New Mormon Handicraft has pioneer appearance

The consignment shop founded by the Relief Society during the Great Depression to help Latter-day Saint women supplement their income, moved to a new location Dec. 6.

Mormon Handicraft was organized in 1937 by Louise Y. Robison, then Relief Society general president. Since that time the store, which features homemade items such as quilts, dolls, embroidered linens and baby clothes, has expanded and moved numerous times.

The new store, at 15 W. South Temple, stands on the corner of downtown Salt Lake City where the Council House, once headquarters of the Church, was located.

Roger Toone, retail vice president of Deseret Book — which took over operations of Mormon Handicraft from the Relief Society in 1986 — said the new 3,500-square-foot store was built to look like a pioneer home. In coming years, he said, historical displays will be added to the shop, illustrating the historical significance of its location, the role of women in the Church and the construction of the Salt Lake Temple.

"It is the kind of place that even if you don't spend a dime you would like to come and walk through," Brother Toone said.

Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society general president, also participated in the ribbon cutting and reception commemorating the grand opening of the new store.

"I love homemade," she said. "I love items that someone has touched with love."