In 1886, Richard Warren Sears established the R.W. Sears Watch Company in a former railroad station, in North Redwood, Minnesota. In 1887, he moved operations to Chicago and hired Alvah Curtis Roebuck as a watch repairman. The first mail-order catalog was issued in 1887, with the Sears Roebuck & Company moniker being established in 1893.
Richard Warren Sears (1863-1914) was born in Stewartville, Minnesota. He eventually founded "The Cheapest Supply House on Earth."
Photo from Wikipedia / "Darwinek"
This railroad station structure housed the original R.W. Sears Watch Company.
Drawing from The Mid-Cities Daily News
Soon after the turn of the century, Sears followed Montgomery Ward's lead by establishing an unconditional money-back guarantee. Between 1908 and 1920, business increased six-fold, outstripping Montgomery Ward, by then Sears' primary competitor. In February 1925, the first Retail Department Store opened. It had been installed in the company's gigantic Merchandise Building headquarters and distribution center, in Chicago.
Sears, Roebuck & Company opened their first freestanding retail store in Evansville, Indiana, in October 1925.
Photo from "1925 History"