Today, only a small number of people know by whom and where Wal-Mart, the world’s most famous shopping center, was founded. Sam Walton, a young man who lived in Arkansas worked daily with his mother and father to keep the family financially stable. He did this by delivering milk, selling magazines, pigeons and rabbits. Sam Walton is the founder of Wal-Mart which opened in the summer of 1962. First of all, “Samuel Moore Walton was born March 29, 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma to Thomas Gibson Walton and Nancy Lee Walton (Von Bergen, 1).
As stated before, Walton helped the family earn money by doing small jobs around the town, which helped him learn the value of a dollar. Sam participated in many sports and was also well educated. He was the president of several clubs, the senior men’s honor society, his college senior class and a military organization. In 1940 he graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia with a degree in finance. Even though Walton was denied the right to join the Army in 1942 because of a minor heart condition he was able to work at a gunpowder plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
While working in Tulsa he met a woman named Helen Robson, which he later married in February of 1943. Years later the Walton family included four children: Jim, John, Robson and Alice. In 1949 the Walton family moved to Bentonville, Arkansas. Soon after, Walton and his brother bought a variety store, Walton’s Five & Dime that was self-serviced. By 1962 Walton and his brother were owners of over 15 variety stores in three different states.
Although Walton never worried about how much money he would make, “Walton learned the business by watching and talking to people already in retail, by checking out the competition, and by experimentation” (Von Bergen, 2). Second of all, “In July 1962, when he was 44, Walton opened the first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Arkansas” (Von Bergen, 2). Sam Walton bestowed upon his Wal-Mart Corporation “the simple fact that they mean what they say and they’re committed to doing it,” (Vosburgh, 1).
For example, “He promised his employees he would dance a hula at high noon on Wall Street if the company achieved its profit goals in 1983. It did, and he kept his word,” (Von Bergen, 3). Walton had opened stores by 1966 and 276 by 1979, which showed that Wal-Mart was making great success and good profits. In 1991, the year Wal-Mart became the largest retailer in the country; Walton decided to pass the business down to his children. This occurred after he had been diagnosed with bone cancer that was fatal. He also started the first Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart Supercenter between the years of 1983-1998.
Sam’s Club store was created out of admiration of Price Club store. Although Sam Club’s comes second in sales in the warehouse club industry, “ some people have gone so far as to call Sam’s Club a ‘stepchild’,” because it is a $40 billion business (Springer, 1). It has “high-quality, brand name products at rock-bottom prices,” (Vance, 119). Also Wal-Mart has the largest truck and airport transporter system. “Much of the credit for the airport’s founding goes to a member of the Walton clan,” (Chandler, 78).
Alice Walton support of $80 million helped underwrite revenue bonds. Third of all, Sam Walton is very charitable. “By necessity, as his company grew, Sam Walton was forced to hire his company leaders and employees from the local labor pool, which was comprised mostly of farmers, teachers, government workers, and rural business people…,” (Bergdahl, 1). Hiring inexperienced people was very charitable of Sam. This also helped him define his new strategy called hiring for attitude, training for results. Hiring for attitude shaped his employees into a high performing team.
“Wal-Mart is one of the few big companies in America where it is still possible for an individual to join the company without bringing prior knowledge and experience and still have the chance to achieve his or her personal career dreams,” (Bergdahl, 2). Also the Walton Family Foundation, built on Wal-Mart money, plays a large role in the education system. “The foundation over the past decade has become a leading private donor to K-12 education,” (Robelen, 1). It has provided over $90 million in education grants and over $20 million in loans.
The Walton Family Foundation has also provided funding to open charter schools. “The central focus of the foundation’s education work is to promote parental choice in low-income communities, where families often lack high-quality options,” (Robelen, 2). For example, “A $30,000 grant from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, will support The White Plains Performing Arts Center’s new Renaissance Theatre Academy,” (Renaissance Theatre, A8).
This donation allowed the local children to be taught by experienced theater professionals and to participate in a Broadway musical. The Wal-Mart Foundation has given over $10 million to help provide schoolchildren with healthy meals. “Wal-Mart and its charitable foundation plan to give $250-million in cash and $1. 75-billion worth of food over the next five years to fight hunger in the United States,” (Preston,1). In another thrive to help children, “The Wal-Mart Foundation presented the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation with a $20,000 donation at the annual Fill the Fire Truck Toy Drive luncheon.
The money will be used to buy toys and gift cards for children served by 38 charities supported by the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation,” (Business Press, P26). To show the support to U. S. soldiers, “$500,000 worth of donations by Wal-Mart Foundation to two national charities to help U. S. wounded troops and families over the December 2008 holidays,” (Jowers, 1). The Wal-Mart and Walton Family Foundation has evidently shown their dedication to education and support to the United States of America.
In conclusion, Sam Walton was an ordinary man with no idea of knowing that his small dream of owning a variety store would turn out to be a huge success. As a small boy Walton learned the value of a dollar and the hard work that came with it by helping his mom and dad. He also learned the business by watching others who already owned a successful retail store in Rogers, Arkansas. Through hiring inexperienced people, observing the competition, and willing to fail, Walton did everything to improve his own business.
As of today Wal-Mart still remains as the largest retailer in the country that employs over one million people and has the best prices that have never been beaten. By being a huge success, Wal-Mart created a foundation that helped the troops of the U. S. and the Feeding America Corporation. The Walton Family Foundation, founded by Helen Walton, has funded education in several states and strived to help parents, their children and communities. Sam Walton died as the second wealthiest man in the world on April 5, 1992.