Tuesday, November 20, 2007
A Seasoned Saint
J.C. Penney is a name synonymous with department store. He first launched his chain of "The Golden Rule" stores in 1907. In 1910 his first wife died. Three years later, he incorporated as the J.C. Penney company. In 1923 his second wife died giving birth to his son. In 1929 the stock market crashed and he lost $40 million.
By 1932, he had to sell out to satisfy...creditors. This left [Penney] virtually broke. ...Crushed in spirit from his loss and his health suddenly failing, Penney wound up in a Battle Creek, Michigan sanitarium. One morning he heard the distant singing of employees who gathered to start the day with God: Be not dismayed, whate'er betide, God will take care of you.... Penney followed the music to its source and slipped into a back row. He left a short time later a changed man, his health and spirit renewed, and ready to start the long climb back at age fifty-six.
By 1951 there was a J.C. Penney store in every state, and for the first time sales surpassed $1 billion a year. [John Woodbridge, ed., More Than Conquerors (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1992), 340-343.]