Grade A Business
Walker’s Eggs remains family-owned more than 70 years later
Writer / Matt Roberts
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Brian Walker doesn’t have a lot of free time. As a vice president at Endress-Hauser, he has plenty to keep him busy more than 40 hours per week. But, as a Walker, he’s determined to keep his family’s decades-old business alive selling fresh eggs, honey and other products to Central Indiana families.
His grandfather started Walker’s Eggs in 1946, hatching chickens and selling eggs in a decidedly more rural Greenwood.
“Back then, they had kids deliver eggs just like a milk route,” Walker says. “It wasn’t much of a money-maker. There couldn’t have been more than 10 houses between the store and County Line Road.”
“At our peak, we were processing 200 cases a day, 30 dozen eggs to a case,” Walker says. “Of course, now, big hatcheries do that much in 15 minutes.”
In the late 1980s, Walker and his father, Bill, were forced to reevaluate their business model.
“It just got to the point where the profit margin was very tight,” he says. “It was pretty costly to have 30-40 people on the payroll. So, we had to decide whether to start raising chickens again to increase the margin, and that has other issues like feed costs, and we didn’t have the facilities to match.
“We looked at buying a place up north, but they had older equipment. They had a million birds in the house, and my dad wanted me to run it. But I told him, ‘you’re looking at a million dollars to clean up the equipment,’ because it was outdated. So, we realized it wasn’t going to work out.”
Walker’s Eggs now operates solely as a retail operation out of the store at 1275 West Main Street.
“We’re selling a lot of eggs,” Walker says. “Somewhere around 90 cases a week. So, it’s quite a few for just a dozen here and there out the front door. We get eggs from two places: a farm in northern Ohio and one in northern Indiana. We have just enough to get by for a week, so they’re always fresh.”
Walker’s father passed away in March of this year. Since then, Walker’s has ceased deliveries as well as its sideline of peeling eggs for sale to produce companies for salad bars.
Yet another reinvention may be in the works for the store soon, though. Since they don’t need the back of the building for egg processing, Walker plans to re-purpose the space and take the business in a new direction.
“The goal is to renovate the building and use the back part to rent out for birthday parties and events at a low cost,” he says. “There are a lot of people in Greenwood who just don’t have the space or parking availability for medium-sized events, so we might be able to fill that need.”
Whatever changes happen with the business, Walker expects to permanently maintain it in some form. The family settled in Johnson County in 1834, and he doesn’t expect to pull up stakes anytime soon.
“There aren’t a lot of places in Indiana that sell eggs like this,” he says. “Some people might say it’s kind of crazy, but we’ve been here a long time. We like our community. My dad served as county commissioner, school board member and on the Merit Board. I’ve been a Merit Board and Advisory Board member and served on the Johnson County Council. So, we care a lot about the community. It’s our home.”