"A Bigger Tent"


Last weeks blog got me to thinking about all of my recent conversations with Ohmega's old friends. They ask me, as always, what's new? I have been telling them about this blog. Now, while most all of our customers are "on-line" to some degree most are not the blogger, or twitter types. And, of course, till just lately I would have been on that list as well. So once I tell them about the blog the next question most frequently asked me is "Why?" I have been trying to put it in terms of staying current, and all the other logical reasons. The trouble is that I never felt that I captured the real value of it. Ohmega Salvage brings the items of our past back into circulation to create a new future. Most of our customer have had some direct connection to these treasures. Either it was in their house growing up or in their grandparents house growing up, etc., etc. As we have gotten older an come more into the future those direct connections get fewer and fewer. Ohmega found itself being challenged to find other ways to connect to those who might not know about the treasures we have and who we are. Starting a number of years back we stated to do the newly formed "Green" events. While we had been doing "Green" for decades, we none-the-less wanted to meet these like minded folks. Ohmega always likes to look our best. When we went to the events we decked out a tent to look like a antique room. That tent was always a big hit and attention getter. We got to meet a lot of new folks face to face - old school. The tent was a lot of work but it was worth it to bring in new folks to the re-use fold. Still we were always limited to being in the same physical space as our guests and we found we couldn't always be there. And so here we are in Cyberspace with our biggest tent yet and this one never closes. A tent that can been seen by all ages and in different countries so that they may see the relevence we may have in their lives today and in the days ahead. "Why?", they asked. Well, damm, we needed a bigger tent!
Steve Smith

"With Old Things Comes Old Friends"


Ohmega has been around for quite some time now. With that longevity comes the opportunity to meet some pretty interesting folks. It is one of the great pleasures of working here. On any given day, the mix of people you are likely to encounter coupled with our Berkeley, CA location might cause the uninitiated person's head to spin. Whether it is a customer, a neighbor, a scavenger, another business owner, or one of our vendors, it runs the gamut of profiles and experiences. You might even run into the occasional famous person. Who?, you might ask? Well you'll have to come down here yourself to find out. This is what America should be: a broad cross section of folks who come here to experience the history and variety that is us. Today it was one of our vendors and old friends. Dave Bertz is the one responsible for our having our popular collection of statues and Buddhas. An old time antiques hound and a full time character. He has been traveling to far away places and bringing things back for us for a long time. His wicked, and often bawdy, sense of humour means that you will be laughing a good part of your time with him. That is, of course, when you are not groaning at some of his jokes. He comes from quite a distance to get to us and lately, with the economy, his visits have become rare. So, today, it was good to see him, a old friend, and get some cool new statues & stuff and laugh some of the recession away. So to all of our old friends out there and the new ones on their way to becoming an old friend, come on down and say "Hi" it is always good to see you!
Steve Smith

Lasting First Impressions


Friday is the first day of my work week. As I first walk through the gates in the morning I get to experience what has come in while I was gone. Since we are open 7 days a week I can't be there for everything as it comes though the gates. Even after working all of these years here it is still a favorite time of mine. It comes closest to what, I imagine, is a lot of our customers reactions to when they come through the gates. Maybe it is the first time ever or maybe it has only been since yesterday there is almost always something new. It is when the items we have taken in start to tell you their stories. The time when an item starts to become a treasure in your mind. How is this possible you might ask? Well I believe that the time, energy, care, and even passion that were expended in making the architectural pieces and other items we take in leaves a lasting impression. It is there for all to see if we only give it a chance to be seen. That's why we are here to give you folks out there a chance to be impressed. So on Friday morning I get to be greeted by the new items and start to hear the stories. You know, I'll tell you, after more that 30 years in the building trades I am still impressed. So, next time your in the neighborhood come on by. There some history here you just might like.
Steve Smith

"A Room With a View"


With apologies to E. M. Forster and the Merchant/Ivory film it is the only appropriate title for this week's blog. The Ohmega crew spent this last week in the rarefied air on the 52ND floor of the Bank of America building in San Francisco. Those of you in the know recognize that location as the former Carnelian Room restaurant and bar. Opened in August, 1970 and named for the Carnelian Granite that adorns the 555 California Street building. This restaurant was old school fancy. You did not show up with out a reservation and a jacket for the "Gentleman". Jeans and sneakers just would not do. Hey, "old school" is our stock and trade so you know we just had to go get this stuff. So we made our reservations with general contractor, who kindly relaxed the dress code, and off we went. This place was big. There was all of this tall carved oak paneling and doors. Then there was a couple of big wine racks and trim and miscellaneous other items and......well....only one working freight elevator and our truck a mere 520+ feet below us. Hey, no problem, right??? How big was that elevator???? So we set about removing and cutting down the panels to fit into the elevator. It is rare that we spend more than a week on a job doing removals but you start to get the idea. It is some pretty nice stuff though. Come on down to Ohmega Salvage and check it out. We promise you that the "Gentlemen" won't need a jacket and, "Ladies," you will be just fine in your jeans.
Steve Smith