The American business mogul Samuel Moore Walton, who was born on March 29, 1918, and died on April 5, 1992, is best known for establishing Sam's Club and Walmart. He did this in 1962 and 1983, respectively. Both the largest private employer and the largest firm in the world by revenue, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Walton had the title of wealthiest person in the US for a while. With a net worth of over US$240.6 billion as of January 2022, his family has maintained their position as the wealthiest in the United States for a number of years running.
Early Life & Education
Thomas Gibson Walton and Nancy Lee welcomed Samuel Moore Walton into the world in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Up until 1923, he resided there on his parents' property. Thomas Walton turned to agricultural mortgaging since farming did not make enough money to support a family. During the Great Depression, he worked for his brother's Walton Mortgage Company, a Metropolitan Life Insurance agent, where he foreclosed on farms. He left Oklahoma with his family, which now included a son named James, born in 1921. They spent several years, mainly in Missouri, hopping from one tiny community to another. Sam achieved the youngest Eagle Scout in Missouri history while he was a student in the eighth grade in Shelbina, Missouri. Walton was given the Boy Scouts of America's Distinguished Eagle Scout Award as an adult.
The family eventually relocated to Columbia, Missouri. He performed household duties when he was growing up during the Great Depression, as was customary at the time, to help his family make ends meet. He milked the family cow, packaged the extra milk, and delivered it to clients. He would then go on a paper route to deliver Columbia Daily Tribune newspapers. He also offered magazine subscriptions for sale. He won the title of "Most Versatile Boy" at David H. Hickman High School in Columbia.
Walton made the decision to attend college after high school with the hopes of locating a better means of providing for his family. He studied at the University of Missouri while in the ROTC. In return for food, he did a variety of odd jobs throughout this period, such as waiting tables. Walton joined the Beta Theta Pi fraternity's Zeta Phi chapter while he was still a student. He was also tapped by the national military honour organisation Scabbard and Blade as well as QEBH, the well-known university secret society that recognises the finest senior males. A sizable class of students from the University of Missouri and Stephens College also elected Walton as its president, the Burall Bible Class. He was elected "permanent president" of the class after earning a bachelor's degree in economics in 1940.
Three days after receiving his undergraduate degree, Walton started working for J. C. Penney in Des Moines, Iowa, as a management trainee. His monthly salary for this job was $75. Walton worked at J. C. Penney for around 18 months. He left his position in 1942 because he planned to enlist in the military and fight in World War II. He was employed at a DuPont munitions facility close to Tulsa, Oklahoma, during this time. Walton soon enlisted in the military and was sent to the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps, where he oversaw security at aircraft factories. He worked in this capacity at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah. He ultimately rose to the position of captain.
Walton took over the administration of his first variety store in 1945 at the age of 26 after leaving the service. Walton bought a Ben Franklin variety shop in Newport, Arkansas, with the aid of a $20,000 loan from his father-in-law, Leland Robson, and $5,000 he had earned during his service in the Army. The shop was a Butler Brothers chain franchise. Walton invented a number of ideas that were essential to his success. Walton believed that people would shop at home if he gave pricing that were comparable to or better than those of businesses located in four-hour drive-away cities. Walton made sure a variety of products were always available on the shelves. His second establishment, the little "Eagle" department store, was situated close to his first Ben Franklin as well as its primary Newport rival.
In three years, the sales volume increased from $80,000 to $225,000, which caught the landlord P. K. Holmes' interest. Holmes' family had a history in retail. He declined to extend the lease because he admired Sam's outstanding success and wanted to give his son back the business (as well as the franchise rights). The absence of a renewal option and the excessively expensive rent of 5% of sales taught Walton his first business lessons. Despite ejecting Walton, Holmes paid $50,000 for the stock and furnishings of the shop, which Walton referred to as "a fair price." He, his wife Helen, and his father-in-law successfully negotiated the acquisition of a new location on the Bentonville, Arkansas, downtown square with a year left on the lease, but the business had already been sold. Walton agreed to buy a tiny discount store and the building's title in exchange for a 99-year lease that would allow him to grow into the store next door. Walton gave up on Bentonville after his father-in-law, without Sam's knowledge, paid the business owner a final visit and $20,000 to secure the lease after the owner of the shop next door rejected six times.
He just had enough money from the sale of the first business left over to complete the transaction and pay Helen's father back. On May 9, 1950, they held a one-day remodelling auction to kick off their operations.
Sales at the Bentonville shop went from $72,000 before he acquired it to $105,000 in the first year, $140,000 the following year, and $175,000 the following year.
Walton passed away from multiple myeloma, a kind of blood cancer, on Sunday, April 5, 1992 (three months before Walmart celebrated its thirtieth anniversary). He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. His passing was announced to all 1,960 Walmart locations via satellite. His business had 400,000 employees at the time. 1,735 Walmarts, 212 Sam's Clubs, and 13 Supercenters generated close to $50 billion in sales annually.