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Namesake of Dolly’s Bookstore leaves lasting legacy

Dolly Makoff in 2019
Margaret Sloan
Dolly Makoff in 2019

The founder of Dolly’s Bookstore on Park City’s Main Street died Wednesday, June 12. Her friends remember her love of books, fun and animals.

Dolly Makoff was just shy of 94 years old. She grew up in the Salt Lake Valley and attended the University of Utah. While Dolly’s is foremost a bookstore, long time employee Liza Simpson says it has always sold more than books.

“We loved hearing the stories of when she [Dolly] first started the store, when it was books and women's clothing because you couldn't make enough money on one or the other to stay in business.”

Dolly was one of the first people Teri Orr – who went on to serve as the editor of the Park Record – met when she moved to town in 1979

“She took me right in and I said I was trying to be a writer and she said ‘you're already a writer. You don't try to be a writer. You're a writer’,” Orr recalls. “And it was so lovely, her confidence. She was someone who enjoyed all kinds of books, which you would think would be obvious with a bookstore but it's not always. She was a reader of everything.”

Dolly’s Bookstore opened in 1973. While the location changed over the years, it’s found its forever home at 510 Main Street.

Norm and Claire Weiss purchased the bookstore in 1984. Their daughter-in-law Shelly Vebber says they were all living in Los Angeles and the purchase – and the move to Park City - all came as a surprise during Thanksgiving dinner.

“No one knew about it but Dolly. Norman walked in, right before the turkey was served and said ‘Oh, by the way, I bought a bookstore and we're moving to Park City.’” she remembers.

Dolly and the Weisses became good friends. Dolly and Claire both loved animals. When Dolly owned the store, she had two dogs that kept her company, and they could often be seen sleeping in the front window. It was the Weisses who welcomed in a stray tuxedo-colored cat - Dolly the cat - that has become a mainstay of the store, still today with the current owners.

Long-time friend Carolyn Meyer says Dolly was always up for fun. Many Parkites may recall the annual float in the Miners Day [Labor Day] parade that featured a trailer filled with scantily clad women holding on to their cocktails and hay bales as they came down Main St. The float was titled “Dolly’s Deer Valley Does” and the women entertained parade-goers for a few years…

“For about three years and Nan McPolin told us that we couldn't do it anymore. Well, she just said ‘please don't do it again’ But we had so much fun. And every year we'd win.”

Dolly Makoff is survived by her two children Colette and Brad, their spouses and four grandkids. The family is planning a celebration of life later this summer.