Les and Joan Schofield have been in the antiques business for 47 years. “My Mom was an avid antiquer,” says Joan. “From the age of 10 I went with her. When I met my husband, he hated antiques, but he must have loved me because he followed us around,” she laughs.
Les caught the antiquing bug from Joan and the couple opened their first shop two years before they were married. “Now I sometimes wish I’d never told him about it, because he’s got it bad, too,” Joan laughs.
Some ask “Why the name Mormon Trader? ” “A Mormon Trader is someone who sold to the pioneers and others as they came along the Mormon Trail,” Les explains. “They sold everything: pots and pans, dishes and linens, and that is us, too. But we specialize in linens, lace, buttons, doll clothes, dolls and [furniture] salesman samples.”
The couple are known for their collection of memorabilia from the infamous Coon Chicken Inn, a Salt Lake City restaurant established in 1925. The Inn was known for the garish racial slurs in both its name and menu items. “We like to buy the unique and the unusual, and the best stuff we can,” says Joan.
“If I could get a message out to the world, it’s that, to be deemed an official antique, the item must be 100 years or older,” says Joan. “We’re purist antique dealers. About 95 percent of our inventory qualifies.”
Les encourages shoppers to not just look, but ask questions. “If you come in, talk to us. Some people are afraid to talk because they think we are going to put the pressure on to sell to them. But we’re not that way,” says Les.
Mormon Trader Antiques 2015 East 3300 South. Open Tue-Sat, 11am-6pm