His ties were to the railroad where he worked as a station agent in tiny North Redwood, Minn. But when a local jeweler rejected a shipment of watches, he bought them instead. He quickly sold out that shipment and ordered more. Buoyed by his success, he decided to try his luck as a watch peddler in Chicago. He put a want ad in a Chicago daily because he needed a second hand to help with watch repair. The man who answered was a young Indiana watchmaker. Richard Sears was so impressed with Alvah Roebuck that he hired him, and the two later became partners.