Born on this day in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, discount dynamo Samuel Moore Walton (1918-1992) grew up in Missouri during the depression and believed in the power of perseverance and citizenship. He built Wal-Mart into the fastest growing, most influential force in the retail industry.
"High expectations are the key to everything," he believed and said customer service was the key to success.
After serving three years in the Army during WWII, Walton returned home to begin a $85-a month sales job at J.C. Penney's, then borrowed $25,000 for a Ben Franklin franchise in 1945. Believing the future of retailing was in discount, not dime stores, Walton was unable to convince the Ben Franklin management.
Too bad, for even Sir Winston Churchill once observed, "The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes."
Walton moved to Bentonville, Arkansas, which is now the Wal-Mart empire headquarters. In 1962, he opened his first outlet in Rogers, Arkansas and proved large discounts could succeed in small towns.
The heroic initiator of the 1980s "Buy America" campaign, Walton promoted buying American-made goods to support the economy, save jobs, and prevent trade deficits. Even as a billionaire, he chose to live in a small town and drive an inexpensive car.
"The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say," he once said. "It's terribly important for everyone to get involved. Our best ideas come from clerks and stock boys."
Believe in yourself and watch what you can do.