After running a Ben Franklin variety shop and an Eagle department store, Sam Walton was successful in opening Walton’s 5&10 store in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Walton opened his first Walmart shop in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962. He had more success with his Bentonville company and also operated more Ben Franklin locations. The benchmark store, Wal-Mart Discount City was opened by Walton, who was 44 years old at the time.
Walton, who was known as “Mr. Sam” during his time at the helm, created a mission statement that promised, “The lowest prices anywhere, anytime.” It worked. Walton and his family became Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in 2005. They were proud to own two-dozen stores within five years, earning $12.7 million in sales.
Walton, a maverick entrepreneur, wasn’t finished yet. Walton wanted his stores to be in the national spotlight. He took Walmart public in 1970 with shares of $16.50. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. was home to 51 stores by 1972 and had sales of $78 million. Walmart’s 51 stores grew to 276 stores by 1980. Annual sales reached $1 billion.
In 1983, Walmart opened the first Sam’s Club in Oklahoma. This was a chain of retail warehouse clubs that are membership-only. Five years later, the first Walmart Supercenter was opened in Missouri. According to Deloitte’s Global Powers of Retailing, Walmart was the number one retailer in America in 1990.
Walmart’s Mission Statement and Purpose
Walmart’s current mission statement, and its slogan advertising campaign, are the same. They can be found at headquarters in Bentonville Arkansas, where they all started.
The company also looks to its founder to help it achieve its mission. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was presented to Sam Walton by President George H.W. In 1992, shortly before his death at the 74-year-old age of 74 in a tragic accident, President George H.W. Bush presented Sam Walton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“If we all work together, we can lower the cost of living for everyone… we’ll give the whole world a chance to experience what it’s like to save money and live a better lifestyle.”
Walmart’s Principles, Policies, and Rules
Walmart has over the years developed many unique policies, principles, and rules. These all contribute to the company’s culture. These are some of Walmart’s most loved policies:
- Managers are welcome to all employees.
- Sundown Rule – Employees must answer all questions from customers and suppliers on the same day they are received.
- Grass Roots Process: Walmart aims to capture and implement suggestions and ideas from front-line employees.
- The Three Essential Beliefs and Values that Make up the Business: Respect for each individual, service to customers, and striving for excellence are the cornerstones of our business.
- The 10-Foot Rule It is a 24-hour rule to make eye contact, greet people, and offer assistance to customers within 10 feet of employees.
- Servant Leadership –Leaders serve their team and not vice versa.
- The Walmart Cheer This is a structured, real chant that Sam Walton created to raise morale every day. After visiting a Korean manufacturing plant in 1975, he got the idea.
Walmart announced in January 2018 that it would increase the starting wage rate of all hourly associates in the U.S. by $11, provide additional maternity and parental leave benefits, and offer a cash bonus to eligible associates up to $1,000.