Popular Des Moines store opens in downtown Albert Lea

Published 10:49 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Albert Lea West End Architectural Salvage location opened its doors to the public on Wednesday in the first floor of the Freeborn National Bank building.  - Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

The Albert Lea West End Architectural Salvage location opened its doors to the public on Wednesday in the first floor of the Freeborn National Bank building. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Business is housed in former Freeborn National Bank bldg.

A new, yet familiar pop-up shop opened in Albert Lea during Wind Down Wednesday.

A pop-up shop of West End Architectural Salvage from Des Moines, Iowa, was open Wednesday on the first floor of the former Freeborn National Bank building.

According to owner Don Short, the city collaborated with him and his group to find a good space for the shop.

Hal Davis, lead designer at West End Architectural Salvage, said the bank building fit right into the store’s niche of salvaged furniture as well as his and Short’s work in restoring homes and historic preservation. While the building isn’t perfect on the inside and work needs to be done, Davis said, that helps show the building’s character.

Short said he was happy to be in the bank building because it allows the community to see the inside of the space, which isn’t open all the time.

Short, Davis and others from West End Architectural Salvage started setting up the shop on Monday and opened on Wednesday morning around 9 a.m. Short said after only two hours of being open, a good flow of people passed through the store.

Short, Davis and West End Architectural Salvage are on the DIY Network show “West End Salvage.” Short said Albert Lea can benefit from the show’s exposure through the pop-up shop so people don’t have to drive to Des Moines to see what the store has to offer.

In addition to having the pop-up shop in Albert Lea, West End Architectural Salvage will have a pop-up shop in Kansas City on the first Friday and Saturday each month at a store called Good Juju.

The first floor of the bank building is about 3,000 square feet, Davis said, which pales in comparison to West End Architectural Salvage’s 50,000 square foot warehouse. However, Short said the items at the pop-up shop are a good cross-section of what they sell.

The Albert Lea store has furniture, mirrors made of copper and tin ceiling tiles, metal baskets from Holland that held tulip bulbs, tin art and painted windows, among others. There is also jewelry and clothing. Short said everything besides the clothing has been created from repurposed materials.

Short, who owned four restaurants, was also in the business of restoring homes. When homes would be torn down he would go in, salvage items and put them in the houses he was restoring. Short met Davis while working on houses and eventually opened West End Architectural Salvage after selling salvaged items in a tag sale that never stopped.

“Ten years later, we’re in a 50,000-square foot warehouse,” Short said.

Davis said Susie Petersen, executive director of the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Chad Adams, city manager, were the main driving forces behind getting West End Architectural Salvage to Albert Lea.

The pop-up shop will be in Albert Lea until the end of September. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and July 24 through 26. August hours are to be determined.

“We’re super thrilled to be part of (Wind Down Wednesday,)” Davis said.