“My grandfather bought the business in 1959 when it was Billings Feed Store,” said current owner Scott Johnson. “We used to supply the zoo with all their feed years ago.”
SCOTT JOHNSON (center, in gray)
“My grandfather worked for him [Les Billings] as a young guy. He was a truck driver,” said Johnson. “He ended up buying it from Les Billings and he ended up keeping the family name.”
Johnson recalls being in the store as a kid, making tunnels in the feedbags, ripping open feed bags and playing with the cats in the store.
The Billings store has a long history in Royal Oak at Main and Lincoln, and Johnson plans to continue in the new location on 14 Mile Road in Clawson, which opened in November.
Initially, Billings had two stores near each other: one was lawn equipment the other was a feed store. The feed store was sold, leaving the lawn store for Johnson to run.
Today, the newly re-opened Billings Lawn Equipment has all the trimmers, mowers, snow blowers and weed whippers homeowners and business owners need to keep yards looking their best.
Travis Beard, co-owner of Worry Free Outdoor Services, has been a loyal Billings customer since opening his business in 1998.
With 11 employees, Billings Lawn Equipment has the experience and knowledge customers want when looking to make an investment in machinery. At one time, almost everyone working at Billings was family.
“We have a lot of long-term employees. People leave, but they always come back. Everyone’s been here on average 15 to 20 years,” said Johnson. “That is one advantage of coming to a place like this is the knowledge. You don’t get that when you go to Home Depot. We try to get things done efficiently and cost effective as possible.”
Johnson explained that while the Billings team can sell lawnmowers and snow blowers, they also have a full parts department with roughly $500,000 in inventory and service area. In fact, Johnson is one of the mechanics.
“The coolest thing is it’s a third generation, family-owned business,” said Johnson. “That doesn’t happen very often.”