Filed Under Businesses

Hudson-Essex/Fix-It Shop

A charming 1927 auto showroom on West Street opened by the director of Reno's Municipal Band

As its name indicates, West Street originally marked the western edge of Reno city limits. For three decades following the city’s founding in 1868, this side of town was dominated by houses, churches, and schools, far removed from the central business district. That changed in 1907, when the two lodging establishments that still anchor the north and south ends of this block were constructed: the Colonial Apartments on the corner of First Street, and the Senator Hotel, on the corner of Second.

The brick commercial buildings in the block’s center were all constructed in the 1920s, replacing three large wood-frame houses that had stood there since at least 1890. Two additional private homes once stood at the site of the Colonial Apartments and its courtyard.

W. J. Hackett opened the Reno Hudson-Essex dealership at 148 West Street in December 1927. The Essex line was one of the Hudson Motor Car Company’s most affordable, with a 4-door sedan selling for just $795. Hackett ran the sales operations out of the front of the building, with a service department in the back, offering several different makes of cars over the next few years.

Not just an auto dealer, Hackett was also one of Reno’s most prominent musical figures. He directed a number of ensembles including the Shriners’ band, the Reno Municipal Band, and the Silver State Band, which played throughout the region.

In October 1932, after Hackett left the auto business, Tom Joyce moved The Fix-It Shop into the building. Joyce was an all-around handyman who had started out as a piano tuner and stage electrician in his native Montana. Later called Joyce’s Fix-It Shop, his business specialized in the construction and repair of furniture and upholstery, eventually moving into flooring under the name Tom Joyce Floors.

Joyce moved to another location by the late 1940s, and the building briefly housed a sporting goods shop and then a recording studio. Beginning in 1982, it served as the hiring office for the Comstock Hotel and Casino, which opened across West Street in 1978. After the Comstock closed in 2000, 148 West Street was briefly home to a beauty salon and a nightclub before its extensive renovation in 2008 as part of the West Street Market.

Images

West Street Market
West Street Market Now a valued component of the West Street Market, the building is notable for the intricate brick work of its front facade. Source: Washoe County Assessor's Office
W.J. Hackett, Inc. ad, 1930
W.J. Hackett, Inc. ad, 1930 Bandleader W.J. Hackett moved the Hudson-Essex dealership into 148 West Street in 1927. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: February 1, 1930
The Fix-It Shop ad, 1934
The Fix-It Shop ad, 1934 Tom Joyce and O.E. LeCroy moved The Fix-It Shop into the building in 1932. LeCroy sold his interest in the business after just a few years. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: September 14, 1934
Before the Market
Before the Market Prior to the opening of West Street Market in 2008, the courtyard to the south of 148 West Street served as parking. Source: Washoe County Assessor
Under construction
Under construction New signage accompanied preparations for the opening of the West Street Market in 2008. Source: Washoe County Assessor Date: 2008
West Street Market
West Street Market A photo from 2008 depicts the West Street Market with the Senator Hotel immediately adjacent, on the corner of West and Second Streets, and the towering Montage Condominiums (originally the Sahara Reno) rising behind. Creator: Max Chapman Date: 2008

Location

148 West Street, Reno, NV

Metadata

Alicia Barber, “Hudson-Essex/Fix-It Shop,” Reno Historical, accessed July 19, 2024, https://www.renohistorical.org/items/show/166.