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1940s

A New Generation

1940

The Early Years

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1940

Sam Walton graduates from the University of Missouri with a B.A. in economics.

1940

Sam Walton begins his career in Des Moines, Iowa, as a management trainee with the J.C. Penney Company.

Sam Walton's Office

Launch 360 Experience

1942

During World War II, Sam Walton enlists and serves for three years in the Army Intelligence Corps.

1942

Walmart co-founder Bud Walton (Sam's brother) serves as a Navy pilot during World War II on the aircraft carrier USS Manila Bay in the South Pacific.

1943

Family Partnership

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1943

Sam Walton and Helen Robson are married on Valentine's Day.

1945

After leaving the Army, Sam Walton opens his first retail store at the age of 27, a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas.

Competition is the best medicine for us.

Sam Walton

1947

Bud Walton opens a Ben Franklin variety store in Versailles, Missouri.

1949

By 1949, Sam and Helen have four children: Jim, Rob, John, and Alice.

1949

The Newport store is a huge success and soon becomes the top Ben Franklin franchise in Arkansas. But the building’s owner will not renew Sam’s lease. The Walton family must search for a new location.

By the Numbers

By the end of the 1940s, Sam Walton has just one Ben Franklin variety store, in Newport, Arkansas, doing $250,000 in annual sales.