Two former Texas A&M University at Galveston students, Michael Cordray, Class of 2006 and his wife, Ashley, Class of 2009 have returned to Galveston, Texas to reclaim and showcase the island’s history in their HGTV pilot, “Saving Galveston.”
From working corporate jobs just a few years ago to officially starting their company, Save 1900, the Cordrays are no strangers to taking risks to achieve their goals. Before officially opening Save 1900, Michael was often encouraged by his wife to quit his corporate position in order to chase their dreams.
“Ashley probably asked me everyday for about a year or year and a half when I got home from work, if I quit my job today,” Michael said. “I don’t know many wives that ask that.”
Shortly after establishing their company, the calls and messages began to come from production companies affiliated with HGTV.
“Finally I just decided to quit the job because we wanted to start working on more,” Michael said. “And then just two, three weeks later, one of the production companies called. We were talking to 15 to 20 production companies in a week, out of the blue.”
HGTV production companies were in search of coastal homes selling for less than $500,000, which can only typically be found in specific regions of the United States.
“It’s really limiting on the east coast and the west coast,” Ashley said. “So I think it really drove [HGTV] down here and we got a ton of calls that week.”
The show follows the couple throughout their creative process of planning and restoring historic
Galveston homes, while also sharing useful tips for home restoration. Galveston is also home to one of the largest concentrations of pre-1900 built homes in the nation.
Will Wright, director of communications and special events for the Galveston Historical Foundation said that efforts such as “Saving Galveston,” bring attention to Galveston and all that it has to offer and are finally giving the city the recognition it deserves.
“[Saving Galveston] is a great way to educate people or showcase to people outside of Galveston what all is down here,” Wright said. “It’s the kind of thing that advertising can’t buy.”
Since “Saving Galveston” is still aired as a pilot, the couple will know the status of their show sometime in mid to late August. If the show receives the “green light,” it will be aired as a full series on HGTV.
In the meantime, Ashley and Michael Cordray will continue to grow their company and restore homes throughout Galveston. They are currently working on three projects throughout the city and have five or six projects pending, should they receive the “green light” from HGTV.
Whether the couple is able to continue airing “Saving Galveston” or not, the exposure from the show has presented a number of opportunities for both “Save 1900” and the city of Galveston.
“It’s all about just making the town as good as it possibly can be,” Michael said. “It’s all about Galveston. The attention from the show could really be great for Galveston.”
Michael said that if they are able to continue the show, viewers will definitely be seeing some maroon and white on their TV, but for now he will just have to settle for flashing his Aggie Ring.