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1960s

Retail Revolution

1960

Walmart Is Born

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1960

Bud Walton, David Glass, and Bob Bogle discuss the first two Walmarts and Sam’s innovative strategies and showmanship.

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1962–1964

Walmart launched without a true logo. In fact, for the first two years, when the Walmart name appeared in print, the font and style were chosen at the whim of the printer.

1962

On July 2, Sam Walton opens his first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas. Don Whitaker is brought in to manage. Bob Bogle coins the name Walmart for the new store.

Coping with the Great Outdoors

From insect killer to Coleman lanterns, here are some of the typical products sold at Sam and Bud’s growing chain of Ben Franklin stores and Walton’s Family Centers.

1964

The Waltons open two more Walmart stores in Arkansas: one in Harrison (shown), the other in Springdale.

1964–1981

In 1964, Walmart selected a logo font. This "Frontier Font Logo" was the first official and first consistently used logo in Walmart's history.

1965

A fourth Walmart opens in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

1966

By this time, Sam Walton also owns 16 Ben Franklin stores, more than any other retailer in the United States.

If we truly dedicate ourselves to instill that thrill of merchandising – the thrill of buying and selling something at a profit – into every one of our associates, nothing can ever stop us.

Sam Walton

Three Nebraska Boys

Ferold Arend joined the company after Gary Reinboth recommended him to Sam. Ferold later brought another Nebraska native into the fold: Bob Thompson, who ran the first Walmart distribution center.

1966

Ferold Arend joins Sam as vice president of operations for Ben Franklin stores in 1966. Ferold was successful and, the next year, headed operations for both Walmart and the Walton's Ben Franklin stores.

1966

A fifth Walmart is opened, in Conway, Arkansas, and a sixth in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

1967

A seventh Walmart opens in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The Waltons now own 24 stores. Together, they are ringing up $12.6 million in sales.

Keeping House

The Waltons made sure that brand-name products needed for everyday chores were available to their rural customers at unbeatable prices.

1968

Swimming Upstream

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1968

A record number of Walmarts – six – are opened in a single year, in Morrilton and Mountain Home, Arkansas; Tahlequah and Claremore, Oklahoma; and Sikeston and Carthage, Missouri.

1968

In June, Sam Walton attends an IBM class for executives, which lays the foundation for a partnership between Walmart and IBM. Sam hires talented IBMers to develop Walmart's computing infrastructure.

We've got to be smart enough to think of things we can do better and better for our customers in order to keep ahead of our competitors. It's very important that our customers be treated right.

Sam Walton

1968

Sam and Bud Walton establish Walmart Aviation, hiring pilots to fly them to their growing network of stores. John Walton is their first pilot.

We wanted to expand, and we realized we weren't generating enough profits both to expand and to pay off our debts . . . [Bud and I] agreed to seriously explore the possibilities of going public. It was a huge step for us.

Sam Walton

1969

The company officially incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., on October 31.

By the Numbers

In 1969, Sam and Bud Walton close the decade with 18 Walmarts and 17 Ben Franklin stores. They employ 900 associates and have locations in four states. Annual sales reach $30.8 million.

1969

Five more Walmarts open in Arkansas and Missouri, including a 30,000-square-foot Walmart in Newport, Arkansas, the town Sam Walton was forced to leave in 1949 when his landlord would not renew his lease.

1969

The installation of an IBM System/360 Model 20 allows Walmart to receive a daily sales report from each store, ensuring that the right items are available to customers.

1969

For the first time, company associates are paid through a centralized, computerized payroll system rather than with traditional checks from each store.

1960s

Grand opening of a new Walmart.

1960s

A Walmart grand-opening sale.

Little Known Sparks

In what year did Walmart open its first store in China: ’92, ’94, or ’96?
In 1996, Walmart expanded into China.

1969

Five more Walmarts open in Arkansas and Missouri, including a 30,000-square-foot Walmart in Newport, Arkansas, the town Sam Walton was forced to leave in 1949 when his landlord would not renew his lease.