Salvage Find

Having a vintage store means lots of time exploring for unique finds. I want to change up the contents of the space so there is always something new. If you get repeat customers, they have seen your old inventory and are therefore not as tempted to make a purchase. I set up scenarios in the store so people can imagine furniture and fixtures in a home environment. Not everyone has a good imagination. Some know exactly what they want and exclaim “aha” when they spot it. So, every nook and cranny of my store is crammed with goodies and delights from large to small in size. People often come in for gifts or they might want to exchange a personal item. I take jewelry, silver and glass, china, clothing, and decorative ceramic ware. It is fun to see what people have collected over the years. Most only occasionally like to part with their treasures.

I often visit a salvage yard some miles away in case there is something suitable for sale. Recently, I spotted a lovely carved wood fireplace mantle that was not in bad shape. A little loving care would bring it back to life. I brought it home in my truck and proceeded to strip and stain it. In my experience, refinishing goes a long way. I changed it from a boring oak to a deep mahogany. It would be a wonderful focal point for any home. You could put it over an existing fireplace to glamorize the look. It wasn’t for everyone, but surely there was a customer out there looking to upgrade an old fireplace. Sometimes mangles are simple blocks of wood, so having a carved beauty would spice up any living room indeed. I couldn’t wait to get it in the store. It didn’t take long for people to notice my salvage find. But it took weeks to sell as people that frequent my store are often just looking for small decorative items. You must hit the right opportunity and some are few and far between.

And it happened. A few weeks after my refurbishing, a man came in with his mother. She was oohing and aahing over the mantle and said that she absolutely had to have it. She had the perfect place and even sowed me the measurements. My mantle would fit quite well. She wanted some new elegance in her home and a hand-carved mahogany mantle would do the job. It would inspire her to recover her old sofa and club chair. She made me a generous offer. I put the mantle in my trunk for an afternoon delivery. She would have her handyman waiting to install it. I was anxious to see it in place. After all, I had spent considerable time bring new beauty to the wood. I wanted to see the final fruits of my labor. It did look wonderful in the space as I expected. This was one job well done.