Our second attempt at seeing the Walther’s showroom was far more successful then our first. We got there about 11:00 in the morning and walked on in, check that one off my bucket list.
Upon entering the showroom you are greeted by a large HO layout. It is beautifully done, obviously highlighting Walther’s products. Off to the side is a decent sized N scale layout, again very well done.
Around the perimeter are display cases with finished structures, didn’t ask but I assume that they are probably the ones used for the photos for the Walther’ catalog. One case was more of a history case. It had old casting blanks and pieces cast from them, old office equipment, old kit parts and a collection of William Walther’s (the founder of the company) office and personal items.
The merchandise on the floor isn’t anywhere as extensive as you would think. Pretty much all HO (sorry to all who model other scales) and mainly engines, freight, passenger and structures. All Walther’s products. Of course when you have the whole warehouse behind you, you don’t need a huge display space. They have two workstations with all the catalogs and computers to check stock. Write down what you want, hand it to the guys at the counter and they run out and get it for you.
While I was looking over the shelves, my wife hit the catalogs and computers. She had gotten me a static grass applicator for Christmas, but didn’t understand exactly what it did. I had explained how it worked, so when we hit the showroom, she wanted to get some static grass for it. As we were paying for the order, we got to talking with Chris, the guy who was helping us. When he heard we were from out of town, he asked the magic question. Would you like a tour of the facility?
Absolutely! So with the visitor badges clipped to our coats, we started our tour. Eyeing my camera, Chris let me know that although you can take pictures in the showroom, the camera was forbidden everywhere else in the building.
Having worked in a auto parts warehouse in my younger years, I was very familiar with the operation in the back. The way orders are generated, filled and shipped. Nothing new here. It was still great to see the workings in back, but Chris being the seasoned tour guide, was able to make it all interesting. He supplied the whys and hows of the way things were done, but more importantly, some history and trivia of the place.
We were shown everything, front offices, employee spaces, overstock spaces, general warehouse and shipping. The only place that you are not allowed is New Product Development. Wasn’t a problem, but later as I thought about it, it would have been cool to see what’s coming. As I said, Chris was great as a guide, but everyone else was really nice and said hi. Obviously I wasn’t the first model railroad nut to be through there. It’s nice that they are all pleasant, even though they are trying to get their work done.
I think it was about 1:30 by the time we left. If you have the chance, it is a great outing.
Next stop – Kalmach Publishing. And I thought Walther’s was cool.
Till next time, Happy Railroading…