Charles E. Merrill
Merrill created the main street brokerage by founding the Merrill-Lynch Company. He was the first investment banker to realize that chain stores would one day dominate retailing and handled underwriting for at least 25 retail stores (such as S.S. Kresge – now K-Mart and Safeway Stores). He was also the first established broker to predict the Great Crash of 1929 and the only one that liquidated his firm’s stock portfolio. At his death, his firm boasted 115 offices with 400,000 clients and had become the largest brokerage firm in the country.