"ZCMI" stands for "Zions Cooperative Mercantile Inc.".
After the Mormons settled in what is now Salt Lake City, they still faced persecution from the outside world, and in many cases this persecution took the form of price-gouging, etc when they had to deal with non-Mormon merchants.
Brigham Young and the other church elders feared that the railroad and the increased contact that it brought with the outside world posed threat to the young Mormon community. Therefore, to limit this contact, in 1868, urged Mormons to cooperate economically. That same year, Mormon businessmen from around the territory met in Salt Lake City to organize a cooperative wholesale store. Brigham Young himself was elected president of the 'People's Store' or ZCMI, and its other early directors were also church leaders.
In 1869 ZCMI's main store, the Eagle Emporium on 200 South Main Street in Salt Laker City, opened its doors, with clothing, dry goods, hats, caps, boots, and shoes for sale. Later, groceries, farm tools, stoves, and hardware became available. ZCMI was formally incorporated in 1870 after the territorial legislature passed its first incorporation laws. ZCMI claims to have been the country's first department store.
At first, ZCMI was wholly church-owned, but as the church's legal problems with the U.S. government increased in the latter part of the century,
the church sold all of its ZCMI shares to private individuals.
ZCMI became a formidable business force, eventually manufacturing its own line of boots and shoes, and a line of work clothes.
It also sold everything from housing needs, lumber, nails, and the like, to household needs such as fabric, needles, thread,
food preservation products, furniture, and draperies, even some beauty products; nearly everything the pioneers needed to survive and thrive.
In 1999, ZCMI was sold to the Oregon-based Meier & Frank, a division of May Department Stores Company (now Macy's, Inc.).
Like many department stores, ZCMI eventually had a bakery and eating establishments within its walls, and I've had several requests for recipes from there.
The Salt Lake Tribune has made an ongoing project of locating ZCMI recipes. For an article about it, and the recipes that they have found so far, see these pages.
Note that these are not the original ZCMI recipes, they are "tastes-like" recipes:
Cuisine Quest: Looking for the secret cache of ZCMI recipes?
M&M chocolate chip cookies, Grandma's chocolate chip cookies, Chocolate marshmallow brownies, Banana Cake, Stollen, Oatmeal-cherry-chocolate chip cookies,
Cookies as good as ZCMI used to make
Chocolate mint brownies, Chocolate sandwich cookies, Raisin-filled cookies, Date-filled cookies, Almond cookies, Coconut haystacks, Caramel brownies,
- ZCMI Chocolate Cookie With Minty Gum Drops
- ZCMI Chocolate Eclairs
- ZCMI Ham and Cheese Bread
- ZCMI Pineapple Cake
- ZCMI Pudding Filled Donuts
- ZCMI Rum and Butter Fruitcake
- ZCMI Sugar Cookies
- Tiffin Room Apple Brown Betty