I am not an easy person to surprise. I've been on this earth long enough to have seen a few things and done a lot of things. That being said, I was surprised when I saw who readers of USA Today chose as the best department store in America. It's a store who's story began in Missouri.

KICK FM, #1 For New Country logo
Get our free mobile app

Before you peek at the results from the USA Today reader's poll about the best department store in America for 2023, which one do you think it is? If you had asked me back in the 1980's, I probably would have gotten it right. Not so much today sadly.

What did the USA Today people rate as America's best department store?

Answer - JC Penney

In case you didn't know, James Cash Penney was born in Hamilton, Missouri on September 16, 1885 as Wikipedia notes.  His life in Missouri was not easy as Wikipedia says "He was the seventh of twelve children, only six of whom lived to adulthood". He had tuberculosis and moved west to Colorado to try and find relief. James Cash Penney began working at a small group of stores out west and his hard work earned him a partnership. He eventually bought all the stores and that's the humble beginnings of what would become JCPenney.

Fast forward to 2023 and the retail challenge has been difficult for modern day JCPenney.

I find it interesting that the audience of a major brand like USA Today would still hold JCPenney in such high regard. It's quite a nod to nostalgia and a world-famous brand that had humble beginnings in a man born on a small Missouri farm.

Commercials Actors Were in Before They Were Famous

Before they were famous, many celebrities did commercials. Stacker challenges you to guess the ads that helped launch 25 actors' careers.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

More From KICK FM, #1 For New Country