A Missourian reader for many years who also owns shares in Walmart attended the 50th anniversary observance of the company recently. It featured the annual shareholders meeting in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark. Around 10,000 shareholders attended the big event.
The company provided those attending with a booklet that included stories about Walmart, its beginning and its remarkable growth. Whether you like Walmart or don’t hold the company dear to your heart, no one can deny that it’s a remarkable story of American entrepreneurial success. Sam Walton, who once delivered newspapers, opened his first Walmart July 2, 1962, in Rogers, Ark. The site now is a Walmart Visitor Center (free admission). He had been operating a Ben Franklin Store since 1945. Losing his lease, he opened Walton’s Five & Dime store in Bentonville in 1950. It was a Ben Franklin franchise. He opened a second store in Fayetteville in 1952. After opening a few more stores and realizing the Five & Dime concept was limited, he took that idea and opened his first Walmart Store in Rogers, paying 95 percent of the cost himself. In 10 years, the chain grew to 15 stores.
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