Aaron Montgomery started his company in 1872 as a mail-order business selling to farmers in rural areas near Chicago. The first retail stores opened in 1926, growing to more than 500 in five years. In 1985, the company ended its catalog business. Facing competition from new discount retailers in the 1990s, the store filed for bankruptcy in 1997. The last store closed in 2001 but relaunched as an online company in 2004.