Jim sent a message to Marvin R. Ellison – President of J. C. Penney Company Inc.- email address that said:
I read the Fortune article about you several months ago while traveling. I just want to say I wish you the best of luck and I think you are 100% on the right track. I grew up the oldest of 4 boys and we had our before school shopping trips and Christmas Shopping trips to JCP. My first suit for my 8th grade graduation was bought at Penny's.
When I graduated from college in 1990 I got a job teaching. I made $16,000 a year and that included my stipends for coaching two sports. I could not get a major credit card but needed work clothes so I went to Pennys and they issued me my first credit card with a $500 limit. I bought some dress shirts, pants, ties and my first pair of Penny black oxford shoes. I paid my balance every month and would go in once a month and buy something to put on the card and then pay it off each month so I could build my credit. After about a year the credit card offers started filling my mailbox.
I now own a successful insurance agency and can afford to shop wherever I would like but I always ask myself why would I spend a couple of hundred dollars on a pair of dress shoes when I can buy a pair at Pennys on sale for $60 which I just did today and that kind of prompted me to write you. Today my closet is still full of Stafford shirts, pants, ties, suits and shoes and people compliment me on them all of the time. The savings helps me be able to be more charitable in my community.
I have six children and I want them to be respect and know the value of money. It really was a great joy to take my oldest son to Pennys last year and buy him his first suit for his homecoming dance. It brought back a lot of found memories from my youth. I bought him a suit for around the same cost of him renting a tux.
I, like you are involved in a business that they say is being taken over by the internet and we need to be aware of this and posture ourselves accordingly but I still think people like to be served and waited on. People still enjoy personal contact and service so I wish you luck and hope you succeed. Im thinking about buying some of your stock because I really do believe you have the right vision for your company. Good luck and God bless.