KAYSVILLE -- LeConte Stewart needed a place to sell his paintings, so he opened his own store 70 years ago. At the end of this month, that store will close.
Stewart's Gift Shop, 151 N. Main St., still sells LeConte's work, along with jewelry, keepsakes, blessing outfits and a lot more, so much more that the store has gained quite a following.
"Customers are asking, 'Where are we going to go now?'aa" said Terri Christensen, who has been the store manager since February 2010.
Before working at the shop, Christensen was a customer. She and her husband, Eric, registered at the store for their wedding in 1985.
The time has finally arrived for Shirley Stewart to retire. Now 82, she has been involved with the business since she and her husband, John, bought the store from John's father, LeConte, in 1970.
"My father did not want to see the store leave the family," said Anne Stewart, daughter of John and Shirley Stewart.
Anne Stewart said she's proud of the family heritage surrounding the shop. LeConte Stewart married Zipporah Layton, granddaughter of Layton city settler Christopher Layton, and their store became a staple in Davis County.
Anne Stewart said the store is the second-oldest business in Kaysville, behind Bowman's Market. Barnes Bank had been older, but it closed in January 2010.
"I just love this store and love operating a business," Shirley said.
Shirley Stewart also loves giving chocolate to customers, especially children. She often abruptly leaves conversations to greet kids as they walk in.
Such warm service has brought customers from Logan to St. George for blessing outfits, Anne said.
"It's a tradition for a lot of families," Christensen said. "They bought blessing outfits for their children, and then for their grandchildren, and now for their great-grandchildren."
There are many other shopping traditions at the store.
Christensen said an older man recently came in and headed straight to where the salt and pepper shakers are normally kept. He had been buying the shakers for wedding gifts over the years, but once he got back there, he saw they were all gone. The man said he didn't know what to get instead for a wedding gift.
Anne said men often call the store, asking if their wives are shopping there. One man recently told Anne that while he is sad the store is closing, he is happy he'll be saving money.
The shop has changed a lot since LeConte Stewart opened for business in 1941. Originally, the shop sat next to the Kaysville theater. Then, it moved a little farther north on Main Street.
Seven years ago, Shirley wanted to build a bigger shop next door, in what was then the parking lot. John, who died in 2007, had his doubts about spending money for the bigger store, but he decided to do it for one reason.
"He told me, 'I'm from the old school where you keep your money in the bank. But I'm going to build this building for Shirley, because I love her,'aa" Anne said.
Anne said she and Shirley plan to start taking short trips soon. She also said the family will likely lease the building and has already talked with several potential tenants.
"It's going to be hard (for Shirley), and I don't think it has hit her yet," Anne said. "My mother loves this shop. It has been her passion for 40 years."