See Rock City

See Rock City

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bentonville, AR

Bentonville is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 19,730 at the 2000 census. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 29,538, ranking it as the state's 11th largest city, behind Hot Springs. Bentonville has a population of 33,744 according to the 2007 US Census.

Bentonville is the county seat of Benton County. The headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores, the largest retailer in the world, as well as that of The Whistler Group, a major US manufacturer of radar detectors, are located in Bentonville.

Famous residents of Bentonville include: Sam Walton-founder of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, D.Z. Rife-interior designer, Tim Summers-State Rep, Arkansas State District 99 and Dana Sargent-the main anchor for "Fox 24 News Edge", the first ever local primetime news cast.

Bentonville is served by Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, which also serves Fayetteville, Arkansas and Springdale, Arkansas.


Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is an American public corporation that runs a chain of large, discount department stores. It is the world's largest public corporation by revenue, according to the 2008 Fortune Global 500. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, it was incorporated on October 31, 1969, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. It is the largest private employer in the world and the fourth largest utility or commercial employer, trailing the British National Health Service, and the Indian Railways. Wal-Mart is the largest grocery retailer in the United States, with an estimated 20% of the retail grocery and consumables business, as well as the largest toy seller in the U.S. It also owns and operates the North American company, Sam's Club.

It operates in Mexico as Walmex, in the UK as ASDA, and in Japan as Seiyu. It has wholly-owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the UK. Wal-Mart's investments outside North America have had mixed results: its operations in South America and China are highly successful, while it was forced to pull out of Germany when its venture there was unsuccessful.

Wal-Mart has been criticized by some community groups, women's rights groups, grassroots organizations, and labor unions, specifically for its extensive foreign product sourcing, low rates of employee health insurance enrollment, resistance to union representation, and alleged sexism.

Monument in homage to James H. Berry, the Confederacy, and the Southern Soldier, called by many "Feddy," located in the town square of Bentonville, facing the Wal-Mart Visitor Center.

Bentonville is a popular real estate destination for senior citizens and families with young children for quite some time, due to relative affordability, lower crime rates for a city its' size and a social conservative culture known in Northwest Arkansas. Bentonville and Benton County is said to have the most registered Republican voters of the state by its rural character, small town values and new suburban characteristics.

Famous residents of Bentonville include: Sam Walton-founder of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, D.Z. Rife-interior designer, Tim Summers-State Rep, Arkansas State District 99 and Dana Sargent-the main anchor for "Fox 24 News Edge", the first ever local primetime news cast.

Bentonville is served by Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, which also serves Fayetteville, Arkansas and Springdale, Arkansas.


Crystal Bridges is a planned $50,000,000 museum of American Art located within walking distance of downtown Bentonville, AR.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

One of the most exciting positive impacts Crystal Bridges will have is on children. Watching your child experience art for the first time is a truly remarkable moment. Placing sculpture outdoors allows relationships to build between the object and the child or adult. It gives more access for visits, but it also gives the sculpture a home, somewhere it will be for a long, long time. Giving sculpture a place in the community also adds to the definition of that community’s sense of place. The sculpture, be it Prometheus, or three elegant bears, becomes a source of stability, a beautiful, constant civic companion, place where we gather, and a place to remember.

With public art come some of the same fears that parents have as they watch their child enter the world and begin to navigate it on their own. Will someone or something out there bring harm to him or her?

And the same question has been asked by our staff and community leaders as the decision to make art public in Bentonville was made. To respond as a community we must think of the story of Goldilocks. Yes, she was curious and entered the home of the three bears unlawfully. And, yes, she did enjoy what they had to offer, including sleeping on their property. No, she did not vandalize, or otherwise go wild while in their home, but in the end her actions were still inappropriate. The three bears were an amicable group, and were very forgiving, and in this particular case it seems that Goldilocks gets away with her misdemeanor breaking and entering.

A wiser Goldilocks could have simply asked to visit the bears, and they would have welcomed her warmly, and made her visit better than she could have imagined. Photographs by Andy Ballestra

Bears in the Woods

Today, Paul Manship’s Group of Bears arrived at their new home at Compton Gardens and a few steps from Bentonville’s newly renovated Town Square. The nearly seven foot tall bronze sculpture is the first work of art from Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection to be displayed in Bentonville. The sculpture’s placement at this popular nature preserve and conference center is also a stone’s throw from a long-planned and currently under construction pedestrian/bike trail leading to the Museum’s lower, north entrance near Crystal Springs. Manship’s three bears--lithe, relaxed and entirely comfortable in their new setting of native Arkansas flora and real critters, including an actual bear recently sighted nearby—are, in fact, the first of several sculpture pieces, both realistic and abstract, that are envisioned along various points of the trail and surrounding grounds. Some sculptures will be hard to miss and on an architectural scale; others discrete surprises and “off the beaten path,” literally and figuratively. Setting us off on this new artistic journey that is Crystal Bridges, we believe the Group of Bears is the ideal artistic presence, enduring, elegant and adorable all at once, welcoming visitors of all ages, from our own community and throughout the nation and world beyond, and for generations to come.

Planning and Development

Planners see I-540 overtaxed in future An article concerning long range planning, population and traffic studies for NW Arkansas.

The ECHL, a minor-league professional ice hockey league, is coming to Bentonville in the Arkansas Sports & Entertainment Complex, a 9,500 seat multi-use complex.

In late-August 2006, civic officials in Bentonville began talks with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the hopes to attract a team from the NBA Development League or a Women's National Basketball Association franchise.

Historic Sites

Established in 1836 as the first county in the state of Arkansas, Bentonville has maintained the historic character of the town.

Within the city limits, there are 72 historical buildings and homes, including the Peel House Mansion and Historical Gardens.

Take a walking tour of the heart of the city and enjoy the statue and historic buildings or visit the Pea Ridge Military Park just 5 miles from the heart of Bentonville.

Historic Sites

• Downtown Square
• Massey Hotel
• City Hall
• Courthouse
• Peel Mansion
• Museum of Native American Artifacts

• Pea Ridge Military Park

• Veterans Wall of Honor

• Train Station

Tudor House at the Oak is a National Historic Registry house in the heart of Bentonville, located in Northwest Arkansas. The Tudor House is creatively decorated with art and furniture from many parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. Each room is specially designed for your comfort and pleasure. The luxury bathroom featuring a deep whirlpool bath will rejuvenate you. Breakfast is a three course gourmet feast at the Tudor House! Just outside the front door, you will enjoy enchanting flower gardens, singing water fountains, and quiet woods for the get-away of your dreams. For your enjoyment you may join a Tudor House cooking class or an afternoon of golf. There are many area amenities in North West Arkansas including numerous craft fairs, antique malls, factory outlets, and rodeos. Several corporate offices reside in this area such as Wal-Mart, J. B. Hunt, Tyson, and Proctor & Gamble to name a few. The University of Arkansas is less than thirty minutes away. The Tudor House is approximately fifteen minutes from Pea Ridge, thirty minutes from War-Eagle, sixty minutes from Eureka Springs, one and a half hours from Branson and two hours from Tulsa.

Tour through this 1920's Arkansas native stone house with the decor of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The grand living room, or Renaissance Room, is stunning with its high ceiling, Venetian chandelier, and native quartz crystal fireplace and with its century-old Prussian castle furniture. Upstairs, in the Gathering Room, East African and Philippine batiks and woodcarvings draw you into conversation, games, or a classic movie. The Spanish Room is regally furnished with a Don Quixote table, Philippine drums, and an ironware canopy queen bed. The Rose Room is graced with an Asian rattan set, Thai puppets, and delicate floral and gold accessories. The luxury bathroom is illuminated with a skylight reflecting on the porcelain extra-deep whirlpool, Sulu Sea shells, and pedestal sinks. A split-level suite with private bath, twin beds, and a sleeper sofa decorated in a French theme is available by special request. In the morning, the kitchen aromas invite you to the sunlit Continental Room's classic Italian touch. Specially blended full-bean coffee and a gourmet culinary masterpiece is served with attentiveness and friendship. You will enjoy the best three-course breakfast in your stomach's history!

Tudor House

If I could put my woods in song,
And tell what's there enjoyed,
All men would to my gardens throng,
And leave the cities void." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Eagle Grist Mill~A Working Water Powered Grist Mill

War Eagle Mill celebrated its centennial rebirth in 1973 when Jewell A. and Leta Medlin and Zoe Medlin Caywood built the fourth mill on the original site and foundation.

The new mill stands as an authentic reproduction of the 1873 mill in preserving the historical significance of the gristmill as the hub of the rural community during the late 1800's and early 1900's. The War Eagle River powers a set of stone buhr grinders in the new mill by an 18-foot undershot waterwheel.

The first mill was built in the 1830's by Sylvanus Blackburn, but washed away in 1848. The second mill was burned by order of a Confederate general to prevent the Union Army's capture and use of the mill. James A.C. Blackburn, son of Sylvanus, reconstructed a third mill in 1873.

The War Eagle Mill

The fourth mill is the first new grist mill built in Arkansas in 90 years. A visit to the historical mill provides a taste of nostalgic reminiscence of the pioneering spirit of the founders and subsequent millers who ground grains for the daily table in the 1800's. And now, since 1973 War Eagle Mill once again graces the War Eagle River bank and its serene valley with the sound of stone buhrs grinding and the spirit of its Arkansas past being carried on within its doors.

Crafts made by artists in the War Eagle area are for sale at the Mill. Antiques and tools for everyday living in the late 1800's are displayed throughout the three-story structure. The "Bean Palace" Restaurant on the third floor features the Mill's wholegrains for breakfast and lunch. Visitors are always welcome to step back into history and observe the process of stone buhr grinding as it was done 150 years ago.

Crystal Bridges

Founded by Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is envisioned as a premier art institution dedicated to American art and artists, learning and community gatherings. The main pavilions will house a permanent collection of American art masterworks from the colonial era to modern day, and touring collections from national art institutions. Visitors will be able to enjoy the collection within the state-of-the-art galleries and throughout the surrounding park. A dynamic temporary exhibitions program will complement the holdings of the permanent collection and exemplify the diversity of American artists. Some announced works of the permanent collection include: Hudson River School masterwork Kindred Spirits by Asher B. Durand; Charles Willson Peale’s 18th century painting of George Washington; Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington (The Constable-Hamilton Portrait); Portrait of Professor Benjamin H. Rand by Thomas Eakins; Spring, by Winslow Homer; Martin Johnson Heade’s Cattleya Orchid, Two Hummingbirds and a Beetle; and Marsden Hartley’s Hall of the Mountain King.

The museum takes its name from a natural spring on the museum’s wooded site as well as the unique glass-and-wood building design created by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. An innovative building design – reflective of its forested creek-side home, and linked by landscaped trails and paths connecting area neighborhoods – will capture the interplay of nature, art and culture in the region. The museum property and grounds are within walking distance of the Bentonville town square.

In addition to expanding access to art, cultural and learning resources, Crystal Bridges will also spur the continued economic development of Northwest Arkansas. The museum is expected to draw tourists from the region and nationally, with an anticipated 250,000 visitors annually.

Bentonville’s small-town appeal, historical background and expanding tourism, anchored by the Walton 5&10 museum – Sam Walton’s first retail outlet – will provide an ideal setting for enthusiasts and students of art when visiting Crystal Bridges and its museum of American art.

Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges will house a museum of American art, which will be on view in more than 25,000 square feet of gallery space. The majority of the exhibit space will be devoted to American masterworks, from the Colonial era to the 20th century. Additional gallery space will be dedicated to regional art and artists including Native American art as well as touring collections drawn from national art institutions. Sculpture will also figure prominently in the permanent collection, on view in interior galleries and outdoor sculpture gardens. A dynamic temporary exhibitions program will complement the holdings of the permanent collection. The heart of the permanent collection will include works donated by Alice Walton and the Walton Family Foundation, and may be augmented by gifts and loans from other private collectors.

A Place of Community

Crystal Bridges is designed to build connections, both literally and figuratively, with the communities of Northwest Arkansas. Linking Bentonville’s neighborhoods with walking trails that encourage regular visits to the museum and its sculpture gardens, Crystal Bridges will encourage community uses and activities as one of its highest priorities. Flexibly designed spaces within the museum and its grounds will accommodate a variety of group-based activities, ranging from outdoor concerts to public gatherings, arts fairs, meetings of area community groups and other civic activities. A 250-seat indoor theatre and other spaces will be ideal venues for community receptions and dinners and private functions ranging from business conferences to weddings.

Lower Bridge

The multi-functional theatre space can accommodate lectures and presentations, as well as films, music performances, dance and drama. A flexible stage area and lecture-style seating arrangement will provide multiple use opportunities.

View To Lower Pond

The museum building is expected to contain 100,000 square feet when completed, and employ approximately 75 full-time staff. Traditional museum resources, including a museum store, dining facilities, parking and group tours are planned as well.

Peel Logo

Welcome To The
1875 Peel Mansion Museum &
Heritage Gardens

The Peel Mansion - In 1875, Colonel Samuel West Peel built a marvelous villa tower Italianate Mansion on the outskirts of Bentonville, Arkansas. It was a working farmstead surrounded by 180 acres of apple trees.
Colonel Peel, pioneer businessman, Indian agent and Confederate soldier, was the first native born Arkansan to serve in the U.S. Congress. He and his wife, Mary Emaline Berry Peel, raised nine children here.

Peel Mansion

Much care was taken in erecting this magnificent house. The timbers are of sturdy yellow pine. The walls are made of local brick, late embellished by a stucco exterior. Exterior stone sills and lintels were finely carved by a local stone mason.

The front hall is a sophisticated presentation of rare pine graining and a gracefully turned walnut balustrade stairway. Authentically designed curtains and colors derived from meticulous research embellish this softly lighted Victorian interior of the 1870's. There is a rare Anglo-Japanese mantle in the library and unusual Greek Revival molded trim in the parlor. Kerosene lamps and chandeliers lighted the darkness in the Peel household of many years ago and careful attention to this reality has resulted in a display of unusual lighting devices complete with globes, chimneys, wicks, and authentic period details. Rugs, coverlets, furniture and other accessories create a truly authentic interior of the early Victorian period.

Peel Mansion

The Historic Arkansas Museum and the Old State House have generously loaned fine antiques and artifacts to assist in furnishing the interior of the Peel Mansion Museum.

Grounds And Gardens

Heritage Gardens - The Peel Mansion site is also an outdoor museum of historic roses, perennials and native plants. Careful research over many months has resulted in an extensive inventory of nineteenth century plantings. Descendants of early settlers were interviewed for their childhood memories of early gardens. The 1845 Jacob Smith Nursery list from Fayetteville served as a documentary source. Various vignette gardens are interlaced among curvilinear walks and large shade trees creating a most appropriate setting for this great historic building of northwest Arkansas.

The Cabin

The Cabin Porch

Archival Library - The Peel House Foundation provides office space for several historic organizations such as the Benton County Preservation Project, which promotes preservation and gives assistance to owners of historic homes, the Benton County Historical Society, the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society, the resources of which cover much of the continental United States, and the Benton County Cemetery Preservation Group. Please note that these offices have been relocated to the lower level of The Conference Centre at Compton Gardens (312 N. Main Street, Bentonville AR 72712).

Compton Gardens & The Conference Centre at Compton Gardens,

In 2002, the Peel House Foundation was gifted the 6.5 acre garden and home of Dr. Neil Compton, physician, author, photographer, naturalist and "savior of the Buffalo River."

The Garden

The garden has been developed into a native/woodland garden which is quickly becoming a regional destination garden. It provides a beautiful and peaceful environment containing a native and woodland plant collection. The garden is dedicated to the advancement and appreciation of gardening, horticulture and conservation within an aesthetic landscape.

The Homesite

The Compton homesite has been re-modeled - the upper level is a Conference Center. The lower level is home to the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society, the Benton County Historical Society and the Benton County Cemetery Preservation Group.

Notable residents

Willis Ricketts, the 1962 Arkansas Republican gubernatorial nominee, was born in Bentonville and operated a pharmacy in Fayetteville for twenty years. He later lived in Benton, Arkansas, the seat of Saline County.

Willis Harvey "Bubs" Ricketts (December 14, 1924 - January 12, 2003) was the Republican Party gubernatorial nominee in the U.S. state of Arkansas in 1962, having been overwhelmingly defeated by the incumbent Democrat Orval Eugene Faubus. At the time, Ricketts, a 37-year-old pharmacist, operated with his father Ricketts Drug Store in Fayetteville, the seat of Washington County in northwestern Arkansas. Ricketts polled 82,349 votes (26.7 percent) to Faubus' 225,743 (73.3 percent). Faubus won all seventy-five counties; Ricketts ran best with 42 percent in Baxter County in the far northern part of the state.

The 52-year-old Faubus interpreted his victory over Ricketts as "a slap in the face to Winthrop Rockefeller," a key Republican Party (GOP) financier and later Faubus' successor as governor. Faubus alleged that GOP leaders were "not in tune with the people." Rockefeller replied to Faubus, who had appointed him in 1955 to chair the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, with a prediction that the GOP, which offered twenty-two legislative candidates in 1962, would "consolidate our gains.... We made a lot of friends who want to join forces with the Republican Party to create a true two-party system in Arkansas."

In the campaign, Ricketts questioned why Faubus, when he faced a Democratic intraparty challenge from former Governor Sid McMath and then U.S. Representative Dale Alford, had contacted welfare recipients by letter to ask for their support. Ricketts called Faubus' action a "form of intimidation" of the unfortunate.

Running with Ricketts was the GOP senatorial nominee, Dr. Kenneth Jones of Little Rock, the challenger to entrenched Democratic U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, already a nationally known figure. Jones ran to the "right" of Fulbright and polled 31.3 percent of the vote, some 5 percentage points more than Ricketts, who ran to the "left" of Faubus, was able to amass.

After his 1962 race, Ricketts worked in Rockefeller's losing gubernatorial campaign of 1964 and then Rockefeller's election in 1966. He also served as secretary of the Arkansas GOP but never again sought office himself.

Ricketts was born to Glenn C. Ricketts (1899-1982) and Jewell Ricketts (1902-1987) in Bentonville, the seat of Benton County in northwestern Arkansas. He graduated in 1942 from Fayetteville High School. He then entered the United States Marines in which he served for thirty months during World War II, mostly as a medical field technologist in the South Pacific. On returning from the war, he studied pre-medicine at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He graduated in 1950 from the School of Pharmacy at the College of the Ozarks, a Christian institution in Point Lookout, Missouri.

Ricketts was a former president of the Arkansas Junior Chamber of Commerce, a national Jaycees director, and a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce International. He was affiliated with the Fayetteville Exchange Club for Men, the Arkansas Pharmaceutical Association, and the Salvation Army.

In 1967, Ricketts relocated to Benton, the seat of Saline County south of Little Rock (not to be confused with his birthplace of Bentonville), to become the administrator of the local Arkansas State Hospital, where he obtained the "Boss of the Year" award in 1968. Thereafter, from 1972-1973, he was the administrator of the Stella Manor Nursing Home in Russellville, the seat of Pope County, where he was active in the Association of Mental Health Administrators. He was the executive vice president of the Saline County Chamber of Commerce from 1973 until his retirement in 1985.

Ricketts, who was divorced, was survived by a daughter, Janis Ricketts Volkamer of Fayetteville; a son, Glenn R. "Rick" Ricketts and his wife, Cathy, of Benton; four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Services were held on January 15, 2003, at Ashby Funeral Home Chapel in Benton. Burial was in Fairview Memorial Gardens in Fayetteville.

Karri Turner, actress on the adventure/drama television show JAG, grew up in Bentonville.

Karri Turner (born December 21, 1966) is an American television actress who is best remembered for playing Lieutenant Harriet Sims Roberts on the television series JAG (1997–2005).

Raised in Bentonville, Arkansas, Turner originally considered a Drama/Tele/Film degree atOklahoma's Oral Roberts University before committing entirely to acting and moving to southern California to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. At one time, she was a member of The Groundlings Sunday Co, a California improvisational comedy troupe.

Her recent film credits include "Get Smart" and "American Carol". She has had extensive stage experience in such plays as Godspell and Charley's Aunt and appeared in 2003 as Susan in the award-winning comic short The Date. She has also had recurring roles in Caroline in the City, The X-Files and South Park. She accompanied comedians Kathy Griffin and Michael McDonald to Iraq to perform for U.S. troops stationed there, a performance broadcast as part of Griffin's series My Life on the D-List, and has completed nine USO tours as of 2008.

Jim Walton, the world's 23rd richest man, lives in Bentonville.

Jim Carr Walton (born 1948 in Newport, Arkansas) is the youngest son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and the Chairman of Arvest Bank.

With an estimated current net worth of around $19.2 billion, Walton is ranked by Forbes as the 29th-richest person in world. He is married to Lynne McNabb Walton and has four children, including Alice Anne Walton and Thomas Layton Walton. The family resides in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Sam Walton

Samuel Moore Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992), was an American businessman and entrepreneur born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma who founded two American retailers Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. He was the patriarch of the Walton family, one of the richest families in the world.

Early life

Walton was born to Thomas Gibson Walton and Nancy Lee Walton near Kingfisher, Oklahoma on March 29, 1918. There, he lived with his parents on their farm until 1923. Sam's father decided farming did not generate enough income on which to raise a family, so he decided to go back to a previous profession of a mortgage man. So he and his family (now with another son, James born in 1921) moved from Oklahoma to Missouri. There they moved from one small town to another for several years. While attending 8th grade in Shelbina, Sam became the youngest Eagle Scout in the state's history. In adult life, Walton became a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.

Walton excelled physically in high school, playing basketball and football as starting quarterback for Columbia's David H. Hickman High School in 1935, when they won the state title. While at Hickman, he also served as vice president of the student body in his junior year and as president in his senior year. He performed well enough academically to become an honors student.

Growing up during the Great Depression, Walton had numerous chores to help make financial ends meet for his family. He milked the family cow, bottled the surplus and drove it to customers. Afterwards, he would deliver newspapers on a paper route. Upon graduating, he was voted "Most Versatile Boy."

After high school, Walton decided to attend college, hoping to find a better way to help support his family. He attended the University of Missouri and majored in economics and was an ROTC officer. During this time, he worked various odd jobs, including waiting tables in exchange for meals. Also during his time in college, Walton joined the estimable Zeta Phi chapter of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He was also tapped by QEBH, the well-known secret society on campus honoring the top senior men. Upon graduating, he was voted "permanent president" of the class.

Walton joined JCPenney as a management trainee in Des Moines, Iowa three days after graduating from college. This position earned him $75 a month. He resigned in 1942 in anticipation of being inducted into the military for service in World War II. In the meantime, he worked at a DuPont munitions plant near Tulsa, Oklahoma. There he met his future wife, Helen Robson, in April 1942. She and Sam were married February 14, 1943.

Soon afterwards, Walton joined the military in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps, supervising security at aircraft plants and prisoner of war camps. In this position he served in the continental United States. He eventually reached the rank of captain.

The first stores

In 1945, after leaving the military, Walton decided he wanted to own a department store but would settle for a variety store. With some help from his father-in-law with a loan of $20,000, plus $5000 he had saved from his time in the Army, Walton purchased a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. The store was a franchise of the Butler Brothers chain.

It was here that Walton pioneered many concepts that would prove to be crucial to his success. Walton made sure the shelves were consistently stocked with a wide range of goods at low prices. His store also stayed open later than most other stores, especially during the Christmas season. He also pioneered the practice of discount merchandising by buying wholesale goods from the lowest priced supplier. This allowed him to pass on savings to his customers, which drove up his sales volume. Higher volumes allowed him to negotiate even lower purchase prices with the wholesaler on subsequent purchases. Walton's store led in sales and profits in the Butler Brothers' six-state region. One factor that made this store successful was its central location, making it accessible to a wide range of customers. In an attempt to limit the expansion of his main competitor, the Sterling Store, Walton leased a nearby Kroger store and opened it in 1950 as the "Eagle" department store, but it didn't fare as well.

Due to the variety store's enormous success, the landlord, P. K. Holmes, refused to renew the lease when it expired, desiring to pass the store onto his son. The lack of a renewal option, together with the outrageous rent of 5% of sales, were early business lessons to Walton. Despite forcing Walton out, Holmes bought the store's inventory and fixtures for $50,000, which Walton called "a fair price."

Sam Walton's original Walton's Five and Dime, now the Wal-Mart Visitor's Center, Bentonville, Arkansas.

Walton's Five and Dime (a.k.a. Walton's 5 & 10)

Sam Walton's original Walton's Five and Dime, now the Wal-Mart Visitor's Center, Bentonville, Arkansas.Before long, Walton arranged for another location for a new store. Unable to find a new location in Newport, Walton located a variety store in Bentonville, Arkansas which he would open as another called "Walton's Five and Dime." In Bentonville, the Waltons became involved in numerous civic activities. Sam Walton served as president of the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce.

A Ben Franklin Store in Middlebury, Vermont.

A chain of Ben Franklin stores

Over time, Walton went on to open more Ben Franklin stores with the help of his brother, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. In 1954, he opened a store with his brother in a shopping center in Ruskin Heights, a suburb of Kansas City. He opened another in Arkansas, but it failed to be as successful as his other stores. Walton decided to concentrate on retail business instead of the shopping centers and opened larger stores which were called "Walton's Family Center."

Walton offered managers the opportunity to become limited partners if they would invest in the store they oversaw and then invest a maximum of $1,000 in new outlets as they opened. This motivated the managers to always try to maximize profits and improve their managerial skills. By 1962, Walton and his brother Bud owned sixteen variety stores in Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas (fifteen Ben Franklin and the one independent Fayetteville store).

Ben Franklin Stores are a chain of five and dime discount stores found in small towns throughout the United States. They are organized using a franchise system, with individual stores owned by independent proprietors. It was perhaps the first retail franchise, starting in 1927. They are named after Benjamin Franklin, taking a cue in their merchandise offerings from Franklin's saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned." The company logo, a key giving off a spark, refers to Franklin's famous experiment to prove that lightning was a form of electricity using a key suspended from a kite.

Butler Brothers store

Butler Brothers was a chain of Five and dime retail outlets in the United States started by Edward Burgess Butler.

In 1974 the company was bought out by City Products Corporation.

Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, was a franchisee of Butler Brothers in his first retail venture, prior to founding Wal-Mart.

They had their origin as Butler Brothers, which originated in 1877 as a mail-order wholesaler selling general and variety-store items. At the turn of the Twentieth century, Butler Brothers had over 100,000 customers in the United States. The rise of variety stores, which were taking their market, led the company to found the Ben Franklin stores chain. It sold this chain in 1959.

Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton, made his start in retailing as an operator of a Ben Franklin store.

The First Wal-Mart

The first true Wal-Mart opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Wal-Mart eventually became the world's largest retailer.

Wal-Mart Store

Walton stated, "Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community." Wal-Mart has outreach programs led by local employees who grew up in the area and understand its needs. Wal-Mart becomes involved in local communities by allowing local charities to hold bake sales on store property, and by offering scholarships to graduating seniors from local high schools. Wal-Mart's slogan is "The lowest Prices. Guaranteed!" Changed in 2007 to "Save Money. Live Better."

Legacy and death

In 1985, Sam Walton began a program designed to stem the 'tide of communism' in Central America by promoting capitalism and privatization.

In 1998, Walton was included in Time's list of 100 most influential people of the 20th Century. Walton was honored for all his pioneering efforts in retail in March 1992, when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush. That year, the Jiangsu province of the People's Republic of China awarded him the Golden Star Foreigner's Award for "tireless assistance in the development of People's owned factories in the Suzhou area".

Forbes ranked Sam Walton as the richest man in the United States from 1985 to 1988, ceding the top spot to John Kluge in 1989 when the editors began to credit Walton's fortune jointly to him and his four children. (Bill Gates first headed the list in 1992, the year Walton died). Wal-Mart Stores Incorporated also runs Sam's Club warehouse stores. Wal-Mart stores operate in The United States, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, China, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and in the United Kingdom.
He left his ownership in Wal-Mart to his wife and their children: S. Robson "Rob" Walton, John T. Walton, Jim Walton, and Alice Walton. Rob Walton succeeded his father as the Chairman of the Board of Wal-Mart, and John was a director until his death in a 2005 plane crash. The others are not directly involved in the company (except through their voting power as shareholders). The Walton family held 5 spots in the top 10 richest people in the United States until 2005. Two daughters of Sam's brother Bud Walton, Ann Kroenke and Nancy Laurie, hold smaller shares in the company and are also billionaires in their own right.

Walton supported various charitable causes, including those of his church, the Presbyterian Church (USA). The Sam and Helen R. Walton Award was created in 1991 when the Waltons made a gift of six million dollars which included an endowment in the amount of three million dollars to provide annual awards to new church developments that are working in creative ways to share the Christian faith in local communities.

Walton is honored at the University of Arkansas by having the Business College (Sam M. Walton College of Business) named in his honor.
Walton died Sunday April 5, 1992, of a type of multiple myeloma.

The Walton Family is one of the the richest families in the world (according to the latest data the Ambani family of India is considered as the richest family in the world), their wealth inherited from Bud and Sam Walton, founders of the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart. The five most prominent members (Jim, John (d.2005), Rob, Alice, and Helen (d.2007)) have consistently been in the top ten of the Forbes 400 since 2001, although Helen dropped to #11 in 2006, probably due at least in part to her extensive philanthropy. Christy Walton took her husband John's place after his death in 2005.

Collectively, the Waltons control over 39% of the company, and are worth approximately $19.2 billion each, for a combined total of $81.8 billion (as of March 2008). After Helen Walton passed away in April, 2007, her fortune will pass to charity over the next few years.

James Lawrence "Bud" Walton,

James Lawrence “Bud” Walton (December 20, 1921 – March 21, 1995) was the younger brother of Sam Walton and cofounder of Wal-Mart.

Born in 1921, Walton went to Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri and to the Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri. During World War II, he served as a Navy pilot. Like his brother, he went subsequently into the retail business working in the Ben Franklin Stores franchise system. His first store was opened in Versailles, Missouri. In 1962, he and Sam Walton co-founded Wal-Mart. He died on March 21, 1995 in Miami, Florida after surgery for an aneurysm.

Bud Walton had been married to Audrey Walton and they had two daughters, Ann Walton Kroenke, and Nancy Walton Laurie.

The Bud Walton Arena on the campus of the University of Arkansas is named after him.

He worked on a farm in his younger years.

Jim Carr Walton,

Jim Carr Walton (born 1948 in Newport, Arkansas)[1] is the youngest son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and the Chairman of Arvest Bank.

With an estimated current net worth of around $19.2 billion, Walton is ranked by Forbes as the 29th-richest person in world. He is married to Lynne McNabb Walton and has four children, including Alice Anne Walton and Thomas Layton Walton. The family resides in Bentonville, Arkansas.

John Thomas Walton,

John Thomas Walton (born October 8, 1946 in Newport, Arkansas[1], died June 27, 2005 in Jackson, Wyoming) was a decorated American war veteran, and a son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. He was the chairman of True North Partners, a venture capital firm.

Samuel Robson "Rob" Walton,

Samuel Robson (Rob) Walton (born 1945, in Tulsa, Oklahoma) is the eldest son of Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer. He is currently chairman of the world-wide company. According to Forbes, his net worth is $16.7 billion as of 2007.

Walton graduated from Columbia Law School in 1969 and became a member of the law firm that represented Wal-Mart until his father's death. Rob Walton was named chairman of the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart on April 7, 1992, two days after his father's death, and still maintains that title. The name Robson comes from his mother's side of the family, the Robsons.

Alice Louise Walton,

Alice Louise Walton (born October 7, 1949 in Newport, Arkansas)[1] is an American heiress to the Wal-mart fortune. She is the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and Helen Walton, and sister of S. Robson Walton, John T. Walton, and Jim Walton. In 2007, her estimated net worth was US$16.1 billion, making her the second richest woman in the United States after sister-in-law Christy Walton, and the third richest woman in the world.

Helen Robson Kemper Walton,

Helen Robson Kemper Walton (December 3, 1919 — April 19, 2007) was the wife of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. She was the eleventh richest American and at one point the richest woman in the world. Helen died with an estimated net worth of $16.4 billion that will pass to charity over the next few years.

Helen was the valedictorian of her high school class in Claremore, Oklahoma and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma at Norman with a degree in business. She was the daughter of L.S. Robson, a prosperous banker and rancher. She and Sam were married February 14, 1943.

Sam Walton (d. 1992) left his ownership in Wal-Mart to his wife and their four children, S. Robson Walton (Rob), John T. Walton (d. 2005), Jim Walton, and Alice Walton. Rob Walton chairs the board of directors of Wal-Mart, on which John served until his death. The others are not directly involved in the company except through their voting power as shareholders.

Walton died of heart failure on Thursday, April 19 2007.

Ann Walton Kroenke,

Ann Walton Kroenke is, indirectly, an heir to part of the Wal-Mart fortune. Along with her sister, Nancy Walton Laurie, Kroenke inherited stock from father, Bud Walton (d. 1995), who was an early business partner and brother of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Her husband, Stan Kroenke, is a real estate developer and a billionaire in his own right; he is a part-owner of the St. Louis Rams (NFL) and Arsenal F.C. (Premier League, English football (soccer)) and majority owner of the Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Colorado Rapids (Major League Soccer), and Colorado Mammoth (National Lacrosse League).

Nancy Walton Laurie,

Nancy Walton Laurie is the daughter of the late Bud Walton, the brother and business partner of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. At Bud's death, she and her sister Ann Walton Kroenke inherited a stake in Wal-Mart now worth over USD$6 billion.

She is president and founder of a New York City dance company called Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.[1]

She is the owner of Columbia Performing Arts Centre, a dance studio located in Columbia, Missouri.

She and her husband Bill, major contributors to the University of Missouri–Columbia despite neither having attended the school, were caught up in a scandal surrounding the naming of the school's new basketball arena in 2004. They had made a $25 million naming rights gift that went to the funding of the $75 million arena, and named the facility Paige Sports Arena after their daughter, Elizabeth Paige Laurie, who also did not attend the university. Bill's brother Barry was a former Missouri basketball player, and Barry's son, Spencer Laurie, was a player on the team at the time. Nancy's nephew, Josh Kroenke, was also a former Missouri basketball player.

After Paige graduated from University of Southern California in 2004, a former roommate charged that she had been paid $20,000 over four years to do Paige's homework for her. Once the charges were aired on the ABC news program 20/20, the elder Lauries relinquished naming rights of the facility, which is now known as Mizzou Arena. In June 2005, the college roommate appeared on the Ion Television show Lie Detector.[2] In September 2005, Paige voluntarily surrendered her degree and returned her diploma to USC.

Nancy and Bill formerly owned the St. Louis Blues hockey team until 2005, when they sold the team to Dave Checketts.

In September 2007, Nancy purchased an 18,378-square-foot residence in the McDonald Heights community of Henderson, Nevada for $19 million.[3] It is considered the largest home purchase in the history of the Las Vegas metropolitan area.[4]

Christie Ruth Walton,

Christy Ruth Walton is the wife of late John T. Walton. After his death in June 2005, she inherited his fortune of $15.7 billion [1]. As of March 2007, she is the 24th richest person in the Forbes World's Billionaires [2], and lately the richest woman in the United States at rank #12 with a net worth of $16.3 billion dollars published by Forbes 400 Richest Americans in September, 2007 [3].

She currently resides in Jackson, Wyoming. She has one son, Luke.