Samuel Sam' Moore Walton was born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, March 29, 1918. He was the son of a banker and the eldest of two boys. Having grown up in the 1930s during the Great Depression, he later graduated from the University of Missouri in 1940. He married Helen Robson after graduation had four children. He served three years as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.
Walton had started in the retail business with the J. C. Penney Company in Des Moines, Iowa, making between $75 and $85 a month. He worked there for five years. After his army service, in 1945 Walton used a $20,000 loan from his father-in-law plus $5,000 of his savings to buy a Ben Franklin store in Newport, Arkansas, where he was joined by his brother. In 1950, when his landlord failed to renew his lease, Walton moved to Bentonville, Arkansas, now the headquarters to the Wal-Mart Empire.
From 1945 through 1962 he operated Ben Franklin stores; by 1962 he had nine storesWalton's Five & Dime operated under a franchising agreement with the Chicago-based Ben Franklin. Then began what became one of America's most flourishing retail companiesWal-Mart, which he co-founded in 1962.
At that time Walton decided that the future of retail was in discount stores, not dime stores. He studied chains such as K-Mart and Zayre and then proposed to the Ben Franklin management the starting of a discount store. When they showed no interest, he, along with his brother James, opened his first Wal-Mart outlet in Rogers, Arkansas.
Walton avoided publicity about himself, preferring that his stores occupy the spotlight, and he took a direct role in the administration of those stores at all levels. Walton's firm traditional principles created a sense of a corporate culturea set of shared values which define a business and those who work in... [continues]
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