Made in Tampa Bay: Architectural trash becomes treasure at Tampa Bay Salvage

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Every day, buildings all over the world are torn down to make way for new development, however, many of those buildings contain architectural pieces that define a time in history.

Recognizing this, the folks at Tampa Bay Salvage have made it their life's work to scour the globe for trash they can turn back into treasure.

Tampa Bay Salvage opened in 2010, but the owners have been in the business for 20 years.

It started with Josh White and his father in New Jersey, working to restore items they came across in town. Now Josh and his wife, Jessica reclaim and rehab architectural salvage from all over the world.

White says there are multiple reasons he enjoys his craft. His goal is to keep things from going into the landfill. It helps the environment, and it also preserves items for future enjoyment.

"What we primary do is we go into schools, churches, factories, industrial buildings, and we extract the parts," White said.

He also loves finding things no one else has. As more new buildings go up, fewer old buildings remain. One day, there may be nothing left.

"Our main motivator is to keep these things out of a landfill. To have an old church window, typically they would bulldoze the whole site, we take it out, and it could end up in a downtown cafe or a pizzeria in St. Petersburg. It's cool that we get to save it, and somebody else gets to enjoy it," White explained.

He says customers enjoy the story behind a piece as much as the piece itself.

"We get the old factory carts from local factories and we use the old cast-iron wheels. In the back, we just weld a stand to it," he said. "The big fireplace mantles, stain-glass windows, old doors."

Some items, they give new purpose. Other items, they sell as-is and their customers use in their own projects.

Josh showed FOX 13 a medieval-looking headboard.

"This is a great piece that my wife and I found when we were in India. We found this beautiful door. We brought it over on a container," he said. "You can see it's got all the old wooden embellishments on it. We're probably talking 150 years old. We repurposed it into a giant king headboard."

They say they like to have something for everyone in their shop. Prices range from 50 cents to thousands of dollars. They also take a few custom jobs a year.

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