Happenings - January 2001
Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean...
Four Decades of Walker Drug Company
One of the last great American traditions
is still alive and well in Moab, Utah. Walker Drug Company, like
Kresge's and TG&Y in other parts of the United States, followed
in the tradition of the five-and-dime store originated by the Woolworth
Company in 1879. Variety stores, five-and-dimes, or 'dime stores'
have been giving American shoppers what they need for nearly 122
years. It doesn't matter whether you're looking for fishing tackle
or underwear, you can find it at Walker Drug.
Packed with merchandise of all varieties,
Walker Drug is reminiscent of the old dime and drug stores that carried
jars of penny candy, work clothes, novelty items, sewing notions,
toys and medicinal products. Originating in the 19th Century and common
through most of the 20" century, many of the original five and dime
drugstores have disappeared from American streets. But Walker Drug
greets the new millenium in fine form. At Walker Drug, you can still
find spaghetti sauce, a cowboy hat, grenadine, a suitcase, motor oil
or a toboggan a few aisles apart at this 43-year old Moab landmark.
The only thing missing from this American scene is the soda fountain
with the smell of grilled hot dogs wafting over your heads as you
shop for greeting cards and bubble gum.
The old-fashioned dime store has all
but faded from the American landscape because of the giant discount
chains and changing shopping habits. Woolworth's closed their last.
stores in 1997 caving into increasing losses. Jack Walker is bucking
that trend with his Moab store. The approximate 17,000 square foot
store has been serving Moab customers since 1958. Jack Walker graduated
from college in Pocatello, Idaho, and moved to Moab where he raised
his children and opened the now familiar drugstore. While Jack is
no longer part of the daily scenery in Moab (he visits every week,
however), his store is.
"We believe that people should be able
to buy anything they need. We can always meet people's basic needs.
They might not find exactly what they want. It may not be the exact
brand of dress or shoes, but we can meet most anyone's basic needs
here," said Vivian. Important to that formula, Vivian adds, is finding
what you need in your own neighborhood, buying it from people you
know and getting personal, friendly service.
"Walker Drug goes above and beyond
for our customers. We pick up items from other locations if necessary
and sometimes even deliver. We do lots of special orders. You can't
get that kind of service in bigger chain stores. That's something
we're really proud of and want to hold onto," Vivian emphasizes.
"You can't get it before they want
it, but if you wait too long, they don't want it any more!" Vivian
obviously loves the challenge as she has been managing and buying
for Jack Walker's store since 1990. When asked how it's changed over
the years, she says, "Well, we don't carry mu-mu's anymore, for one
Indeed, Vivian has stocked the store
with a wide variety of comfortable clothing jeans, dresses,
even Liz Claiborne swimsuits. You can throw the best party in Moab
with her party supplies: streamers, horns, hats, candles, wrapping
paper, confetti, balloons... even the candy and the ice cream bars.
At the same time you can pick up a great new dress or shirt to wear
to the party. And, of course, the toy department at Walker Drug makes
it a favorite shopping spot before children's birthdays and Christmas.
Walker's is also the place to find Hallmark goods. Until recently
Jack Walker also owned the Hallmark store in Mesa Mall in Grand Junction.
At one point in his career, Walker had 17 stores in Idaho, Colorado
Of course, we can never forget the
drug in the word drugstore. Jack Walker is a licensed pharmacist
and for three years drove to Moab every day from his home in Grand
Junction because he did not have a pharmacist on location in Moab.
His pharmacy has grown leaps and bounds in recent years and local
residents have come to rely on the pharmacy for prescription needs.
As the last of the Christmas wrap,
ribbons and decoration clear out of the store at bargain prices, Vivian
Klocko begins buying for Christmas 2001. It's hard to imagine, but
such is the world of a variety store manager. She lives a year ahead
of us so we can always walk in and find what we want today.
by Janet Lowe
© 2001 Moab Happenings. All rights
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© 2002-2011 Moab Happenings. All rights
Reproduction of information contained in this site is