They were like the "poor man's Sears". Used to have branded low end shotguns, a long time ago. I can recall restoring several Montgomery Wards .410 side by sides, all were standard for their time, choked full/full.
Wards didn't have the Craftsman panache, but they sold inexpensive, American made tools that weren't that awfully bad. I recall buying a couple of lawn mowers from them, in .... I believe the eighties. Sporting good department, men and women's clothing, jewelry department, shoe department with clerks that would measure, etc.
Pretty much "The Poor Man's Sears".
I'm not surprised that a rich boy, like you, hadn't been exposed to the Monkey Ward's experience.