The treasure box of salvaged construction waste, Historic Houston's Salvage Warehouse, closed on Thursday. But before the warehouse doors were shuttered, the organization hosted a final auction of every last piece in its sizable collection.
"It was the easiest way to liquidate the most amount of material, generate the most amount of cash and see what we can do," Historic Houston director Lynn Edmundson told CultureMap. "To be honest, the other option was to keep the warehouse open and have objects trickle out, but I would still have to maintain the expense of the warehouse, and we just couldn't afford it."
For a decade, the non-profit has reclaimed and reused historic building materials as a method of reducing construction waste and preserving the city's architectural heritage. As the aftershocks of an imperiled real estate market ripple across the restoration sector, the Salvage Warehouse found itself drifting further away from profitability.
Thursday's final sale, directed by Worstell Auction Co., brought around 50 customers to get the last of the piles of building refuse. Thursday's auction profit, combined with the sale of company tools and vehicles, will help pay off Historic Houston's $38,000 small business loan.
In the crowd was frequent customer, Caitlin Sharp, who has previously purchased windows, doors and plumbing at Salvage Warehouse. Sharp operates a hardware showroom, but with the warehouse gone, she's not sure where she'll go for some of her material. She mentioned the possibility of finding preservation loot at Adkins Architectural Antiques & Treasures at 3515 Fannin Street.
As for herself, Edmundson said, "Today was my last paycheck. I don't know what my next step will be, but I'm going to be unemployed for awhile."