Montgomery Ward was the world’s first mail order catalog business. It was established in 1872 by Aaron Montgomery Ward. The business was catalog-only until 1926, when the first Montgomery Ward store was opened in Plymouth, Indiana. Within four years there were more than 500 stores across the country.
During the 1950s Montgomery Ward began to fall behind its competition, as most major retailers were moving to the suburbs, a move that Montgomery Ward thought to be too expensive. By the 1970s the company was in serious trouble. They continued to struggle and in 1997 declared bankruptcy. They were able to reorganize and emerged in 1999 as Wards. Unfortunately, this was not successful and the company announced it was closing in 2000. The last Wards store closed in 2001.
In 2004 an Iowa-based company bought the rights to the Montgomery Ward and Wards names and started an online and catalog company using the names. This company was sold to catalog giant Swiss Colony in 2008.
Written by Lizzie Bramlett, fuzzylizzie.com