Heritage Salvage is Petaluma’s Small Business of the Year

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It’s going to be a big year for Michael “Bug” Deakin and Heritage Salvage.

The Petaluma reclaimed building materials company is set to be featured on the DIY cable channel. The company is building a custom table for San Francisco Giants pitcher Mark Melancon. And Heritage Salvage was recently named the Petaluma Small Business of the Year for the many charitable causes the company supports in the community.

Deakin is most proud of the recognition for community service.

“Petaluma is full of fabulous causes — the great underpinnings of the community,” said Deakin, 68. “It’s kind of hard not to volunteer. That’s what we love to do. We like to engage with our involvement, not just write a check.”

The 17-employee company that Deakin founded in 2000, has been very generous to community groups over the years, donating building materials for school gardens, and stages for performances. The company works with Daily Acts, Petaluma People Services Center, COTS, Petaluma Bounty Farm, Rivertown Revival and the Petaluma Museum.

After the October fires destroyed thousands of Sonoma County homes, Heritage Salvage stepped up to the plate, literally. In partnership with the San Francisco Giants, the company launched the Home Plate Fund, “a lasting trust fund for our neighbors who lost their home plates in the fire,” Deakin said. “It’s all about the love and all about community.”

Deakin, who grew up in British Columbia, became involved in woodworking as a child. His father, who worked for a forest products company, used to bring home scraps of wood for the kids.

“I liked to go in the shed and tinker,” Deakin said.

In his 20s, Deakin and some friends build a house in eight days on the Vancouver mud flats, which they claimed squatters rights to occupy. On a road trip to California to see the Rolling Stones, he stopped in Sonoma County and realized this is where he wanted to make his home.

The DIY channel got wind of Heritage Salvage’s work, and filmed nine episodes with the company, which will air later this year. Deakin said the exposure will be great for business. Petaluma will also feature heavily in the show, he said.

“It’s going to do a heck of a lot for Petaluma,” he said. “I keep asking my employees what will happen when our show is on national TV. I’m not sure what’s going to happen.”

Petaluma Coffee and Tea Company founder Sheila Bride, who nominated Heritage Salvage for the small business award, said the company has been a huge cheerleader for Petaluma.

“Whether on national TV, a Giants radio broadcast or here at home, Bug and the Heritage Salvage family passionately promote and support Petaluma with their hearts and their actions,” she wrote.

Deakin said he is following his passion.

“Our motto is ‘practice sustainable enthusiasm,’ ” he said. “If you are sustainably enthusiastic about that which you do, it will not feel like work. I love what I do.”

(Contact Matt Brown at

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