Arkansas Business City of Distinction 2011

On the firm foundation established by founder Sam Walton, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville has gone from a small, rural retail chain to one of the world's biggest companies. As the company marks its 50th anniversary, Arkansas Business takes a look at the history of this icon brand, how it's affected American business and culture, and where it's headed.

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Wal-Mart at 50: A Not-So-Short History Of the World's Largest Retailer

The lessons Sam Walton learned during those early, successful years of Wal-Mart allowed him to build the most successful retail chain in history. And just like the times that he took his planes up to search for potential Wal-Mart sites, it was Mr. Sam himself who was behind the stick, deciding which direction to go. read more >

Wal-Mart IPO Set the Stage for Global Expansion

In preparation for the IPO, a hodge-podge of ownership interests in different stores was consolidated under one corporate banner: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The corporation represented the merger of 78 partners that owned pieces of 32 stores, with the Walton family owning a majority stake in each. The stores also were a mixed bag of Wal-Mart Discount City, Ben Franklin, Walton's Family Center and Ben Franklin Family Center. read more >

Influx of Workers Transforms Northwest Arkansas

From highways to airports, from homes to banks, from dining to the arts, the Wal-Mart presence is felt mightily in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area anchored by the three cities plus Wal-Mart's home in Bentonville. read more >

Wealth Created by Wal-Mart Supports Massive Philanthropic Efforts in Arkansas

Wal-Mart made a number of Arkansans very rich, and that wealth has been manifested in billions of dollars worth of gifts to educational, medical and cultural institutions in the state. read more >

Hurricane Katrina Defining Moment In Wal-Mart Giving

Because Wal-Mart is a master of logistics it got those items and more to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit this country. And Wal-Mart got those goods to the people of the devastated Gulf Coast faster than did the government of the United States. read more >

Commercial Development: Towns Before and After Wal-Mart

As recently as 50 years ago, downtown was still America's commercial center. A variety of factors moved the center to orbital suburbia. One of those factors was Wal-Mart. read more >

In Walmart's Shadow: How the Other Half Lives

How do modern mom-and-pop shops compete with Wal-Mart? Simple: They don't. They find a niche, some foothold outside the behemoth's path. read more >

Founded by Sam Walton, Modernized by Lee Scott

The man who wrote the book on Wal-Mart says former Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott brought Sam Walton's mid-20th century idea into the 21st century read more >

Walton Scholarships Spread Education Through South America

The Walton International Scholarship Program is an Arkansas-specific program available to South American students. Participants get a full ride, paid for entirely by the program, to either Harding in Searcy, John Brown University in Siloam Springs or the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville. Sam Walton himself started it 26 years ago. read more >

John Huey, Sam Walton and the Nickel

John Huey remembers collaborating with Sam Walton on the latter's autobiography "Made In America". read more >

Early Wal-Mart CEO Ron Mayer Remembers Sam Walton

Ron Mayer was Wal-Mart's chairman and CEO from 1974 to 1976. And although founder Sam Walton had served previously as de facto CEO, Mayer was the first to hold the title. Mayer, now 77, worked for Wal-Mart from July 1, 1969, to June 30, 1976. read more >

Wal-Mart Used Technology to Become Supply Chain Leader

In its relentless pursuit of low consumer prices, Wal-Mart embraced technology to become an innovator in the way stores track inventory and restock their shelves, cutting costs and passing the savings along to customers. In the process the company became synonymous with the concept of successful supply chain management. read more >

Sustainability Efforts Mean Big Environmental Impact at Wal-Mart

In 2005 Wal-Mart launched its sustainability program, designed to encourage corporate environmental responsibility. In attempting to take leadership on the issue and drive the global conversation, Wal-Mart established three broad goals: to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, create zero waste and to sell products that sustain people and the environment. read more >

After Sam: Did Wal-Mart Lose Its Way After Walton Died?

Some put the blame of stagnant domestic same-store sales on Wal-Mart's management team, saying it has drifted away from Walton's essential philosophy of offering the lowest price. read more >

Wal-Mart Big for Stephens, Bigger for Arkansas

Wal-Mart long ago outgrew any need for the Little Rock investment bank that took it public in 1970, and that initial offering was so small as to be unthinkable today. But Wal-Mart boosted Stephens Inc.'s cachet considerably, and its importance to the state of Arkansas has been immeasurable, according to Stephens CEO Warren Stephens. read more >

Wal-Mart's Future: World's Largest Retailer Marches Toward $500 Billion in Annual Sales

The future looks bright for continued sales growth for the retail chain, which has more than 4,400 stores in the Unites States and more than 5,600 locations scattered across 26 countries. read more >

Warren Stephens: Inside the Wal-Mart Culture

Wal-Mart's corporate culture has kept alive Sam Walton's style of frugality. read more >