Salvage love

After years of owning a shop on Lark Street where he sold one-of-a-kind furnishings, Fred Shapiro wanted to expand. In a big way.

He didn't want just another shop. He wanted something exciting, something dramatic. So Shapiro moved his business into a warehouse in North Albany, and Silver Fox Salvage was born.

In the beginning, Shapiro filled some of the extra space in the building with a weekend flea market. Vendors would sell spices, teas, children's books and crafts.

These days, though, Silver Fox Salvage commands the whole building, creating and selling its calling card, architectural salvage. Shaprio and his staff use reclaimed stained glass, doors, windows, trim and more to create unique home furnishings for people in the Capital District and beyond. They'll show off their wares at the Northeast Home Show, which will be held on Friday to Sunday, Feb. 11 to 13, at the Empire State Plaza and Times Union Center.

Camille Gibeau, who runs Silver Fox Salvage with Shapiro, came on board when he placed an ad on craigslist looking for someone to paint some of his reclaimed pieces. Gibeau, who has a background in nonprofits, had hoped to start some kind of business that reused items that were otherwise going to be thrown away. She joked that she and Shapiro share a partnership born out of salvage love.

Gibeau remembers the days when the Lark Street shop was "bursting at the seams." Shapiro always had a keen eye for "various oddities," she said. They used to take his truck around to area junkyards, looking for items that might make good furnishings.

These days, they're more likely to show up at auctions than dumps. They also score a lot of finds at old buildings. Shapiro spent a recent afternoon working at a church in Gloversville, reclaiming bead boards and "beautiful trim."

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