Sam Walton Entrepeneur Essay

1195 words - 5 pages

As Kelly Fitzgerald points out, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, who passed away on April 5, 1992, "was like no other man in this world," and has been described as "industrious (and with) a burning ambition to succeed." As a businessman, Sam Walton "started his own business from almost nothing (and) changed the field of management" in relation to his Wal-Mart ventures (Internet, 2003). This description of Sam Walton is the basis of his amazing success as one of America's most outstanding entrepreneurs and shows that hard work, dedication and perseverance can lead to untold riches.In 1945, Sam Walton used his own savings and a loan to buy a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas and although he had built the store into a major success, his landlord refused to renew his lease when it expired in 1950, forcing Walton to turn the store over to the landlord's son. Walton then moved to Bentonville, Arkansas, where he and his younger brother became franchisees of the Ben Franklin variety store chain. Fifteen stores were eventually controlled by the two brothers in Arkansas and Missouri.During his days as a Ben Franklin franchisee, Walton traveled throughout the East and Midwest, studying large retail chains like K-Mart and Korvettes, and observed that these big chains always placed their stores in or near large cities, obviously out of a conviction that small towns could not generate enough business to make a large store profitable. But Walton saw things differently, and when he approached the management of Ben Franklin, he received no encouragement at all about putting stores in small towns.Walton then took on the project himself and in 1962, he opened the first Wal-Mart Discount City in Rogers, Arkansas, a store that would "specialize in name-brands at low prices. Sam Walton was soon surprised at the success of this venture, and a chain of Wal-Mart stores quickly sprang up across rural America" (Internet, Retail Success Story).From this inauspicious start, the Wal-Mart empire grew slowly but steadily for the next eight years, and by 1970 there were twenty-five stores; two years later, the chain grew to sixty-four stores, and by the end of 1972, sales had mushroomed to $125 million. Since this time, Wal-Mart has grown at a startling rate; in 1981, 161 more stores opened, and by 1983, the chain had become the 8th largest retailer in the United States with 642 stores in nineteen states and annual sales of $4.2 billion. In that same year, Forbes magazine estimated Walton's net worth to be $2.15 billion, making him the second richest person in America. It was also around this time that Wal-Mart veered from its rural concentration, opening stores in such medium-sized cities as Little Rock, Arkansas, Springfield, Missouri and Shreveport, Louisiana, as well as in the suburbs of several large cities, including Kansas City and Dallas, Texas. By 1987, Wal-Mart had 1,108 stores, located from Colorado to Virginia with sales of over $20 billion, and by 1989,...

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