Business Takes Off
Richard Sears was the guiding genius of the new
mail-order firm. He knew farmers, understood their needs
and desires. Better yet, he could write advertising copy
that made farmers send in their money and orders.
the earliest catalogs featured only watches and jewelry,
the new firm by 1895 was producing a 532-page catalog
with many other items. This book offered shoes, women's
garments and millinery, wagons, fishing tackle, stoves,
furniture, china, musical instruments, saddles,
firearms, buggies, bicycles, baby carriages and
glassware, in addition to watches and jewelry.
Under Sears leadership, sales in 1893 topped
$400,000. Two years later they exceeded $750,000.
Selling, advertising, merchandising - these were Richard
Sears' talents, not organizing the company so it could
handle orders on an economical and efficient basis. That
was left to Chicago clothing manufacturer Julius
Rosenwald, who bought into the company in 1895.
The company's reorganization resulted in Rosenwald
becoming vice president. Sears retained the presidency.
Suffering from ill health, Roebuck resigned, although
the company still retained his name. In 1901 Rosenwald
became treasurer as well as vice president. Five years
later, needing additional capital, Sears and Rosenwald
for the first time sold common and preferred stock on
the open market. The company has been publicly owned