It’s not everyday that one visits the hometown of the world’s most important retailer and economic juggernaut.

So, you can imagine I might have had some lofty expectations for my quick 24-hour trip to Bentonville, Arkansas.

It was my first journey to northwest Arkansas and the location made famous by Mr. Walton. And aside from the sushi restaurant that also sells gas…

…the most amazing thing about my trip was how un-amazing everything seemed. Typical. Non-descript. I believe this town is epitome of vanilla. Seemed like everything was a strip mall. When it comes to stores and restaurants, this city has more chains than Alice. (But not quite as many as Plano, TX.) Even the airport – which has several names including Northwest Arkansas Regional and Fayetteville – is what you’d expect from small town America: 4 gates, a generic diner, one bar and general store. Can the suits get a flyer lounge in here?

Even the headquarters was unassuming. Just some red brick, a few stories high – several buildings all looking just like the next. With a full parking lot by 7:30am, I might add.

Maybe Bentonville is still the perfect setting Sam’s vision. No excess, no frills – just America hard at work.

Advertisements