Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- July 5, 2017

Did you know that JCPenney, the national department store chain, had its beginnings in a small town in southwestern Wyoming? I had the pleasure of visiting it last month and am going to share highlights of my trip in this month's Wednesday in Wyoming posts.

Although this is not the original building or, for that matter the original location, the building is referred to as the "Mother Store" and brings tourists to tiny Kemmerer, Wyoming from all across the country to see where James Cash Penney opened his first store on April 14, 1902.

The first store was part of the Golden Rule chain of stores and he was only a part owner, but by 1907 Penney had full ownership of three Golden Rule stores, and in 1913 he incorporated under the J.C. Penney Company, Inc. name. The rest is history.

As you saw from the first picture, the outside is typical of many stores in small towns, complete with a bench for husbands to sit while their wives shop. Here's the interior.

There've been a few changes to it, including the addition of skylights, but much of the rest is the same as it was in the early twentieth century.  The merchandise, however, is all twenty-first century. And the welcome that the store's associates give customers would have made Mr. Penney proud, because it incorporates his maxim "to serve the public, as nearly as we can, to its complete satisfaction."

7 comments:

  1. Interesting, Mr Penny started his retail adventures in Longmont, Co with a butcher shop on Main Street in 1899 before buying his first Wyoming Golden Rule stores from T.M. Callahan also from Longmont, and expended the Golden Rule stores into other states before he started the J.C. Penney stores. Sadly our local J.C.Penney store is going out of business.

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    1. Kathy -- Did you know that the butcher shop failed because he refused to supply the chef at a local hotel with a bottle of bourbon every week?

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    2. I had not heard that. That's quite a fun fact to know. Thanks, Kathy

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  2. I am a special affinity with Penney's since I remember shopping there from the first summer I moved to Cheyenne. They had an escalator, which I thought was very cool. My husband also has found memories as they used to sell records and they even had listening booths were you could check out the latest 45's. I worry that our store will close, and there will be one more less option of shopping in Cheyenne. I'm still mourning the loss of Kmart. They had stuff that nobody else does. And I won't shop at Walmart so my choices are really limited. Great post!

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    1. Mary, I'd forgotten about those listening booths -- what a great memory! According to the clerks/ travel guides at the Kemmerer store, the one in Cheyenne will not be closed. At least not as part of the current cutback plan.

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  3. That is interesting Amanda. I worked at our local Penney's store (Frederick, MD)for a few years in the early 1970's in the children's department.
    blessings,Tina

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    1. Tina -- I think Penney's is part of most of our lives because they offered good merchandise at fair prices. I used to love the fabric department, but sadly, they discontinued that.

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