Sam Walton - A Chain of Ben Franklin Stores

A Chain of Ben Franklin Stores

With the new Bentonville "5 and Dime" opening for business and, 220 miles away, a year left on the lease in Newport, the cash strapped young Walton had to learn to delegate responsibility.

After succeeding with two stores at such a distance (and with the post war baby boom in full effect), Sam became enthusiastic about scouting more locations, and opening more Ben Franklin franchises. (Also, having spent countless hours behind the wheel - with his close brother James "Bud" Walton having been a pilot in the war - he bought a small plane. Both he and his son John would later become accomplished pilots, and log thousands of hours scouting locations, and expanding the family business.)

In 1954, he opened a store with his brother Bud in a shopping center in Ruskin Heights, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. And with the help of his brother, father-in-law, and brother-in-law, went on to open many new variety stores. He encouraged his managers to invest and take an equity stake in the business; often as much as $1000 in their store or, the next outlet to open. (This motivated the managers to sharpen their managerial skills and take ownership over their role in the enterprise.) By 1962, along with his brother Bud, he owned 16 stores in Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas (fifteen Ben Franklins and one independent, in Fayetteville).

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