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Sam Walton: Wal-Mart Visionary

Jan 31 2012

Very few people know the highly intelligent entrepreneur who was the sharp mind behind WalMart. Sam Walton, founder of one of the most highly-recognized stores in the world, was a visionary who understood the need for everyone to have access to goods without suffering financially. Living through the Great Depression, and working to help his parents make ends meet, Sam was given an education on the responsibilities of adulthood, from an early age.

Early Years

Born to Thomas Walton and Nancy Lee, in 1918, Sam Walton had it in him from an early age to succeed in anything he put his mind to. As the Great Depression spiraled, taking many families and businesses down with it, Sam set about making money. He milked cows, bottled the surplus milk and took it to customers. He also delivered newspapers and magazine subscriptions for extra cash. The youngest Eagle Scout in Oklahoma’s state history, Sam graduated with the honor of “Most versatile boy.”

Just after graduation Sam Walton started work at JC Penny’s, but resigned to join the military. He served at Fort Douglas, Utah, and with his great leadership skills he had been promoted to Captain by the time he left the military.


After leaving the service, Sam took over management of his first variety store. With money loaned from a family member, and $5,000 saved from his army days, Walton bought a franchise of Ben Franklin stores. The store did exceedingly well. He ensured his shelves were constantly stocked with goods, and he pioneered many concepts that drew great attention. Many concepts are still in effect today in all WalMart stores.

Walton was forced out of the shop due his release not being renewed, simply because the landlord envied Walton’s success and wanted to retain ownership of the Ben Franklin franchise for his son. Walton, with his father-in-law’s assistance, purchased another store and signed a 99-year lease, having learned a solid lesson from his last business endeavor. The store went on to quadruple annual sales and Sam Walton went on to open several more variety stores. With his ability to motivate and encourage people, Walton invested great interest and time in his store managers who were encouraged to sharpen their skills thanks to equity in the business.


The very first Wal-Mart opened its doors in 1962 in Arkansas, and Sam Walton’s store domination began. The business world had no idea what was about to hit them. Stocking American products, Walton and his brothers – who joined the business later – went on to source American suppliers, which would compete with foreign industry, but also keep the prices down for locals. 1,900 Stores later, Walton’s concepts remain the same.


Walton was ranked the richest man in the USA from 1982-1988, which fell away once he distributed his wealth between his four children. The moment Sam Walton’s name fell away from Forbes Richest List it was replaced by Bill Gates, for the first time.

Most Recent Years

Sam Walton passed away in 1992 due to Leukemia. His passing was mourned by his wife, children and everyone across the world of WalMart.

This entrepreneur and business visionary left behind a legacy that his children could be exceedingly proud of. And it’s one that most clientele are grateful for because it’s not often one finds stores who put their clients first, in the way of crazy discount prices. Sam Walton knew what he was doing.

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