What Is the History of Miles Kimball?


Quick Answer

The Miles Kimball Company was founded in 1934 as Direct Mail Associates, when Miles Kimball went into business selling customized Christmas cards in which the design spelled out the sender's name. In a one-room shop with seven fellow employees, including Dean Greer, Kimball printed and mailed personalized cards to every household with the surname "Johnson" in the Minneapolis metropolitan area. With the earnings from this initial effort, Kimball was able to produce the company's first catalog the following year.

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Full Answer

In 1940, Dean Greer sold his share of Direct Mail Associates, clearing the way for Kimball to rename the company after himself. Throughout the 1940s, Kimball's catalog grew in popularity and became known for the creative and unusual merchandise it offered.

Kimball died in 1949 at the age of just 43. Following his death, his wife Alberta became the President of Miles Kimball Company. She maintained the mail order business throughout the 1950s and 1960s, but starting in 1970, Alberta began to transition Miles Kimball Company into a department store. The first physical location of Kimball Company, Park Plaza, opened in downtown Oshkosh in 1970 and was the nation’s first enclosed shopping mall. Alberta Kimball died in October 1996.

The Kimball company began selling merchandise online in 2000, with the first order being placed on May 10 of that year.

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