July 29, 2021
Fifty-nine, 38 and 32. No, it’s not the breakdown of Olympic medals by country or the code to unlock the secret behind our tasty rotisserie chicken. But the numbers are incredibly special to us at Sam’s Club. Allow us to explain.
Sam Walton founded Walmart 59 years ago in July. In April, 38 years ago, Sam’s Club was founded, also by Sam Walton. And just three years later (32), Stacey Cole, an associate at a Sam’s Club in Indianapolis, Indiana, started her career.
See, Stacey started working when she was 16 years old and just a short time later, she had a parking lot conversation while she was collecting shopping carts that would cement her career path for years to come – 32 and counting to be exact.
"I was outdoors pushing carts when a man came to me and asked if I like my job," she remembered. "We had a nice chat. He did introduce himself to me as Mr. Walton. The next day that same man was in our breakroom at our morning meeting. He said he was Sam Walton."
Not too much time would pass before Stacey oversaw the jewelry department where she had some pretty interesting tasks – programming cellular phones (likely the 10-pound Zach Morris variety), developing 35mm rolls of film and of course selling gold by the gram. She then moved on to the refund desk before being part of the upstart auditing team, where she became the team lead shortly after, and then moved around as an auditor, helping other clubs.
I had many travel experiences, assisting other clubs with their inventory as well as training other audit team leads to prepare for their role. It was an experience I will never forget.
But thinking back to her chat with Sam Walton, Stacey knew she wanted a place to call home. And that’s just what she found after changing to her current club in Indianapolis. She decided to step down from her audit lead role to become a greeter, which she says was her "hardest, most humbling" job of her career. Her members certainly noticed her dedication, because years later, they still stop by and say hi to her in the optical department, where she currently works.
"This job is so exciting. I help members/patients with their vision," Stacey exclaimed. "I feel that I've got another ten years in me to continue this journey here. I love coming to work each day."
And Sam’s Club certainly loves Stacey. Much like Walmart’s evolution from 59 years ago and Sam’s Club progression from 38 years ago, Stacey’s had multiple careers within a career and has reinvented her skills to truly make a difference for the people she continues to love – 32 short years later.
After all of these years, I truly believe it is how we react to people and embrace the public with positivity and a big smile that will keep our business growing.