Behind Wal-Mart - The Story of man “Sam Walton”
From a farm boy living in the outskirts of Oklahoma to becoming the richest man in America in the 1980sand revolutionizing the way the country did business, Sam Walton’s legacy continues to live on. By thetime he passed away in 1992, Sam Walton had amassed a fortune in excess of $25 billion and today, hisbrainchild Wal-Mart continues to bring in revenues of over $300 billion, making it the world’s largestretailer.Born on March 29, 1918 near Kingfisher, Oklahoma, Samuel Moore Walton grew up on a farm withhis brothers and parents, Thomas Gibson and Nancy Lee Walton. They moved to Missouri when hisfather decided that farm life was not substantial enough to support the family and he became a farm loanappraiser. While this meant that the family would constantly be on the move throughout Missouri, Waltondid not let this affect him.In his grade eight school at Shelbina, Walton became the youngest Eagle Scout in the history of the state.While attending Hickman High School, Walton excelled in both sports and academics, winning the statetitle as quarterback and also becoming Vice President and later President of the student government. Hewas also voted Most Versatile Boy at his graduation.
After high school, Walton enrolled in the University of Missouri, pursuing an economics degree in anattempt to find a way to help support his family. To pay his tuition, Walton worked as a waiter, lifeguardand newspaper delivery boy. Outside of class, Walton kept busy as an ROTC officer, member of the BetaTheta Pi fraternity, and as President of a Sunday school class. He was so popular with his classmates thatwhen he graduated in 1940, he was voted permanent President of the class.Walton knew he had an interest in commerce and aspired to attend the Wharton School of Business, butknew he could not afford it. Just three days after graduating from college, Walton found employment asa management trainee with JCPenney in Iowa. Though he was earning $75/month, he resigned in 1942 inorder to be free to serve in the US military. He worked at a DuPont munitions plant in Oklahoma until hewas called to join the army.One year later, Walton was called for service with the US Army Intelligence Corps. Here, he workedas a security officer at aircraft plants and prisoner of war camps within the US. After just threeyears, Walton had reached the rank of Captain but felt his time with the army had come to an end.It wasn’t until 1945, when Walton was 27 years old, that he decided to enter the retail industry. With a$20,000 loan from his father-in-law and $1,000 of his own savings, Walton purchased a Ben Franklinvariety store in Newport, Arkansas. A franchise of the Butler Brothers chain, this would prove to bethe beginning of his remarkable retail success and would also be the testing ground for many of thepioneering ideas that Walton would later implement in his Wal-Mart stores.
There’s a lot more business out there in small town America than I ever dreamed of,” said Walton. Thesuccess of his first variety store took even Walton by surprise, leading in sales and profits in the six-state region in which the Butler Brothers operated. By consistently stocking his shelves with discountedproducts, keeping later hours than most others, and buying wholesale goods from the cheapest suppliers,