© 2024 KUNR
Illustration of rolling hills with occasional trees and a radio tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
iPhone users: Having trouble listening live on KUNR.org? Click here to download our app to listen to your favorite shows.
Every dollar spent at a local business is a greater return to the community, creating jobs and increasing spending. In the business world, this concept is known as the “multiplier effect.” Reno Public Radio’s news team profiles five small businesses changing the local economy and culture in Northern Nevada.

The Changing Face Of Reno's Downtown And Its Small Business Community

Neal Cobb

As Reno has changed over the decades, so have the small businesses that set up shop here. No one knows this better than local historian Alicia Barber. 

She describes a downtown Reno of the '40s and '50s where locals and tourists alike would come to shop, catch a show and patronize the small businesses. But in the '70s that began to change. The forces of suburbanization coupled with the rise of large casinos pushed out smaller businesses from the downtown core. Now, as neighborhoods like MidTown, the Riverwalk and 4th Street are being revitalized, Barber says we should use history as a guide and encourage small businesses to move back into the center of town.

Credit Alexa Ard
West and 2nd Street present day

Listen to Reno Public Radio's Will Stone interview historian Alicia Barber. She wrote the book "Reno's Big Gamble" and authored the Reno mobile historical app. She's also part of anew projectlooking at the history of 4th Street and Prater Way.


Credit University of Nevada, Reno Special Collections
A view of North Virginia Street during 1940s
Credit Alexa Ard / KUNR
Present day downtown Reno
Credit University of Nevada, Reno Special Collections
Looking south on Virginia Street during the 1940s
Credit University of Nevada, Reno Special Collections

Will Stone is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Related Content