Surplus and Salvage Merchandise
780 S 500 E, Salt Lake City
It looks the way the inside of my unconscious must look. Empty cardboard boxes piled high. Dust two-inches thick. A few non-functioning washing machines hint that things are dirty that won’t be getting clean any time soon. Nothing’s been touched inside in years. I should know, I’ve been peeking in the windows of this SLC landmark on a weekly basis ever since I moved here in 1998.
It’s a modern, flat-roofed white building, right across the street from the original Rico Market. The front is almost completely windows that go from the ceiling down to my knees when I stand in front of it. The word “DAMAGE” has been artistically spray painted across its face. Based on my Architectural Field Book, I’d guess it was built in the 1930s. I find it beautiful in a “one-time hoarder’s hub – current abandoned rat’s nest” kind of way. If I ever direct a movie most of the scenes will be shot inside and in front of this building.
A Google search revealed the building’s identity: “Shool’s Furniture Company,” which is categorized under “surplus and salvage merchandise.” It seems unlikely that after 13 years of combing SLC’s thrift stores that I wouldn’t have heard of this one. Yahoo says it’s a military surplus store. This news brings goose bumps, because I’m picturing survivalist neo-Nazis filing in to buy MREs and ammo while the city sleeps. Todd adds that he imagines the neo-Nazis tossing in a load of laundry or two while they wait in line. In his mind’s eye, the Nazi’s have washed their reds with their whites so many times that their tube socks and tighty whities are pale pink.
I called the phone number for the store, but no one answered. I would have left a message but it just rang, and a machine didn’t pick up. If you’ve ever been inside this gorgeous building that’s been filled with trash for decades, I would love to hear about it.