Monday, March 27, 2023

This antique store is run by a 13-year-old

Salvage Boyz is located in Downtown Hampton (WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Jaylen Wilson)
Salvage Boyz is located in Downtown Hampton (WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Jaylen Wilson)

HAMPTON-  One person’s trash really is another man’s treasure.

In this case, a teenager’s treasure.

Jaylen Wilson started “antiquing” with his mother when he was 12 years old and together they would travel throughout Virginia looking for antique pieces to refurbish. He loved it so much he opened up an antique shop of his own a year later: Salvage Boyz.

“I wanted to start a business because I wanted to have a place where people could buy at affordable prices,” he said, adding most stores he visited would sell antique furniture for high prices.

His mother, Shari Rocks Wilson, is in real estate and negotiated the Salvage Boyz lease, which just so happens to be next door to her office.

Jaylen said he split rent and the space with Better Bodies 757, which moved to Lincoln Street, before taking over the entire space in August 2018.

So how does he manage school and his business?

Answer: He’s a distance learner.

For the past three years, Jaylen has attended North Florida Christian Academy because his mother wanted him to try something new.

Most days Jaylen gets up and completes his schoolwork before heading to the shop to repurpose and work on pieces he’s collected from antique shows, around the neighborhood and even the landfill.

“I don’t like furniture that’s in good condition to go to waste,” Jaylen said.

Jaylen named the shop Salvage Boyz because he works with his father and brother at the shop to repurpose furniture and uses the letter “z” to distinguish himself.

“Nobody really uses a ‘z’,” Jaylen said. “That’s why I wanted to use a ‘z’ –– I wanted to be a little different.”

In addition to selling antique and repurposed furniture, the shop has classes from drip art and rustic signs to holiday themed classes and bring-your-own piece projects. It even has a class for Mother’s Day.

A majority of his clientele are middle-aged women and some older people but mostly “flippers,” people who buy furniture to repurpose it or sell it for more money.

For Jaylen, the hardest part of running his own business is the “ugly side” where people look at the money rather than the people involved, where competitors borrow your ideas as their own and where adults forget kindness is most important.

In the future, Jaylen plans on participating in local antiques and the Smithfield Farmers Market. But for now, he’ll work on his craft.

Salvage Boyz, 47 E Queens Way, is open the second weekend of the month Saturday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sometimes the shop is open on Fridays and for downtown events. Salvage Boyz is closed the entire month of July.

For more information, visit its website. You can also follow Salvage Boyz on Facebook and Instagram.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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