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Recently demolished buildings in Incline Village had long history

Ashleigh Goodwin
Special to the Tribune
Ellen Toto and her sisters, Elfeida, Elaine and Ellie.
Provided

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Back in 1973, Boise Cascade, a wholesale distributor of building materials, operated out of what is now known as the Pinebrooke Homeowners Association and the adjacent parcel. From there, parcels in Incline Village were sold. 

Over the last 48 years, 869 Tahoe Boulevard has hosted a menagerie of businesses. Longtime locals may remember the oddly perfect combination situated in the two buildings that share the same address; a barber, a flooring and window shop, an ice cream shop, and a toy store in one building, with a cafe next door.  

Natural Grocers will take the place of some of the largest, all-wood, and laminant buildings in Incline Village. 



Three buildings were recently demolished to prepare for Natural Grocers in 2023.
Provided

In May, two local companies completed demolition of these iconic buildings. Olcese Construction with the help of Battle Born Tree Service demolished two of the oldest buildings in Incline Village and felled five trees to make way for Natural Grocers, coming 2023. It will be one of the newest buildings in the community in nearly 35 years. 

Cruz Construction, a long-standing Tahoe company, is currently performing site preparation. 



Incline Property Management managed the tenants of these buildings for the past 15 years and took care of maintenance for almost the entirety of the building’s existence.  

“The two parcels that are now becoming Natural Grocers, once held six buildings,” IPM President Larry Wodarski said. “There were three buildings on Tahoe Boulevard frontage and three bungalows behind where the sales offices for the original developers, Boise Cascade,” where most of the parcels in Incline Village were initially sold out of. 

Prior to the demolition of the center, previous businesses such as Rodeo Joe’s found a home in the nearby Raley’s center, Susie Scoops Ice Cream & Toy Shop relocated to the Starbucks Shopping Center, and Sowing Basin Flooring & Window Design found success at Center Pointe. The Wildflower Cafe, owned by Ellen and George Toto, served its last customer and shuttered its doors on Oct. 12, 2018. 

The Wildflower Cafe, a family-owned and operated breakfast/lunch restaurant, was the longest-standing business to not relocate. Wildflower Cafe was a local’s favorite that attracted tourists, and even the occasional celebrity like Leonard “Spock” Nimoy.  

“We built it up and watched as families grew and their kids would come and their kids’ kids,” Ellen Toto said. “Even the tourists, we got to know them year after year. They were family, the employees were family, still are.”

The Toto’s have maintained close ties with past employees and customers.  

Joe Knox, owner and operator of a local barber shop next to Wildflower Cafe, was a breakfast regular of the restaurant and another iconic local business. Rodeo Joe lived and worked right next door to the Toto family business for over 30 years.  

Before sharing the space with Susie Scoops, Knox rented the building for his barber shop and living quarters. 

Knox moved to Incline when a real estate office was going out of business. 

“So, I rented that for the barbershop,” Knox said. “I had a captive audience as the only barber in Incline. I worked and lived in the building for 47 years.”

Knox had a barber shop, bedroom, a bathroom, and a fireplace all in one.

Knox later added a weight room for the football team of Incline High School during his time as their coach. With a mind for business and quickly expanded the quaint location. The weight room addition made way for a natural transition to a health club. Thinking outside the box for the community led to the addition of an ice cream parlor, one of the first in the area. 

Knox said, “On a bet, we added an ice cream store, after 25 years, I sold that to Blake Goldenburg.” 

Susie Scoops joined Rodeo Joe taking the place of the ice cream shop and upping the ante with a toy store. 

Wodarski noted, “I don’t know how they did it, it was a strange combination but it was very successful.”

When asked about the move in December of 2020, Goldenberg, owner of Susie Scoops, said, “It was shoulder season so it wasn’t too bad. The previous location was quaint and cozy.”

The ice cream shop and toy store now sit in a high-traffic area right off the main drag in Incline Village. The ice cream shop features locally-made ice cream from Hoch Diary in Minden, boba drinks, dole whips, and even donuts on the weekends. Just like Rodeo Joe, they’re always looking to find something new that the community asks for. Their location will be open until 9 p.m. for summer hours beginning late June. 

As construction crews pave the way for a new grocer in Incline Village, Wodarski said, “Incline Village Community and Business Association CEO, Linda Offerdahl, is spearheading a sort of renaissance on the frontage road.” 

IVCBA is rallying the support of new business owners to beautify main street and strengthen the fabric of the community. 

“So, the concerns of losing iconic long-time local businesses like Susie Scoops and Rodeo Joe, are unfounded,” Wodarski added. “These businesses live on and are a fabric of the community still.”

For more information on IVCBA, visit https://inclinevillagecrystalbay.com/.


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