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Aaron Montgomery Ward
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    (February 17, 1843-December 7, 1913)
    Born in Chatham, New Jersey
    Founded Montgomery Ward & Company (1872)
    Invented first mail order retail business
    He shared his name with an ice hockey player.
    None of his friends or business acquaintances joined in his enthusiasm for his revolutionary idea of a mail order catalog system.
    One year after he founded his eponymous retailer, his business partners abandoned him.
    When his company closed its doors in 2001, it was, at the time, the largest retail bankruptcy liquidation in US history.
    He grew up in a large and poor family.
    At age fourteen, he first earned 25 cents per day at a cutting machine in a barrel stave factory, and then stacking brick in a kiln at 30 cents a day.
    During his time spent working at Field Palmer (a forerunner to Marshall Fields), he observed that rural customers often wanted 'city' goods but were often victimized by monopolists who offered no guarantee of quality.
    He also believed that by eliminating intermediaries, he could cut costs and make a wide variety of goods available to rural customers, who could purchase goods by mail and pick them up at the nearest train station.
    Despite a rough start, his mail order catalog retailer became a success.
    As a staunch environmentalist, he fought for the preservation of Chicago's Grant Park.
    'Forbes' magazine readers and editors ranked him as the 16th most influential businessman of all time.

Credit: Birdienest81

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