In 2015, my wife and I decided to move from our home in Kissimmee, Florida in pursuit of a better life for our family. Excited, we closed the door to our home and set out on a new adventure to Atlanta, Georgia. We loved the fact that we could enjoy the weather, experiencing all the seasons...
When we arrived to Georgia, we purchased a 17 ft. camper and planned to spend the summer in it while we explored some parts of Georgia and decide where we wanted to live. Our goal was to find a place before school started at the end of the summer break. However, things didn't go as planned. Summer ended and we were at a crossroads with a tough decision to make; stay in the camper in Georgia or move back to Florida, where we were zoned for a 2 out of 10 rated school for our kids...We decided to tough it out and stay. After two weeks of searching for a more permanent place to live, we found a campground in Cumming, Georgia where the schools are top rated, but there was no vacancies. I think the desk agent saw the desperation in our faces and made a spot for us. We successfully enrolled our kids in a wonderful school.
I began traveling every two weeks to Florida for work. I was a Firefighter at Walt Disney World. Fun fact: Walt Disney World has their very own fire department called Reedy Creek. I would face many obstacles through our journey but we decided no matter what, we would stick together and have faith that things would work out.
Due to the circumstances, we were not making as much money as we did the prior year in Florida. However, our kids were thriving, the school, activities, and friends were amazing. Still in the camper in Cumming, we found ourselves with only pennies to our names after the essentials were paid each week. We decided to sell as much as we could out of our storage unit of household items still in Florida. To this day, we are still amazed how God provided during this time. There were countless times we were invited by friends and neighbors for a meal, given a gift card or coupon for a free meal at just the right time. I remember many times, of wanting to go back to Florida because I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but my wife always encouraged me at my lowest and we persevered.
Eventually, we found a rental home in an amazing community in Suwanee but it was a bit out of our price range. And again something amazing happened, the landlord lowered the rent after talking with her, so we could move in.
Christmas was near, and with family coming to visit, we had no furniture or a dining table to have a family Christmas dinner. I decided to make a dining table for my family and our guests. It turned out pretty good for being the first time I had built something that big. I told my wife "I think I'll make another table to see if it sells." I did and it sold!...And that's how Rio Craft & Design started.
I spent a lot of time reading and learning from awesome people on YouTube and Instagram. It gave me the basics of building furniture. However, I still had to find ways of being unique and creative, without building the same things people around me were already building.
Since then, I've refined my woodworking skills and techniques continually pushing to learn and improve. And the orders have continued to come in.
The inspiration behind my tables is my belief in family and that the dinner table is where all things come together at the end of a hectic day. My hope is to inspire people to bring back the family tradition of eating together at the table. Limiting today's distractions and start talking to each other again.
I spent 15 years as a Firefighter/EMT in Orlando, 10 of those years at Walt Disney world. It was an honor to serve my community and meet people from around the world. I'm still serving my community but in a different way now and it's a true honor to have my tables in various homes across the nation. In addition to the reward of seeing a satisfied customer after each build is priceless.
I am so thankful for this journey and adventure that God has put us on. It's brought our family closer together and we're so appreciative for the things we've gone through together. Knowing how close we came to being homeless is very humbling. I will never take for granted this gift God has given me to work with my hands and create something that unites families and friends.
My hope is to inspire others that are in the same struggle that I was in and give them hope that you can overcome anything if you don't give up and have faith. Rio Craft & Design is made of hard work, heart, value and quality. We make our tables with passion and every table has it's own unique character that makes it one of a kind.