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Fast facts

railway stationIn the Beginning

Picture America in the late 1880s. The states were only 38 in number. Their total population was 58 million and about 65 percent of these people lived in rural areas. Only a dozen or so cities had 200,000 or more residents. And the yearly national income was about $10 billion. This was the scene when, one day in 1886, a Chicago jewelry company shipped some gold-filled watches to an unsuspecting jeweler in a Minnesota hamlet. Thus started a chain of events that led to the founding of Sears.

mr searsRichard Sears was an agent of the Minneapolis and St. Louis railway station in North Redwood, Minnesota. Sears job as station agent left him plenty of spare time, so he sold lumber and coal to local residents on the side to make extra money. Later, when he received a shipment of watches - unwanted by a neighboring Redwood Falls jeweler - he was ready. Sears purchased them himself, sold the watches at a nice profit to other station agents up and down the line, and then ordered more for resale.

In 1886 Sears began the R.W. Sears Watch Company in Minneapolis.


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