Fast forward 43 years and 5,000 stores later; Wal-Mart is now the largest retailer in the world, the largest corporate landowner and the largest employer. Now, the stateline is bracing for the opening of its newest Rockford store.
Pam Wallace is a single mother of two, striving to provide her children with lives filled with endless opportunities.
"I have a job, but it's not enough. It's not enough income. I'm just trying to make ends meet," says Wallace.
Thousands of stateliners like Pam have been stopping by the Wal-Mart job fair. The management team is looking to hire nearly 500 employees for the new store on Riverside, set to open in April.
“We're looking for people with good availability, retail experience, and people that like to work with people," says store manager Bill Gross.
Many hope that Wal-Mart's arrival on the city's westside will help spur increased economic development in the area.
"We've had a lot of people from this area. The westside has a need for another retailer and more jobs. We worked with a lot of community centers in the area as well to make sure we got applicants from the area," says Gross.
Applicants go through a preliminary interview during the job fair. If they fit the qualifications then a second interview is scheduled, and Pam will have her second interview next week.
"I've shopped at Wal-Mart. I love the structure of the store, the teamwork, they're just organized. I love it," says Wallace.
Pam is hoping this handshake will be the start of a new chapter in her life and a new beginning for the city's westside. Seventy five percent of the jobs at the new Wal-Mart will be full-time positions. Twenty five percent will be part time.