Mourning a 104 year old Community Member

This is a story I have been researching and wanting to tell for quite some time.  In October of 2020, Sandpoint lost a vital and important community member of 104 years, the JC Penney Store.  I briefly document the story in the video, which I hope you find informative, fascinating, and hopeful.  What James Cash Penney did was to create a corporation on his highly esteemed ethics called the “Penney Ideas”, covered in the video, and because of those ideals, his corporation became one of the largest in the United States only rivaled by Sears.


Over the past decades, a shift has occurred in modern business ethics.  Corporations have forgotten their roots and have branched into maximizing profits over product reliability and costumer appreciation.  CEOs have begun to see the corporations they are running as cash cows to be milked for all they are worth until the bank loans dry up and the bankruptcies follow. The CEO ask for expensive bonus packages to carry the CEO and their team through the bankruptcy they caused, by leaving the founder’s dreams and values in ruins.

I shudder to think how similar our United States Constitution is to a corporation of the American people, and our representatives in government were cashing in on our demise the same way.

I do have hope though!  People like James Cash Penney rise up during tough times to provide a service for the people.  They value people.  They have a strong ethical view of working together instead of a “us” versus “them” strategy.  At the end of the video, I show two local hopefuls, that may embrace the “Penney Ideas” and not even know it.

6 thoughts on “Mourning a 104 year old Community Member

  1. I can’t, yet, watch the video. But the last paragraph in your post hints that there are some stores, hopefully locally owned, that may be able to fill the void.

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    • That is correct. The video starts at 6:30 PM PST and people watching can live chat while the video plays. I’ve never had much success with it, but I am always curious to see if people will show up.

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  2. My Mother worked for J.C.Penney’s in Oakland California, in the mid 1950’s until the early 1970’s. it was a wonderful company to work for. They treated there employees very well, as they did the customers.
    Thanks for the history of the company Mark. Great job.

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    • Thanks for the positive feedback, I hope I did my grandmother-in-law justice with the history. Your mother worked for JC Penney during the golden years. James Cash Penney became “officially” retired during this time, but he still made sure his ethics and vision of treating his customers and employees with dignity and respect were still being followed. He passed away in 1971 and things started to change after that. Unfortunately, JC Penneys today has lost all connection to its roots.

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