Published 2:29 am Saturday, August 22, 2015


Walker’s spans 5 decades

This weekend, Walker’s Business Machines is celebrating 50 years of being in business locally.

Jerry Walker started the business in the 1965, and began servicing typewriters and other business machines of the time.

The store began in a little one-room office on Pear St., and was

located next to Bob’s Oyster Bar.

“Jerry started servicing typewriters for people and then people started asking him to get them new ones,” June Walker Young said. “He then became a dealer for Royal Typewriters.”

As the business began expanding, the store moved from its Pear St. location to a place behind the old jail.

“When we moved locations, we started getting into the printing business,” June said. “We worked with a lot of the schools, and actually employed several students with the co-op program. We stayed at that location for a few years before moving to the Square into the building that is now Mark Murphy’s office.”

When the business moved to the Square, June left her job at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company to assist in the business.

“Jerry believed in diversification,” June said. “He was always interested in newest innovations in technology, so when something new would come out he would start selling it. He went to all the machine shows.”

It was at one of those shows when Jerry and nine other men from the surrounding states started an office products buying group. The group quickly became one of the largest in the country. The purpose of the group was to give small business the opportunity to by office products straight from the manufacturers, thus allowing them to be able to have competitive prices.

“That was the salvation of our business,” June said of the buying group. “We like to be able to spoil our customers.”

In the early 1970s, Walker’s moved to its current location on the Square.

“When we moved to the current location, Mom added the home décor part of the business,” June’s son, David Walker, said. “Starting the home and gift part is just another way we have diversified.”

Now, Walker’s is entering a third generation of Walker’s running the business as David’s oldest son, Allen, is the current manager.

“Allen is running things now,” David said. “I’m still helping out some while he finishes up with school, but I’m more in the shadows now. Allen has come in and changed a lot of things for the better.”

Allen is currently enrolled in Auburn University where he is pursuing a degree in interior design.

“No one around here has an on-staff interior designer,” Allen said. “That is one of the reasons I decided to go back to school for it.”

Allen said with the pace that technology shifts, it is important to continue to diversify to ensure the business stays running for years to come.

“Everything is going digital now,” Allen said. “So there isn’t as much need for paper office products. It’s important to spread your eggs into more than one basket.”