Walker Scott Company, San Diego, California

Walker's opened in downtown San Diego
in 1935, but wasn't renamed Walker-Scott
until the 1950s.

The 8-story building was a combination
of Spanish and Art-Deco influences.

The store eventually took over a few floors
of the adjacent Owl Drug building next door.
Walker Scott . . . The Friendly Store

Walker Scott Company
1014 Fifth Avenue at Broadway
San Diego, California

Belmont 3-8221

Lower Level
Charl-Mont Restaurant and Soda Fountain • Music Center • Records • Piano and Organ Salon • Toys • Televisions
Men' Shop Men's Furnishings • Men's Sportswear • Natural Shoulder Shop • Men's Clothing • Varsity Shop • Cambridge Shop

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Fine Silver • Watches • Clocks • Costume Jewelry • Hamndbags • Small Leather Goods • Gloves • Fashion Accessories Boutique • Hosiery • Hat Bar • Blouse Bar • Neckwear • Handkerchiefs • Umbrellas • Street Floor Sportswear • Street Floor Lingerie • Cosmetics • Toiletries • Stationery • Cameras • Fine Candies • Epicurean Foods

Second Floor
Closet Shop • Notions • Luggage • Shoe Salon • Boulevard Shop • Complete Optometric Service

Third Floor
Hat Bar • Dresses • Blouses • Sportswear • Coats • Suits • Better Dresses • Town and Country Sportswear • Andrea E Shop • Fifth Avenue Shops • The Gold Room • Del Pacifico Shop • Millinery • Bridal Salon • Junior Whirl Shop

Fourth Floor
Lingerie • Robes • Foundations • Bra Bar • Patio Shop • Maternity Shop • Portrait Studio • Beauty Salon
Young World Shops Infants' Shop • Nursery Furniture • 3-6x Shop • Boys' Shop • Girls' Shop • Children's Shoes

Fifth Floor
Gift Shop • Lamps • Pictures • Draperies • Bedspreads • Pillow Corner • Upholstery Fabrics • Rugs • Patio Furniture

Sixth Floor
Linens • Bedding • Bathroom Accessories • Hoover Cleaners • Fashion Fabrics • Needlework • White Sewing Machines • Sleep Shop • Hide-A-Bed Center • Furniture

Seventh Floor
Homewares • China • Glassware

Eighth Floor
Top o' the Town Gift Shop • Major Appliances • Books • The Bay Room • General Offices • Personnel • Credit Sales Office • Cashier

(110,000 s.f.)

La Jolla
Girard at Wall

College Grove
Highway 94 at College
July, 1961
160,000 s.f.
Helix House
Kearney Mesa
2335 Linda Vista Plaza
August, 1963
41,000 s.f.

Escondido Village
Valley Blvd. and Ash St. East
March, 1964
60,000 s.f.
Clairemont Square
March, 1967/1973
63,000 s.f.
Lomas Santa Fe
Plaza of the Four Flags
October, 1969
30,000 s.f.

El Cajon
El Cajon Plaza
March, 1967
50,000 s.f.

Ocean Beach
4878 Newport Avenue
February, 1970

Palm Springs
Palm Springs Mall
March, 1970
63,000 s.f.

San Carlos

Mission Valley

Mira Mesa
Mira Mesa Blvd. at Camino Ruiz
February, 1975
63,000 s.f.


  1. There was also one at The City complex in Orange, opened in October 1970. This and the Palm Springs store were Walker-Scott's only two stores outside San Diego County. The Orange store was sold to May Co. in early 1974. Also, did this have any connection to Walker's of Long Beach?

    1. Yes. The Walkers in Long Beach is believed to be the flagship store. Only the San Diego stores became Walker Scott, after the death of Eliza Walker, the wife of founder Ralf Walker, who died in 1935, six weeks prior to the Downtown San Diego store's opening.

      Upon Mrs. Walker's passing in 1951, George Scott, a former stock boy in the L.A. store, took over the San Diego operations, which he had been running with Mrs. Walker. The San Diego stores were renamed Walker Scott in 1954. The L.A. stores remained Walker's.

      The former Downtown Long Beach store was converted to The Walker Lofts, after many years of vacancy. I live just a few blocks away.

  2. When I get around to adding the history text, you will see that Walker's was first a store in Los Angeles, that opened a Long Beach branch. The next move was to San Diego. The Walker's in Long Beach had a branch, which was taken over by The Broadway. Ralf Walker died before the San Diego store opened, and his widow opened it with Scott, a young business partner under whom the store prospered in San Diego, and it was eventually renamed Walker-Scott. The Los Angeles and Long Beach stores were not as slong-lived.

    1. Hi Bak, your site is fascinating! I've lived in San Diego since 1980, so the Walker Scott and Marston's pages are especially of interest. Currently I'm nearby the College Grove Shopping Center, where the first suburban Walter Scott store used to be. And I grew up in Orange CA, so learning about Walker Scott at The City complex is an additional connection. Nice!

      Both Scott and Marston were very well respected in San Diego. George Scott was involved in numerous civic organizations such as the Boys Club, Salvation Army, USO Advisory Council, Community Chest, Fiesta de Pacifico, YMCA, San Diego Transit, San Diego Council of Churches, San Diego Hospital Association and many other committees. Scott was named "Mr. San Diego" by the Grant Club in 1954. In 1976, the Central City Association named Scott "Man of the Century."

      Are you still planning to add the history text here regarding the Walker Scott stores?

      Thank you.

    2. Thanks, Steven!
      I do plan to update the exhibit when I can. I will include a history at that time. Because this is a labor of love, I only have limited time to work on it, so I don't have a schedule for updates and tend to do them as I have time.

    3. William J.A. Giger13 January, 2017 11:57

      BAK, I really appreciate your labor of love and the connections your helping to make here.

    4. I remember going to the Downtown store and being amazed at how pretty it was inside. It was very exciting for me, being around 5 years old. There were escalators down to the Charl-Mont Restaurant where my Mother, Grandmother, Brother and I would go for sodas! The elevators were VERY special, as they had an elevator operator. I seem to recall he would operate it with a lever on a panel. Distant memories at my age!

  3. There were also Walker-Scott stores in Solana Beach at Lomas Santa Fe Center, and somewhere in Oceanside. I'm unsure of the opening dates of those stores.

  4. Did Walker Scott have anything to do with Chicago's Carson,Pirie Scott store? The Walker Scott logo looks very much like CPS's....

  5. No affiliation with Carsons. Boston Store of Milwaukee used to have a logo very much like Carsons classic 50s-70s era logo, but Boston Store was owned by Federated, while Carsons was its own company. Federated sold Boston Store to Peoria-based Bergner's in 1985, and moved their HQ's to Milwaukee, then bought Carsons in 1989. Today, they are owned by Bon-Ton Stores of York, PA, along with Younkers of Des Moines, Herbeger's of Rochester, MN, Elder-Beerman of Dayton, OH, and the Parisian stores in the Detroit area (from the former Birmingham-based Nordstrom-esque chain). All divisions, except Bon-Ton and Parisians, have the red hexagons next to their script logos.

  6. I worked for the company from 1979-1989. The corporate headquarters were located near I-5 & I-8 at 908 Sherman ST/5252 Lovelock ST. The chain was acquired by Desmond's and Associates who took it private in 1986. They began to shut down and liquidate the chain in 1986 and completed the liquidation in 1989.

    There were 14 stores that operated during the time that I worked there (The store number is the number used to route merchandise):

    Downtown (5th & Broadway--Store #2)The building is in use as of 2012. I was in this building once. It was the first of the 14 to close.

    College Grove (Highway 94 and College Grove--Store #3) closed in 1987 and was demolished soon thereafter. I was here often.

    La Jolla on Girard in La Jolla (Store #4). It also closed in 1986 or 87. I'm quite sure that the building has been demolished and replaced. I was never in this store.

    Oceanside (Store #5). I was in this store once. I know that it was west of I-5 and I think it was on West Mission. It was a smaller store. I don't know if the building still exists.

    Escondido (Store #6). It was either the second to last or last store to close). I visited this store on occasion. The mall was radically remodeled as WS moved out.

    Lomas Santa Fe (Store #7). I never was in this store. I do not know the status of the building it was in.

    National City (Store #8). This store was originally a Penny's store in the 50s or 60s. Walker Scott opened it along with the Pacific Beach location under the name Savers. They were converted to a regular Walker Scott store about a year after opening. It was on the corner of Highland & National. The replacement tenants went under the name Price Breakers. They are still there today. I was in the store this week.

    San Carlos (Store #10). I don't remember where it was. I was only there once. It was in a Big Bear Supermarket mall.

    Palm Springs (Store #11--Tahquitz & McCallum in Palm Springs). It was the last or second to last to close. It had a gigantic chandelier in it that was removed by the new tenants, Buffams. They vacated shortly thereafter. I understand the location is vacant at this time.

    Pacific Beach (Store #12--Garnet Street, Pacific Beach). This was one of the 2 Savers stores that opened in 1982 or so. It was also an old Penny's store.

    Mira Mesa (Store #15--Camino Ruiz & Mira Mesa Blvd). I was in this store once.

    Mission Valley (Store #20-Next to what is now Macy's in Westfield Mission Valley Shopping Mall). One of the smaller stores. I shopped here often because it was closest to where I lived.

    Clairemont (Store #21--Clairemont Square at Clairemont & Clairemont Mesa Blvd). One of the last to close.

    El Cajon (Store #22--Between Main St & I-8 on Magnolia). I'm pretty sure it was torn down years ago for redevelopment.

    The City (Orange County), Ocean Beach, and Kearney Mesa were all gone before I came on board in July of 1979. Everything else was gone by 1989.

    Oh, and one final thing, the 908 Sherman ST location has been a self-storage facility since 1987-1988 and the 5252 Lovelock ST location is now a Toyota body repair shop.

    1. William J.A. Giger13 January, 2017 12:03

      Thanks for sharing about the Palm Springs location. My grandfather (Herbert Giger) managed there, if you familiar with him I would appreciate hearing your stories.

    2. The Walker Scott store in Oceanside was located in the Mission Square Shopping Center on Mission Ave just west of interstate 5 across from Oceanside High School. The original building is still there. It was originally a W.T. Grants with a Vons grocery store right next to it. Grants had greatly expanded the space. It extended all the way to Bush St which was behind the shopping center. Walker Scott took over the entire space, but towards the end of its run ended up utilizing half of the square footage. Mission Square is a shadow of its former self.

    3. I worked at College Grove and then transferred to Ocean Beach "twig Store." It was called the twig because it was so tiny that it couldn't be called a "branch!" I loved working for Walker Scott. It was my first job out of high school and lasted 71/2 years until I moved to Northern California.

  7. the Walker-Scott store in LaJolla was lovely

  8. I have 2 original $10 Walker Scott coins (1974) in their original holders. Do you know of anyone who would be interested?

    1. William J.A. Giger13 January, 2017 12:05

      I might be interested in that, how would you like to communique?

  9. I remember the Walker Scott at the Clairemont Square. Going there after Mass on many a Sunday with my grandmother, mother, brother and sister. I got a pair of PF Flyers there (just had to have them), and they had maybe the greatest appliance salesman in history also working there. He talked my mom into new washers, dryers, and refrigerators, as much as he could.
    They also good prices on Levi's 501s, Hang Ten, and OP shorts, and shirts, which were all the rage from about 74 to 77, or so. As I recall.
    Buffum's too was another store we'd visit. Making the trek down I-5 to Fashion Valley, before 52, and 805, were built. My nephew, got his foot caught in the escalator one time, at that store. He survived though, because we got his picture taken in the photo studio, a few minutes later. Must be a family thing because my older son also did it a few years back. He's no worse for wear either.
    We lived in University City, which was the end of San Diego proper back in those days. I remember distinctly Genesee; dead Ending at Governor Drive, all that open space! I got as much time running through Rose Canyon, in clothes, and shoes, bought at either Buffums, Walker Scott, or Millers Outpost, then my kids have on the X-box.
    It aint just the stores that have changed.

  10. I was the Store Manager at the Oceanside location and then the Mira Mesa location. The company was a real challenge to work for.

    1. William J.A. Giger13 January, 2017 12:06

      Thanks for sharing about the Palm Springs location. My grandfather (Herbert Giger) managed there, if you familiar with him I would appreciate hearing your stories.

  11. Am looking for photos taken inside the Walker's Dept store in Long Beach, at 4th and Pine. Especially the beauty salon. I worked there in 1966. Fond memories. The Walker's building in LB is now loft apartments. There's one for sale that I'd buy if I had money!

  12. The Walker Scott store in Oceanside had been a W.T. Grant, opened in 1955, and expanded to a Grant City in 1972. It was in the Mission Square shopping center, adjacent to Von's #51, at the corner of Mission Avenue (then Highway 76) and Interstate 5. When Grant's shut down in 1976, the store was empty for about a year before Walker Scott went in.

    The location still exists but has been subdivided. The front portion is now a 99-Cent Only store; the back half is Harbor Freight, and the rearmost is an MMA fight club.

  13. I remember the Linda Vista, College Grove and Downtown locations.

    I recently learned that the Downtown store housed San Diego's first escalators.

    I recall my first encounter with these very unusual looking escalators, in 1970, when I was seven. I remember asking my mom, "Are these escalators?" She smiled and told me that they were.

    These escalators had very unusual handrails and balustrades. The handrails were coiled metal, caterpillar-like handrails, called bellows. These were likely Peele escalators, according to my research. I remember thinking that the handrails would pinch my hands. The balustrades pointed upward and then tucked under. These were very long, steep and narrow escalators, and I got a little dizzy on the down escalator to the street level.

    This eight story building also had several elevators with operators. My sister and I were absolutely fascinated, as we watched the operators work the elevators: manually opening/closing the doors, pulling the levers and seeing the number of each floor as we traveled with our mom and grandmother between floors.

    I would love to see some pictures of the interior of this store, especially pictures of the escalators. So far, I have not been able to find pictures of these type of escalators on the web. I have seen a picture of Otis escalators with bellows handrails.

  14. The San Carlos store was in the mini "stip mall" behind the Big Bear and Sav-On stores near the intersection of Navajo and Jackson. The Walker Scott store faced Navajo.

  15. I too use to work at Walker Scott. I have really enjoyed reading these passages. I thought I'd add my memories for others too.

    I worked at the College Grove Walker Scott. I was a "contengency" employee which meant that there was no set schedule. They called you when they needed you.

    Every morning before that store would open, they would always open with a daily prayer. Everyone stopped what they were doing and participated. Mr. Scott was very religous.

    The ads in the newspaper always said, "After Church." He would never open the store on Sundays until twelve noon, so as not to interfere with church.

    I worked for $1.65 and hour and worked in all the departments. I did quite well in linens and fabrics.

    I always remember the folks coming up from Mexico and practually buying out the store. I would wait on those folks, teat them nicely and get major sales. Back then to spend $500.00 on clothing, 501's etc. was a big deal. The "regular" employees use to get mad that I took the sale because I was not on commision and they were. They should have treated the Mexican customers better and they would have had the sale. I loved them.

    Walker Scott always said that "To sell fashion, you have to dress fashion." I hated that because we'd have to wear dresses and heals and also climb ladders that way. But the good thing was with this belief, they gave all the store employees 25% off all their own purchases including what was on sale.

    Walker Scott was one of my first jobs. I worked there during 1969. My boss wanted to take me with her as a fashion buyer. She wanted me to relocate with her to Palm Springs when they opened that store.

    I remember the "bell system" used to page a manager. One bell ring was this manager and two the other etc.

    I also use to work their freight elevator in the College Grove store. That was very intersting, manually operated. I learned alot about how elevators work which even helps me today.

    Below the Walker Scott was a Safeway store. College Grove Shopping center was so different in those days. I think College Grove was one of the best of all the shopping centers in San Diego.

    I have lived in San Diego since 1955. I wasn't born here; but, I can remember so many things of the early days here. In fact, when I first moved to San Diego, there were no freeways! Can you believe that? The main road to LA etc. was 101 and then 395. I-5 took over 101 and I-15 took over 395.

    Gone are the days of the customer service and also the caring for the employees. I don't think you'd ever see an employer give their employees all 25% off on their purchases.

    The overall quality of the merchandise at Walker Scott was very good. Although, I sort of got tired of hearing all the time how that store was answering so much to their "stockholders." In those days few owned stock. And, no stock was given to the employees.

    Anyway, good reading from others as well.

    Insodently, Walker Scott was famous for their white chocolate of which you had to ask behind the counter in notions to get. And, then you'd have to go back to some storage area near the dressing rooms to get the boxes. I always thought that to be kind of wierd.

    Sam's Club is now in the old College Grove building.

  16. Bob King. January 6, 2013

    I worked at Walker's downtown San Diego in 1951 as a cosmetics stock boy....in all modesty, the ladies loved me. Of course, the job was part-time as I was a student at Hoover High and at E.R. Snyder Continuation High School.

    Fun days.....and I was able to buy my "steady", Nancy, some great fragrances and other merchandise. She appreciated those gifts very much.

    Walker's had a "club" for high school girls called "The Hi-Debbers"......there may have been a monthly meeting of this "club"....don't know exactly, but I do recall that there'd be a whole passel of young ladies on occasion.

    Do recall some of the words to the Hi-Debbers song....."Hi, Debbers, hi, Debbers, what do you know and what do you say?"

    Pretty good marketing......at these meetings, Mr. Waljer would lead the singing......good stuff!

    Fun store......lower level had some storage rooms that were located under the sidewalks on Briadway and on Fifth.....very thick green glass 4" rounds were laid in the concrete.....provided some light and one could see the pedestrians feet.

    Those days, and the days of Marston's, The Lion store and Jacobson's Clothing in the U.S. Grant Hotel, where I worked after military service, are part of a great "downtown" history in San Diego and in many other cities. Recall people actually "dressing up" to go "downtown". Alas, we'll never see those days again......but I can dream, can't I?

    Fun site.....let me know if I can provide any information to you about Long Beach Buffums', Long Beach Desmond's, J. Magnin's San Francisco and other department stores with which in familiar.

    Another thought.....Orbach's.


  17. Hello.
    I have a women's shirt and jacket brand new with tags still attached to it from the walkers Scott store.
    It's in perfect condition
    If you're interested in this please contact me.

  18. Oh wow, Beauty Consultant for WS Palm Springs. Always got hit with the mystery shoppers. Always had a good report. Made employee of the month too... Any body know where to find that foot cream? That stuff was amazing. debra.

    1. William J.A. Giger13 January, 2017 12:11

      I can't help with the foot cream, sorry. Thanks for sharing about the Palm Springs location. My grandfather (Herbert Giger) managed there, if your familiar with him or in general your time at the ps location, I would appreciate hearing your stories.

  19. The College Grove store actually opened the year before, July 28, 1960.

  20. Great memories. The City Store in Orange, California pretty much did the company in. Bad, bad location and few knew who Walker Scott was when they came to Orange.

    Lomas Santa Fe is a supermarket, or at least it was when I was in San Diego the last time four years ago. Palm Springs is empty along with the rest of the mall. Downtown building was part of a redevelopment. Inside gutted. Electronics and food on the first floor. Residential going up but I do not think the success took it to the eighth floor. Clairemont still stands as another retail operation. Mission Valley store has been divided into two different retail spaces.

    I worked for Walker Scott starting in the City (Orange) beginning in 1970. Moved to San Diego in 1972 and left the company in 1977 or 1978. Lots of great people working in the stores and the Service Center.

  21. I appreciate all the comments. I worked in the El Cajon Walker Scott during college in 1978. I met a lady there , Mrs Lamb. She had been a long time employee.
    I wish someone remembered Lamb! She was a fixture of the El Cajon store for years. The caring and kindness she had for an awkward girl is remembered well. She was not to be trifled with either, taking firm authority under the overall direction of Mr Scott.
    The only thing that comes close is the British TV show about the early days of retailing in England. Mr Selfridge. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2210421/Mr-Selfridge-Extraordinary-story-retailing-visionary-revealed.html

  22. I appreciate all the comments. I worked in the El Cajon Walker Scott during college in 1978. I met a lady there , Mrs Lamb. She had been a long time employee.
    I wish someone remembered Lamb! She was a fixture of the El Cajon store for years. The caring and kindness she had for an awkward girl is remembered well. She was not to be trifled with either, taking firm authority under the overall direction of Mr Scott.
    The only thing that comes close is the British TV show about the early days of retailing in England. Mr Selfridge. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2210421/Mr-Selfridge-Extraordinary-story-retailing-visionary-revealed.html

  23. As a child I lived on Mt. Helix. In the evenings I could see the Walker Scott sign blinking from my yard. I remember watching the words blink in synchronized order, Walker, then it turned off and the word, Scott would light up. Our home had a beautiful South facing view. I could see from Mt. Miguel to the distant ocean. So I am unsure which Walker Scott location I was seeing in the distance.

  24. We could probably figure it out with a map; not being too familiar with San Diego, (Though we enjoyed visiting last year when my step-daughter performed in Samson and Delila at the SD Opera) It would probably take more time than if a local considered it. It is interesting, though, how we remember things like that and they stay with us long after the physical reality of it all is gone. Thanks for sharing your memories!

  25. Like I said in the other post, my dad built many display cases for Marston's and Walker Scott. He was very proud of his work and I'm sure they were lovely, as I know my dad's work was beautiful. I so wish there was a way to see the inside of the store? We also shopped at Walker Scott's at College Grove all the time while growing up. We would buy our gym clothes there, my sister always was buying perfume there, we would to up the escalator and I just have the best memories of this store. Very sorry that it was torn down. I can also recall as a very young girl riding the escalator at the downtown store and the steps were only for one person. This site is wonderful. Thank you!

  26. Ralf Walker was my great-great uncle. He came from a poor farming family in Eaton County, MI, where he later returned to marry the girl whose father once told him he'd never amount to anything. He also sent his nephews to college; one became an engineer, and the other a physician. Very much enjoy reading your posts and comments about his work.

  27. The Walker Scott in Solana Beach was in the Lomas Santa Fe Dr Shopping Center. It later became a Buffums and most recently a Ross Dress for Less. The building is still there, but now even the Ross has recently closed. It is East end of that Shopping Center next to the Big 5 Sporting Goods Store. It was one of my mom and aunt's favorite stores.

  28. I was in the Carpenter Shop of Walker Scott from 1964 through 1986. Please write me and I would live to discuss interesting facts many do not know. Eventually I became the superintendent in charge of design and building store fixtures and remodeling. Would love to share what I can.

  29. I was employed at the Mira Mesa location from 1983 until they started laying off employees. I started as a seasonal part-time men's wear associate. After the holidays, I landed a full-time job in the credit department. I enjoyed my time at the store immensely. I actually have a family history at Walker Scott. My Great-Uncle Woody worked at the store also & was Manager of the men's department. My Great-Grandmother worked for the Downtown store for many, many years in ladies wear & received Employee of the Year in 1955?

  30. The Kearny Mesa (Linda Vista) store was part of Linda Vista Plaza and we shopped there all the time when I was little.That store logo brings back so many memories. Linda Vista Plaza itself opened in the 1940s and was the first mall-type shopping center in the United States. Eleanor Roosevelt participated in its dedication. But by the '70s, the mall had become dated and graffiti-ridden. It was completely torn down and rebuilt as a strip mall in 1975, without W-S.

    We went to the downtown store once and that was the first time I'd ever seen an elevator operator.

  31. Thank you for remembering those days. I knew all of the the elevator operators at one time or another. Also the downtown store had a gentleman that wore a carnation in his lapel who was a floor walker. He moved about the first floor greeting and assisting shoppers. They now call then greeters. Great that you remember those good days. thanks for caring.

  32. I went to High School at Hoover and College in San Diego State, and we did a lot of shopping at the College Grove WS store. I remember going there to buy a spanish soap that my mother loved. I believe it was called Maja, and had a Flamenco Dancer on the wrapper. For many years my mother kept a bar in her dresser drawer because of the wonderful smell.

    1. Bob, Did you know that you can still buy Maja soap? The Vermont Country Store specializes in items "from days gone by." Here is a link to their online shopping. https://www.vermontcountrystore.com/maja-soap-3-bars/product/47174?utm_source=google&utm_medium=paid%20search&utm_campaign=pla&sourceid=7SPFGPLA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkvyg3LLG4wIVQdbACh1zPQHuEAQYBCABEgLOcfD_BwE

  33. Yes I remember. I was involved in store and store fixture remodeling in all the stores and of course had to relocate stock once in a while. thanks for your comment.

  34. I worked at the Walker Scott Service Center from 1976-1985. I was one of the apparel markers that tagged the merchandise that was then pulled and delivered to the different stores. My boss was Mr. Bandish and I have many good memories with this company. The people I worked with were wonderful and when they started closing it was very hard to leave. Mr. Bandish got some of us jobs at Woman's World that was in El Cajon after the Service Center closed. Happy Times at Walker Scott!

    1. Hi. I don't know if you're still paying any attention to this post, but my mom worked at the Service Center - after years in the "marking room" in Whitney's downtown store, and then the Clairemont Walker Scott store, where I also worked for a while. I definitely remember Mr. Bandish...at the service center my mom mainly marked cosmetics, and I remember the samples she would bring home for my sister and me....

  35. Great testimony. While you were there, you heard a lot of noise coming from over the tall walls that separated the warehouse with the Carpenter Shop. I was the foreman of the shop with included a spray booth that butted tup to the warehouse. I was a great time! Thanks for the info.

  36. I remember the one downtown vaguely. I was young then went there with my mother. What I do remember was the escalator, which is still there was original and the elevator still had an employee to operate it (no push-buttons) the man I remember had been there since the place opened in 1935.

  37. I knew George A. Scott, A very generous businessman, born in Scotland. He attended First Presbyterian Church on Forth and Date streets. I recall the last time I saw him was at the Von's Market on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, by that time, he was quite old, and did not seem to be quite "with it". At that time, I reintroduced myself to him, and he said that he remembered me, and we talked for a minute or two. That was the last time I saw him. At one time he was a very, very prominent businessman in San Diego.

  38. So glad to have happened onto this site. Walker Scott department stores played a major role in my life. It was the go to shopping experience for my family. My mother shopped there for all my school clothes, household goods, Christmas gifts, etc. The lay-away plans put everything within our reach. In college I worked at both the down town store and the Linda Vista Plaza store during the Christmas shopping seasons to help pay tuition from 1966-1968. I worked in the junior women's clothing department downtown and in all departments at the Linda Vista Plaza store. We had the old cash registers with a key for each sales person to use to ring up their sales. Because I could use my high school Spanish to help the customers from Mexico and was affable and successful in sales, Mrs. Sorrianos (sp?) at the downtown store offered to train me as an apprentice buyer. I chose to complete my degree and go into education instead. I've always wondered what my life would have been like if I had taken her up on her offer. I am so sorry to learn that these stores no longer are in business. Their motto was "The customer is always right!" Service was always the by word in these stores.

    1. Dear Sandra, If you were working in the Linda Vista store during 1966-1968, you certainly waited on my mother, aunt, and grandmother. I was probably with them. Although I was not a fan of shopping, I did enjoy going to Walker-Scott, and my mother, aunt, and grandmother were there every weekend. Thank you for your years of customer service.

    2. Hi - I also worked in the Linda Vista store (which was the Linda Vista Department store before being bought out by Walker Scott). I worked in women's lingerie department. Remember before I was old enough to work and was in jr. high walking through the store and buying either an Ideals book, or a Beatles' record on my way home from school...

  39. The Oceanside store was replaced by The Federated Group electronics store (not affiliated with Federated Department Stores).

  40. Around 1986 or so I rented a house in Clairemont-Mesa. I had been living in apartments previously. I needed furniture and to my shock Walker-Scott at Clairemont Square was closing and selling all the fixtures. I bought this incredibly sturdy display cabinet with a fake laminated wood finish. I've dragged that thing around with me for many years. It's currently sitting in my parent's house in Northern California where my dad is using it to store tools and such. The thing was definitely custom hand made and will probably last forever.It still looks like it does the first time I saw in 1986.

  41. What a thrill to stumble on this site! As a senior in high school in 1969 I was honored with an award that allowed me to "shadow" Mr. Scott's secretary for the day. It was very exciting to see "behind the scenes" of the department store. When I later was hired at the Bank of America at 6th & Broadway I often shopped at Walker Scott during my lunch hour. It's hard to believe there once were elevator operators but in those days there were! I can still remember the beautiful compact I purchased for my mother for her birthday from Walker Scott.

  42. Does anyone know if the any of the original escalators (the first ever installed in San Diego) remain in the former Downtown location?

    1. I was part of the construction of the building in 2003 the 2nd floor escalators were disassembled and put into storage in the building and the historical society has us frame a demising wall around the first floor to encapsulate and leave it remaining

    2. Thank you! Much appreciated!

      Best, John T.

  43. A friend came across a wooden basket type purse with a hinged covered wooden top. It has a signature that looks like Caro-Lan. In the top there are the words Walker Scott. So I googled Walker Scott and found this department store information. Is anyone familiar with the name or artist "Caro-Lan"?

  44. This was a magnificant place. It was like a wonderland for me. I have so many fond memories of taking the Greyhound Bus #29 from Chula Vista to downtown San Diego and shop there with my parents. My first poster bed was from there, many Christmas gifts, clothing, my mother's wedding dress .... ah memories of my childhood.

  45. I purchased some pictures of George Scott along with family and friends in a antique store in la mesa. Fascinating stuff.

  46. They came into Linda Vista Department Store's building, as Walker Scott, across the middle of the center from the Linda(movie place) and the Malt Shop. 19th century oaks in front of them. They sponsored community activities and were on first name basis with many local yokels, like us. They carried a wide selection, but that's what a then department store was about. They could order from downtown that had more on hand. So, yes, they did well in their one story but spacious environs with plenty of parking. And you'd see your girl friends there buying clothes.

  47. I am a native San Diegan, born 1956. We lived near Clairemont Square, then brand new, in 1958-61, then moved to Point Loma. The Clairemont Square store opened as a Whitney's Department Store and was badged as a Whitney's while we lived nearby. In the early to mid 1960s, Whitney's sold out to Walker-Scott and the store in Clairemont Square remained opened as a Walker-Scott.

    The main "anchors" at the original Clairemont Square were Whitney's, DeFalco's supermarket, and possibly a 5 & 10 cent store (don't remember the name, it was not Woolworth however, maybe Cornet).

    A feature of the downtown store that I vividly recall: there were glass bricks set in the Fifth Avenue sidewalk (possibly also on Broadway, not sure) that formed part of the ceiling of the lower level of the store. The intent was probably to allow in more sunlight, but you could see the shadows of people walking directly above you on the sidewalk if it was a sunny day. For a three year old, it was the height of cool.

  48. William J.A. Giger13 January, 2017 03:45

    I remember growing up I felt like I was treated like a little prince in the Palm Springs store of WS. But I guess it took a little bit longer for me to realize that all those great service-oriented people did also work for my grandfather Herbert J Giger. I still remember his retirement placard bestowed on him, it read quite poetic and each of us would end with, " Herbert J Giger the Pussycat tiger". That still cracks me up to this day lol.

    I'm glad I wandered in here unexpectedly while digging into my grandfather's military service in World War II. His retail service work started after the war up the mountain in Running Springs, CA where he opened and operated his general store.

    If your reading this and knew my grandfather, please reach out and share those stories with me either here or privately as if needed.

    Thanks to all who labor here, what an interesting connection you've created.

  49. Fascinating history! I looked this us as I found an envelope in my deceased mother's cedar box stamped Walker's San Diego. Inside was a cute card asking her to come to the Baby Shop on the fourth floor to get a baby ring. The date in Sept 16, 6 pm, 1943. Pretty cool!

  50. I knew George Scott. We were friends because of our mutual interest in Meals On Wheels. George was born in Scotland. The Walkers were successful retailers in Los Angeles. In those days (early 1900s), it was not uncommon for wealthy, childless, couples to find a young person, in a poor family, to raise and educate as their own. The Walkers found George when they were traveling in Scotland. I don't know the details of the exchange; but,George went home with the Walkers. This was probably around 1912-1915. These young people were seldom adopted. As a result, George always kept his own name.
    In 1934, Mr. Walker sent George to San Diego to see if opening a store was a good opportunity. One of the first people he met was George W. Marston. Marston convinced Scott that opening a store was a good idea and advised him through the process. As the store was coming together, Walker died and the promised financing was cut off. George, with the assistance of Marston, was able to finance the opening of the first store; and, grew from there.
    Mrs. Walker was seldom mentioned by Scott.
    George Scott was a great benefactor of San Diego. He left a widow and a grown child when he died.

    1. Thank you for this very fascinating history.
      - Bruce

  51. I worked at the downtown San Diego store from 1975 until my graduation from SDSU in Dec 1976 as a part-time salesperson in the Mens and Boys Department. When the "new" computer cash registers were installed, all the older ladies on Medicare did not like them and "gave" me a lot of their sales. They were not working on commissions and neither was I. Every week we received a "parking allowance" from the cashier's office with our pay. I used mine to pay for my bus pass. I loved the daily chicken rice soup at the Charlmont Restaurant. I could not afford to buy it but the cashier became my friend and she gave me some soup for free if there was any left over after the lunchtime hour ended. There was a very nice Mexican-American professional saleslady and a friendly young man (who was a twin) and a damned good salesman too in that department. When I graduated from SDSU I went to the store personnel manager and asked her to hire my best friend from college in my place which she did. In 1978 I came back to work at W-S in the Service Center for the Vice President of personnel and training, Miss Priscilla Simms. Unfortunately, Miss Simms had to fire me as the personnel chief due to my inefficiency in performing administrative work, my first job in an office. Merty, the Vice President's former secretary, was hired in my place but I was able to return to the downtown San Diego store and work part-time in the Cashier's Office for the store personnel manager and in lingerie and childrens department. My mother drove me down Broadway to the federal building and I took civil service tests. I got hired by the Navy in 1979 and spent 30 years working for the Defense Department as a personnel management specialist and human resources officer all over the world. Thanks to W-S and especially Miss Simms (Fleishans), I am forever grateful for my start as a business person.

  52. In 1971, as a 16-year old with a new driver's license, I was hired part-time at the College Grove Walker Scott to work as a stock boy. I was paid minimum wage for the time, around $1.50 per hour. We were required to punch in on a time card clock down in the administrative office upon reporting for work and leaving at the end of our shift. You would look for your time card in the slots of a metal bin on the wall next to the time stamping machine. I can still hear in my mind the "thunk" of the machine as it printed the time and date on our paper card. Sometimes I would encounter the General Manager, Barry P. Knudsen, who I knew pretty well as a family friend and a member of our congregation at the San Diego 8th Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mr. Knudsen was well regarded and seemed to me very dignified. He was a very decent person to me and always treated me with respect and kindness even though I was a rambunctious and irreverent teenager at the time. This respect encouraged me to be a diligent worker. I think the sales ladies in housewares appreciated my efforts to help them, but I didn't stay with the job very long. Too many other attractions for a young man in San Diego at that time. - Marc Jensen

  53. I just actually discovered a painting that was sold by Walker Scott back in 1949 signed by Marjorie Schumacher.

  54. I just discovered a oil painting that was sold by Walker Scott Co back in 1949, signed by Marjorie Schumacher! Anybody know anything?

  55. Nancy Wynn - Rubeck08 June, 2017 10:19

    :) I worked there 1958 to 1962, Loved it, and remember, the names and the ppl I worked w/, and going to Anthony's Seafood, on Friday nights. Great Group, Super Store. hahaha made $1.25 per hr. giggle :)

  56. My first full time job was at Walker Scott, The City, in Orange, California. It opened on October 3, 1970, 35 years to the day from the opening of the downtown store in San Diego. In September of 1972 I became a Merchandise Coordinator at the Service Center in San Diego, later a buyer, store manager at MIssion Valley, and finally store manager Downtown. Mr. Scott and I both left the Downtown store on the same day. He retired and I moved on to another retail organization. Lots of great people at Walker Scott, and the experience of those years has been a valuable asset throughout my career. I still have a dwindling box of notes, memos, reports and other business papers from what is now over 40 years ago. Even a few merchandise purchases from The City, Downtown and College Grove survive around our house. A lot of great memories on this website and some people who I recognize from the seven years of being a part of Walker Scott.

  57. Lily Satterfield mentioned Selfridge's in London. Have read three books and watched the series on PBS. I also saw a parallel track with regards to Walker Scott circa 1970 - 1978.

    The company stock was being traded on the OTC exchange when I joined them in 1970.

    Expansion was being driven north from the Walker Scott of San Diego towards the original Walker's home turf. What the company did not have in cash to fund the store in Orange and subsequent locations, was handled with debt, lines of credit, and leases in lieu of purchasing general administrative furniture, fixtures and equipment.

    The City in Orange, approximately 100 miles from Walker Scott's operating area, was a large store, two floors, and I seem to recall almost 100,000 square feet. Many of the key management positions had been filled with seasoned personnel relocating from San Diego stores.

    The store opened on October 3, 1970 exactly 35 years to the day and hour from the flagship Walker Scott at Fifth and Broadway in downtown San Diego.

    Opening day missed just about everyone's expectations. The situation never got better either.

    By the end of the first operating year, over half of the second floor was partitioned off with plywood. Departments were reallocated space with the goal of minimizing the number of personnel needed to operate.

    San Diego personnel began returning to the chain's other locations as payroll expense was being cut. The store operated with the minimum number of people that it could, and departments consolidated under a small group of managers.

    The City location in Orange was, with the benefit of hindsight, a crossroads which consumed company profitability until the very end, long after the store lease had been sold to May Company, and Mr. Scott had retired.

    The City store fixtures which had been sold to a financial company and leased back, were used to open the subsequent 30,000 square foot San Carlos store and 60,000 square foot Mira Mesa store, both in San Diego. In addition, numerous other fixtures from the City could be found in the small Mission Valley store and scattered across other Walker Scott stores where the need existed.

    The board turned over in the early 1970's and the new board members, along with others already on the board of directors, began their accession towards taking control and moving Mr. Scott aside.

    As with the Selfrdige story set much earlier, Mr. Scott too lost his delegated company authority around 1976 when two outside investors from Northern California took day to day control of the company. That was a tough transition for Mr. Scott and one which did not go smoothly. Although he kept his office and a title until 1977, like Mr. Selfridge years before, eventually Mr. Scott was "retired" and his office in the old Downtown flagship closed.

    Unlike Selfridge's which continues to operate today in London, the Walker Scott hole was deep and profits elusive. The company was not big enough to have a platform for a successful turnaround.

    As others have noted, the Northern California investors running the company for a few years eventually negotiated a sale with the liquidators operating as Desmond's. Store by store, the company dissolved into the history book of retail merchandising.

    1. That's some great, interesting history, and thsnk you for sharing it. The store was obviously beloved in San Diego and the surroundings.
      - Bruce

  58. My grandfather, Barry P Knudson worked for Mr. Scott and eventually took over as chief officer. He retired just as WS sold. He said he thought with the selling, that would be the end of WS and he was right. He spoke of Mr. Scott very deferentially always, though I never met him personally.

    Today would have been my grandfather's 106th birthday so I googled his name with Walker Scott and found this website. Thank you for sharing your memories. If anyone remembers Barry Knudson and has memories to share, I would appreciate it.

    1. I was born in September 24,1958 in SanDiego. My mother and used to shop at Walker Scott's. I bought my prom grown from the Walker Scott's in college grove. I miss all these days and the stores back then.

  59. Shannon, I remember your grandfather very well. He was a prominent figure in the company throughout most of Walker Scott's history. Mr. Knudson was well respected both within Walker Scott and the community.

    Mr. Knudson's office was in College Grove, the largest of the Walker Scott stores from its opening in the 1960's until the mid 1970's when the northern California retailers acquired control through a stock purchase.

    After that, with the exception of Mr. Scott who was elevated to an "emeritus" status and retained his office for a while on the top floor of the Downtown Store, Mr. Knudson's office was centralized with all of the senior management team at the Walker Scott Service Center & Central Offices, 5252 Lovelock.

    As it happened, Mr. Knudson's service center office door was located within about thirty feet of the buyer cubicle where I worked. We often saw each other several times a day and spoke somewhat regularly.

    Later on when I transferred to store operations, I was one of his direct reports for about two years and in regular communication either by phone, written memo or meetings.

    If my recollections are correct, there was a tribute article written by the San Diego Union/Tribune when he passed away. I believe that I saw it one day some years later when I googled Walker Scott and also found this blog.

    Mr. Knudson was generally a quieter man in his demeanor, but firm in his values, beliefs, and direction. HIs conversations were usually direct but with compassion. There was quite a mix of personalities which he successfully worked with, both among corporate management and at the twelve store store level.

    Mr. Knudson was responsible for store operations and as was fairly common for retail in those days, the counterpoint to the merchandising side of the organization. Besides Mr. Scott, he worked in tandem with the General Merchandise Manager, Controller, Marketing, Personnel and that "new" department at the time, Data Processing.

    Mr. Scott did elevate Mr. Knudson to President from his long held Executive Vice President status a short period before the first outside ownership change. Later, as part of the reorganization with new management, one of the two primary stockholders became President and his partner Executive Vice President. Mr. Knudson eventually returned to his prior executive role over store operations and the warehouse.

    I left Walker Scott a few years before the second sale to the Desmond's group who eventually liquidated the company as your grandfather correctly predicted. My recollection is that Mr. Knudson retired as that change was taking place and he moved to Salt Lake City.

    I respected Mr. Knudson as did a large number of people that comprised the Walker Scott core. Mr. Knudson was noted for his faith and work in the LDS church. He lived the values of his faith and was a very caring person.

    Throughout the decades of Walker Scott history, Mr. Knudson was an important balance, usually behind closed doors, to Mr. Scott's outward gregariousness.

    Barry Knudson's loyalty to the Walker Scott organization, the devotion to both his family and the company workers over all those years, along with his response to what became a radical leadership change late in his retail tenure, speak to the man that I remember.

  60. Thank you, b cook, for that tribute to an obviously outstanding man. I did not know him, and never experienced Walker Scott, but, from your words his character is very well understood.

  61. This is aike Schaefer, kid City Councilman at 27 in the 1960s, I knew George Scott well, a man of generousityand good heart, if a minister's family had a death out of state, George would buy an airplane ticket, I visited him in his final months at a Reynard Way convelescent home, he was lucid, tired, proud and had class; he was a giant in downtown San Diego, was one of the schemers arranging the combined real estate for construction of the City complex of City Hall and convention center space between C St. and A St., west of 3rd Ave. I believe his son was named Walker Scott, I was often driving by their home in Mission Hills near Presidio Park, son played hockey in his youth, if he reads this I'd like a call to 213 479 6006; George was a man all who knew him respected and San Diego is fortunate he chose to come here to do his good for community.
    Mike Schaefer, Thanksgiving Day, 2017

  62. My Uncle worked at the Walker Scott in San Carlos. I still have an aluminum poster by Hagar that hung in the store.

    1. Your uncle must be Mr. Bragg, the mens' department manager. I worked there from 1977-1980. What a great experience that job was for a high school student like me. I started at the Clairemont Square store, saved money to pay for college, bought things on the layaway plan, and shared my employee discount with my sisters to buy school clothes. Sylvia Sweigart was the store manager then. It was like a second family there. Priscilla Simms was mentioned in someone else's post--She also managed the WS employee credit union from the basement of the College Grove store. I was able to buy a car with a loan through that credit union. So many memories! It was a nurturing place to work.

  63. My mom and I used to shop at the College Grove store when I was young. They had a candy counter there, and had the most delicious "signature" chocolate candy with nuts in it. I have been wracking my brain trying to remember the name of it. I think it started with an "A", but just can't remember the rest. Does anyone remember this?

  64. I was hired at Walker Scott in Oct 1978 by the VP of marketing (Mr Villavacincio) to be a Merchandise Coordinator. I worked at the headquarters on Sherman St. I assisted a company buyer named David Dominguez. My starting salary was $800
    .00/Mo. I believe there were 12 stores at that time. I was also an assistant buyer and filled in for Bob Lipe (housewares buyer) when he passed away in a sand buggie accident in 1979. The buyers worked in small cubicals which were just completed by Oct 78. The two buyers next my cubical were Perry Roth and Mr Anderson. Alice Payne and Jean were the Head Coordinators for all departments. These ladies knew the ins and outs of everything in the company, especially Alice. I had several conversations with Berry Knudson. I really liked him; he was so sincere about living life. ther He reminded me of my grandfather. I worked at Walker Scott until January 1980 because of my appointment to OTS for the Air Force. I looked in my scrap book and did find photos I took at headquarters in 1979. David, Perry, Art, Alice and Jean are in the photos taken in there work place. Thank you for the memories. Stephen C. Ricks.

  65. I did my residency at UCI Medical Center during 1982-85, across the street from The City shopping mall in Orange. The former Walker Scott store was a MayCo, rather small and if I recall only single story (not two or three stories like most MayCo stores). The City was razed in the late 1990s to build The Block At Orange, mostly outlet stores with an outdoor design (no air conditioned inside galleries)

    If I recall correctly, WS acquired the Whitney's dept store chain. The Clairemont Square store was originally a Whitney's (when we lived nearby 1958-61) and (after we moved to Point Loma) it changed to a WS sometime in the mid-1960s.

  66. The Walker Scott "City" Store in Orange was two floors, and approximately 125,000 square feet combined. It opened on October 3, 1970 which was thirty five years to the day and hour after the main flagship store at Fifth & Broadway in Downtown San Diego opened. That was very important to Mr. Scott who was still Chairman, President and CEO at the time.

    May Company did purchase the lease on the Walker Scott City Store after it was closed in 1973 or 1974. This was a smaller May Company than most, if not all the others in the area.

    Like Walker Scott, May Company was not successful in the City Shopping Center. Even with the built in name recognition of May Company, the open air mall and perimeter parking was not popular with shoppers. Additionally, The City mix of stores was constantly changing so no one else hardly found success there either. J.C.Penny was among the first to open at The City, and had one of the longest periods of endurance.

    Walker Scott began partitioning off second floor square footage within a year of opening. Department locations were shuffled and staffing reduced to correspond with the declining volume. Many of the store management and department heads who had relocated from San Diego began to transfer back to more familiar territory.

    Mr. Scott's drive to expand Walker Scott north into some of the old "Walker's" turf was a terminal mistake for the company. Throughout Mr. Scott's tenure on top of the organization (1935 - early/mid 1970's), he was steadfast in his desire not to compete with other department stores in major regional malls.

    The decision to invest the company's future in The City Shopping Center location destroyed the company's profitability going into the future, leaving a hole so deep with ongoing obligations even after The City closed that Walker Scott did not recover under his leadership.

    Subsequent investors who took control of the company in the mid-1970's attempted to reposition the company similar to a "Mervyn's" but eventually the Northern California retail investors sold Walker Scott to a liquidator who did just that.

    Walker Scott did acquire Whitney's picking up stores in Clairement Square, El Cajon and some other locations. Even after The City debacle, Walker Scott opened new 60,000 square foot stores in Mira Mesa, a new Clairemont Square location, added San Carlos, expanded Lomas Santa Fe, purchased Hafter Heilborn in MIssion Valley, opened a Walker Scott Oceanside in a former Kresge location, and added a few others after that.

    However, by that time, the earlier decision embraced for decades under Mr. Scott's determination to be a dominate player in local shopping areas ,while avoiding major regional malls, left Walker Scott without much opportunity.

  67. My very first job was at Walker Scott Dept store downtown San Diego. It was the summer of 1969 and I just became eligible for my Social Security card so I could work for a real company during the summers. I was in the gift wrapping dept. It was so much fun and I learned a lot about being a responsible employee. The TV show Mr.Selfridge on PBS reminds me of my time working in the downtown store of Walker Scott. It was a wonderful place to work.

  68. Just curious if anyone remembers a Josefina Zuniga as a young employee, who spoke fluent Spanish and catered to the Mexican customers from TJ. I believe she worked there in the 50s. She loved to dress up and loved her mink coats. She passed away in 1989 and was a "Legend" in Baja for establishing Rancho Santa Ines that still exists today. If anyone has info, they can contact me. Thank you! Mike Bennett mlbennett@sbcglobal.net

  69. I have a large stack Walker Scott gift coins, I was hoping to get some information on how they were used, and if they hold any value today. Great job on all your information you passed on! Thank you.

  70. The coins were somewhat similar to gift cards we see today. Purchased and used as Walker Scott currency. I have a $5.00 coin which was purchased on eBay long after the Walker Scott organization had shut down. Today's value like so many other things is what someone else is willing to pay. As time marches forward I think the value would diminish because fewer people are around who remember the Walker Scott stores. There are some category collectors who may be interested. Likely the best way to find them is eBay or other online auction.


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