J.C. Penney was an American businessman born on September 16, 1875 in Caldwell County, Missouri. He worked at a dry goods store where he learned the business and eventually opened his own store in 1902. He expanded to 175 stores by the time he retired in 1917. He stayed active behind the scenes at the company to help plan the chain’s future. During the Great Depression, his stores survived by offering a good value to customers on a budget. He was a member of the company’s Board of Directors until his death on February 12, 1971.
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