Let us now see the continent from the height of a satellite, looking almost coast to coast , from Pebble Beach to Gainesville ”where another audience is gathering to hear about diversity, inclusion, and enlightenment at JCPenney. And at about the halfway point in-between, we can also see ”as we drop down ”Plano, Texas. And there is the grand Legacy complex of the Penney Company. Inside, from atrium to atrium, building to building, rotunda to rotunda, nearly 3,000 associates are at work as though Anthony Mark Hankins had never existed. Everything appears normal, functional. But is it really? Is everything really in synch with the messages of Howell and Duff-Bloom? The Hankins departure (no matter who knows or cares) would suggest otherwise . But, on balance, that story was just a tick in the giant company's clockworks. So ”overall ” is JCPenney really as solid as its speech-making officers and Wall Street think? Or are serious cracks beginning to form in the vast foundation?
Now let us move outside, to the western elevation of the complex awash in sunlight. There is the glassy ceremonial entrance that virtually nobody ever uses except the few borne by limousines or company cars . The doors, of course, open into the symmetrical center of the complex, the tall, airy grand rotunda. The only adornment across the main expanse of the rotunda's glistening marble and terrazzo is a bronze statue of James Cash Penney at the age of 65. There, the frugal Main Street Merchant stands watch, a lonely sentinel in a suit. He seems a little uneasy, as though unsure of his luxurious surroundings. Mr. Penney is extending a hand, perhaps reaching to touch a memory in the distance of time. Perhaps he is thinking back to the Golden Rule store and the rush of all that has happened since. But look carefully now, for this pose is important.
Fittingly, Mr. Penney faces the outside, the Texas horizon stretching away to the west under the big sky. His back is to a winding staircase leading up to the Penney "Executive." And now one can understand his gesture and the sad, hooded eyes. It is as though he has just turned back from looking around toward the Golden Crescent. As though he is now reaching back to the past, reaching away from the plush suites to a time when a man virtually lived in his store in order to serve his customers.