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Richard Warren Sears and Sears Roebuck Company Richard Warren Sears was born on December 7 1863 in Stewartville Minnesota He was the son of James Warren and Eliza A Sears both of English ancestory His father led anything but a happy life He had failed in his quest for gold during the California Gold Rush of 1849 and was a bitter soldier in the Civil War which he blamed on politicians He had earned a sizable sum of money working as a blacksmith and a wagonmaker but he lost it all in a stock-farm venture Richards father gave up soon afterwards leaving Richard to be the family breadwinner at the age of 16 Richard worked in the general offices of the Minneapolis and St Louis Railway in Minneapolis to support his family He then decided to move Redwood Falls Minnesota where he thought that he could earn more money because of the small town setting There he worked as a station attendant doing chores for his board and sleeping in the loft of the railroad station In his spare time he learned how the mail-order business worked Richard got his opportunity to get into the mail-order business in 1886 when a shipment of watches from a Chicago wholesaler was refused by a town jeweler Therefore the shipment sat in the railroad station until Richard contacted the wholesaler who offered him the watches for twelve dollars each He bought the watches and sold them by sending letters to other station attendants describing the watches and offering them at the discount price of fourteen dollars each He sold those watches and ordered more to sell To sell these he advertised in a small way in St Paul newspapers He made a large profit from this operation In a few months Richard made such a profit that he abandoned the railroad business entirely and started his own mail-order business under the name of the RW Sears
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