The guys at West End Salvage have turned a corner.
“I thought at some point, we might run out of things to find,” said owner Don Short, “but the more that we’re getting our name out there, the more stuff is finding us.”
Short and his treasures have become easy for America to find.
“If you’re from Chicago, you don’t have to fill your car with a huge table, you can take a letter, you can say you got it at West End. That’s cool.”
Scripps Network Interactive sure thinks it’s cool. It’s picked up West End Salvage for a second season of reality TV on its DIY channel.
“The reward of that is huge,” Short said. “Our traffic in the first 2-3 months of the show, our traffic probably doubled.”
The downtown Des Moines shop used to have two phone lines. Now it has six. Short and designer Hal Davis were always memorable, but now fans flock to them for pictures and autographs.
“And you look at them and go ‘what are you gonna do with my picture?” he laughed. “And where are you gonna put my autograph?’ I mean, really, we sell old crap in Des Moines, Iowa.”
Fans also want West End’s wares–the signature ceiling tins, the letters, and the custom-made furniture.
“We can’t keep up making tables,” Short said. “Coffee tables, sofa tables, end tables, dining tables, conference tables. Right now we probably have 50 custom orders in the works.”
Such is the cost of fame. Shooting for the new season begins in May.