Gary Comer started Lands’ End in 1963, selling sailboat equipment for racing sailors. He opened a storefront shop in Chicago’s tannery district and ran a mail-order business out of the basement. When the very first catalog cover misplaced the apostrophe in “Land’s End,” there wasn’t enough money to reprint the entire press run, so “Lands’ End” became the name of Gary’s company from then on, punctuation mistake and all. The “Lands’ End Yachtsman’s Equipment Guide” sparked a surge of growth for the company, necessitating a move to larger facilities on Chicago’s Elston Avenue. By 1977, the focus of the business was changing from sailing supplies to apparel – and in 1978 the company began migrating to Dodgeville, Wisconsin, completing the journey by the 1980s. It remains the company’s home. Lands’ End has become synonymous with legendary quality and honest value.
Photographs from our archives include the exterior of our first Chicago store, founder Gary C. Comer, an interior store photo and various early catalogs.