With Nod To The Past, West Elm Opens Downtown

Aug 10, 2016

Upscale furniture store West Elm is the first major retailer to open in downtown Reno in several decades. It's located in the fully renovated Old Post Office Building on Virginia Street, overlooking the Truckee River.
Credit Julia Ritchey

Upscale furniture store West Elm opened its doors in downtown Reno on Wednesday, marking another step in the revitalization of the city’s core.

The 11,000-square-foot store is the first major retailer to open downtown in several decades.

It's located inside the fully renovated old Post Office building overlooking the Truckee River.

Spokeswoman Nicole Sutliff says they kept several of the old features of the building.

“You’ll see a lot of the original brickwork,” she says. “All the mailboxes are still here. We put some glass over them, so there isn’t really the opportunity to mail letters anymore, but you still see the names on [them].”

West Elm will employee about 30 people and will also have a display of wares from eight local artisans.

The retailer, which has 90 stores across the U.S., U.K. and Canada, has a history of revitalizing old buildings.

“Many of our new stores are going into spaces like this,” she says. “In Milwaukee, we went into an old factory. …For us, so much of what we do is to design to make an impact.”

The store joins a growing beat of retailers returning to main streets across the country. Just below West Elm is The Basement, a collection of hip, local shops that opened earlier this year.

“The whole idea down there is this marketplace where people can work and hang out and we’re excited to be part of that community building,” says Sutliff. 

Credit Julia Ritchey
Old P.O. boxes decorate the wall behind the check-out counter.
Credit Julia Ritchey