Hip business

Sam Sprague

Photo By David Robert

Sam and Tammy Sprague opened their store, Micano, 1350 S. Virginia St., in August. You’ve probably seen it as you drive down Virginia Street. It’s kind of a terra cotta-colored stucco, with lots of metal statuary and huge pots sitting on the sidewalk on the east side of the street. There’s an outside gallery alongside the shop. It’s a unique-looking store for Reno, and the interior lives up to the promise. It’s filled with stuff that would look great inside the home or in the garden. Sam, 41, who’s originally from Fernley, traveled the world in the armed forces before opening his store.

Did you do something in between the Army and Micano?

I managed a retail store in Reno for a couple years.

Where did you get your expertise?

I’ve always been kind of a natural designer. I just incorporate a lot of things I’ve seen over the years. I haven’t had any formal training.

How did you develop this idea of high-end home and garden décor? Is this considered high-end for Reno?

I don’t know that it would be considered high-end for Reno. I would say that Reno has been in the lodgepole decorating stage for a long time because of the Lake Tahoe effect. We haven’t really seen that high desert look, that Arizona, Santa Fe look in Reno. Hacienda architecture is becoming pretty prevalent in the states around us. People are moving here from Arizona and California, and they’re bringing their tastes.

It seems like that whole gardening thing is taking off around town.

I think you’re right. It’s just good luck for me. One of my friends, Alex Mendoza, was the one who talked me into this. He had a store off South Virginia and was importing stuff, mostly just pottery on a small scale, and he finally talked me into it. I quit my job, went to Mexico, took all my life’s savings and took a big chance.

How’s it working for you?

I’ve had a lot of big clientele come in, designers and decorators. I have like the largest-scale pottery in town. I’m planning on bringing Contera stone fountains in here. It’s really, really Old Mexico. The stone is only found there, and it looks like an antique from the moment you get it out of the ground. It’s real stuff. You see those fountains all over the place that are poured cement or they’re synthetic. I’m going to bring out the stuff that’s actually sculptured out of rock by artists instead of factories. Everything in here is handmade by somebody. Not giant factories making plastic stuff.

I think your timing is good. Home improvement is a big thing. You’ll see that if you drive through some of the older areas of town, like down Plumas. It was a cool, quaint street before, but look at it now.

The style has been hitting Reno. This isn’t cheap stuff from Mexico; it’s more high-end art. I have a bunch of local artists who are working in this style—glass mosaic artists, tile mosaic artists—they’re all building stuff to fit into this décor plan.

What haven’t we talked about that you think people should know about you and the store?

I would just say that I’m thankful to be in this corridor with Stremmel Gallery, M Home, Statewide Lighting. It’s like a little hub for business, and I’m just trying to extend that a little farther. This street, Virginia, can maybe meet downtown with some really cool stores. My story isn’t much. I hope the store has a bigger story.