We're hoping we can get a new audience in the store. —Owner Tony Weller
SALT LAKE CITY — One of the last fixtures of old Salt Lake City's Main Street has left and now has a new address.
Sam Weller's bookstore — now called Weller Book Works — is open in Trolley Square, 665 E. 600 South.
The move is the result of years of planning and frustration with the construction that has dominated the downtown core. But the stacks of books have been moved, and slowly the customers are coming in.
"We hope we can get them back by making ourselves more convenient and free," owner Tony Weller said. "We're hoping we can get a new audience in the store."
The bookstore is at the southern edge of Trolley Square in 10,000 square feet that formerly housed movie theaters. It includes a coffee shop and will host author events in the adjacent atrium.
Trolley Square Mall features boutique shopping and an inventory of stores in the "popular but unique" lineup that includes Whole Foods, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn.
Weller said he is hoping to capture a new audience in this new space.
Brick-and-mortar retail bookstores are facing major challenges from market forces and the Internet, and those appealing discounts coupled with downtown construction hassles were enough to keep even loyal Weller's customers from going to Main Street on a regular basis.
"It became increasingly unpleasant to go downtown and brave the parking and the other aspects that have made downtown rather unpleasant," said shopper Camille Biexei. But others said the store will be missed downtown.
"I used to work down here, and I used to go to Sam Weller's and buy books and stuff," said Sandy Pick, who was visiting downtown Salt Lake City. "They've always been here, as long as I've known."
The store started at 14 E. 100 South in 1929, moved a few doors east to 28 E. 100 South in 1932, then moved to 200 South between State and Main in 1939. The move to its last address at 254 S. Main came in 1961.
Now, it's a row of new buildings, new restaurants and shops. The crown jewel of the new face of downtown is the City Creek Center, which is set to open March 22.
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