Filed Under Businesses

Sewell's Market

One of Reno's first modern, full-service supermarkets opened by the Sewell family in 1942.

The brick building at 445 S. Virginia Street opened as Sewell's Market in 1942. The Sewell brothers--Abner, Harvey, and Herb--had opened their first Sewell's Market in Reno in 1922 at 10 W. Commercial Row, two years after opening their first ever grocery in Elko. By the 1940s, the family-owned Sewell's chain had expanded to Ely, Las Vegas, Winnemucca, Fallon, and Sparks.

In addition to groceries, the "modern market" featured an Eagle Drug Store operated by Martin Gastanaga, a Rauhut's Bakery, and a soda fountain. For ease of access, it had entrances on both South Virginia Street and Granite Street (the original name for the section of Sierra Street that ran south of the Truckee River).

In addition to its size and abundant offerings, the market offered something its downtown counterpart could not: an expansive, 16,000-square-foot parking lot. Martin Iron Works supplied the steel for the building, with the large glass windows installed by the Alpine Glass Company.

When the Sewell company decided to construct an even larger building at Virginia Street at 445 N. Virginia Street in 1948, Martin Gastanaga purchased the entire store and renamed it Eagle Thrifty Market, which it remained until the mid-1970s.

Images

Living Stones Church The Sewell's Market building currently serves as the Living Stones Church, pictured here in 2016. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2016
Grand Opening, 1942 A photo accompanying the market's grand opening appeared in the local newspaper in May of 1942. The market had entrances on both Virginia Street and Granite Street (the earlier name for the section of Sierra Street extending south from the Truckee River). Source: Nevada State Journal Creator: Bennett Photo Date: May 8, 1942
The Eagle Drug Store inside Sewell's The Sewell's Market originally included an Eagle Drug Store, pictured here in a newspaper article about its grand opening in May of 1942. Source: Nevada State Journal Date: May 8, 1942

Location

445 S. Virginia Street, Reno

Metadata

Alicia Barber, “Sewell's Market,” Reno Historical, accessed June 6, 2023, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/213.