On Bentonville’s downtown square, you’ll find Walton’s 5 & 10, a storefront virtually identical to its appearance when Sam Walton opened it in 1950. It was the second store for Walton, who had originally started with a Ben Franklin store in Newport. After losing his lease on that property, he tried again at retailing, and his small shop became the start of a retailing empire now spanning the globe.
Look for Mr. Sam’s 1979 red and white pickup truck out front of the building. Walton wasn’t much for replacing something just because it was old. He loved his old truck, and even after he became a multi-millionaire, he continued to drive old pick-up trucks rather than a nice, new, fancy car.
Within the museum itself, a timeline marks the history of Sam Walton’s stores.
Each kiosk offers a hands-on kids display drawer, a selection of items from the time period, prices and how they’re reflected today and a count of how many stores Walton had at that time.
Once you’re done looking through the museum, check out the Spark Café. The little soda shop at the end of the tour offers all sorts of ice cream favorites, including a Moon Pie Palooza (Sam Walton loved Moon Pies), a banana pudding shake and a whole lot of scoops of ice cream, including Butter Pecan (Walton’s favorite), homemade chocolate, homemade strawberry, real vanilla, mint chocolate chip, cookies and cream, Guilt-Free Vanilla, and Spark – a blue and yellow golden vanilla. Arkansas’s own Yarnell’s makes all the ice creams offered at the Spark Café.
A visit to the Walton Museum is a must when you’re in Bentonville. It’s open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, check out this website.