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Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution
Department store
FateConverted to Meier & Frank or sold to Dillard's
SuccessorMeier & Frank (2003–2006)
Dillard's (2003-present)
Macy's (2006-present)
FoundedOctober 09, 1868
FounderBrigham Young Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersSalt Lake City, Utah
ProductsClothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares.
ParentThe May Department Stores Company (2001–2003)
Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI), 1910

Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution (typically referred to as ZCMI) was an American department store chain. It was founded on October 9, 1868 by Brigham Young. For many years it used the slogan, "America's First Department Store".


Even though The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) had been headquartered in the Salt Lake area for some 20 years by that time, they were despised by the surrounding community, as Young had disparaged non-Mormon merchants who had engaged in price gouging on necessities, and encouraged boycotting these businesses in 1866.[1] Mormon business owners were routinely charged higher prices by wholesalers who discovered they were dealing with Mormons.

Partly because of the impending completion of the railroad, and partly to create a more fair business atmosphere, it was Young's idea to encourage Mormon businesses to band together under one roof. By pooling their resources, they were able to make larger orders to sell materials and goods exclusively (at the time) to fellow LDS Church members.[2]:8–9

ZCMI was formally organized in 1868 and incorporated for a 25-year renewable contract in 1870.[3]:19 The central component of this was the LDS Church's purchase of the Eagle Emporium, a conglomerate of mercantile companies owned by William Jennings.[2]:23

ZCMI became a formidable business force, eventually manufacturing its own line of boots and shoes, and a line of work clothes. It also sold everything from housing needs, lumber, nails, and the like, to household needs such as fabric, needles, thread, food preservation products, furniture, and draperies, even some beauty products; nearly everything the pioneers needed to survive and thrive.[4]

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, it quickly became a household name in the community. The LDS Church was a significant influence in the company, retaining a majority interest in ZCMI until its eventual sale in December 1999.[citation needed] The store was established by a vote from the Council of Fifty, an early organization in the LDS Church.

In December 1999, as a result of losses for two consecutive years, along with mounting economic and social pressures, ZCMI was sold to the May Department Stores Company (now Macy's, Inc.). ZCMI operated under its original name as a part of May's Portland, Oregon-based Meier & Frank division until April 2002, when the stores adopted the Meier & Frank name. In addition to the name change, the Utah stores in Logan and St. George, along with the Idaho stores in Idaho Falls and Pocatello, were sold to Dillard's.[citation needed] By August 2002 the stores were further consolidated within May into the company's Los Angeles, California division, Robinsons-May, though retaining the Meier & Frank nameplate.[citation needed]

The facade of ZCMI was used in the City Creek Center, retaining the original ZCMI nameplate as a front for Macy's.

Photograph of an entrance to the ZCMI Center Mall in downtown Salt Lake City prior to 2009.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Godfrey, Matthew C. (2007). Religion, politics, and sugar : the Mormon Church, the federal government, and the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 1907-1921. Lehi, Utah: Utah State University Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-87421-658-3. OCLC 74988178.
  2. ^ a b Bradley, Martha Sonntag (1991). ZCMI, America's First Department Store. ZCMI. ISBN 978-0875794822.
  3. ^ Bradley, Martha Sonntag (1991). ZCMI, America's first department store. ZCMI. ISBN 978-0875794822.
  4. ^ Bradley, Martha Sontag (1994), "Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution", in Powell, Allan Kent (ed.), Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, pp. 576–579, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917

Further reading[edit]

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