According to the LDS Church, there are 70,946 missionaries serving in 422 missions around the globe. These missionaries are trained in various languages and church doctrine at 15 global locations, one of which is located in Provo.
But before these young men and women can embark on two years of service and proselytizing, they must gather the necessary clothing and daily essentials that they rely on back home. These include durable suits and dresses that can weather climate extremes and the rigors of days filled with walking and biking.
To help these young people prepare, outfitters like MissionaryMall and SisterMissionaryMall sprang up to meet the needs of Utah Valley residents.
MissionaryMall and SisterMissionaryMall spokesperson Melissa Clark said that MissionaryMall was started back in July of 1997. SisterMissionaryMall was started in 2006.
She said the businesses were founded and are still owned and operated by Jon & Jenni Theobald.
“They actually started right out of college out selling water purification systems for missionaries, but soon realized that there was a greater need for an all-inclusive missionary store,” Clark said. “Having both served missions themselves, Jon and Jenni both have a strong desire to help missionaries prepare for their missions and serve to the best of their abilities.”
She said there are three locations, all located in Utah County.
“Our men’s store is located in Orem, with a store dedicated to sisters just across the parking lot,” Clark said. “In January, we opened up an outlet store in Springville that has both men’s and women’s items as well as our large clearance selection. Our outlet store has allowed us to centralize our clearance and discontinued items, and gives us more room in our stores to bring in new products.”
Prospective missionaries coming into any of the MissionaryMall and SisterMissionaryMall stores can expect to find durable, stylish and affordable products as well as an entire team of recently returned missionaries ready to help them with whatever questions and concerns that they might have, she said.
“All of our employees have extensive knowledge of our products, how things are supposed to fit and wear, what products are going to be the best fit for the missionary and missions in which they are serving,” Clark said. “The majority of the products that we carry in our stores are actually designed by Jon and Jenni specifically for missionaries.”
She said the Theobalds pay attention to what fabrics, styles, fits and colors work best for the unique demands of a mission and the specific mission guidelines.
“We have a full alterations department at all of our stores, we do women’s alterations too, with alterations completed within 24 to 48 hours,” Clark said. “This allows us to customize pieces to the missionary.”
“We also offer daily delivery to the Provo MTC daily and can ship items to missionaries while they are out in the field,” she added.
Preparing for a mission can be an expensive and stressful, and because of that MissionaryMall and SisterMissionaryMall offers a two-year clothing guarantee.
“The MissionaryMall two-year guarantee is one of our most recognizable benefits,” Clark said. “This guarantee is a service and benefit designed to help the full-time missionary who originally purchased items from our store, so that they do not have to re-purchase missionary clothing in the mission field.”
She said MissionaryMall and SisterMissionaryMall products have been refined by tried and true tests in the field.
“If we see that something does not last, we stop selling it,” Clark said. “Everything in our store has been tested by real missionaries serving all over the world.”
Another missionary outfitter in the Utah Valley, Modern Missionary, which outfits male missionaries geared up for proselytizing around the world, carries the CTR Clothing product line.
“Thousands of missionaries around the world are currently wearing our completely non-iron athletic fit CTR shirts and our Drymax socks,” said Orem store manager Rod Staples.
Staples said the CTR Clothing line was developed 14 years ago by a group of retailers with privately owned businesses with “the desire to bring a superior product at a fair price to missionaries.”
“There are 10 privately owned stores that carry CTR Clothing with original names located throughout the intermountain west,” he said. “Modern Missionary itself is a split partnership with the 10 owners. Orem is the flagship location.”
Staples said that Modern Missionary customers should expect to find missionary clothing that is modern both in technology and fit without sacrificing the durability and comfort needed to withstand the rigors of missionary work.
“We manufacture our products with the rigors of missionary work in mind,” he said. “They include features not found in other brands. Also, our staff includes recently returned missionaries that understand the demands of the Modern Missionary.”