LeConte and Zipporah Layton Stewart opened the business “Stewarts Gift Shop” in 1941 as a place to sell his paintings. LeConte, who was essentially orphaned by the time he was a teenager, worked his way up to be a nationally known landscape artist and head of the art department at the University Of Utah.
Zipporah, granddaughter of Layton settler Christopher Layton, also wanted to put her knowledge as a graduate of the newly opened LDS Business College in Salt Lake to good use. She was a very major player in the opening and running of the gift shop. It was the combined passion of LeConte and Zipporah.
Initially the store was housed in a building north of the Kaysville Theatre, at 14 North Main. In the early 1950’s a new building was built at 149 N. Main. They continued business there, the familiar black tile front. Besides LeConte’s paintings the shop had specialty items. Girl’s growing up in Kaysville in the 1950’s and 60’s all wanted one of the coveted Madame Alexander Dolls on display. As these same girls put their dolls away and dreamed of walking down the aisle with Prince Charming, Stewart’s Gift Shop was THE place to pick out the best china and silverware patterns.
John, LeConte and Zipporah’s son, bought the shop from his father in 1970 because he wanted to keep it in the family. Shirley, his wife, was initially working full time and only worked in the shop as a favor to her husband. But then she grew to love it. In 2007 Shirley, had a vision of an even bigger and better gift shop. They tore the old familiar store down, and built a brand new “Stewart’s Gift Shop” a little farther north at 151 N Main.
After 70 years in business, June 2011 “Stewart’s Gift Shop” closed it’s doors. Now it will be a memory of the two couples who worked so hard to make it grow and generations of shoppers that will always have memories of the small, but upscale gift shop.