The Birthplace of Walmart: Rogers, Arkansas
Walmart associates from all over the world will be gathering in northwest Arkansas for the company's annual shareholders meeting this week. While many immediately think of our good neighbor Bentonville as home to Walmart, Rogers also holds its place in history. On July 2, 1962, Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas. Store #1 looks much different today than it did 51 years ago when it first opened its doors. From its humble beginnings to now the world's largest retailer with more than two million associates in stores spanning the world. The company's look might have changed (take a look at its first ad announcing the grand opening in Rogers), but thankfully its home has not. It's amazing to think that this huge company got its start right here in northwest Arkansas, which of course has had a profound effect on our region's infrastructure and landscape.
Keeping it Local
Living in the home of the world's largest retailer, along with some other wonderful companies like Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt, definitely has its perks. Look at all the shops, restaurants, new housing subdivisions and countless regional accolades bestowed upon this region... makes this a pretty cool place to live, visit and work in my humble opinion. Have you ever noticed that northwest Arkansas gets to check out new store formats and features before the rest of the world? Just a few examples: the Neighborhood Market format was introduced with three stores in Arkansas, including one in Bentonville in 1998; the first Walmart Express stores were opened in Arkansas in 2011, including one in Gentry; and the first Walmart on Campus was opened on the University of Arkansas campus in 2012. The company also tested out its new Scan & Go App at a Rogers supercenter last year before expanding to other markets across the U.S. earlier this year. The history of the company is really fascinating, especially knowing we are all a part of it as shoppers, associates and suppliers living in this area. You can learn more about the company's history by visiting the Walmart Visitor's Center in neighboring Bentonville. You can see the first ad, Sam's old truck and even buy some items you might have found in the original 5-10 store.
When you live here, it's easy to forget just how important Walmart is when it comes to world views. Here are a few stats from the Walmart corporate website to put that in perspective:
- Each week, more than 245 million customers and members visit 10,800 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries.
- $466 billion in sales in Fiscal Year 2013
- 2.2 million Walmart associates worldwide
Wow! So as you are doing your shopping this week and see a group of associates snapping pictures and looking around in your local store, say hello and welcome them to our home for the week!
What are you looking forward to for Shareholder's Week? Are you going to any of the concerts or the annual meeting on Friday?
When not working as a public relations professional, Jennifer Haile can usually be found playing Star Wars or pirates with her two young boys. Jennifer, an avid runner, enjoys exploring the area on foot during her free time. She and her husband Charles love camping, hiking and calling the Hogs.