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Back in the late 19th Century, two men, Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Roebuck started one of North America's most enduring retail stores, Sears, Roebuck and Company, or as it is commonly known today as just Sears.

This amazingly successful company got its humble start when Richard Sears sold watches through a mail-order catalog in the 1890s. Shortly thereafter, Alvah Roebuck joined him on this venture, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. In fact, it wasn't until 1925, more than 30 years after starting the catalog business, that Sears and Roebuck opened its first retail store in Chicago. By the 1970s, the "Roebuck" was dropped from the chain's name. In 2004, Kmart and Sears merged, but decided to keep their stores and brands separate.

The retail store chain, selling everything from socks to tires to household appliances, boasts a current total of almost 4,000 stores, helping Sears bring in over $50 billion annually.

Sears is currently headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a northwestern suburb of Chicago.

About Ray Salloom