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J.C. Penney
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    (September 22, 1875-February 12, 1971)
    Born in Hamilton, Missouri
    Birth name was James Cash Penney
    Founder of the J.C. Penney department stores
    Started in 1902 with a one-third partnership of one store called Golden Rule in Kemmerer, Wyoming
    Chair of over 1,600 stores nationwide when he died at age 95 in New York City
    Currently over 3,000 J.C. Penney stores operating in over 70 countries worldwide
    He was one of 12 siblings born to an impoverished farmer/minister and was made to buy his own clothes at age eight.
    His father was also named James Cash, but their was no senior/junior distinction.
    While starting in the dry goods business as a stock clerk/salesman, his co-workers bullied him and stole his customers.
    The 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression messed up his finances and his health to the point he checked into the Kellogg Sanitarium.
    Convinced he was dying, he wrote farewell letters to his family when he claimed a hymn sung in the hospital chapel miraculously saved his life.
    He stated, 'Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk.' (so he was pro or anti-stock clerk?)
    He was such a dedicated hard-working employee that when his two business partners dissolved their partnership, they gave him sole possession of three Wyoming Golden Rule stores.
    He made employees 'associates,' some becoming manager-partners in new stores and shared in profits.
    His strategy to 'not to have a chain of stores, but to have a chain of good men' helped him amass his fortune.
    His first wife of 11 years died in 1910 when he was 35 and a second wife of four years died in 1923 when he was 48.
    He was a philanthropist who donated vast sums of money to worthwhile causes.
    During the depression, along with IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, Norman Vincent Peale and Arthur Godfrey, he founded 40Plus, an organization to help unemployed managers and executives.
    In 1954, he started the J.C. Penney Foundation to support organizations addressing issues like world peace, community renewal and the environment.
    In 1978, the J.C. Penney Historic District in Kemmerer, Wyoming (where he operated his first store) was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Credit: Scar Tactics

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