Utah History to Go
Overland Migrations
Bartleson-Bidwell party
Nancy Kelsey
Bryant-Rusell Party
Harlan Young Party
Hastings Cutoff
Donner Party
This is the Place
Mormon History
Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company
Handcart Companies
A Girl Triumphed Over Handcart Tradegy
Many Mormon Immigrants Delayed Their Journey
Settlement and Exploration
Colonization of Utah
Salt Lake City
The Founding and Naming of Moab
Hole-in-the-Rock Trek Remains an Epic Experience
What Made the Mormon Landscape Unique?
Snowslides Devastated Northern Utah in 1875
A Fatal Snowslide in Provo Canyon
Those Pioneering African Americans
The Lives of Six Pioneer Girls
He Was an Outsider in Utah But Not For Long
Forty-Niners in Salt Lake Valley
Utah Farmer and the Pike's Peak Gold Rush
Emma Lee Endured Many Hardships in Pioneer Utah
Alice Parker Isom Faced Challenges WIth True Grit
19th Century Utah Women Spun Yarn and Dug Ditches
Hilda Anderson Erickson, Working Woman
Oliver B. Huntington and His Bees
A Policeman's Lot in Early Salt Lake CIty
A Blind Man and His Harp
Fanny Brooks Helped Establish the Jewish Community
Reverend McLeod and Building of Independence Hall
Jenny Baker Stanford Bridged Mormon-Gentile Gap
Welshman Dan Jones Was One of Zion's Busiest Bees
The Case of Grave Robber Jean Baptiste
Slavery in Utah
History of Polygamy
The History of a Pioneer Utah Cottage
The Pioneer's Cost of Living Versus Today's
Coins and Currency
The Sego Lily, Utah's State Flower
Pestiferous Ironclads: Grasshopper Problem in Utah
From Pioneer Fort to Pioneer Park
Ensign Peak
Temple Square
Virgin River Doused Cotton Mission Settler's Hopes
Gardner Mill and the Birth of the Valley's West Side
The United Order Movement
The Beginnings of the University of Utah
Arrival of the Episcopal Church
Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, in Utah
The Pony Express Added a Colorful Chapter in Utah
Mark Twain's Utah
Pony Express in Utah
The Telegraph Was Information Highway of the 1860's
The Steamboat Era Was Glamorous But Brief in Utah
Cowboys and the Cattle Industry
Old La Sal Was Once a Thriving Cow Town
Preston Nutter Made Utah Home of His Cattle Kingdom
Robbers' Roost Was a Haven For Outlaws
Utah Had Hollywood Style Western Gunfights
Just Who Was the Outlaw Queen Etta Place?
Josie Bassett-Jensen's Remarkable Woman Rancher
Military in Utah
Utah War
The Civil War in Utah
Mountain Meadows Massacre
Fort Douglas
Fort Duchesne
Camp Floyd
The Colonel Orders a Grand Review
Martha Sonntag Bradley
Utah History Encyclopedia

Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution, known as ZCMI, the "People's Store," is what one historian called America's First Department Store, and was founded in March 1868. By that date the Latter-day Saints had lived in the Great Basin for little more than two decades but had already foreseen a new threat to their peace and prosperity with the coming of the railroad. To combat the inevitable change that territorial growth would bring Brigham Young gathered a group of community and business leaders to form an organization of community-owned merchandising dedicated to the support of home manufacturing and to sell goods "as low as they can possibly be sold, and let the profits be divided among the people at large."


Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI), ca. 1880

This organization was christened "Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution" and although ZCMI was itself never a true cooperative, it spawned a region wide system of local cooperatives owned and operated by the people. Sales totaled over $1.25 million the first year. The store sold a wide variety of goods including clothing, wagons, machinery, sewing machines and carpets?all available to member cooperatives at the same price as in Salt Lake City. ZCMI served as an outlet for the products produced by the Saints themselves as well as "states" goods.

Opening in 1870 the "Big Boot," as the shoe factory was often called, soon manufactured 83,000 pairs of boots and shoes yearly. Two years after the opening of the shoe factory, ZCMI began production of its own line of work clothes in a new clothing factory, soon to be famous for its "Mountaineer" overalls.

In 1876 many of the several departments were consolidated under a single roof. The impressive three-story brick-and-iron facade of ZCMI stretched long down Salt Lake City's Main Street. A wing added in 1880 doubled the square footage of this landmark in Salt Lake's business district.

ZCMI met the twentieth century with the same ideals that had always identified its business. The philosophy--that individual fortunes and private profits should be subservient to the good of the community--would continue throughout the company's history. Growth became the new byword. In 1961 ZCMI moved to the suburbs with large modern branch stores at the Cottonwood, Valley Fair and University Malls, as well as in Ogden and Logan. ZCMI's 120-year history has seen the store change from a provincial cooperative to a publicly owned and widely respected shareholder entity. Although ZCMI is a publicly owned company with upwards of 1,400 stockholders, its ties to the Mormon Church are still strong. In 1988 the Mormon Church owned 51 percent of ZCMI's stock. ZCMI was sold to Meier and Frank company in December 1999.


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