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Culpeper’s Roque Castro morphs wood and steel into reclaimed art

Roque (pronounced row-key) Castro was born in his father’s native country, Guam. When he was 5 years old, his mother remarried and moved the duo to Culpeper where her family had a large dairy farm.

Roque spent a great deal of his youth in Guam where he walked the jungle with his father in search of adzes and sling stones. While in Culpeper, he walked the fields with his grandfather in search of arrowheads and the artifacts of war.

It was this unique upbringing full of history and wonder that would inspire Roque’s re-imagined furniture business, Yesterday Reclaimed, and bring him back home.
After graduating from Culpeper County High School, Roque attended Virginia Tech. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a master’s in pure motivation and drive, he moved to Chicago where he worked for the financial services sector.

“The old Chicago style pits all went electronic when I was coming out of school,” Roque explained. “I helped design and develop software for trading using new methods.”

Roque married his wife Beth then moved the family to the Chicago-suburb of Napervile for two years. While working for the Union Bank of Switzerland, Roque then moved to Connecticut. After four years, they relocated to Fairfield right near the beach, and, in 2007, after leaving UBS, Roque went to work for Goldman-Sachs where he moved into the foreign exchange’s sales and trading field.

Two years later, they moved to Westfield, N.J.

“I was working 16 hour days, seven days a week and we’d just had our third child,” Roque said.

When the opportunity to partner with a colleague on a fledgling business venture became an option (giving Roque more control over his schedule), he took it. The effort has proven not only lucrative professionally, but also personally as he can now work from home.

“I can run the entire company from my Mac Book,” he said. “The transition has been 100 percent good. The kids are happy. I get to see them every day.”

It was while they were living in New Jersey that Roque and his wife began seriously considering a move to somewhere more conducive to slowing down. The couple considered North Carolina, Florida, and various parts of New England but it was Culpeper that offered the best of all worlds.

“There’s the beauty of the area; we’re close to the mountains and a couple hours from the beach, and, of course, family, which is always the major driver behind everything I do,” Roque said.

This return to his agrarian roots, and the fields that would yield so much more than arrowheads and bullets, was the impetus for Roque’s second business: Yesterday Reclaimed.
It began with shelves.

“We were getting around to decorating the house and I came up with the idea of making these shelves where the old Tonka trucks on them were adjustable bookends,” Roque said.

The wood he used to create this clever bit of storage was attained from an old barn and the seed was planted. Roque acquired (and tore down) an old barn in Wolftown and sourced old farm machinery from an equipment grave yard he lovingly called the “tetanus garden.”

Roque’s signature piece, the side table from his Manbeater line (a term used to reference the dangerous unloading beaters used), is a good example of his incorporation of both wood and steel. It is a balance of the natural and the forged he maintains in all his items. For more information, see: www.yesterdayreclaimed.com.

When asked what he does for fun, Roque answered with a nod to his office full of Yesterday Reclaimed pieces.

“This is my fun, and I love spending time with my four kids.”

He is also a member of the Young Professionals Group, a dedicated motorcycle rider, a bicyclist and a philanthropist; in homage to his agrarian youth, Yesterday Reclaimed plans to donate a portion of its profits back to something farm related such as 4H or Future Farmer’s of America.

LB: What’s the most beautiful place in, or part of, Culpeper?

Roque: The view from my parent’s sun porch and Mountain Run Lake.

LB: What’s your favorite place to hang out on a weekend?

Roque: I get lost in Clarke Hardware, and we love to patronize the restaurants on Davis Street.

LB: What’s the most beautiful quality you find about the people who live here?

Roque: People here are open-armed and willing and able to lend a hand.
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