Scenic USA - Arkansas

Walton's First 5 and 10

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The Walton Museum, Walton's First 5 and 10 - Arkansas

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Fresh from a detailed remodel, the Walmart visitor center (Walton Museum) in Bentonville features the original Walton's 5 and 10, opened on May 9, 1950. A novel idea at the time, Sam Walton's store was the first self-service variety store in Arkansas. Here along North Main a self-guided tour leads visitors by shelves of retro toys, candies, and souvenirs. Offering a true feel of shopping in the 50s, the Welcome Center features original floor tiles and a 50s tin paneled ceiling. Walton Truck License Plate An exhibit including some of Sam Walton's personal effects and the Spark Cafe complete the tour of the interior. Outside you'll find Sam’s original 1979 Ford F-150 pickup truck.
     A remarkable story of a young entrepreneur starting out selling magazine subscriptions to finishing as chairman of the largest retailer in the world, the Walton legacy of discount marketing continues today. Unable to convince the Ben Franklin franchise execs of his higher volume, lower price business plan, Walton pushed forward with his own discount chain. Incorporated in 1969, Walmart became the largest retailer in America with 1700 stores just 22 years later. Walton's autobiography reached number four on the non-fiction best seller list, and at the time of his death at age 74, his net worth was estimated between 21 and 23 billion dollars.
     First to use UPC barcodes, a private satellite Sam Walton’s original 1979 Ford F-150 pickup truck system and just in time inventory, Walmart is not without critics. Subject of criticism about low wages, foreign product sourcing, product supplier pressures and the use of public subsidies, Walmart responded with a strong public relations campaign. Lately, critics pounced on Walmart’s Mexican subsidy story with rumors at least 24 million dollars exchanging hands.
     While other chains entice costumers with friendly service, buy-one-get one-free deals and reward cards, Walmart continues with its Everyday Low Prices campaign. And despite scandal and criticism, Wal-Mart continues to post growing sales since the slump in 2009.

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