Vendor Spotlight – Modern Display

Our Vendor Spotlight this week is a company that has been a fixture in Utah for over 75 years!  Not just high quality displays and home decor, they also design and create expo and event exhibits, retail displays, floral, and even parade floats. They employ 150 full-time employees and operate over 300,000 square feet of facilities. Our Vendor Spotlight this week is Modern Display.

Adam: Hi Meg, thanks for joining me here today.

Meg: Thanks for having me.

Adam: So Modern has been an important part, an integral part, of the Salt Lake community for a long time.  Can you tell me some about that?

Meg: Yea, the company is family owned, they’re on the third generation now. Bill Vriens, Sr. came from the Netherlands in the 1930’s and in the early 1940’s he started doing window displays around town.  He would load up his old jalopy station wagon and drive around town and paint windows.  When you think of the pharmacy windows where they would have “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” that was the early beginning of window design and Bill did that.  

We’re very proud because we’ve been a member of the Salt Lake community for so long, through three generations. Bill Sr has since past, Bill Jr ran the company and was actually able to pass it on to his oldest son, Taylor, who is my boss and who is now in charge of the whole gamut.  And we have so many different things that we do here. Over the years we’ve done everything from working with the Salt Lake City airport, to the Utah Jazz, to working up at the Rice Eccles Stadium, working with governor’s offices. We just we really love Salt Lake City and we take pride in how long we have been a local company and that we are still thriving through everything.  The last year was very hard, it put us to this test, but we really buckled down and we made it and we’re still here and we’re still part of the community and we just love being in Salt Lake City.

Adam: We’re really glad that you are.  One of the things that our companies have in common is that a lot of people think that we do a thing – we just do DJ’s or ceremony musicians or something.  Modern does so many different things that people probably have no idea about.  Can you tell me some of the variety of things that you guys do?

Meg: Yeah, I joined Modern in 2019 and I had no idea, no idea, all the different divisions that we have.  We have the store which is where we’re at right now, which is home decor and window decor, we’ve done that for years.  We also have silk floral design and production, fresh floral design and production – we own Ensign Wholesale Floral, so that’s under our umbrella.  Everyone knows the Christmas trees, we have a huge artificial Christmas tree section that we specialize in all through Christmas.  We do Christmas lighting and outdoor lighting.  We also have a division that designs floats.  

Then we have corporate installation and corporate decor, which we go in and we can design your whole office for Christmas. Or say you just want a whole new look with silk plants and everything like that, we have a team that does that.  Then we have a very large exposition division which works at the Salt Palace, Salt Lake Expo Center, and also at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy.  We go out of state for expos.  

Then we also have a special events and wedding division which is what I’m in charge of which is Scenemakers.  Scenemakers specializes in a niche market where we do more B2B business.  So I work with wedding planners, wedding florists, venues, and we’ll build large items for them and large installation rigging. Then we have rentals that we do as well.  So yeah, all of that under one umbrella.

Adam: It’s an enormous amount of stuff and I love working with Scenemakers because really you guys can make anything happen.  Somebody’s got a vision of an arch and a display or something and they can describe it to you and you guys take what’s on paper and make it real life.  It’s really wonderful.

Meg: We have an 80,000 square foot warehouse out on the west side and we have a full woodworking shop, and ironworking shop, a paint shop, so yeah we can do anything.  It’s really fun because the guys out there when we give them some sort of creative freedom, the stuff that they come out with is absolutely incredible.  “Ok I want this large thing that hangs from the ceiling that I can put five chandeliers on and it’s covered in silk floral.  How do we do that?” We will work with the venue and the designer and come up with a solution and execute it beautifully.

Adam: Amazing.  It is always beautiful, we love working with you.  Thanks for joining me here today, and thanks for watching our vendor spotlight of the week.

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