If you're in the market for a gift a child could treasure for years, or even a new skirt or piece of jewelry for yourself, check out The Children's Hour in the 9th and 9th neighborhood. The boutique shop offers carefully selected books for children and adults, as well as toys and clothing for children, teen girls and women.
Owner Diana Etherington got her start in the book industry after her mother suggested she try Tupperware parties—but with children's books. She started going to parties all around the valley to sell them, and within a few months, she was booking four nights a week.
Wanting more time with her family, she and her husband decided to open a small children's bookstore in 1984. Because she had built her customer base all over the valley with her book parties, the store took off. Since then, the shop moved to a few different locations along the street currently known as Harvey Milk Boulevard before settling into its current location 10 years ago.
"This location is the best thing that's happened to us," she says. "We're here for the long-haul."
Originally only offering children's books, The Children's Hour slowly began expanding their inventory. "Barnes and Noble came to town," Etherington says. "We couldn't compete with their inventory or discounts, and it was a logical extension. Selling clothes allows us to sell the books."
The shop's items are carefully curated—from the selection of books to classic items of clothing. "We like to find things you don't especially find in Salt Lake City," she continues, adding that The Children's Hour is the only shop in Utah to carry certain designers.
Etherington's personal aesthetic informs her inventory decisions. "I like traditional, not trendy clothes," she says. She believes buying trendy clothes, only to quickly get rid of them, drains our world's resources. She carries designers that are a bit more expensive, but their pieces last forever. And she prides herself on carrying clothing that mothers and grandmothers can feel comfortable giving to their teenage relatives.
Her concern for family dynamics makes sense, because The Children's Hour has been a family project from the ground up. All four of her daughters have worked at the store. "Family is the most important thing," she says.
Jane Etherington, one of Diana's daughters, has been working at the store since she was 12, starting as a gift wrapper. "I love the feeling in here," she says. "It's such a happy place. I love the people, I love working with my mom and going on business trips with her. So many people dread going to work, and I never feel that way."