no other appliance stores like BWA Bluffton or BWA Hilton Head in the Lowcountry — and we’re proud of that.”