Community Relations

A Christian Church Morphs into a Small Businesses Space in Salt Lake City

Church and State provides a “third space” for 18 thriving small businesses. Shops include a tattoo parlor, a jiu jitsu studio, and more.


What do we have here?

On the outside one sees a brick edifice with a stained glass window that looks like a church. Okay. There are lots of churches in Salt Lake City. But wait a minute … inside is an open space surrounded by 18 thriving small businesses. This is Church and State on the corner of 400 South and 300 East. What started out as the Central Christian Church in 1893, has morphed into a “third space” — a crucial component of urban life.

Simply stated, a third space is a common area that is not a home or a business. It allows community to occur. The shops at Church and State include a coffee shop, tattoo parlor, jiu jitsu studio, barber shop and crystal shop among others. They support and are supported by a commons featuring an upright piano, a comfy couch with five books replacing a missing leg, work tables, and a soaring airiness that inspires coziness.  

Mariah Fralick, owner of Bell, Book, and Candle, inside Church and State. Photo by John Taylor.

ABBA is playing on the sound system one morning and overheard conversations include, “Come over for dinner on Wednesday”, and “We can reinvest in South America once our goals are met.” Computers can coexist with conversation.

“This is a welcoming environment that gives people a great excuse to come downtown,” says Megan Valentine, operations manager. Those interested in opening a shop should contact Church and State. Decisions are made on a space-available basis, along with keeping a vibrant diversity.  “The mix of businesses allows there to be a crossover,” she says.

The crossover view was echoed by Liam Angus, co-owner of the Here’s Mine Tattoo Shop, which has been in the venue for three years. 

“There is a community of people and so much is going on. It’s bad ass giving tattoos in an old church. It’s a great way to use this space instead of tearing it down and building more housing,” says Davin, a client waiting for a tattoo.

Photo by John Taylor.

Church and State supports its entrepreneurs by hosting activities including weddings, corporate parties and performances. Mariah Fralick, owner of Bell, Book and Candle, described events such as Odd Lake City, where outside vendors can purvey their wares, as “enhancing the magic of the city.” Live jazz occurs Saturdays from 12 to 2pm. December features a Winter Solstice party from 7 to 10pm, and several hundred people are expected to attend.

Whether shopping, meeting or working, perhaps the best way to experience Church and State is with a cup of coffee from the Chapel Coffee Company while enjoying the open space of a third space.

The monthly events for Church and State can be found on its Instagram page @churchandstate1893

Feature Image of Church and State by John Taylor.

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