- October 5, 2017
When you step inside Rhino Décor, be prepared to spend some time there, taking in all the pre-owned elaborate furnishings and high-end furniture for sale. The new home-décor business in Winter Garden brings in pieces with name brands such as Havertys, Restoration Hardware, Tommy Bahama, Drexel and Bernhardt.
There are many eclectic pieces, too, such as a metal rolling bar that would be great in any man cave or ornate wood sideboards and hutches for storing complete sets of china. Artwork of all sizes and styles covers the walls. Large and small knick-knacks adorn every surface.
Two brothers, Alec Billings and Nick Billings, opened their permanent location in March. They previously ran the business by appointment only from a warehouse in Ocoee.
“It got to the point where we were busy enough to give reason to have a retail space,” Alec said. “When we found this space, we loved the character and the history. And being on (Highway) 50, it has a curbside presence.”
The building, constructed in 1955, was the home of Walker Brothers Millworks for decades. Alec said he has driven by this building countless times since his family moved to Gotha 15 years ago.
“I remember driving by this building years ago and thinking it would be a cool place to have a business,” Alec said. “Little did I know. It comes full circle.”
The older of the two brothers, Alec said he got into this line of work by buying estate-sale furniture and selling it privately. He realized he appreciated the craftsmanship of quality furniture, and he encouraged Nick to join him. The business partners, who are Olympia High School graduates, began working for estate companies and private firms that wanted to clear out their furniture, and their company has evolved into buying out Central Florida estates and model homes.
They sometimes find overstock from big-box stores, as well.
Rhino Décor has started a want list for customers searching for that specific piece, which helps Nick and Alec act as personal shoppers for their clients.
Their showroom includes furniture and décor for living and dining rooms, bedrooms, patios and offices.
Merchandise is photographed and listed on the website, and the owners said their inventory moves quickly.
If someone is interested in selling items, they can email the Billingses with a description and photos. The brothers prefer to deal with multiple pieces at a time instead of individual items, they said.
A third brother, Derrick, helps occasionally by assisting in moving jobs.
Alec and Nick said their business was inspired by their parents, Rick and April Billings, who are Winter Garden residents. Their mother is an interior decorator, and their father, a photographer, has always owned his own businesses.
The name Rhino Décor is a nod to their father, who has always lived by the “rhino mantra” and has a collection of close to 2,000 decorative rhinoceroses. He even gave several of the smaller ones to his sons to place around the store.
When Rick worked for Canon and Kodak, he handed out copies of the book “Rhinoceros Success” when he attended speaking conventions.
The premise of the book is to take charge and have the life you want. Alec said he has read the small paperback multiple times to motivate him.
Both parents have been beneficial to their business, the brothers said.
“Mom is the secret weapon for us,” Alec said. “It’s huge to have a mom that’s a designer. This has become her little playground.”