Founded by David, Robert and Stanley Kritznik, under the auspices of the General Merchandise Corporation, the chain was bought by J.C. Penney in 1962, a year after its first store had opened. The first locations were built in Wisconsin and encompassed 75,000 to 120,000 square feet.
The chain was headquartered -along with J.C. Penney- in New York City. Eventually, there were thirty-four stores. These were branded as Treasure Island in Atlanta and Appleton, Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Treasury nameplate was used in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicagoland, Dallas and Memphis.
A typical Treasure Island / The Treasury would include departments devoted to shoes, apparel, toys, hobbies, furniture and small appliances, as well as an optical store, dry cleaner, beauty salon, snack bar and auto service center. Supermarkets were a facet of the Treasure Island / The Treasury concept until 1977.
The jettison of the grocery division was indicative of the profitability problems that the chain had been experiencing since the mid-1970s. In February 1981, the Penney's home office announced the closing of all thirty-four stores, which was to conclude April of the year.