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Sam Walton - Entrepreneurial Genius and Creator of Wal-Mart

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Sam Walton:

Entrepreneurial Genius and Creator of Wal-Mart

Dedication, risk-taking, empire-building, and world shaking; words that describe a man that changed this world. This man is not any ordinary man, but a man of vision and hope; a man that started from nothing, and if alive today would be worth more then Bill Gates. Sam Walton, creator and founder of Wal-Mart Incorporations, shaped this world. “From his birth on March 29, 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma to his death in April 6, 1992 at Little Rock, Arizona” (“Sam Walton” NNDB), Sam Walton changed this world both for the better and the worse by providing such cheep goods to people around the world.

Born into a family that was no well off, Sam quickly learned as a kid the value of a dollar. “During high school Walton was very athletic playing basketball and football as starting quarterback for Columbia’s Hickman High School. He became the vice president of the student body during his junior year and moved up to president during his senior year, and he also excelled academically becoming an honors student.”(“Sam Walton” InvestingValue) “In 1940 he graduated from the University of Missouri with a business degree, and while all throughout high school and college he had a paper rout and was making about 4 to $5,000 a year, which at that time wasn’t bad because they were going threw the great depression” (Walton and Huey p. 20).

After college Sam went on to “do a management position at J.C. Penny’s and remained there until 1962. Late in 1962 Sam Walton changed this world, and he opened the first Wal-Mart”( “Sam Walton“ InvestingValue)(see “First Wal-Mart Store“). “We opened our first Wal-Mart here in Northwest Arkansas” (Walton and Huey XI). With his first Wal-Mart open he didn’t see the outstanding success that he had planed for when he went into this investment. “[...] first starting out he only had $5,000 of his own money, and he had to borrow $20,000 from his girlfriends father-in-law” (Walton and Huey p. 28). Helen Robson, his future wife and was his longstanding companion throughout the thick and the thin. “ When Helen and I (Sam) met and I started courting her, I just fell right in love. She was pretty and smart and educated, ambitious and opinionated and strong-willed with ideas and plans of her own. Also, like me, she was an athlete who loved the outdoors, and she had lots of energy” ( Walton and Huey p. 25). “They were married on February 14th 1943” (“Sam Walton” InvestingValue). See picture of Helen Walton (“Sam Walton’s Wife”).

The methods that Sam used was ingenious:

From this beginning Sam pioneered some concepts still used today to make his business a success including a wide variety of low priced goods, keeping his store open longer than most other stores and buying goods in large quantities from the lowest priced wholesaler to pass on savings to customers. With cheap prices came large sales volume which allowed him to purchase even cheaper wholesale goods from his suppliers, leading to his store to be the most profitable franchise store in the whole six state region. In 1950 he leased a nearby store and opened a department store called Eagle but it never had the same success (“Sam Walton” InvestingValue).

Sam had a vision, a vision that some would say he is crazy for, and others say he is probably the smartest man around. Sam had this idea that if he if he cut his costs to the absolute maximum and passed the savings on to the customer then he would draw there business in (“Wal-Mart Founder and Billionaire”). How was he able to do this you might ask? Sam was a very inivative man and was always thinking of ways to better the way things work. He used the ides that:

[…]properly stocking al shelves with a wide range of goods with very low prices, keeping his store centrally located so it was easily accessible to many customers, staying open later than most stores especially during the Christmas season, and experimenting which merchant discount (buying straight from the wholesaler which enabled hit to lower his price per item and was able to sell a greater quantity of goods, thereby increasing his sales, volume, and profits (“Wal-Mart Founder and Billionaire”).

Even Sam Walton himself that was surprised that the idea worked, by 1991 and havening 1,700 stores at the time he was already having a multimillion-dollar business (“Wal-Mart Founder and Billionaire”).

Walton figured out how to expand the business using a combination of bank debt and vendor's money (his supply chain was so efficient, he would order a product and have it sold in three days while only having to pay his vendor every thirty days; keeping the "float" in Wal-Mart's coffers for twenty-seven days.) (“Sam Walton (aka […]”)). He also Found a way in which he would advance the company in a technological since. “In the early 1980’s the business was one of the first to utilize Universal Product Code (barcodes) to automate the inventory process (“Sam Walton (aka […]”)). But was it only in 1983 that the utilization of technology became of a huge significance. “In 1983, the business spend tremendous amounts of capital on a private satellite system that could track delivery trucks, speed credit card transactions, transmit audio and video signals, and as well as sales data” (“Sam Walton (aka […]”)).

Wal-Mart is not only found in America, it can also be found world-wide, some of the locations in which there is other Wal-Marts are stores in China, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, South Korea and Puerto Rico (“Wal-Mart Founder and Billionaire”). Sam’s life seems very short, in fact though, he has accomplished more then many great people have in there lifetimes. He helps the communities that he movies into, and he gave drive to the people that worked for him, but like all good things, they must come to an end. In 1992 Sam Walton passed away from Multiple Myeloma a cancer of the body’s plasma cells (Walton and Huey p. 329). Before his death in 1992 “he was honored for all his hard work and pioneering efforts when



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