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Inside the Story: 102-year-old widow still working at husband's bookstore

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Inside the Story: 102-year-old widow still working at husband's bookstore (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Lila Weller is 102 years old, and still going strong.

Weller is the widow of Salt Lake's notable bookstore owner, Sam Weller.

She still shows up to work five hours a day, five days a week, at Weller Book Works, formerly known as the Sam Weller Bookstore.

"I was married to the great Sam Weller," she said.

Weller works in a back office, and logs used books into a computer.

The bookstore has been around in Salt Lake City for 88 years, meaning she has nearly 70 years of experience in the book business.

"It's been my life," she said.

She would much rather be spending her days at work than at home.

"I'd probably be sitting, looking at television, and I get bored with that," Weller said.

Weller Books opened in 1929 in downtown Salt Lake as Zion Bookstore.

Sam Weller's father, a German immigrant, opened the store and he took it over as a teenager.

In the 40s, Lila worked at the Deseret News, was introduced to Sam, and the two wed in 1953.

Sam passed away in 2009.

"One day I said, 'I'm bored. I want something to do,'" recalled Lila.

So she went to her son, Tony, who now runs the family business.

"She said, 'I'm getting really stir crazy and I'd like to come back to work,'" Tony said.

At first she didn't want to work with customers or computers.

"I said, 'There is nothing left, Mom. Either you work with computers or you work with the public,'" said Tony.

So Lila chose the computer job.

"It's irritable. Every little while I get into trouble with it," she said.

That's why she isn't a big fan of shopping for books online. To her, there is nothing like the atmosphere of an actual bookstore.

"It's a warm, intimate place where you can find all sorts of treasures," she said.

So Lila isn't planning on quitting her job any time soon.

"As long as I can make it," she said.

Weller Books has been in five locations in 88 years.

It spent 50 years across the street from KUTV studios along Main Street.

It is now located at Trolley Square.

For more, visit the Weller Book Works website.

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