A Little Family Business
OK Road Crew, now it is time for a Road Test. So here now are the Fast Facts.
Back in 1945, a former J. C. Penney employee opened his first store in north west Arkansas. Sam Walton’s focus was to sell products at lower prices to get high volume sales, portraying it as a crusade for the consumer. He was able to find lower-cost suppliers than other stores. Sales increased 45 percent in his first year of ownership to $105,000. The lease then expired so Sam opened up a new store on North Main Street in Bentonville, naming it "Walton's Five and Dime”.
By offering always low prices, always, within its first five years, the company expanded to 24 stores in Arkansas. Sam did not expand outside of Arkansas till 1968 -- some 23 years later. Bad Business? Well consider this...
Today, Walmart is the world’s Largest Retailer with 11,000 stores in 27 countries and Growing! It is also the largest employer in the world with over 2 million employees and growing. Each week, over 275 million customers shop at Walmart or its other outlets like Sam’s Clubs.
Other superlatives include many environmental initiatives like using wind turbines, biofuel boilers, and solar panels. In fact, it is the biggest commercial producer of solar power in the United States.
It is also the biggest seller of organic milk and the biggest buyer of organic cotton in the world. In so doing, it demands that Walmart suppliers cut back on harmful fertilizers.
What does it mean to you? Well, the Average American saves nearly $1,000 annually by shopping at Walmart. Plus it has the widest selection of goods and produce, so who does not shop there? Finally, while a lot of Walmart’s inexpensive merchandise is produced in low wage places like China, the management insists over $10 Billion a year goes to US manufacturers and another $250 Billion in purchasing comes strictly from United States based corporations. It even has started societal initiatives to impact its customers in good ways. For instance, in 2011 Walmart announced a program to improve the nutritional value of its store brands, reducing the amount of salt and sugar and completely eliminating trans fat altogether.
Oh and Walmart is still a Family Store. The Walton kids and grandkids still own over 50% of the stock.
So what happened to that first Walton Five and Dime in Bentonville? Well, That store is now the Walmart Museum.
Now for the Road Test: where did Sam Walton work before he started his own company? You have 3 seconds. Three… and two… and one. If you said JC Penney, you would be correct.
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