Sam Walton

1918

BIRTH

Samuel Moore Walton was born in Kingfisher, OK on March 29

1940

COLLEGE

Walton graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in economics

1945

STORE MANAGER

Walton managed his first variety store in Newport, AR

1950

WALTON’S 5 & 10

Walton, his wife and his father-in-law opened the first Walton’s 5 & 10 in Bentonville, AR

1962

WALMART

Walton owned 16 stores throughout Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas. He opened his first Walmart on July 2

1976

BUSINESS GROWTH

Walmart’s share value grew upwards of $176 million

1992

RECOGNITION & DEATH

Walton received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush. He passed away two months later from multiple myeloma on April 5

Sam Walton – The World’s Largest Retail Chain

 

Sam Walton grew up during the Great Depression. His parents had to sell their farm and his father went to work for a farm mortgage company. In truth, his father’s job became foreclosing other farms during the Depression.

 

Childhood of the Great Depression

Sam Walton worked multiple part-time jobs as a kid and teen to help his family keep food on the table. He had a paper route, sold magazine subscriptions, and sold any extra milk their cow produced. The Depression was a real struggle for the Waltons.

 

Voted “Most Versatile”

Walton was a good student, the quarterback of his high school football team, and an Eagle Scout before he left middle school. Senior year of high school, his classmates voted him “most versatile boy.”

 

It Started with a 5&10 Variety Store

When Sam Walton was out of college, he bought a variety store — 5&10 Variety Store in Bentonville, Arkansas. He, his brother, and father-in-law were so successful at managing, running, and providing top notch customer service that in a period of a few years they came to own a whole chain of variety stores in the Midwest.

 

Walmart is the First Rural Discounter

Sam Walton founded and opened the first Walmart in 1962, capitalizing on his previous retail success. Other discount retailers, like K-Mart and Meijer, were new or getting their start about the same time. However, those stores focused on cities. Walton was the only one to locate his stores in rural areas, so he wasn’t competing head to head with any other discounters.

 

Walmart Experiences Phenomenal Growth

By 1976, Walmart was a publicly traded company with a share value north of 176 million dollars. Yes, success was swift and the chain grew into over 500 stories throughout the world.

 

Sam Walton Ranks as Richest American

In 1998, Time Magazine included Walton on its list of 100 most influential people of the 20th Century. In 1992, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush. Forbes ranked Sam Walton as the richest person in the United States from 1982 to 1988. At the University of Arkansas, the Sam M. Walton College of Business is named in his honor. Walmart and Sam Walton are studied in business colleges the world over and is currently in the #1 position of Fortune 500 companies.

 

Did You Know?

  • Walton drove a 1979 Ford F150 pick-up truck, which now resides at the Walmart’s Visitor Center.
  • Walton served in the military during WWII from 1942 to 1945.
  • Walton published his memoir, Sam Walton Made in America, in 1993.

 

LINKS:

Brief history on the Walmart website

Longer, more detailed history


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WRITTEN BY: MOUTH WATERING MEDIA