James Cash Penney opens his store on April 14th, 1902 in Kemmerer WY.
James starts his retail career in 1898 when he went to work for Guy Johnson and Thomas Callahan in their Golden Rule stores. When an opportunity to open a new store in Kemmerer came up, the partners offer him a share in the business and the chance to run his own store. In 1907, Penney buys out the other partners.
Penney enjoys steady growth and success. In 1912, he has 34 stores. In 1917, he operates 175 stores in 22 states. Big Mac work clothes, Penney’s oldest private brand, was launched in 1922. The 500th store was opens in 1924 and the 1000th in 1928. By 1941, Penney operated 1600 stores in all 48 states.
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, works for the company in 1940. They issue their first charge card in 1959. James Cash is involved with the company until 1971 when he passed away at the age of 95. At its height in 1973, J.C.Penney has over 2000 stores.