Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Sam Walton came from the humblest beginnings – as a boy he helped his mother sell fresh milk from the cows that she milked early each morning. Who could believe that this would be the beginning of his astounding business success?

 How did Walmart stores get their name? After Sam returned from serving in the US Army during World War II, he planned to go into business. He and his younger brother, Bud, started by managing a franchise for the Ben Franklin 5 & 10 cent store on the main street of nearby Fayetteville. When that store was taken over by someone else, he looked to open his own dry goods store – selling useful items at a low cost to customers in the small town of Bentonville in northwest Arkansas. After the shelves were stocked and the Waltons were ready to open for business, someone told Sam that painting each letter was an expense – especially in a long name such as Ben Franklin and suggested the shorter WAL-MART as the new store’s name.

 Walton operated on his 10 Rules for Building a Business – with an ultimate mission LOW PRICES EVERY DAY that later was flipped to EVERY DAY LOW PRICES which seemed to have more oomph. Walton’s goal was to “exceed your customers expectations.” And his statistics suggest that shopping at Walmart can or does save the average customer over $900/year. The success of his business model begins with strong relationships with suppliers and bulk buying so that Walmart can offer products at the lowest possible price.

 Among his business principles --- “Appreciate everything your associates do for your business.” Listen and learn from them – good ideas can come from anywhere. Sam’s ten foot rule was suggested by a store worker. If any shopper is within ten feet of you, welcome that person with an offer of assistance. From this grew the idea of having greeters welcome you at the entry doors. Have you been welcomed? Walmart was also early into making all employees owners so that they would feel an even higher personal commitment to corporate success.

 Walmart was the one of the first retailers to use computers to track sales and inventory. This allowed the shelves of all the stores to be full of the necessary merchandise for future sales. No one was going to be disappointed and the cash registers kept ringing.

Sam Walton promoted a policy of inclusive – early on women had roles in management and all associates were treated with respect as valued members of the corporate team.

 Driving on the open road, one often sees the giant Walmart semitrailers carrying goods to local small towns. In fact, towns of all sizes across the country are the setting for enormous Walmart supercenters, often open 24 hours a day, often with packed parking lots. They are clearly delivering what people want. And despite some of the controversies surrounding Walmart’s retailing success, one can easily see the benefits the retail chain provides the people who shop there and work there.

Fayetteville, Arkansas Store

Chain Grows in the Midwest

Corporate HQ stays in Bentonville, Arkansas

 From these humble beginnings, with good luck, good judgment, good leadership, good management and teamwork, Walmart grew to the enormous chain it is today – with stores throughout America and in several foreign countries. And so Walmart was launched --- now this company has the largest numbers of employees worldwide.

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