Downtown Reno 'Icon' Closes Its Doors

By: Auburn Hutton Email
By: Auburn Hutton Email

It's one of the last remaining family-owned businesses around. It sits on the corner of Virginia and First Streets, right in the heart of downtown...and while that may seem like a prime location for a business...the owners say they've been losing money for years.

The shop, surrounded by chapels, once made big profits on wedding rings alone...and while it may not quite fit into downtown Reno anymore, it once drew movie stars by the dozens.

"II looked up and I said 'you're Clark Gable aren't you?' He's about the same size that I am. He said, 'we're filming a picture in Dayton.' And Marilyn Monroe stood right over there by the door," said Ray Etnyre, who's owned the shop for 58 years.

The shop has been in business since 1949...and some locals who say they've never been inside...still can't imagine life downtown without it.

"As long as I can remember. It's always been there," said 30-year Reno resident Anita Pickrell.

Ray Etnyre owns the shop with his son...and he says closing it was a tough decision. After a fifty percent profit drop in sales last year, he knew it was time.

"It's kept us busy every day you know, and we're kind of glad in a way to get it out from under us...but it's kind of a loss. This is kind of a 2nd home to us."

His reasons for closing include construction on new projects that has kept some people home, mostly locals, who used to frequent the store. He also mentioned the competition between Reno and other gambling cities...bigger ones, with more to offer. Etnyre says it mostly has to do with redevelopment and growth in the Biggest Little City.

"It's not the best town anymore. It's become too heavily commercialized. It's not the good little western town it used to be. Before WWII, half of the people wore boots and Levi's, had ranches and farms," said Etnyre.

The owner doesn't know what will go into the shop once he sells the last piece of jewelery...but locals say downtown just won't be the same.

"Sad in a way. I kind of miss the old Reno. I moved here from Los Angeles because I wanted to live in a small town. Now the big town has grown up all around me," said Pickrell.

Etnyre plans to close their doors for good by the end of December, January at the latest.


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