Nancy Walton instilled in Sam a sense of ambition that stayed with him for the rest of his life. Thomas Walton worked as a farm appraiser and mortgage agent. Because of his job, the family moved often.
When Sam was five years old, he and his family relocated from Oklahoma to Springfield, Missouri. The family later lived in Marshall, Shelbina, and Columbia, Missouri. The two brothers attended David H.
Sam Walton may have been the richest person to ever exist. It would help your personality develop, you would become more outgoing, and in time you might become manager of that store, you might become a department manager, you might become a district manager, or whatever you choose to be in the company. As noted, other companies would have immediately fired Phil for trying something so bold. What are yours? Join my email newsletter and get secrets I share nowhere else. Many regular employees are also there.
Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri, where they quickly made friends. Both boys participated in sports and served in student government. Sam was quarterback of the football team, and Bud played basketball. When he was not at school, Sam delivered newspapers and worked in a dime store. After he graduated from high school in , Sam Walton attended the University of Missouri, where he majored in business. To pay for his education, he delivered newspapers, worked as a lifeguard, and waited on tables at the student union. Walton still found time to lead Bible study classes, join a fraternity, and serve as president of a prestigious honor society, QEBH.
After he graduated from the university, Sam Walton received job offers from two of the top retail businesses in America, Sears and J C Penney. He loved working in the retail business and excelled as a salesman. In he volunteered for service in the U. Navy as a pilot. While undergoing flight training, Bud met and married his wife, Audrey. Together, the couple had two daughters: Ann and Nancy. After the war ended, Sam left the army and decided to return to the retail business. He contacted Butler Brothers, a large retail company with two franchise operations, one of which was Ben Franklin variety stores.
He readily accepted, and with financial support from his father-in-law, L. Robson, Sam bought the franchise. He was twenty-seven years old. Bud joined his brother after he was discharged from the U. Navy in As a Ben Franklin franchisee, Walton was given the right to distribute Ben Franklin merchandise in exchange for a certain percentage of monthly sales.
As a franchisee, however, he had to buy merchandise from Butler Brothers to sell in his store. Walton was not allowed to sell merchandise unless it was approved by the company, nor could he set the price. Rather than buying more expensive merchandise from Ben Franklin, Walton began to look for manufacturers that would sell directly to him at a lower price.
This saved money and generated higher profits for his store. Sam Walton's store was a success, but when the lease expired, the owner of the building would not renew it. Walton did not let this minor setback dampen his aspirations and quickly found his next opportunity. He adopted several innovative ideas that helped his business become successful. Emboldened by success, he continued to open more Ben Franklin franchise stores. One of the most important ideas that Sam adopted was customer self-service.
Unlike stores today where customers can browse and pay for merchandise at a central location, in the s, customers had to go to a counter and ask a clerk for assistance. Purchases were then made at the counter. After reading about some Ben Franklin stores that had switched to self-service, Walton decided to try the new concept in his store.
It was a success. Another revolutionary concept Sam Walton adopted was discount merchandising. By purchasing merchandise directly from manufacturers, marking up the price, and selling it in large quantities, he was able to increase his profits. To do so, though, he needed more stores. After failing to convince Butler Brothers and other variety store chains that they should back his new venture in discount retailing, Walton decided to strike out on his own. The store opened in The store flourished. In Sam and his wife, Helen, established the Walton Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization.
The foundation was created to support K education and economic development in northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta region. The building was named the Thomas G. Walton Building in honor of their father. The Walton College of Business, also located at the University of Arkansas, is named for Sam Walton out of appreciation for his generous financial support. In President George H.
Sam Walton died of bone cancer in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 5, , at the age of seventy-four. Sam Walton revolutionized retail merchandising due to his competitive nature, his willingness to try new ideas, his focus on keeping operational costs low, and his openness to using new technologies. The following is a selected list of books, articles, and manuscripts about The Walton Brothers in the research centers of The State Historical Society of Missouri.
Way before personal computers came along, he felt that Wal-Mart needed to move toward computerization. I made up my mind I was going to learn something about IBM computers. He knew how to get the most out of the learning environment. Abe Marks was one of the speakers. It was Walton, who introduced himself, saying that he came to the conference to talk with Abe. He was about ten years ahead of the computer revolution. But because he caught the vision early, he was ready for it when it came. Which gave him the ability to open as many stores as he opens, and run them as well as he runs them, and to be as profitable as he makes them.
Just out of college, he went to work for J. Penney, 21 finding a mentor in Duncan Majors, his very successful store manager.
During a stint in the army, he was posted in Salt Lake City. He checked out every book on retailing in their library , and studied a nearby department store. He would read every retail publication he could find, and would later refer to himself as an "avid student of management theory. After the army, he bought a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. He would use their accounting system well into his Wal-mart years. Once he started working at his first store, his unique spin on education came into play. According to Walton,.
According to associate Charlie Cate: "I remember him saying over and over again: go in and check our competition. Check everyone who is our competition. Look for the good. He especially checked out Kmarts, which were far ahead of them in those early years. He was even so bold as to visit the headquarters of other retailers. Being outsiders, they had a different perspective from insiders. It shocked them. But Walton considered it "a turning point in our business.
But really, our best ideas usually do come from the folks in the stores. He introduced himself as Sam Walton from Arkansas. When he meets you, he looks at you — head cocked to one side, forehead slightly creased — and he proceeds to extract every piece of information in your possession.
He always makes little notes. And he pushes on and on.
After two and a half hours, he left, and I was totally drained. Many people are good at learning, but have a hard time applying what they learn. First, grab ideas from anybody you can.