Ruth and George Walker opened Walker Furniture, a 10,000 square feet, one story furniture store on Highland Drive (now Martin Luther King Boulevard). At that time furniture was warehoused in the back areas of the building that was not yet designated as showroom. George Walker was the original "Uncle in the Furniture Business."
Ownership of Walker Furniture changed hands and was bought by Deanne and Oscar Alterwitz. The Alterwitz family, along with Deanne’s two brothers (Leon and Jerry Friedman) and their families, moved from Gary, Indiana, (where Deanne and Oscar had three furniture retail stores) and headed west to Las Vegas.
Under Oscar’s leadership, the one level "mom and pop" furniture store expanded into a two level 40,000 square foot furniture showroom. There was a staircase at the front of the store as you walk in to get to the upstairs bedroom department. Furniture was warehoused in the back areas located on both the first and second floors.
During this time, containers of furniture were delivered by railroad making Walker Furniture an ideal location because the tracks ran directly in back of the store. Although these tracks are not used today, it was the most common mode of transportation for container goods.
Construction began on Warehouse "88," the large building adjacent to the Walker Furniture Showroom, directly beside the Interstate 15. The growth of the business called for a larger warehouse facility.
Oscar Alterwitz passed away this year, designating his son, Larry Alterwitz, as CEO of the organization. Deanne Alterwitz became Chairman of the Board.
Oscar is still remembered by many near and far for his leadership abilities, foresight and keen sense of timing in regards to the furniture business. In the early 1970s, when Las Vegas had a total population of 300,000 people, Oscar sensed the potential that Las Vegas had to offer. He and Deanne chose Walker Furniture out of any other furniture store in the western United States because the potential growth opportunities. Before his death, he successfully set the stage for future expansion so that the second generation of the family business could carry on his and Deanne’s legacy.
During this year was the monumental completion of "Warehouse 88."
Under the new direction and leadership of Deanne and Oscar's son, Larry Alterwitz, a major showroom expansion was completed which included gallery groupings of furniture, and most importantly, escalators. This expansion, which increased the Walker Furniture showroom from 40,000 square feet to 80,000 which set the stage for the departments locations that still exist today.
Transportation of merchandise to Walker Furniture had shifted from railroad to truck. A loading dock previously existed where our atrium stands today.
This year marks the first year initializing Walker Furniture’s annual programs "Home for the Holidays." Under Larry Alterwitz’s direction, 12 housefuls of furniture were given to local Las Vegas families in true need.
Walker Furniture moved its warehouse to an offsite location. To respond to the growth of the business, Walker Furniture relocated "Warehouse 88" to a larger state of the art warehouse and distribution center in North Las Vegas.
Another major remodel included the addition of the Walker Atrium as we all know it today. With the foresight and initiative of another family member within the business, lawyer and developer Daryl Alterwitz, the internal architecture of Walker Furniture was transitioned to the 21st century. Within the atrium, Walker Furniture opened The Courtyard Café and commissioned artist Lyle London to create a large 22 foot custom bronze fountain. This particular expansion opened up the entire showroom on both levels, making it easier to navigate between departments and illuminating areas of the showroom with natural light.
Walker Furniture’s showroom measures approximately 120,000 square feet. The entire Walker Furniture Campus includes The Main Showroom, The Room Store by Walker, Tent & Clearance, and on the far end of the campus, and the new Market Liquidators Store. Total square footage of campus showroom is approximately 160,000 square feet!