A New Twist on the TailgateAugust 28, 2013
After a successful career in financial services, Roque Castro never thought he’d wind up back in his hometown of Culpeper, Virginia. But in 2010, he and his wife took a leap of faith and moved to the country, carrying with them big dreams of running a small business. The result is Yesterday Reclaimed, a salvage furniture company that’s getting attention for its unique tailgate benches.
Like so many great ideas, the Blue Collar Bench came about by accident. Castro was handcrafting a truck-inspired bed for his son, but when the tailgate meant for the footboard arrived, it was too big. Not sure what to do with it, he started experimenting with the scrap wood and metal he uses for Yesterday Reclaimed’s standard-issue pieces—farm tables, coffee tables, and the like—and the bench was born.
“I made the first one, liked it, and put it up on Pinterest, and it immediately started getting shared and pinned more than anything we’d ever made,” Castro says. “Now, the bench is our bread and butter.”
Each one-of-a-kind piece is made in an old gristmill using a tailgate from a pre-70s–model truck, complete with its original screws—the better to facilitate a truck restoration down the road. To support the local community, Castro sources wood and scrap metal from a network of area farmers and trains kids from Goodwill’s Youth at Risk program to weld and work with their hands. The rustic materials and rusty patina only add to the benches’ appeal.
Yesterday Reclaimed's headquarters.
“I’ve had folks that have put them in ultra contemporary houses, beach houses, log cabins, back yards, you name it,” Castro says. “Right now, I’ve got one going to Texas and one to Fort Collins, Colorado. They work everywhere.” They also come with a metal bottle opener attached to the armrest, so wherever you are, you can sit back and enjoy an ice-cold beer.
Current turnaround time for benches is 2-3 weeks. For more information, go to yesterdayreclaimed.com.
Castro at work in Culpeper.