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After 119 years, a Salt Lake company is moving to Murray, and the structure will be demolished



Salt Lake City, Utah – After determining that its downtown facility was too damaged by an earthquake in 2020 to be repaired and would instead need to be demolished, a fifth-generation family-owned clothing company that has been a mainstay of Salt Lake City for more than a century is relocating to the Salt Lake Valley.

This week, UWM Men’s Shop, formerly known as Utah Woolen Mills, finally revealed its decision to relocate after informing clients in private for several weeks. Its location at 59 W. South Temple presently has signs on the windows advertising a “closing sale.”

UWM intends to phase out its current location in the upcoming weeks in favor of a new store that will open on May 6 at the Murray, near Fashion Place Mall, corner of 6100 South and State State. In honor of the company, a goodbye celebration is scheduled for May 2, according to B.J. Stringham, president of the company.

The eight-story building’s owner, Property Reserve Inc., informed that due to seismic hazards, the property, which is positioned between City Creek Center and Temple Square, will be demolished later this year.

Utah Woolen Mills was established in 1905 by Henry and Briant Stringham, a father and son team. The company operated out of downtown Salt Lake City and sold men’s apparel and wool products. Since then, the business has stayed in the family and on the same block. It moved to its current site in the late 1970s when the original structure was destroyed for the development of Crossroads Plaza.

When work on City Creek Center started in the 2000s, workers avoided damaging the second location because they were constructing around the business to finish the mall more than ten years earlier.

One of the challenges along the way was construction. The Stringham family mentioned “countless ups and downs” during the previous 119 years in a message to the public regarding the upcoming move. The family firm survived the Great Depression, two world wars, numerous recessions, and global pandemics. According to Stringham, the company has seen some of its highest sales years since 2022.

At least as far as the company’s tenure in Salt Lake City was concerned, the largest challenge was a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that rocked the Salt Lake Valley in 2020. After the earthquake, a structural engineering firm inspected the structure and determined “seismic risks,” according to Property Reserve spokesman Dale Bills.

Bills said in a statement to that the firm chose to demolish the building because the required seismic improvements and repairs were deemed to be “cost prohibitive.” UWM was the building’s final tenant at the time that decision was made; Deseret Book, the building’s principal tenant, had left in 2019.

It seems that the earthquake will lead it to be the second structure to be demolished. The Sears House, a historic mansion in the Liberty Wells district of Salt Lake City, was the only historic structure damaged severely enough to have to be demolished following the earthquake, according to state historians.

The Stringham family stated that they had planned to continue operating their company downtown, but the talks came to an agreement that required the company to move out by July. For the first time in almost 45 years, they are now anticipating a new house.

“I know it sounds trite, but it isn’t you, it is us,” the family wrote in their public letter to Salt Lake City. “We must be true to ourselves and move where we are the captains of our destiny. We are moving to where we own our property and can truly have control over our future like we did when great, great grandpa and his son got involved in this business.”

According to B.J. Stringham, the new Murray location has both advantages and disadvantages. It is close to another significant shopping district in the Salt Lake Valley, offers better parking, and roughly the same floor area as the downtown location; nevertheless, it lacks the same amount of storage space.

UWM Men’s Shop is unable to transport everything to the new location, which is why it is currently having several liquidation deals downtown. Right now, everything is 50% off, but after May 13, the deal will go up to 90% off for anything that’s still available. As the store formally closes, Stringham said the corporation might end up giving products if there are any remaining.

It is anticipated that later this year, work on the Salt Lake City facility will start. According to Bills, the schedule is predicated on the “timetable of other major downtown construction already underway,” which includes the ongoing renovations taking place across the street at Temple Square.

Stringham stated that his family is trying to make the most of the circumstances and hopes to create another century’s worth of memories in Murray.

“I’m proud of the legacy we have and the legacy we continue to build,” he said. “I think a larger marker of what our legacy is how we handle adversity — and I’m hoping to do that proud, too.”


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