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.