Message from Sam Walton
GOOD ENOUGH IS NOT ENOUGH TODAY. Whatever your work happens to be in this great Wal-Mart Company of ours – truck driver, cashier, sales clerk, or accountant – you can put it down as a fact that: your own progress and that of our Company are as tightly bound as the links of the strongest chain. Let’s think about this for a moment. Each of us is dependent upon the other for success.
Our Wal-Mart Company will continue to progress and be profitable only as long as it continues to provide better service and quality of products to more and more satisfied customers. You, me and all our Wal-Mart associates will continue to progress only as long as we put more intelligent thought, effort, interest and enthusiasm into the everyday operation of our job.
Why? Because that’s the only way our Wal-Mart Company can provide the superior service, better values, and quality merchandise that are so necessary to Wal-Mart’s success and your own.
This is easy to understand when we realize that our business is simply a group of people – men and women – working together for the purpose of providing goods or services to another group of people – customers – at a profit to the owners of the business which benefits customers and employees alike.
How many times have you heard me say, or the remark within Wal-Mart, that we’re first, foremost, and always – a People Business.
How true that is. Our single most important job is the development, training and making our Company good for our associates. And the key words as far as I’m concerned are communications (up and down) and enthusiasm.
But it’s so true that all retailers and companies do not show the same rate of progress and growth. Many discounters and retailers have failed and taken bankruptcy in the last fifteen years while Wal-Mart has made its greatest gain. Just a few are W.T. Grant, Vornado, Mammoth Mart, Giant Stores, Arlans, and the list could go on and on. All, at one time, were much larger than Wal-Mart.
The real difference in companies is usually because all of the people working in those companies do not put the same degree of “thought – effort – interest – and enthusiasm” into the everyday operation of their jobs.
Wal-Mart is our Company. Our People Care. We have esprit de corps and a family relationship that is indeed rare among the larger or smaller retailers today. We must not lose this competitive edge. As we grow larger and larger, it will become increasingly more difficult for us to “outdo” our competitors. And our competition has increased and has also improved. Most of you know that Kmart has entered our Northwest Arkansas home base territory with a second store at Fayetteville, one at Springdale, and another one to open soon in Rogers. But do you know that to date our fine Wal-Mart stores at Fayetteville and Springdale are still having consistent increases in sales. And only because our wonderful associated in those stores really care and are doing a better job of satisfying our customers than in our competition.
And I guess that’s the moral of this article. We’re all so dependent on one another. We must enjoy our jobs, communicate and help one another, and work harder with more enthusiasm than our counterparts with TG&Y, Kmart, Howards, Gibson, Woolco, Magic Mart, or whoever. I figure we can do it. How do you feel about it? It all boils down to the individual attitude of each of our Wal-Mart associates and how we each feel about our Company, our future and the job we have to do on a daily basis. Many folks are prone to say, “I guess that’s good enough” – “that’ll do” – “what difference does it make” – “so what” - “what’s it to me?” They fail to realize that in today’s competitive economy that “good enough” is not enough. Only our best efforts will pass the test in today’s highly competitive retail environment.
Our philosophy has always been – let’s take care of our associates first – let it be their Company. Let’s together build a company and a future we can all be proud of, and then our customers will receive superior service and the best possible prices in the street.
So far, I feel we’ve done just that. Let’s don’t let you now. We’ve only begun.
Yesterday we opened our 24th new store in 1980 – Lamar, Missouri – and it was a bell-ringer! A beautiful store with some very fine, enthusiastic new associates. We have only have 30 more to go in the next 3 ½ months. You and I know Wal-Mart will do it and do it well!
Then in 1981 – we’re looking at another 60 new stores with many additional expansions and remodelings.
Last week we also had three great new Wal-Marts hit the streets with record-breaking Grand Openings – Hearne, Texas – Holly Springs, Mississippi – and Mansfield, Louisiana. All will be good ones. Our personal appreciation and thanks go to all our fine Wal-Mart associates throughout our Company who continually contribute so much to our new store program. One of these stores was our 300th store, I was in Mansfield, Louisiana, along with my wife, Helen, and daughter, Alice, who lives there and cut the ribbon for us. Of course we claimed the honor of being the 300th, but I hear that Jack Shewmaker, Jim Walker and crew at Holly Springs maintained they were number 300, due to time of opening, etc. Regardless, it was a great day! Ol’ Roy, my bird dog, also attended the opening festivities and we also visited our Bastrop and Jonesboro, Louisiana stores with us. It was real good seeing our fine associates and the great job that is being gone by these stores. The same can be said for Vivian, Ruston, and Minden, which I visited recently.
We also added a real dynamic touch to our Mansfield, Louisiana opening by having our longtime friend, and Country & Western star of Hee Haw – Jana Jae and her band. They performed at Mansfield, and Jana also made another appearance to help celebrate the grand re-opening of our Jonesboro store. The crowds were large and most appreciative of both these excellent presentations.
Our very important Hot Springs Merchandise-Management Meeting starts this weekend. This should do much to ensure that we do well it these last critical six months.
It’s good to visit with you all. Wish I could see you each in person, but this will have to do for now.
Again, thanks, for everything you’re going to help. Let’s keep Wal-Mart rolling right!