Although J.C. Penney is certainly not the department store mogul they once were, they may have just lost what is left of their following.
According to Godfather Politics, the demise of the store is laid in an interesting history that very few people know.
On April 14, 1902, three businessmen partnered and opened a retail store called The Golden Rule. In the next few years, they opened two more stores in the area, but in 1907, two of the partners, Thomas Callahan and Guy Johnson dissolved their partnership. The remaining partner, James Cash Penney managed to purchase full interest in all three stores and took control from there. In 1909, he moved his headquarters to Salt Lake City, Utah and by 1912 he had a grand total of 34 stores located throughout the Rocky Mountain states. In 1913, James Cash Penney placed all of his stores under the name of J.C. Penney and the rest is history.
The Great Depression hit Penney hard and he nearly lost everything he had. In an effort to salvage his retail company, he borrowed on his life insurance policies in order to meet payroll. The stress of the Great Depression and the financial burden it placed on Penney took its toll on his health and he ended up admitting himself into Battle Creek Sanitarium for treatment.
While at the sanitarium, it is reported that Penney heard the hymn God Will Take Care of You being sung in the sanitarium chapel. He was so moved by the hymn that he gave his life to Christ and became a born-again Christian.
You can imagine how Penney, who died in 1971, must be feeling now that the company recently adopted lesbian comedian and host Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson. Also, on Father’s Day of last year, J.C. Penney launched an ad campaign targeted gay fathers.
The company has been making blatant attempts to find a niche market in progressive consumers. Unfortunately, this plan his backfired, and J.C. Penney is now worth about half of what it once was. And Standard & Poor has lowered the company’s credit rating.