SARASOTA - For centuries, people have searched for buried treasure on the Suncoast left here by pirates. We don't know where that's buried, but at Sarasota Architectural Salvage, you'll find a different kind of treasure.
The place is stocked with old items that have survived the wrecking ball to find new life.
Jesse White says he founded Sarasota Architectural Salvage to keep Suncoast history from ending up in the landfill. "Architectural salvage is going into buildings that have been torn down and we do focus on the historical building. We are sort of that place of last resort so these items that are really beautiful and well-crafted don't end up going to a landfill when they get torn down."
Inside there are doors, windows, chandeliers, furniture, hardware and room decor. And outside there's more.
White and his staff travel all over seeking unique items. "I just knock on doors if I see interesting stuff on somebody's yard, and not a lot of big dogs or a no trespassing sign," says sales manager Greg Pemberton.
He has more than 25 year’s experience in historic preservation. He's made some great finds, and some not so great. "There was a stuffed cat one time that I found…I didn’t buy it, of course."
Many old items are given new life by being recycled into something else. "You can take some of the farm equipment, I have a tractor table, a beautiful red tractor that was just the right height for making into a little side table."
Some of White's best customers are professional decorators. "The interior designers are awesome, because they can see through the dust and dirt to the magnificent beauty that lives beneath."
Restaurants also get a lot of their decor there, and the general public is always welcome.
It's also a popular place for socials. "It's a magical place, it really is. It's one of the most unique venues in Sarasota to have a party. We've had weddings here; in fact we have a wedding here coming up shortly."
And you're invited to come in and poke around, prices range from $1 hardware to a $15,000 chandelier.
Do-it-yourselfers are also big customers, and Sarasota Architectural Salvage has just set aside a special room for people who want to take an old item and use their own imagination to turn it into a conservation piece.
Sarasota Architectural Salvage is located on 11th Street just west of Central Avenue, just north of downtown Sarasota.