It all started with a warehouse full of bathroom tile.
Russell Anderson, who was in the excavation and paving business in Northern Virginia, had bought the tile at a liquidation auction in 1994. He needed somewhere to store it. So he asked his son, Andy, to help him store it in a building the family owned on Louisa Road (Route 22), a few miles from Andy’s home at Blue Ridge Shores.
“I told my Dad, ‘You’ll never sell all that tile,’” Andy recalled. “Dad didn’t know what to do with it. So one day I said, ‘I’ll take it over.’
“I’ve been here ever since,” he said with a grin. He sold all of the tile, then bought more.
Over the years contractors and homeowners have flocked to Trevilians Salvage Yard, looking for bargains not just on bathroom tile, but on blocks for patio construction and other outdoor projects. The Andersons posted a sign that called the business “The most unusual salvage yard on the East Coast.”
The last day in business at the salvage yard will be Oct. 19. After that, Andy Anderson and his wife Kathy plan to spend more time in retirement in Florida. The contents of the warehouse, which still includes some construction materials as well as novelties, hardware, ceramics and much more, will be auctioned off.
Russell Anderson passed away earlier this year, and his son feels that at age 75, it’s time to stop selling.
After he relocated to Louisa County from his longtime home in Northern Virginia, the elder Anderson became known in the community for his reproduction of Netherland Tavern, located around the corner from the salvage yard. The building is a faithful replica of the original tavern, which was located there during the Battle of Trevilian Station in 1864.
The family recently sold the tavern to the Washington D.C.-based Civil War Trust, which has purchased thousands of acres of land in the area.
Besides construction materials, the Andersons stocked all manner of collectibles on their shelves, finding their merchandise at auctions and liquidation sales.
“We added that to help us survive in the winter when we didn’t sell the [construction] blocks,” he said.
Would anybody want to take Anderson’s place in the salvage business? He doubts it.
“It’s a hard market, not like it used to be,” he said. “I was here 15 years before Lowe’s got here.”
In the business’ final weeks, the Andersons continue to take orders for block, tile or whatever else customers may need. They’ve priced all their items at half off to try to unload them before the closing date.
“We’ve had customers who we hadn’t seen in years come by to thank us,” Kathy Anderson said. “It makes you feel good that people appreciate it.”