Friday, March 13, 2009

SAM WELLER'S BOOK STORE


I loved working at Sam Weller's Book Store for several years in the 90's. So this morning when a news teaser announced "Sam Weller's is closing" I literally let out a shriek. I called the store and talked to Deb and she said "No, we're just moving to a different location". The great old building at 254 So. Main has been their home since 1961. It was actually the fourth location of the store since the 20's.

Started by Gus Weller, passed on to his son, Sam Weller and then to his son, Tony Weller.

It is truly one of the great independent bookstores in this country, along with Powell's and the Strand. Over a million new and used books on 4 floors of a great old building. So many nooks, cranny's and alcoves.

In the 40's, 50', and 60's Salt Lake City had a wonderful downtown area. Then someone in their astute wisdom decided it needed two huge indoor malls. So many wonderful small stores were forced to close. Then in the 90's they put a rail system down main street and eliminated most of the parking for the few stores that were left. Combine that with big box chain book stores (that hire clerks, not booksellers), the Internet and the economy, it all adds up.

I grabbed my daughter-in-law and grandson and jumped in the car. I left my husband in the driveway calling out "You can't save the store by yourself". No, but I could give it a good try.

If everyone in Salt Lake that loves books would make a trip to Sam's in the next couple of weeks,
at least we could make a statement.

The Basement






In the 20's during prohibition this great old wood floor was the dance floor of
a speakeasy. You entered through a narrow door and steep stairs. It's a classic
part of the building.


The Rare Book Room where I found my 1st Edition, signed copy of
"Rebecca". Took me several months to pay for it.


New and Used Fiction on the Balcony with great chairs to sit and read.




This great old vault was in the building when they bought it and we used it to

store really rare books. The pink trim came after I left.



The Main Floor from the Balcony




Main Floor- I've always wanted a library ladder.



The Coffee Bar and Bakery where you can relax with your computer and munchies.




On the left- Deb and Bruce - good friends and incredible book people.
Their knowledge of books is scary.

1 comment:

marymurtz said...

This reminded me of Powells books in Portland. Stores like this should remain open forever! I also love the Tattered Cover in Denver. *sigh*