Salvage City Premieres Sunday on Discovery

3120 days ago.
Salvage City is the latest production from Coolfire Originals.
Salvage City is the latest production from Coolfire Originals.

Local reality television juggernaut Coolfire Originals will see the debut of their newest project this Sunday on the Discovery Channel. Salvage City follows St. Louis native Sam Coffey and his salvage crew as they seek to preserve and repurpose historical treasures from some of St. Louis’s many abandoned buildings. The first three episodes of the show will air December 22 back-to-back-to-back on the Discovery Channel beginning at 10 am central.

Here’s how a press release from Discovery describes the show:

“Coffey, a St. Louis native, works hard to preserve the heritage of his hometown, even at the risk of arrest or great bodily harm. With his wisecracking junkyard giant Chris Trotter, designer/business partner Mia Brown, and his loyal German Shepard Hektor by his side, anything is possible. After years of carving out a reputation as a master carpenter and earning local fame exploring a network of caves beneath St. Louis where brewers like Anheuser Busch used to store their beer, Coffey turned his passions into a business, The Factory, where the SALVAGE CITY crew transform items salvaged from abandoned buildings into unique industrial art pieces and furnishings.”

Personally, I appreciate the way Aaron Bowden, an executive producer at Coolfire, describes the show:

“It’s about two guys (an odd couple in the vein of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon) and a German Shepard exploring the abandoned industrial buildings of St. Louis for artifacts they can repurpose and sell as unique furniture pieces and fine art.”

St. Louisans may think there is more than one Sam Coffey around town making news. Coffey is also one of the owners of the Fortune Teller Bar on Cherokee Street. He previously tended bar at Blueberry Hill then went to work for Schlafly where he did everything from cleaning kegs to bartending at Bottleworks when it first opened to managing Tap Room for a stint. Now, he runs First Punch Film Production and The Factory as well from Cherokee. It’s The Factory adventure that Salvage City follows.

Somewhere along the way, Coffey learned to be a pretty good carpenter. The partners in First Punch did the work themselves on the beautiful space they now create award-winning work from.

From the press release, here are the descriptions of the three episodes that will air Sunday:

  • This City is a Gold Mine: Coffey and his salvage crew explore an abandoned, decaying burlesque theater, a World War II-era manufacturing plant turned crack house and a vacant turn-of-the-century automotive showroom. Later atThe Factory, the crew tries to transform a looted bowling pinsetter and a giant distilled water tankintobig profit.
  • Sexy Time/Business Time: The crew raids Trotter’s grandparents’ neighborhood, grabbing historic treasures from St. Louis’ segregation era, including a birthing sink from one of the city’s first African-American hospitals and a chandelier from a seminal jazz and blues club.
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth: Coffey and Trotter hope for their biggest take yet in a massive six million square foot abandoned sand mine. The mine flooded after it was abandoned in the 1980’s, leaving historic treasures hidden deep underwater. The crew builds a custom pirate salvage boat and Coffey, Trotter and Hektor descend into the underground.

Among the reality shows that Coolfire produces are Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, MFF: Mom Friend’s Forever, Alternate Route  and Funeral Boss. The Post-Dispatch took a look at how much the company had grown in a very short time last year. Coolfire Originals is just part of a larger Coolfire conglomerate. Also under the umbrella are Coolfire Media and Coolfire Solutions.Solutions is a creative software development studio that works with clients in the government and healthcare arenas among a variety of others. They were recently granted Top Secret Facilities Clearance. Coolfire Media has produced a variety of awesome thing, including work for the St. Louis Zoo and Budweiser. The team also throws one of the best Halloween parties in St. Louis each year.

UPDATE: On December 19, Coolfire announced the formation of Coolfire Studios.

Check out a clip from Salvage City

Be sure to check out Salvage City at 10am this Sunday or set your DVRs.

Also ‘like’ the show on Facebook.

UPDATE: St. Louis Magazine has a look at the show and some Q & A with Sam Coffey.

UPDATE: An article from St. Louis Public Radio notes that the premise of the show is causing some controversy 

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Ryan is a weird dude. He doesn't cook, yet owns a plethora of kitchen gadgets. He rationalized buying a SodaStream while unemployed. He counts Step Up 2: The Streets as one of his favorite movies along with Footloose, Rent, Grease and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. He loves Mizzou but only wants them in the SEC so he can tailgate in Nashville. He owns a ShakeWeight and AbLounger, but still loves him some John Donut and Billie's Fine Foods. You can get more of Ryan at or just check the stool on the far end of the bar at iTap in Soulard.

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