Walker Cleaners: Around the Corner – Pilot Independent
Todd Taylor thought that one day he would own a store in Walker, so when the opportunity presented itself, he and his wife Sheri bought the Walker Cleaners.
“I love Walker and I’ve always wanted to own a store on main street,” said Taylor, who has been in retail most of his adult life. “It’s a great location and it’s been here for a long time.”
A 1980 graduate of Walker-Hackensack School, Taylor spent 20-plus years in Arizona as an operations manager for 28 retail stores located in the southwest, before returning home. He remembers back when he was young, he would accompany his mom to the cleaners when she would bring his dad’s suits in to be cleaned, back when Taylor’s parents owned the funeral home just down the block.
Back then, Russ and Donna Smith owned the cleaners. Ken Gordon had opened the store in 1960. The Gordons moved the business across to its current location and sold it to the Smiths, who sold it to Tony and Karen Karst. The Taylor’s purchased the cleaners from the Karsts 14 months ago, and have already made some changes with more on the way.
Taylor plans to expand the laundry service, which means hiring more people and bringing in more washers and dryers. He has already added bulk wash and fold service for visitors who don’t want the hassle of doing laundry while on vacation. Other services include clean and press for both dress and casual wear, including jeans, alterations and dry cleaning.
Taylor has a list of 118 items he can clean, including wools, comforters, table linens, curtains, sofa cushions and wedding dresses. He knows the best place in the state to clean leather if he can’t do it himself.
“I’m definitely enjoying it, but it is a challenge,” he said. What Taylor likes best is talking with his clients. “I like chatting with the people that come in.”
Services also include curbside drop-off and pick-up, which over the last few months has been very busy. Walker Cleaners also has pick-up and drop-off locations at Park Rapids Floral and in Bemidji at Maytag Laundry. Taylor is also looking to expand those services to Longville in the near future.
For those looking to clean their feather pillows, Taylor can deodorize, sanitize and fluff them. He also makes pillows.
Taylor said the formal wear rentals the store previously provided has now been taken over by Teah at TJ Florals.
A free service Taylor said he is proud to provide is cleaning of all area Legion Honor Guards’ uniforms. “They provide a wonderful service that I want to recognize.”
Walker Cleaners hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.