Filed Under Businesses

DeGiacoma Building

Purveyors of imported groceries on Commercial Row starting in 1931

The story of the DiGiacoma Building began more than a century ago, when Paul DeGiacoma and Rose Gardella were married in Reno in 1920 and moved into a wood frame home at 212 West Commercial Row. In 1922, they purchased the Reno Italian French Grocery at 261 Sierra Street from the Barengo Brothers and operated it together.

Paul was a native of Torino, Italy who had immigrated to the United States in 1906 and Rose was an American born in New York of Italian ancestry. Their market sold imported Italian and French groceries, including olive oil, pasts, salame and Mortadella di Bologna, and canned goods.

In 1931, the DeGiacomas had the brick building now identified as 214 West Commercial Row constructed on the site of their home to house their grocery. The building had three storefronts, numbered 210, 212, and 214, and an apartment in the rear portion. where they lived.

Its construction moved the mercantile district of Commercial Row further west than it had been before, on the block between West Street and Chestnut Street (now Arlington Avenue). The original plan was to follow the construction of the single-story section with two additional stories, but the additional floors were never built. The building's other two storefronts housed a variety of businesses, including a tavern called the Tap Room, the Nevada Barber & Beauty Supply Company, and an automotive supply company.

Rose and Paul operated the market together until Paul's death in 1945. The grocery then closed, and the space was occupied by a series of businesses in the years to follow, including a slot machine display room, a wartime surplus store, and a delicatessen called the Eat-n-Shop. The building remains standing today, one of the last reminders of how Commercial Row once appeared.

Images

The DeGiacoma Building on Commercial Row
The DeGiacoma Building on Commercial Row The DeGiacoma Building on West Commercial Row housed Paul and Rose DeGiacoma's Reno Italian French Grocery. The name was painted on the side of the building to be more easily viewed from the business district to the east, as seen in this 1936 photograph looking south over the railroad tracks. Source: Hagen Sandoval Collection, This Side of Reno Date: 1936
The Reno Italian French Grocery
The Reno Italian French Grocery A young man crosses the railroad tracks as he walks northeast from Commercial Row in 1936. The DeGiacoma Building can be glimpsed just to the left of his head, with the market's name, Reno Italian French Grocery, painted on the side of the building. At the far left of the photo is the old Central Fire Station, which once stood at the intersection of West Street and Commercial Row. Source: Hagen Sandoval Collection, This Side of Reno Date: 1936
The new building opens in 1931
The new building opens in 1931 A 1931 advertisement announces the grocery's move from Sierra Street to its new location on Commercial Row. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: July 22, 1931
The DeGiacoma Building in 2011
The DeGiacoma Building in 2011 A photograph of the DiGiacoma Building taken in 2011 reveals how much the surrounding context had changed over the past 80 years. Source: Google Maps Date: 2011
The DeGiacoma Building name and year
The DeGiacoma Building name and year Etched into the building's front facade is the DeGiacoma name and the year of the building's construction, 1931. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2018

Location

Metadata

Alicia Barber, “DeGiacoma Building,” Reno Historical, accessed May 19, 2024, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/236.