J. C. Penney was founded by James Cash Penney and William Henry McManus. The original name for the store that started Penney in the dry goods business was The Golden Rule Store, owned by T. M. Callahan in Longmont, Colorado. It was later changed to J. C. Penney Company when it was sold in 1912 by T. M. Callahan to his protege, J. C. Penney. The mother store is located in Kemmerer, Wyoming, and still operates as of 2008, albeit with hours significantly shorter than many of its other store locations.
The exterior of a J.C. Penney department store at the Holiday Village Mall in Great Falls, Montana.J. C. Penney relocated its headquarters in 1909 to Salt Lake City, Utah to be closer to banks and railroads, and again in 1914 to Buffalo to simplify the buying, financing, and transportation of goods. By 1917, the company operated 175 stores in 22 states in the United States. JCPenney acquired The Crescent Corset Company in 1920, the company's first wholly-owned subsidiary. In 1922, the company's oldest active private brand, Big Mac work clothes, was launched. The company opened its 500th store in 1924 in Hamilton, Missouri, James Cash Penney's hometown. By the opening of 1,000th store in 1928, gross business had reached $190,000,000. In 1940 Sam Walton began working at a JCPenney in Des Moines, Iowa. Walton later went on to found future retailer Wal-Mart in 1962. By 1941, the company operated 1,600 stores in all 48 states. In 1956, JCPenney started national advertising with a series of advertisements in Life magazine. JCPenney credit cards were issued and accepted at its stores for the first time in 1959.
The Treasury, Catalog, and Full-line stores
In 1962, JCPenney entered discount merchandising with the acquisition of General Merchandise Company which gave them The Treasury. JCPenney closed the money-losing discount stores in 1981. In 1963, J. C. Penney issued its first catalog. The company operated in-store catalog desks in eight...
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