The company, its history and how the vision of buying in bulk has endured

HOUSTON – I went to a Sam’s Club for the first time in early August 2022.

First impressions? Well, mine was kinda informed by my recent grocery bills at traditional department stores: how in this era of record inflation could prices look like they’d jumped off a shipper grocery store from 1995?

It was just one of my thoughts as I browsed the warehouse that is Sam’s Club in Sugar Land. Others concerned the crowd.

As I watched people line up for hot dogs and berry sundaes, it struck me: this place was where adults go as adults – to live with their decisions fully committed to seriously buy huge amounts of stuff.

Plus, that’s where people traveled – in fact, they went shopping. It was a shopping destination — for real. Although I spotted the Scan & Go option and curbside pickup signs, most people were there for the thrill of the hunt – the deal. It was like stepping back in time. And I was there for that.

A d

I accumulated a receipt for hundreds of dollars, but over time the purchases would save – per unit – large sums of money.

How was this achieved? Where did it all start? How was it possible?

I knew I had to find out.

So I dug into the history of Sam’s Club and found the retail giant behind the retail giant: Sam Walton.

The origins of Sam’s Club

Sam Walton’s Walmart vision was the starting point for his legacy, built from a franchise of five hundred that enjoyed huge success at Walmart when he opened the first Sam’s Club location in Midwest City, Oklahoma, on April 7, 1983. The vision for Sam’s Club — 21 years after the first Walmart opened — was perhaps, say, borrowed from another chain called Price Mart in California. Sara Gilbert notes in her book “Built for Success: The Story of Walmart” that Walton had visited the store earlier in the year and decided to copy its business model. Like its predecessor, Sam’s Club was open only to members who paid an annual fee to shop in the warehouse-style store, products sold in bulk, and often directly off shipping pallets.

A d

In the vision of Sam’s Club

At the grand opening of the first store, according to Sam’s Club anniversary documents, Walton shared with new associates and guests, “When one of our experiments works, pay attention.”

Sam’s Club says Walton started the stores as a wholesale club to help small business owners save on the everyday items they needed to run their operations. Over the years, the format has evolved to include the general public and an assortment of merchandise ranging from fresh meats and fresh produce to high-end electronics, pharmacy, travel and other services like tire centers and batteries.

How Wholesale Works and Why Prices Are So Low at Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club has a cover charge and that certainly helps keep costs down, but in addition it has what the company calls “a limited-item business model” that offers members products at lower prices than the retail of traditional detail. Here’s how the company puts it: “Instead of stocking every item in every brand available, Sam’s Club merchants do their homework for our members, stock the right products and buy them in large quantities, passing the savings on to our members. .”

A d

The company says it also cuts costs by maintaining a simple shopping environment, often displaying goods on shipping pallets so employees can move new items into stores.


1983: First Sam’s Club opens in Midwest City, Okla.

1991: Sam’s Club goes international, starting in Mexico City and expanding to Puerto Rico, China, Mexico, Brazil and Canada.

1994: Walmart buys 80 Pace Membership Clubs, converts them to Sam’s Club locations.

1997: First gas station opens in Wichita, Kan.

1998: The first Sam’s Club pharmacy opens in Tulsa, Okla.

2000: Launch of on June 24

2001: Six women file a class action lawsuit alleging employment discrimination against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. — including Sam’s Club stores — in federal court in San Francisco. They accused Walmart of discriminating against women in compensation and leadership promotions.

2002: 500th club opened in Fort Worth, Texas.

A d

2004: Walmart complies with Chinese law and recognizes unions in its stores in that country when associates request such action.

2006: A judge approved a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. by Pennsylvania employees who claim the company pressured them to work after-hours, claims that mirror those in lawsuits filed throughout the country. Walmart Inc. denied the allegations. Learn more from NBC News.

2007: Sam’s Club celebrates its 25th anniversary

2010: A Brownsville Municipal Court judge sued a local Sam’s Club and its owner, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleging an unnecessary customer service dispute led to its confinement to mental health facilities. Read more here from the Associated Press.

A d

2011: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes was rejected for being too expensive, Vox reported.

2015: Union says Walmart closed five stores over union activism. Read the CBS News report.

2017: The Associated Press reported that a transgender woman claimed in a federal lawsuit that she was called “it” and “thing” by co-workers and then wrongfully fired from a North Carolina Sam’s Club store after repeatedly complaining of harassment. Learn more here.

A d

2018: Closure of three Sam’s Club locations in the Houston area.

2018: A class action lawsuit challenges Walmart and Sam’s Club timing practices that do not account for off-hour work before and after shifts. See the trial.

2018: The United States files a disability discrimination lawsuit on behalf of Sam’s Club food demonstrators. Learn more here with a subscription.

2018: Walmart and Sam’s Club agree with the Minnesota federal government to pay $825,000 to resolve Medicaid auto-refill fraud allegations. Learn more here.

A d

2020: Walmart, Inc. will pay $20 million to settle a nationwide EEOC hiring discrimination case. Retail Giant will stop physical aptitude tests that disproportionately excluded female order-fillers, the federal agency charged. Learn more about the case here.

2021: Sam’s Club increases its minimum wage from $11 to $15 per hour.

2022: Walmart Inc. confirms to news organizations that it has begun laying off company employees amid fears of record inflation and recession. Learn more here.

2022: Sam’s Club increases its annual dues for the first time in nine years. Starting October 17, fees will increase from $45 to $50 for members of the club and from $100 to $110 for members of its top tier, “Plus”.

A d

See the official Sam’s Club timeline.

See Walmart’s Official Timeline. See the official timeline on his website.

See how the Sam’s Club logo has changed over the years

Current logo, 2019:

The Sam’s Club logo (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


Sam’s Club will be closed on Thanksgiving Day before opening at 7am on Black Friday. (Sam’s Club via CNN)


19. Sam’s Club

See more logos from the founding of Sam’s Club on

How big is Sam’s Club?

There are nearly 600 clubs in the United States and Puerto Rico and each averages around 136,000 square feet, according to the company’s official website.

How much money does Sam’s Club make?

For the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2022, Sam’s Club’s total revenue was $73.6 billion, according to its official website.

A d

Who runs Sam’s Club today?

Sam’s Club is a division of Walmart Inc. Its President and CEO is Kathryn McLay and is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas.

How many people does Sam’s Club employ?

Walmart Inc., the parent company of Sam’s Club, has nearly 1.6 million workers and is the nation’s largest employer. Sam’s Club has nearly 600 stores and approximately 100,000 employees.

Employee background and benefits

Walmart Inc., the parent company of Sam’s Club, is the nation’s largest employer, with nearly 1.6 million workers. Walmart Inc. takes an anti-union stance. He has always been at the center of a lawsuit for sex discrimination and discrimination in hiring based on sex. See more in the timeline above.

Select Sam’s Club employees have health plan options, including vision and dental plans for employee and dependents, free membership and fresh produce discounts, financial benefits including 401(k), stock purchase plans, life insurance, educational assistance paid with college degrees through our Live Better U program, parental leave, pay while in military service, paid time off – for include vacation, sick and parental leave, short and long term disability when you cannot work due to injury, illness or childbirth. Eligibility requirements apply to certain benefits and may depend on your job classification and length of employment. Benefits are subject to change and may be subject to specific plan or program terms. For more information on benefits and eligibility, visit

A d

Houston Area Locations

Sam’s Club has 19 locations in the Houston area. See a map with the address of all locations below.

Sam’s Club locations in the Houston area:

  • Houston Sam’s Club – No. 4769 – 5310 S. Rice Ave. – Houston, TX 77081

  • Sugar Land Sam’s Club – No. 4763 – 351 Hwy #6 – Sugar Land, TX 77478

  • Stafford Sam Club – No. 8246 – 12300 SW Fwy. -Stafford, Texas 77477

  • Richmond Sam’s Club – No. 6867 – 22402 Bellaire Blvd – Richmond, TX 77407

  • Houston Sam’s Club – No. 4712 – 10488 Old Katy Rd. -Houston, Texas 77043

  • Katy Sam’s Club – No. 4764 – 20424 Katy Fwy. – Katy, TX 77449

  • Pearland Sam’s Club – No. 4843 – 15800 S. Freeway – Pearland, TX 77584

  • Houston Sam’s Club – No. 8274 – 12205 West Rd. -Houston, Texas 77065

  • Houston Sam’s Club – No. 8244 – 11101 Fuqua St. – Houston, TX 77089

  • Houston Sam’s Club – No. 4721 – 7950 FM 1960 W. – Houston, TX 77070

  • Houston Sam’s Club – No. 8281 – 13600 East Fwy – Houston, TX 77015

  • Friendswood Sam’s Club – No. 4702 – 155 W El Dorado Blvd. – Friendswood, Texas 77546

  • Houston Sam’s Club – No. 8245 – 325 E. Richey Rd. -Houston, Texas 77073

  • Humble Sam’s Club – No. 6367 – 9665 Fm 1960 Bypass Rd W – Humble, TX 77338

  • Sam Brand Club – No. 8190 – 6614 Gulf Freeway – La Marque, TX 77568

  • Shenandoah Sam’s Club – N° 4713 – 19091 I 45 S – Shenandoah, TX 77385

  • Conroe Sam Club – No. 6421 – 2000 Westview Blvd. – Conroe, Texas 77304

  • College Station Sam’s Club – No. 6338 – 1405 E. Earl Rudder Fwy. – College Station, Texas 77845

  • Victoria Sam’s Club – No. 6471 – 9202 N Navarro St – Victoria, TX 77904

Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston – All Rights Reserved.