The Two Sides of the SAM WALTON Legacy

Stack it deep, sell it cheap, stack it high and watch it fly! Hear those downtown merchants cry! Wal-Mart employee chant

JAMES MCCONKEY, OF ALBANY, MO. (pop. 2,100), never cried. But he felt a sadness the nights before Christmas 1985, standing in his tiny hardware store on the west side of his town square. He remembers it vividly today. A dream smashed.

Shiny new bicycles were lined up, prices cut to the core. Appliances filled the counters. Holiday decorations festooned the windows. Everything there . . . except customers. Some evenings when McConkey looked beyond the twinkling lights out over the square, he could not see a single car. He knew where they were.

Two months earlier a Wal-Mart store had opened...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!