If you would have told the Davis brothers, Joe and Hal, they were going to be television stars one day, I doubt even they would believe you. Yet, tomorrow night at 7 p.m. on HGTV, the second episode of the reality television show they co-star on, “West End Salvage,” is airing.
For the two Newton boys who grew up loving antiques, the experience is unreal.
“With Hal and I, we grew up with parents… and with a mom, who was an avid collector of antiques,” Joe said. “That’s how we came together on this, so we’ve always been in the business of buying and selling. For me personally after starting here at West End, it kind of allowed me to follow my own passions with antiques. Now I can actually go and buy antiques and get paid for it.”
Hal echoes his brother’s comments about that home support that helped to eventually guide them to West End and eventually TV stardom.
“I just think from early on we were never pigeon-holed by our parents to do something that was foreseen as the thing to do,” Hal said. “They always backed us on whatever decisions that we decided to do. And by having supportive parents it allows you to grow. Our mom passed four years ago and we really feel she is the whole catalyst for the whole show.”
Joe quickly chimed in, “For us.”
That spark from home has led them into very successful careers even before the brothers landed at West End seven (Hal) and six (Joe) years ago. In another lifetime Joe worked for Maytag as regional sales manager in Chicago and Hal, whose background is in interior design and historical preservation, used to restore and flip houses. He was also a member of a historical preservation society, which is how he met West End’s owner Don Short.
The West End Architectural Salvage store/set itself is amazing. It’s a 50,000 square foot jack-of-all-trades warehouse in Downtown Des Moines. It’s here that they collect and restore pieces, sell them, run a café and a gift shop, create custom furniture, hold receptions and banquets, film the show, sub-let space to a marketing firm and still manage to have four floors of goods to display.
Both guys know this is a rare opportunity for them be a part of the show, which was shot starting in September for 49 days and is produced for HGTV by Pie Town Productions in Hollywood. They signed contracts for three seasons, and this first season is scheduled for 13 episodes. With more luck the show will make it even further.
“In the big picture of things,” Hal said. “We’re just an antique salvage store. We do what we do and were fortunate enough that this landed in our laps. It’s kind of like the lottery. It’s very surreal that it’s happening to us.”
Joe elaborated on his brothers comments.
“Well not only that,” Joe said. “But to have it happen to two brothers from Newton, Iowa, rooting-tooting-Newton you know.”
Even without the show, Hal is just grateful to be away from corporate America. They have very flexible schedules and can make their own hours. They travel all the time to market the store at antique and garden shows and to make new purchases for the store.
“I’ve always wanted to do interior design work,” Hal said. “And to have a profession that I get to do this every single day as a hobby and it pays the bills. ... To think that most of my creative day doing, I can imagine being suppressed in a cubicle and giving them my life except for the weekends.”
Another bonus is the environment around the store is very relaxed and the dry office humor here is a bit more ramped up and diabolical, as exhibited by their boss Don Short.
“If they ever showed up and did anything it would be fine, but I hardly ever get to see them doing anything,” Short joked. “No but Hal and Joe are invaluable here. They are incredibly knowledgeable and hardworking.”
Short, who was originally approached to do the show a year ago, also spoke on what it’s like to be on TV as well.
“It’s still kind of early we’ve only aired (one) episode, but it’s still kind of flattering to think that TV thinks what we do is worthy of people watching, “Short said. “And when you look at some of the other stuff that’s on it makes sense. What we do is fairly popular in people wanting to be sensitive to reclamation and saving the earth and that kind of thing. And when you mix in a bit of humor with it, it does make for pretty good TV.”
Their store is located at 22 Ninth St. in Des Moines and can be reached by calling (515) 243-4405.
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.