West End Salvage: The Hidden Treasure Trove of Des Moines

Visiting West End Architectural Salvage is comparable to walking into an upscale homeowner’s catalog. While touring the four-story building that is located on the corner of 9th and Cherry in downtown Des Moines, many scents become instantly recognizable. From the heavy scent of coffee coming from the quaint coffee shop downstairs to the abundant amount of hefty salvaged furniture that is featured throughout the store, it’s hard to know where to begin.

What is West End Salvage?

West End Salvage is set up similarly to a museum where each floor contains a different attraction. On the first floor there are large statement pieces: an enormous buffalo head, a vintage wardrobe, salvaged chairs, and enormous clocks. On the third floor, there are old vintage road signs and a dentist chair that looks like it’s from the 1800’s. On the top floor, every type of door imaginable is stacked on top of one another throughout the open room. Salvaged pieces of wood and glass span the entire length of the room.

Each floor contains history in the form of ancient projectors, tin cans, vintage coke bottles, decrepit high chairs, canoes, 1980’s lockers, vintage lights. Hours could be spent rummaging through West End Salvage, constantly uncovering new treasures.

West End Salvage exemplifies the statement, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Glancing around the store, to the left sits a table that was constructed out of a metal door; hanging on the wall is the hood of a car, which is now being used a decorative piece of art.

Why should you go there?

West End Salvage has become a unique aspect of Des Moines because of its inviting atmosphere and amount of high quality furniture. “We have people that greet you, we have beer, we have coffee, we have wine, everybody that works here is nice and friendly, and we are funny as hell,” owner Don Short said.

This local shop brings so much character into downtown Des Moines as well as accommodations for all types of people. The coffee shop provides a great atmosphere for college students to study while all of the beautiful antiques supply local residents with a place to relax, browse, and contemplate how many loans that would have to be taken out in order to buy the vintage coffee table sitting over in the corner. “Most antique stores are big glass display cabinets filled with crap that nobody wants. Here we have great big pieces of furniture that nobody wants,” said Short.

Regular customer, Heather Nandell stated, “I come to West End Salvage because it is a unique place that I can look for rare treasures.” Many customers find that even through this trendy shop is a little out of their price range they still enjoy browsing through the rows and rows of vintage items.

Thing you might find at West End Salvage:

  • Old car doors
  • Ancient telephone booth
  • Vintage suitcases
  • Stained glass lamps
  • Coffee table made out of the hood of a car

West End Salvage is a place where you can go just to get out of your house, relax, and get a new vantage point. From the countless pieces of salvaged furniture to the unique vibe that West End Salvage has, many locals have fallen in love with this Des Moines staple. Stop on by and have a cup of coffee while you peruse the unique treasures.