Sam Walton is the co-creator of the renowned retail chain ‘Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’ and ‘Sam’s Club’. The farm boy turned out to be a one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time with sheer hard work and ambition.
Walton was born on 29th March 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. His father owned a farm but that did not generate enough income. The family moved to Orlando, Florida and from there to several other places finally settling in Columbia, Missouri. There he worked many chores to support his family such as distributing milk to the customers, selling newspaper and magazine subscriptions. He graduated from David H. Hickman High School where he was voted as the ‘Most Versatile Boy’. He attended University of Missouri where he did many odd jobs like waiting tables. He graduated in 1940 with the degree of Bachelors of Economics. He got a job as a management trainee in J.C Penny in Des Moines, Iowa right after graduation which gave him a pay of 75 dollars monthly. Later he resigned so he could join the U.S Army Intelligence Corps where he was ranked as Captain. After leaving the army Walton’s first management job was at his own variety store in 1945. Taking financial help from his father-in-law and using some of his own savings, Walton bought a Ben Franklin store in Newport. Here he learned many tricks of the trade making him experienced enough to purchase another store that was an ‘Eagle’ store.
With growing sales and profits, Walton bought and established more stores and in less than twenty years owned more than fifteen Ben Franklin Stores. His first Wal-Mart store was opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. His store saw rapid success and by 1976 Wal-Mart had become a successful company with a net worth of 176 million dollars and by the beginning of the 90’s its stock had reached a value of 45 billion making it the largest retailer of the United States that even bettered Roebuck and Company, and Sears. Walton was a real hard worker. His day began at 4:30 am and consisted of a tough routine and work hours. It was because of his attitude towards his work that he performed so well even during the recession. In 1991 when the country faced an economic downfall, his chain’s sales rose immensely. Even though smaller chains and stores blamed Wal-Mart for their losses Walton knew exactly how to handle these controversies. He emerged from these gracefully by promising to give jobs and donations to the local charities.
Walton was a humble personality. He was ranked as the Wealthiest Man in the United States by Forbes magazine to which he stated ‘All that hullabaloo about somebody’s net worth is just stupid, and it’s made my life a lot more complex and difficult’. Walton suffered from two types of cancers in the last years of his life. He died on 5th of April 1992 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Before his death he was awarded the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ by George H.W Bush.