Forty years ago we made our first public introduction of the Walker Mower at a farm equipment show in Kansas. We were showing our 3rd prototype as a market test, and with the encouragement we received from farmers at the show, we started working on building our first batch of 25 machines in 1980. As I think back over the years, a lot has happened in our industry. There have been many manufacturers of lawn mowers and other power equipment that have come and gone; quite a few well-known brand names have disappeared.
How is it that Walker Mowers have now been on the market this many years while many of our earlier contemporaries are gone? Although there are some interesting stories to tell, I would not pretend to know the cause of all the manufacturers and brand names leaving the market, nor would I want to highlight the negative. What I think is interesting to share are the operating principles and philosophies that we believe have kept Walker in the market and thriving across the years:
- We have stayed focused on the Walker Mower. While it might be tempting to add other product lines and “diversify”, we have concentrated our resources and investment in the mower product line to achieve the best possible outcome.
- We keep moving ahead, working continuously to take new opportunities, improve our products and programs, and utilize new technology when available and appropriate.
- Not obsessing about growth is a great help. We see growth as an outcome of doing everything else right in the business and doing our best with the opportunity we have. It is an advantage for a family-owned business to not compromise long-term results in order to reach short-term growth goals.
- It is a priority to keep being an independent company and to maintain financial control. Being independent means we can make our own decisions, keep our promises, keep our commitments and honor investments made by others.
- Designing and building a unique “original design” machine with superior performance and quality makes us stand apart in the market--supplying a product not available from other manufacturers.
- We are a relationship-based company. We seek and treasure long-term relationships with our suppliers, factory employees, distributors, dealers and end-customers. Operating family-style emphasizes the value of individual people and relationships in the whole enterprise known as Walker Mower.
- We have carefully planned and worked for the transfer of the business ownership and management to the next generation of Walker family members.
Finally, we recognize God’s hand and His help have made it possible for us to be in the lawn mower business for these 40 years, and we are grateful.