Asheboro shoe company changes hands

ASHEBORO — Tyler Fortner views B.B. Walker Company as an iconic brand, so becoming part of that interested him.

Fortner has purchased the Asheboro business – called Walker Shoe Outlet – and is relocating down the street on Dixie Drive.

“Walker Shoe has been a well-known shoe store across the Southeast for a number of years, so it was important to keep that going,” Fortner said. “To keep that Walker Shoe name going. It’s kind of an honor to say we own it.”

Steve Andrews has sold the business. There will be a move from 414 East Dixie Dr. to 839 East Dixie Drive – or about three traffic signals away.

The new location, which is in the Hammer Village Shopping Center, will be called Walker Shoes and Apparel.

“We’re basically identical,” Fortner said of his other stores. “We sell the same stuff. We just also sell apparel.”

B.B. Walker Company has been known for carrying a wide assortment of footwear. Shoppers often have embraced the selection of western and work boots.

Store manager Nancy Hughes has been with the shoe store since 1999. She’s making the move down the street as well.

“It’s a good place to work,” she said. “Selling shoes has been really good. Steve has been awesome. He has made it real easy to work here.”

After more than 20 years, Andrews said it was time to step away. 

“I’m just retiring,” he said, without providing any other specifics about the decision.

The current location is expected to be knocked down, with wide speculation that a national grocery store chain is moving in.

The shoe and apparel store should be in its new location – a former Save-A-Lot grocery – by the end of the month. The new location will be housed in a building about twice the size of the current store.

No interruptions in the business are expected. Store set-up in the new location has been in the works.

“It should be an easy transition,” Hughes said.

Fortner, who’s based in Greenville, also owns similar shoe and apparel stories in Greenville and New Bern.

He said the apparel will be geared toward men, women and youth. Some of the brands his stores carry are Carhartt, Simply Southern and Ariat.

Adding this store in Asheboro was a chance to expand opportunities for Fortner. He said being part of the B.B. Walker Company is a bonus.

“We are going to continue that tradition,” he said.

By Bob Sutton