August 10, 2022
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‘It’s bitter … but sweet’: Beloved SLC business to relocate after 42 years near Trolley Square

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The interior of Modern Displays in Salt Lake City. The family-owned business announced Thursday it is relocating to a bigger location in Murray after 42 years at its current location in Salt Lake City. (Modern Displays)

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SALT LAKE CITY — It’s safe to say Modern Display has been a fixture in Salt Lake City’s business community, offering displays and decor — especially Christmas items — since 1946.

While it offers large-scale exhibits, even parade floats designs, the showroom a block north of Trolley Square has particularly buzzed during the holiday season from the time its current location opened in 1980.

“We are the Christmas store in the Intermountain West,” said Spencer Vriens, Modern Display’s executive vice president and grandson of the business’s founder.

However, after 42 years on 700 East and almost eight decades in Salt Lake City, the family-owned business announced last month it is moving its home base elsewhere ahead of the holidays.

Modern Display revealed on Thursday that it plans to close its current location on June 17 and relocate to a new location in Murray. The new location is expected to offer more space for business and customers.

“It’s bitter because it’s not fun to be leaving our ‘home,’ but sweet because we’re still around — just moving,” Vriens said, in a statement.

Modern Display employs 150 full-time workers and had about 300,000 square feet of facilities with its departing location, according to its website. Fans of the store were stunned when the announcement was first made on May 3 but excited that the business wasn’t closing for good.

One person wrote on Facebook that a bigger parking lot “is needed.”

(T)his is huge for all of you and what an exciting new adventure,” another person wrote. “I’m looking forward to seeing the new store and all the beauty it has to offer.”

The business is set to move into an old Shopko retail store located at 5959 S. State after its closure next week. The new Modern Display location is projected to open back up in August, well ahead of the next holiday rush.

Vriens said the plan is to “carry on my grandpa’s legacy” but just in a location that works for how much the business has grown over the past 76 years.

“It’ll still be great, it will just be in a different spot in the Salt Lake Valley,” he said. “We will still be part of the community doing the things that we’ve always done.”

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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