Matt and Angela Wilhite started their Kingdom Strollers rental business from their condominium in 2010. In the years since they outgrew that and moved into two larger buildings in Clermont and Winter Garden, but business is booming and they're now packed in at 6,700 square feet.
"We are all on top of each other," said Matt Wilhite of the company's staff and 2,000 strollers in inventory.
Now they hope to build their own 16,000-square-foot building in Winter Garden, at 730 Garden Commerce Parkway. City staff are in the process of approving new building plans, with a potential groundbreaking as soon as next month.
The Wilhites hope it will be roomy enough for all the company’s strollers as well as their 50 employees.
Kevin Boise of Foundry Commercial is the general contractor for the Wilhite’s new building, and has bids out for the structure now. They are hoping to have the building complete by mid-summer, he said.
Kingdom Strollers rents strollers and cribs to visitors at theme parks and other vacation destinations, delivering them to hotel rooms and vacation homes at no extra cost.
The couple started the business initially because they wanted $500 in extra income per month. It has ballooned into a $3 million enterprise, Matt Wilhite said.
Business really took off when they earned “featured provider" status from Disney, which offers the company’s name, along with other preferred venders, to parents looking to lease strollers.
The couple got the stroller rental idea from a friend in Washington D.C. who was buying strollers off Craig’s List and then fixing them up and reselling. Their friends were making $100 a stroller, but the numbers didn’t work in suburban Orlando so they found themselves with 20 strollers in their condo.
That was when the lease idea popped up. There were already other stroller leasers in the area, but the couple promised to get their strollers to customers earlier in the morning. They also offered a “parent console” with a cup holder and rain covers for free, giving them a jump on the competition, Wilhite said.