So out of control that Kulp and Whiteside later decided to transform a Roanoke warehouse into the Memorial Bridge Marketplace to house their 10,000 pieces of architectural salvage--wrought iron, mantels, windows, doorknobs, claw-foot bathtubs--and several other businesses centered around home decorating.
For Kulp, a native Roanoker, the whole adventure started with inspiration from his uncle, Ralph Baker (building construction '61), who had gone to Tech and then joined the Army. "I knew I wanted to join the Navy, and it worked well for him," says Kulp.
After graduating from Tech and completing six years of active duty, Kulp joined fellow Hokie and fraternity brother Scott Crumley (finance '84) in the Crumley Group Inc. in Virginia Beach before returning to Roanoke with his family and founding his own business.
Black Dog boasts its own share of Hokie connections. Kulp's uncle helps out in the office; Christa (Hall) Stephens (marketing management '95) came on as sales and e-Bay manager; and Whiteside's wife, Susie (Farriss) Whiteside (interior design '86) owns Whiteside Designs, one of the businesses in the Marketplace.
Other than salvage, the store offers antiques, furniture made from salvage, and the occasional oddity. Current shoppers could buy an 11-foot-tall toy soldier or a postal box decorated like a green monster.
Business success aside, the true heart of Black Dog is keeping reusable wood, glass, metal, and ceramic out of the landfill. Kulp would have preferred to have saved that first house by moving it, but at least part of it lives on through his efforts. "Black Dog Salvage is really a green company," he says.
For more information, go to www.blackdogsalvage.com.