ROANOKE, Va. A fan of the Salvage Dawgs TV show, Chris and Jayne Andrews stopped in Roanoke this time last year for some sightseeing. They didn't know the brief trip would change their lives.
"Let’s start with the second floor, but on the way up there’s a couple photos of what this place used to be," Chris Andrews said as he starts the tour of their new business Black Lantern Inn.
The Andrews had been long-time Orlando, Florida residents when they started to look for their ideal retirement plan of owning a bed & breakfast. They looked at about twenty B&Bs over five years when they stumbled across Franklin Road's Black Lantern Inn.
"We kept the hope alive but we weren't sure that we would ever do it. It's one of those things, 'are we ever going to pull the trigger.' We knew it would take something to make us do it. That something was this place," Mr. Andrews said.
The inn's previous owner passed away late 2016, and a few months a realtor called to ask the Andrews if they wanted to put in an offer. The Florida couple threw out a number, the owner's children accepted, and about a month later the Andrews were on the road to Roanoke.
"We were shocked that they accepted our offer," Mrs. Andrews said. "Our adult children were wondering if we have relatives in Roanoke. Don’t know anybody. Just stopped here for about 20 minutes, but it’s a wonderful city."
The Andrews now run the three-bedroom B&B, hosting more than 300 people in the nine months they've been in operation.
They have a bulletin board full of Christmas cards from previous boarders. Jayne says their guests may come as strangers, but they leave as friends.
"Chris has a thing at night. When they [the guests] are all back in, he'll come downstairs and say 'all the kids are home,'" Mrs. Andrews said. "We love that. We really care about them, and we try to follow up with them with their stories."
Soon after moving into their new home, the Andrews found them back at the place that had started their new chapter: Black Dog Salvage.
"For some reason, I lost the legs to Jane‘s favorite Pier One table so I went over to the Black Dog guys and said 'Bail me out, guys. I'm in trouble," Mr. Andrews said.
The Black Dog Salvage crew found two drawers from a 1920s dresser with 50s-era floral contact paper and installed them as a leg. The piece sits proudly in the Andrews personal living room, with a Black Dog Salvage plaque in the corner.
"Jane is happier now I think, then if I had found those legs," Chris Andrews said of the custom furniture.
The Andrews say they're building a life in Roanoke and look to expand business in 2018.