We’ve all heard the expression: “When one door closes, another door opens.” Well, Jeanine and Tom Wester took that time-worn phrase and kind of turned it sideways. When they went to go look for a door to put in their house, a whole business opened up for them. And it turned out to be a unique business not only for them but for the city of Peoria as well. The business that this door opened up for them is called Peoria Architectural Salvage and it’s the only business of its kind in Peoria and so I thought it would be interesting to go and meet Jeanine and Tom and take a look at their one-of-a-kind business and hear more about it. And so that’s exactly what we’re about to do, let’s go!
Here we are at Peoria Architectural Salvage at 2000 SW Adams, this building has been here since the 1800’s and it’s great that it’s being used for a business rather than just sitting here vacant waiting to be torn down. It’s right across from Moser’s Shoes and it’s an impressive looking building from the outside, let’s go in and take a look inside!
Wow, right off the bat I can see it’s loaded with treasures that have been salvaged from other buildings and there’s a diminutive man watching the doorway, let’s go and meet him and the people standing behind him!
Here’s the owners of Peoria Architectural Salvage, Jeanine and Tom Wester and their three children. They purchased this building over a year ago and have been stocking it with furniture, hardwood flooring, decorative metal, woodwork and trim, fixtures, columns, windows, doors, mantels, and tiles. The building is over 12,000 square feet, so it can hold a lot of inventory of these items which in the past would’ve been destroyed and dumped into landfills. Now you can buy these historic items and have a piece of history in your very own household or business.
Tom and Jeanine said they’d give us a tour, so let’s go and take a look around at what they’ve salvaged and is for sale in here.
The tour starts in this room that ‘s filled with all kinds of doors that they’ve salvaged from buildings in and around Peoria. This is a good place to start, because this is how they decided to start this business. When they moved here in 2009, Tom and Jeanine moved to a house in the East Bluff and three years ago they moved into another house and wanted to put in a door, but they didn’t want to get a generic one, so they started looking around for a salvage business that they could get one from. Well, it turned out that Peoria didn’t have any salvage businesses, so they ended up going to Bloomington, Illinois. They saw the need for this kind of business in Peoria since so many old buildings were getting torn down and the interiors and everything inside was just getting destroyed and sent to landfills. So they decided to start their own salvage business. They started accumulating an inventory and initially ran the business out of a storage facility. About a year ago they found this building which was owned by a church and bought it and Peoria Architectural Salvage was born and they haven’t looked back since!
There’s a lot of furniture to be had in here and these are old-school, well made pieces, not the generic, slapped-together, flimsy furniture you find at so many retail outlets. Jeanine and Tom told me that the majority of the customers are home owners looking for items to put back into historic renovations, but they also get collectors, decorators, and crafters stopping by to look for items that are part of the city’s history and things that are hard to find in a traditional retail outlet.
I love these chairs and church pews on display. The bottom chair is made from old doors that they’ve salvaged and is definitely a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture that’s rich in history. Businesses have discovered that they can get some unique furniture and items to give their business a nice historic and interesting look. Little Raven Creamery on Main Street is just one business that has recently bought salvaged items to decorate and furnish their new business.
In addition to furniture there’s an endless supply of fun treasures to look at and search through including a vintage mailbox, decorative tiles, antique doorknobs and you can even buy a shopping cart to take your items to your car!
The ground floor is huge, but there’s a basement and a top floor that they plan on renovating in the future. As you can see, there’s definitely room for this business to grow even bigger as time moves on. The bottom photo is a bird’s eye view of the ground floor.
In addition to raising their family and running this business, Tom is an automotive teacher at I.C.C. and Jeanine is in charge of sales, social media, taxes/payroll, and does the bidding on jobs. And as we get ready to leave, it’s only fitting that two doors are leaning towards the entrance. Thanks to Jeanine and Tom for the fun and informative tour of their business and if you’re a home or business owner looking for unique and historic items, you can call for an appointment to take a look around at the treasures located here in Peoria Architectural Salvage, the number is below. We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Peoria Architectural Salvage (**Note: Business by appointment only.)
2000 SW Adams Street