Hey there Campers;
We got up to a bright sunny day and started our drive south. In the state of Missouri they have these quirky signs about driving. They are very serious about making sure people pay attention. They do not hesitate to pull you over for breaking the law.
We drove on to Arkansas. Lo has planned a trip to Bentonville. He said we were going to the Sam Walton - Walmart Museum. How fitting since we stay a quite a few Walmart's.
The museum is very different. It looks like a small 5 and dime store. When you walk in it is set up just like the old stores.
Sam Walton was born in the town of Kingfisher, OK. This is the same town as Barbie and Rex. The family was moved to Missouri during Dust Bowl & the Great Depression in the 1930s so the father Thomas Walton could find work. Sam helped his mother Nancy run a small milk business. He milked cow in the morning and delivered milk and newspaper after school.
Sam's mother wanted him to stay close to his brother James "Bud" Walton. Bud worked at the first variety store in Newport, AR.
Walton said "If we work together, we'll lower the cost of living for everyone... we'll give the world an opportunity to see what it's like to save and have a better life." This was his philosophy.
Sam always walked around the with a yellow legal pad to take notes. After he talked to someone he would gently pat them on the back within it. He always wore a Walmart baseball cap. His secretary would always pack several in his briefcase. He did not lose the caps he gave them away. He also had many eye glasses because he would put them down and couldn't find them. He would pick up anybody's glasses and wear them. He did not care what they looked like.
1940's - After graduating from college, Sam began his career in retailing in De Moines, Iowa. He was a management trainee with JC Penney's. While waiting to be inducted to the Army during WWII Sam took a job at a DuPont gun powder plant near Tulsa, OK. He met Helen Robson at a bowling alley. They married Valentine Day, 1943. Sam was a pilot in the service.
Sam & Helen bought their first Ben Franklin store in Newport AR in 1945. Within 5 years he had the top franchise store in the state. When he was to renew the lease the landlord refused because he wanted to give the store to his son. This forced them to look for a new location. This was probably the best thing to happen to them. There were $250,000 in sales.
The Walton's had 4 children. Jim, Rob, John and Alice.
1950's - He found a store front in Bentonville. It was a Ben Franklin store but Sam called it Walton's 5 & 10. He advertised his store as the "most up-
1960's - Walton owned 9 Ben Franklin stores. He knew the future prospects of the variety stores were limited. He opened the 1st Wal-Mart Discount City in 1962. People were skeptical of the concept at first. He expanded out into MO & AR. By the end of the decade he owned 18 stores. Sam also wanted to keep the stores up technologically. He took computer classes. Stores purchase first computer system to track sales and inventories. He hired a full time pilot to help scout out locations for new stores and distribution centers to make sure the store were supplied. Stores had over $30 million in sales.
Sam always spent time in the stores with the associates. He knew that the associates would always be in touch with the public.
Sam felt he wanted the stores to always swim upstream. This would keep them up with the times. Wal-Mart had a guarantee to always make the customer satisfied.
1970's - Sam starts to take Walmart nationally. Walmart becomes a publicly held company. He also expanded the stores to include a Pharmacy, car care and jewelry. Stores had over $1 billion of sales.
1990's - The nation's number one retailer. Walmart goes international. Sam and Bud die within two years of each other. $32.6 billion in sales
2000's - As the nation was coping with wars, Walmart initiates program to support our troops overseas and their families at home. Walmart.com is one of the Web's most visited sites. They also started the Site-to-Store program. After hurricanes Katrina & Rita the stores leverages its resources to speed aid to affected regions. They also went to create zero waste. They launch the $4 generic-drug prescription. The idea is to save people money so they can live better. $285,200,000,000. in sales
This is Sam's real office from the Walmart Home Office building. The most important thing about his office is it was usually unoccupied. He spent as much time as possible doing what he truly enjoyed - visiting associates in the stores.
Walton was very close to his dad Tom. See the cane on the left wall. It was his dads. It made him feel close to him.
Walmart has a developed there own culture.
Sam always had his hand out to help others. He really loved his company as well as his country. He was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 by George Bush, Sr.
Sam Walton died at 74 years of age on April 5, 1992.
Bud Walton died March 21, 1995. The Bud Walton Arena at the U of AR is named in his honor.
Sam's wife Helen was always by his side. From the early years she was involved in helping Sam build the retail business. He considered her one of his best advisers. She was a generous and dedicated philanthropist. She called herself a volunteer to community, state and nation. She died April 19, 2007.
For all you pin collectors, these are all the pins Walmart has produced over the years. Pins and buttons has been a form of expression and always been a big part of the Walmart culture.
Flags of all the countries that Walmart is in.
The Walton Family Foundation carries Sam's & Helen values. Helps families create high-quality education options. They also believe in giving something back by fighting hunger.
Sam Walton's truck that he loved to drive. He loved hunting.
Did you ever wonder what the Walmart logon meant? It is called the Spark.
There was a Walmart associate who retired at age 103. His name was Maverick.
After the tour of the museum we went into the vintage store. We saw candy that we have not seen since we were kids.
There was a section for hats. Of course Lo had to have a Walmart hat. And he also needed to put pins on it.
Walmart Home Office.
One would think that all the money Walmart makes they could treat their employees more like Sam Walton did with dignity and pay and promote them accordingly.
We had dinner at a local restaurant and spent the night at our favorite hotel in Springdale.
Question of the Day
How old was Sam when he became the youngest Eagle Scout in Missouri 1932?
Lo & Bren