Sam Sprague is the owner/operator of Micano Home and Garden, a rather unique and quirky store located at 1350 S. Virginia St., in Reno, just south of the heart of Midtown, and just north of Reno Public Market. Micano sells home decor, furniture and garden art, often made with locally sourced materials. During nearly 20 years in business, Sprague has seen his neighborhood—and his clientele—change and grow, something we discussed in-depth. Learn more at www.micanohome.com.
How long have you been in business? What was your initial vision for Micano?
I’ve been here since August of 2003. I wanted to open up a store with handmade metal and wood products. It was going to be rustic, but then it grew into a Nevada theme when I realized what was going on, and what people wanted to acquire.
You’ve seen a lot of economic ups and downs over the years. How do you manage during tougher times?
By staying relevant and just being pertinent to the next generation. Also, I made things that were super-popular and that sold. Whatever was trendy, I was always making. I have a huge support system, and I own the building.
How did the business fare during the pandemic?
I actually did better than in other years. It was great, because the community reached out to me. … I had a lot of people wanting to support the business. People were coming in and buying things to keep this type of business going.
What’s going on in your neighborhood with all the changes, such in the old Park Lane Mall area?
There are elements all along this corridor that are (positively) affecting the brightness of the landscape. You can see the smiles. There are more people walking, more people talking, more contact. The vibe is that people with the incomes, the jobs and the culture are moving here. They’re talking about our town; they’re liking the people; they’re liking the walking; they’re liking the river, they’re liking the art. They seem really excited about what we’re doing here, and in return, I’ve got to be really excited about them.
Where are these folks moving to Reno from?
They’re moving from places like Colorado, California, New York, St. Louis, New Hampshire and even Wyoming—all across the board, and they are mostly tech people. Reno is still a place where you can drive around easily to explore. You especially see the growth of new business on this corridor, this lifeline from UNR to Plumb Lane.
What are they looking for in Reno?
They’re looking for the new San Francisco, it feels like. They’re looking for the new Nashville. They’re looking for something real, a cultural center like Midtown and the growth around it.
Do you think that Reno is going to do that for them?
I believe so. I’m sitting here with chills in my body just thinking about that. I think that we’re real enough to be approachable, and we can build on that. I think (newcomers) can see that in us.
What do you see for the future in this area?
I think that it’s going the way of the tech people, with their discretionary incomes, and there will be more opportunity for us. … (We’ll see) more diversity with the bars, the restaurants and the stores that we’ve always wanted to produce, and more depth in those choices—the hippie part of Nevada.