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My visit to GHS Corp

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DCE, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. DCE

    DCE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    Last Friday a friend of mine and I rode out to Denton, NC to visit the folks at GHS Corp, the mid-Atlantic states distributor of Walker Mowers. A few weeks ago I happened to meet Levon Hopkins when he came to do a demo for the grounds crew on campus where I work and it was then he extended the invitation for me to come out to visit him, his son Standish, and meet some of the GHS crew.

    My friend, who is also a Lawnsite member and a Walker owner, and I ended up spending the entire afternoon with Standish Hopkins. One thing that strikes you immediately when pulling into their "estate" is how beautiful the grounds are at GHS Corp's headquarters. Rolling hills, pond at the bottom of the hill, with the main offices/warehouse building facing the pond. Upon walking inside the main lobby/showroom you don't feel like stepping into a business...a big business at that. The showroom is pretty dang impressive on its own, for it is done up like a living room. Carpeting and hardwood floors, grand piano off to the side, a comfortable sitting area with couches, pictures of Levon's and Standish's families adorn the tables, desk, and piano. And a Walker MS, MT GHS, and Super B parked on the hardwood floor. Now, this is MY kind of living room! :) Out in front just beyond the entrance doors is a patio area where you can sit and just enjoy the view of the pond and rolling hills. Feels just like home. You might as well be because Levon and Standish do treat you like family. Family is something that is highly stressed at GHS, and it extends to the manner in which they relate to each other, how they do business with dealers, and how they treat visitors like my friend and myself.

    Levon was away on business that day, so Standish was in charge of keeping us entertained :D He gave us the grand tour of the business, showing us the parts dept, warehouse, and the other buildings on their 100+ acre site. Standish went out of his way to make us feel welcome and not once did we get the impression from him that we were taking up his time. In fact, I think he was enjoying our visit and showing us around as much as we were taking it all in. A few times through out the afternoon I had to think to myself if we were visiting a business...or were we visiting family? I am quite familiar with the Walker product line already prior to this visit, but thanks to the visit, I learned a few new things about the engineering of the mowers as well as the company itself that I never previously knew.

    The highlight of the afternoon came when Standish and his men brought all the demo units outside for us to test drive. I was particularly interested in the Super B as well as the MW walk behind. When I first saw the Super B in the showroom, it was then I realized that it was indeed bigger than the other Walker units. Yet, it is just as easy to drive and maneuver as the others. The cockpit feels very comfortable espeically with the footrest, and no doubt the Michigan suspension seat [comes standard!] adds to the comfort. And it is fast too with the 9mph transport speed. It definitely will get up and go! The MW is kind of a strange creature. The rear caster wheel allows the deck carrier frame to float and flex like the riders, but I found myself kicking the caster wheel when moving along at a brisk pace so I had to be concious of my stride at faster speeds. The pushbutton forward speed control is unique, and easy to operate. The beauty of the MW is the ability to run a standard SD or mulching deck that fits the riders, up to a 56" I believe.

    Standish also demonstrated for my friend and I that a properly outfitted Walker CAN hold a hill. He has a specially outfitted MB with a 56" SD deck, the low profile all terrain drive tires, and a spread tailwheel axle that he said can hold a hill and he proved it by jumping on it and driving onto the steep slope [around 40 degrees maybe?] that is close to the pond's edge, and drove across the face of the slope a bit. He said they can mow that slope face on a Walker with no problems.

    My friend and I ended up leaving their warehouse at 6:30 Friday evening. Standish was an excellent host, made us feel right at home the whole time. He said for us to come back in the spring to help them manicure the grounds, we can spend all day mowing and try out various Walker models/configurations in the process. Definitely, we will be back! I will post some pics from the visit...
  2. DCE

    DCE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    First shot is the exterior of the building that houses the offices, warehouse, and parts dept.

    Second is the down-home feeling showroom

    Third is just a few MT GHS tractors :)


    Showroom_Super B and MT GHS.jpg

    Warehouse_MT GHS tractors.jpg
  3. DCE

    DCE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    First pic is just some of the demo units

    Second and third pics are of the MB on the slope, note the pond in the background.

    Wallkers outside.jpg

    MB on slope 2.jpg

    MB on slope 1.jpg
  4. DavidR

    DavidR LawnSite Member
    Messages: 180

    Awesome Dexter!! It sure was a blast.

    It is hard to capture just the angle that the MB is on. It was difficult to get on and off of the mower that is for sure. Don't forget that Standish did a few circles at this angle as well. Yes, a Walker can definitely cut a hill.
  5. DCE

    DCE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    It was because of YOU we got the superstar treatment...you're a Walker owner :weightlifter: :D

    Maybe when we go back I'll have a case of cojones grande and attempt that hill myself...if I feel like going for a little swim :dizzy:
  6. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,446

    Beautiful grounds and nice machines. Thanks for sharing.
  7. LawnPro19

    LawnPro19 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    Great post, great pictures... walker is in my opinion the best mower out there!!!
  8. mhussey

    mhussey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 523

    That is a super nice place there. I live about 20 minutes from there, and go by there often. However, I have never went and got the "superstar" treatment like you two did though:cry:.

    Really, I didn't realize how beautiful the site was until I seen the pictures you posted. Bet I have rode by that place hundreds of times.

    You know DCE, a lot of people don't care for Walkers. They say the cut isn't as good as some, especially in NC turf. I have never seen a Walker's cut that wasn't superior, and there are a lot of Walkers in my area because of the local distributor. Some say they don't stripe well, and I can say that the folks that have posted the stripes of a Walker on here isn't what I have seen here locally. The stripes seen here locally from a Walker really pop, and are appealing to the eye, however a stripe really isn't key, but the cut is clean as well.

    I would love to have a Walker for an addition, but they come with a big tag on them.....

    Great post DCE!!!!
  9. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    WOW, that is awesome. I was amazed at the "racks" of tractors. That is a first class operation and as a Walker owner myself I was very impressed by those photos and really enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing, I am looking at 6 inches of snow and a weekend of below zero but I know spring is coming. Take care.
  10. dave k

    dave k LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,177

    Looked like an LCO candy store with all the Walkers sitting on the shelfs! My Walker used to look that nice.:laugh:
    I bet the stipes look good with the dual wheels in back.

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