How Wal-Mart Got Started
Image via Wikipedia"In 1962, four new retailers were born. One called Kmart was started in Garden City, Michigan, another called Target was started in Minneapolis, another from Woolworth, the big name in retailing at the time, called Woolco was started, and the final one in rural Rogers, Arkansas, called Wal-Mart. Thirty years later, Woolco had met its demise and one of the other two was the largest retailer in the country. Surprisingly, the top retailer was the one from Arkansas."
The Guardian: It all began in a small store in Arkansas...: Four of the world's top 15 billionaires are from one family. ..... retail is a good place to be. Of the top 15 billionaires, nine made their money the old-fashioned way, by selling us clothes, food and furniture ..... together, the clan are nearly as rich as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates (the top two on the list) combined. ....... Sam Walton began his conquest of the world in 1945, with a loan of $20,000 from his father-in-law and a small variety store in Newport, Arkansas, where he established the practices that define present-day Wal-Mart: he kept prices as low as possible, stocked a wide range of goods, and stayed open longer than anyone else. His margins were small, but he sold large quantities, which meant he could bargain for even lower prices from wholesalers - policies that still drive smaller local stores out of business. ....... Even in his later years, when he was worth $24bn, he was famously frugal, opting for $5 haircuts (no tip), and cheap food at his local Wal-Mart. He drove an old pick-up and often borrowed money from his employees. And he was ruthless. "Some people try to turn it into this 'Save the Small-Town Merchants' deal, like they were whales or something that have a right to be protected," he wrote in his autobiography. But he was having none of it. "What happened was as inevitable as the replacement of the buggy by the car." When he died, in 1992, the state got almost nothing in taxes, because he had divided his wealth between his wife Helen, who died in 2007, and his children. ....... Wal-Mart employs more than 2 million people worldwide, meaning it has twice as many men and women in uniform than the US army. ...... A reporter for Fortune, strolling round Bentonville, Arkansas, was hard put to even find the offices from which their fortunes are run. ....... Rob Walton, company chairman (the CEO is a non-Walton, Mike Duke), worked in a small windowless room,
Image via Wikipedia 10ft by 10ft square ..... in fact, anyone who lives in Bentonville probably shops in Wal-mart for food, clothes, furniture and electronics, banks at Arvest, and, until recently, read a Walton-owned paper. They can drive down Walton Boulevard to watch sport at the Walton Arena. They can wander around the Walton Arts Centre, or go to the Wal-Mart Museum, where old Sam's office and pick-up are preserved exactly as they were the day he died. They can study at the Sam Walton business school, or fly from the Alice L Walton terminal of the airport.