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J. C. Penney

The original JCPenney store in Kemmerer. (Bernd00/Wikipedia)

It was April of 1902, when James Cash Penney put his life savings into a tiny retail store in the small mining town of Kemmerer, Wyoming. The store was called the “Golden Rule Store”, where Mr. Penney offered the community fair dealing and honest value, on a strict cash-and-carry basis. And in a town with only a company store that opereated on credit, and 21 saloons, there was plenty of opportunity for the Golden Rule Store.

Back in 1902, a man’s suit cost 10 dollars, a pair of shoes was 50 cents. And after the first day of business, Mr. Penney’s store had taken in an astounding 466 dollars, and 59 cents. That was just the beginning of one of the great business success stories. By 1913, just 11 years after that first store opened in Kemmerer, the franchise had grown to 34 stores. And it was then that Mr. Penney bought-out all of his stockholders and partners, and the changed the name of this growing retail giant to J.C. Penney.

Today, there are over 6,000 stores worldwide. And the Wonder of J.C. Penney, the man and the business, began right here in Wyoming over a century ago.

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