A History of Mormon Handicraft
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Over 1,000 Utah artisans have their work on
consignment at Mormon Handicraft, a unique to Utah business. For
nearly 65 years, quilts, dresses, needlepoint, toys and over 9,000
different handmade items comprise the local inventory. Located near
Temple Square, Mormon Handicraft has become one of the state's most
popular tourist attractions, especially for Olympic visitors looking
for something uniquely Utah.
"Most of Mormon Handicraft's customers are visitors interested in
buying something that truly is Utah or American made, as opposed to
the more typical tourist items that are produced in China," said
Roger Toone, retail vice president of Deseret Book, which has
operated the store for the past 17 years .
Originally founded by the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, the women's organization wanted a place
where Mormon women could supplement their family's income during the
Great Depression. The Church operated the store until 1982 when it
proposed closing the business due to it not fitting into long-range
That's when Deseret Book stepped forward to take over Mormon
Handicraft operations and according to Toone, "It has been a great
marriage ever since." "It is still a place where artisans, both men
and women, can sell their specialty craft items," Toone said.
"We are continually looking at the crafts brought in by artisans
interested in contributing to our inventory," said store manager, Ann
Danzig. "We try to judge everything we received in terms of quality
and commercial appeal." Mormon Handicraft also offers hundreds of
classes a year in addition to keeping Utah's pioneer heritage alive.
Currently, there is an outlet for Lion House bakery goods. For more
information, visit http://www.mormonhandicraft.com .
Made in Utah: Mormon Handicraft allows artisans to sell specialty items
Salt Lake Tribune 9Febo02 B3
By Steven Oberbeck: Salt Lake Tribune