Cabona’s is the oldest retail establishment in Truckee/Tahoe region.
Founded by Dave Cabona in 1918, its early beginnings started as a general store catering to the workers of Truckee and those that enjoyed the great outdoors. This year (2018), the store celebrates its 100-year anniversary, where it still operates in its original location and is run by the same family.
In the early days, Cabona’s had an extensive sporting goods department that was run by Dave’s best friend, Elton “Slim” Ellert, at that time considered the finest fly fisherman on the Truckee River. The store sold fishing tackle, fishing and hunting licenses, and Slim’s well-known custom made bamboo rods and flies. Cabona’s enthusiasm for the Truckee River and all it offered was very evident.
In fact, on a regular basis, you would find a bucket of ice in Cabona’s front window displaying the local trout caught in the Truckee River that day. Demonstrating that if you bought your fishing tackle from Cabona's, this is what you could catch.
Even the local Judge Smith ran his office inside the store. The safe, he used to hold all of his legal documents, still sits there today. It was the rumor that Dave always kept a considerable amount cash on hand in that safe.The store included a well-stocked men's dept that supplied those working in the mill and railyard with jeans, boots, shirts, and gloves.
As time went on, they sold appliances, furniture, linoleum, tires and at one point even installed a gas pump out front.
When Dave married Ametta Kaer, her influence brought in women’s and children’s garments, fabric, and notions. After Rossarini’s, a clothing store down the street closed they expanded their offerings.
Dave was born on July 9th, 1886 in Sierra City, California; his father and mother were from the Liguria region of Italy. He had lived in Truckee since he was a boy.
Dave loved animals, especially dogs, which would accompany him to work every day and stay by his feet. He was a businessman that loved his community and was known to be very active in political affairs. He was one of the original members of the committee for the Pioneer Monument, erected to honor the immigrants who passed through Truckee en route to new opportunities in the West.
Some even rumored he had a lot of connections, and you needed to “ask Dave” about anything or before you did anything in town, including an ‘in’ with the sheriff down in Nevada County.
His wife, Ametta, commented that she thought he was a man ahead of his time. He believed that all women should be respected and should be self-sufficient, including the women of the night that worked on Jibboom Street.
Over the years, Dave’s general store evolved into a men’s, women’s clothing store catering to locals and visitors. Cabona's has become a family tradition, almost daily clientele share fond memories of how they used to shop in Cabona’s with their mother’s and grandparents. The store continues to be a vital part of the Truckee community. Just as Dave had envisioned it. While Dave passed in 1947, today, Stefanie Olivieri, Ametta’s daughter, is proud to continue the legacy he started.