American Eagle Antiques believes in unique, quality furnishings and excellent customer service

American Eagle Antiques wine rack

(Courtesy of Guest Bloggers Bill and Colleen Ulbrich, co-owners, American Eagle Antiques)

I started American Eagle Antiques in 1973 in my home state of New Jersey. Shopping local flea markets sparked an interest in antiques, particularly furniture. I was buying and selling for several years before I married Colleen, a native Clevelander and good friend from student days at Case Western Reserve University.

Bill and Colleen Ulbrich of American Eagle Antiques

Together, we spent about 30 years as antique furniture dealers — buying, repairing and refinishing, then selling traditional American Victorian and oak furniture, then expanding to French furniture, 1880s through Art Deco. We travelled to numerous events, from formal shows, like Chicago O’Hare, Papabello Cleveland Coliseum, NYC Pier Shows, to outdoor markets, like Brimfield, Mass., and Burton, Ohio. We logged thousands of miles each year, from New Jersey to Ohio to Minnesota, to D.C. to Atlanta.

About 10 years ago, we returned to Cleveland. Colleen worked for five years as a Cleveland Clinic medical secretary while I did full-time furniture restoration. Colleen “retired,” translated as returning to work with me, and we became intrigued by the repurposing of industrial salvage and discovered HGR!

Many hours are now spent together at our workshop located in an old factory building near Midtown, where we create one-of-a-kind furnishings from industrial salvage items, most acquired from HGR. We turn utility carts into brightly painted bar carts, machine stands into handsome end tables, lift tables and conveyor frames into distinctive bars or kitchen islands. We even began to incorporate local hardwoods into our repurposed pieces.

Most recently we’ve expanded to include live-edge furniture, constructed in our workshop for inventory and for custom orders. The emphasis is on dramatic grain using highly figured locally-sourced maple, walnut, oak, cherry and sycamore, to produce dining tables, desks, coffee tables, console and side tables, custom dry bars and kitchen islands. We continue to creatively use HGR salvage for one-of-a-kind furnishings for customers, who will treasure their unique “finds.”

Most of our training was on-the-job and self-taught training, including woodworking skills, repair and refinishing techniques, and above all, our teamwork! We now sell from our workshop/showroom, at markets and trade events, and have a division named UrbanFactoryClassics for selling industrial furnishings via Etsy.com and other online outlets.

We have many local customers but have shipped many major pieces to California, Utah, Florida, Texas, and around the U.S. thanks to Etsy. Our customers range from Millennials to middle-aged professionals and business owners to retirees.

Through 40-plus years, we have enjoyed the good times, coped with the tough times, changed and adapted, continue to learn, and still enjoy the challenge to be creative. We treasure each other and the wonderful people we meet, including the great folks at HGR!

American Eagle Antiques coffee tableAmerican Eagle Antiques live-edge coffee table American Eagle Antiques cart table

An HGR customer shares her creative repurposing story

spools purchased at HGR Industrial Surplus and re-used as plant display stands

(Courtesy of an HGR customer who wishes to remain anonymous)

We are an HGR Industrial Surplus family. My husband first noticed your sign on a drive by the area. Since he has a manufacturing background, he stopped in to see what you were all about. That was about 15 years ago.

My first purchase, after a few foraging trips, was a roll of fabric to use as skirting for tables for my garden club’s flower show. We are still using that fabric today. One thing led to another, and some of the other purchases for the garden club include spools to stack for pedestals to put flower arrangements on, cardboard tubes for short pedestals, and coat racks to display hats. We also bought industrial aprons and gloves to repurpose for fundraisers. Aisle 1 is my place to shop; you never know what you’ll find.

My husband and I have a few HGR chairs that we use in our home. One was a Saturday morning breakfast special for only $2.50! We have a very nice bookcase in our dining room. I also have a great carrying case for my laptop computer.

Two of our grandsons and other visiting family members have been taken to HGR to see what we feel is one of Cleveland’s attractions.

Highland Heights Garden Club displays purchased at HGR Industrial Surplus