It was 40 years ago today in the sleepy Arkansas town of Rogers that an empire was born. We know it today as Wal-mart and it remains as perhaps the premiere example of hard work and enthusiasm. And to think - this giant has grown to become the largest retailer in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Sikeston also has a unique position in Wal-mart's rich and storied history. After five years of rapid growth in Arkansas, Sam Walton - the chain's founder - decided to expand to other states. He selected Sikeston as the first location outside of Arkansas. Of course today, Wal-mart is located in all 50 states.
The only thing working against Wal-mart is its own growth. The stores have become so popular that you often fight crowds to shop there. But that small issue usually evaporates because of the store's selection and price and service, etc. It's how Sam Walton would have wanted it.
To say Wal-Mart is an American success story is a bit of an understatement. Through the years the retailing giant has posted unbelievable gains in sales and growth. Quite frankly, there's no end in sight either.
Sikeston should deservedly be proud that Wal-Mart selected us as their first store outside of Arkansas 37 years ago. That puts our community as a footnote in the history of this modern marvel. Having expanded here and relocated twice since then it says much about Wal-Mart's faith in our community and the support our community in turn gives to Wal-Mart.
In America, hard work and persistence truly does pay dividends. You need not look beyond Wal-Mart to prove that.