Sears is an American chain of international department stores, founded by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck in the late 19th century. Richard Sears was a railroad station agent in Minnesota when he received a shipment of watches from a Chicago jeweler. Sears purchased the shipment himself and sold the watches at a nice profit to other station agents and then ordered more for resale. Soon he started a business selling watches through mail order catalogs. The next year, he moved to Chicago where he met Alvah C. Roebuck, who joined him in the business. In 1893, the corporate business name became Sears, Roebuck and Co. Farmers typically bought supplies at very high prices from local general stores. Sears took advantage of this situation by publishing his catalog with clearly stated prices, so that consumers could know what they are getting and at what price, and how to order and obtain them conveniently. The catalog business became popular very quickly. By end of the year 1894 the Sears catalog grew to 322 pages, now featuring sewing machines, bicycles, sporting goods, and a host of other new items.