Samuel Moore “Sam” Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992) was an American businessman and entrepreneurborn in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, best known for founding the retailers Walmart and Sam’s Club. Sam Walton was born to Thomas Gibson Walton and Nancy Lee, in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. There, he lived with his parents on their farm until 1923. Sam’s father decided farming did not generate enough income on which to raise a family and decided to go back to a previous profession of farm mortgaging, working for his brother’s Walton Mortgage Company, which served as an agent for Metropolitan Life Insurance where he repossessed farms during the Great Depression.
He and his family (now with another son, James, born in 1921) moved from Oklahoma to Orlando, Florida. There they moved from one small town to another for several years. While attending eighth grade in Shelbina, Missouri, Sam became the youngest Eagle Scout in the state’s history. In adult life, Walton became a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
Eventually the family moved to Columbia, Missouri. Growing up during the Great Depression, Walton had numerous chores to help make financial ends meet for his family as was common at the time. He milked the family cow, bottled the surplus, and drove it to customers. Afterwards, he would deliver Columbia Daily Tribune newspapers on a paper route. In addition, he also sold magazine subscriptions. Upon graduating from David H. Hickman High School in Columbia, he was voted “Most Versatile Boy”.
After high school, Walton decided to attend college, hoping to find a better way to help support his family. He attended the University of Missouri as an ROTC cadet. During this time, he worked various odd jobs, including waiting tables in exchange for meals. Also during his time in college, Walton joined the Zeta Phi chapter of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He was also tapped by QEBH, the well-known secret society on campus honoring the top senior men, and the national military honor society Scabbard and Blade. Additionally, Walton served as President of Burall Bible Class, a large class of students from the University of Missouri and Stephens College. Upon graduating in 1940 with a Bachelor’s of Economics, he was voted “permanent president” of the class.
Walton joined J.C. Penney as a management trainee in Des Moines, Iowa three days after graduating from college. This position paid him $75 a month. Walton spent approximately eighteen months with J.C. Penney. He resigned in 1942 in anticipation of being inducted into the military for service in World War II. In the meantime, he worked at a DuPont munitions plant nearTulsa, Oklahoma. Soon afterwards, Walton joined the military in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps, supervising security at aircraft plants and prisoner of war camps. In this position he served at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah. He eventually reached the rank of Captain.
In 1945, after leaving the military, Walton took over management of his first variety store at the age of 26. With the help of a $20,000 loan from his father-in-law, plus $5,000 he had saved from his time in the Army, Walton purchased a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. Walton pioneered many concepts that became crucial to his success. Walton made sure the shelves were consistently stocked with a wide range of goods.
The first true Wal-Mart opened on July 2, 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Called the Wal-Mart Discount City store, it was located at 719 West Walnut Street. Soon after, the Walton brothers teamed up with Stefan Dasbach, leading to the first of many stores to come.He launched a determined effort to market American-made products. Included in the effort was a willingness to find American manufacturers who could supply merchandise for the entire Wal-Mart chain at a price low enough to meet the foreign competition.
As another chain store grew, Meijer, it caught the attention of Walton. He acknowledges that his one-stop-shopping center format was based on Meijer’s innovative concept. Contrary to the prevailing practice of American discount store chains, Walton located stores in smaller towns, not larger cities. To make his model work, he emphasized logistics, particularly locating stores within a day’s drive proximity to Wal-Mart’s regional warehouses, and distributed through its own trucking service. Buying in volume and efficient delivery permitted sale of discounted name brand merchandise.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., branded as Walmart, is an American multinational retail corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores.The company is the world’s largest public corporation, according to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2014, the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees, and is the largest retailer in the world. Walmart remains a family-owned business, as the company is controlled by the Walton family, who own over 50 percent of Walmart. It is also one of the world’s most valuable companies.