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For week ended September 05, 1999 Posted 4 Sep 1999

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ZCMI Patrons: Some Things Cash Can't Measure

Summarized by Eric Bunker

ZCMI Patrons: Some Things Cash Can't Measure
Salt Lake Tribune 2Sep99 L4
By Holly Mullen: Salt Lake Tribune

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- With ZCMI on the auction block, current Salt Lake area patrons are left bewildered and wondering what will happen to their beloved department store. First it was the beloved Hotel Utah and now this. Who will buy it, and what changes will they make to the amenities that they have come to love and expect.

This move has not been a surprise as the popular department store, (which the Church has a controlling interest in) has been loosing big money as of late, but the reality is just setting in. Many Downtown residents have included daily and weekly visits to its unique restaurants, shops and boutiques as a part of their social backdrop.

ZCMI, Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution, was started by Brigham Young and the Church in the latter third of the 19th Century as a place for the Utah saints to shop with the excess profits being returned to the membership shoppers/investors. With the coming of the railroad into Utah, President Young felt concerned that the potential was high for incoming non-member owned retail establishments to persecute the saints through predatory pricing policies.

Other than the official announcement of the impending sale, Church officials are being quite about any details. Downtown patrons know that the Church will do what it needs to do, but they sure hope the new owners will keep most or all of these traditional but unique offerings.

No one is suggesting that a sale to an outsider would kill off all those things. Surely a smart retailer would recognize the value of a name and all the nostalgia that goes with it, or will they?

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information