Historic Wilmington Foundation reopens salvage shop

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Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo and mayor pro tem Margaret Haynes, center, celebrate the reopening of Legacy Architectural Salvage Wednesday with members of Historic Wilmington Foundation. Photos by Hilary Snow.
Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo and mayor pro tem Margaret Haynes, center, celebrate the reopening of Legacy Architectural Salvage Wednesday with members of Historic Wilmington Foundation. Photos by Hilary Snow.

After a nearly decade-long hiatus, Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Legacy Architectural Salvage store is up and running again in a new location.

Members of the foundation, along with city officials and supporters, celebrated the store’s grand reopening Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the shop, now located behind Stevens Hardware, 1831 B Dawson St.

For six years, the original salvage on Brunswick Street downtown offered the non-profit an additional source of revenue to continue its mission–to preserve area historic buildings and places and educate the public on the need for such preservation–through the resale of donated antique and vintage construction materials. In its heyday, the store rang up nearly $10,000 annually, Historic Wilmington Foundation (HWF) director George Edwards said.

But when the lease ran out on the Brunswick Street building, the foundation was unable to find another suitable, affordable space to relocate (the previous site was rent-free). So, the business concept remained on the back burner for nine years.

Then, last year, Wilmington City Council awarded HWF with a two-year grant totaling $23,400 for Legacy Architectural Salvage.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the city for this grant,” Edwards said during Wednesday’s ribbon cutting.

The salvage shop offers a variety of pre-1960s constructional materials, such as doors, windows and fixtures.
The salvage shop offers a variety of pre-1960s constructional materials, such as doors, windows and fixtures.

The money allowed HWF to push forward with finding a location–the 2,000 square-foot warehouse adjacent to Stevens Hardware, which owners Joey and Holly Stevens have offered up to the organization for $6,000 a year.

“We gave them a reduced rate; we made it do-able for them,” Joey Stevens noted.

He said the salvage was a nice “complement” to his shop, since it may draw customers into his store and vice versa.

And, Edwards added, Legacy will be a win-win for the community.

“It’s an opportunity to recycle pieces that otherwise would go straight to the landfill. It’s an opportunity for do-it-yourselfers and contractors to find items. And even for contemporary homeowners who want to add historic elements to their home,” he said.

Although it is actively seeking donations, the store is already filled with a variety of old windows, doors and shutters, along with a variety of hinges and knobs. Nothing, Edwards said, will ever post-date 1960.

HWF also plans to offer classes at the new space throughout the year, some specifically aimed at the 18 to 25 crowd.

“We’ll be bringing in young adults who may just walk away knowing how to fix a squeaky door. Or they may realize they want to pursue a career in carpentry,” Edwards said.

The first workshop–building a sun shade, from concept to construction–is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. The all-levels class is free and open to the public.

Edwards hopes the store will once again bring in funds for HWF. He’s aiming to gross $12,000 this year and continuing growing from there.

“This can do so many things,” he said.

Legacy Architectural Salvage is open for shopping and drop off of tax-deductible donations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.