The saying "shop till you drop" never applied to Sundays in religiously devout Utah Valley until now.
The valley's only destination indoor shopping center, Orem's University Mall, keeps its doors closed on the Christian Sabbath, with the exception of one store. And that policy will likely remain in effect even though a rival mall and an open-air village in neighboring Provo will cater to Sunday shoppers and diners when they open for business.Provo Towne Centre at the city's south end and The Shops at Riverwoods in northeast Provo will offer seventh-day shopping and entertainment.
The prospect of Sunday browsing in Provo angered one resident enough to recently complain to Mayor Lewis Billings. Provo was the site of heated debates regarding the Sunday closure of a city-run swimming pool a couple of years ago. The pool remains closed on that day of the week.
Most if not all of Provo Town Centre's estimated 100 shops and eateries will be open Sundays, officials said.
One of the new mall's anchor stores, Dillard's, opens next week. The other anchors, JC Penney and Sears, will follow in early October.
A grand opening for the remaining stores in the multimillion dollar mall is slated for late October.
Mayor Lewis Billing received a phone call last week from a man upset that Provo Towne Centre will be open seven days a week. Residents shouldn't be surprised, he said, because mall developer Salt Lake City-based JP Realty discussed operating on Sundays from the beginning. The firm also owns Cottonwood Mall where a majority of stores are open all weekend, though at reduced hours on Sundays.
"When you're spending $100 million you have some choices and liberties," Billings said. "They'll do what's best for their investments and holdings."
The mayor said he told the caller that some outlets do business Sundays because people frequent them. If people wouldn't patronize the shops, he said, they wouldn't remain open.
Provo's other new shopping center, The Shops at Riverwoods, likely will be poised to ring up Sunday sales. But the project's San Francisco-based developers won't require the 45 stores and eateries to open that day.
After considering the community's predominant religion and culture, TRS Partners decided to leave the decision to individual merchants, said Gayle Randazzo, company spokeswoman.
Riverwoods features stores like Borders Books, The Gap and Banana Republic, which typically operate on Sundays in other cities. The shops will open Aug. 8.