Filed Under Businesses

Sprouse-Reitz Co.

Built in 1948 to house a popular five-and-dime variety store

The Sprouse-Reitz Co. was described as “Reno’s most beautiful store” upon its opening on October 30, 1948. With more than 9,000 square feet of space, the variety store offered two floors of merchandise, selling everything from household goods and toys to candy. The store joined a growing retail community in the vicinity that included the Washoe Super Market, which had opened just to its south in 1939. Together with the shops of the Benetti Block across the street, the commercial cluster accompanied Reno's ongoing residential expansion southward in the postwar period.

The Sprouse-Reitz company was founded in Tacoma, Washington in 1909 by John A. and Robert A. Sprouse and Fred L. Reitz, and eventually grew into a chain of more than 470 five-and-dime stores across the western United States. Reno eventually had two other branches: one in the Village Shopping Center on California Avenue (opened in 1955). and another in the Plaza Shopping Center at West 4th and Vine Streets (opened in 1957).

After this branch closed in 1968, the building housed Bates and Bell TV & Appliances for several years, with reconditioned and freight-damaged appliances offered for sale in the "Bargain Basement." After serving as an antique mall in the 1990s and early 2000s, the building became home to Carter Bros. Ace Hardware store in 2008.

The small addition on the building's north side was constructed around 1960 to house Johnny Tinsman’s Washoe Barber Shop. Red Kittell opened a State Farm Insurance office in the small space in 1973 after removing the mirrors and sinks of the former barber shop.

Images

The Sprouse-Reitz Co. building
The Sprouse-Reitz Co. building The Sprouse-Reitz Co. opened in a new building at 1215 South Virginia Street in 1948. Creator: Alicia Barber
Three branches in Reno
Three branches in Reno An advertisement in the Nevada State Journal published on March 29, 1956 promoted all three of Reno's Sprouse-Reitz locations. Source: Nevada State Journal Date: March 29, 1956
State Farm Insurance, ca. 1973
State Farm Insurance, ca. 1973 Red Kittell operated a State Farm Insurance office in the small addition to the building's north side from 1973 to 1979. Source: Red Kittell Date: ca. 1973
Johnny Tinsman's Barber Shop
Johnny Tinsman's Barber Shop Johnny Tinsman opened a barber shop in 1961 in a small brick addition to the building that appears to have been constructed just for him. Advertisement from the Reno Evening Gazette, April 19, 1961. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: April 19, 1961

Location

1215 South Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada

Metadata

Alicia Barber, “Sprouse-Reitz Co.,” Reno Historical, accessed April 12, 2024, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/248.