Walker Companies, an Oklahoma City producer of exhibits, promotional items, signs, stamps, and seals, celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Walker Companies’ 70-year timeline
In 1951, Kenneth and Bobbie Walker started Walker Stamp & Pencil Co., producing rubber stamps and personalized pencils. The company has undergone several name and address changes since its inception, as it evolved with the times.
In 1953, the Walker’s renamed the business to Walker Stamp and Seal Company, as the notary seal part of the business continued to grow.
Second generation management, Kenny Walker, took over the business and ushered in the computer age in 1984. The company experienced significant growth in the ’90s with the addition of two divisions: The advertising specialty division under Kathy Schwenn in 1992 and the sign division in 1994. Signage became a larger part of the company, as it purchased a vinyl cutter and began specializing in ADA signage.
The company received national recognition following the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. While most of the building’s front was destroyed and covered in plywood, a message was painted on the boards covering the windows, reading, “We Will Be Back, the Walkers,” along with an American Flag, showing Oklahoma spirit was alive. Within one week, the company was producing stamps again as management and employees pulled together to get the building back in shape and the company back up and running.
In 1996, the company celebrated its 45th anniversary with a new laser machine designed to make stamps, seals, and signs. An expansion came in 1998 when the building next door became available. The Walkers purchased the former CR Anthony building, where they grew their showroom and sales staff to include a new division for trade show displays and exhibits.
The celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary came in 2001 and led to a name change. Walker Stamp and Seal became Walker Companies to reflect the many divisions it housed under one roof. In 2002, it was recognized as one of the Metro’s 50 fastest growing companies, an honor it would receive several times in coming years.
The Walkers purchased Oklahoma Notary expanding its notary footprint in the state. In 2008, they added large-format printing and partnered with the OKC Thunder, producing their graphics for the arena and the team, which lead to partnering with the OKC Dodgers and the OKC Energy. In 2016, the company welcomed third-generation management, as Natalie Schwenn joined the company full time after graduating college.
Walker Companies now and in the future
The 2020 pandemic caused the company to pivot and change with the demands of its customers. It began producing custom PPE products, sneeze guards, floor graphics, wall graphics, and face masks.
Keeping an eye on the past, Walker Companies kicks off a year-long celebration to commemorate 70 years in business. Times have changed, but the foundation of quality products, service, and fair prices built by Kenneth and Bobbie in 1951 have stood the test of time.
“Being in business 70 years is not something many companies celebrate. We have been very blessed. But we have grown and prospered by always looking to the future for new products or better solutions for our customers, and we plan to continue to follow that path for many years to come,” says Kenny, owner of the Walker Companies.
Walker Companies provides stamps and seals, full-service notary public application, interior and exterior signage, promotional items, awards, apparel, trade show displays, wide-format printing, name badges, and ADA Signage.