By Katherine Krieg, Art Carden
A short biography of the guy who based Wal-Mart and adjusted retail the USA.
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Additional resources for Sam Walton. Founder of the Walmart Empire
Rather than clerks or employees, J. C. Penney only had associates. The term associates made workers feel as if they were more important to the company. Walton would later use this term for workers in Walmarts across the country. At J. C. Penney, beginning associates, including Walton, were provided with a copy of the “Penney Idea,” which was a set of seven guidelines for being a good worker, first conceived in 1913. The “Penney Idea” focused strongly on the importance of excellent customer service and improving oneself as a salesperson.
J. C. PENNEY IN THE 1940S When Walton arrived at J. C. Penney in Des Moines in 1940, the company had 1,586 stores across the United States. 3 At this time, J. C. Penney’s stores had the most success selling fabric products such as sheets, hosiery, and clothing. Rather than clerks or employees, J. C. Penney only had associates. The term associates made workers feel as if they were more important to the company. Walton would later use this term for workers in Walmarts across the country. At J. C.
32 ES S EN T I A L L I V ES Luckily, Walton did not have to be away from his growing family for much longer. Two days after the end of World War II in August 1945, Walton was discharged from his duties. The young Walton family planned to move to a new town, and Walton was eager to find a new opportunity in the retail market. This would lead the family to Newport, Arkansas. There, the Walton family would expand with children John Thomas (1946), James Carr (1948), and Alice Louise (1949). And Walton would first try his hand at retail management with the Ben Franklin store.