Robert and Mary Walters moved from Ohio in 1983 to open the first of 25 Little Caesars Pizza restaurants in Tennessee. Today, Robert is the president and Mary is secretary-treasurer of Walters Enterprises, Inc., which owns and operates the restaurant chain with businesses in Southwest Virginia, Northeast Tennessee and Western North Carolina.
Robert, a Hebron, Ohio, native, attended The Ohio State University earning a degree in marketing. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict from 1951-1955. From there, Robert returned to his Ohio home and gained business experience from a 54-year-old family-owned Chevrolet dealership. After selling the dealership, he moved his wife, Mary, and children to the Tri-Cities area. The couple opened their first Little Caesars on North Roan Street. Mary's entrepreneurial talents led her to open Selections Gift Shop in Johnson City, as she continued her co-ownership in the pizza business. Mrs. Walters has since developed the Webb Valley Ranch in Unicoi, Tennessee.
The Walters, who live in Johnson City, remain active in numerous organizations such as the Johnson City School Foundation, the Tennessee Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association. Robert is a member of Blue Gravel International Past Commodore Buckeye Lake Yacht Club, Johnson City U.S. Power Squadron, Scottish Rite, Order of Moose and Elks. He also serves on the National Business Operations Committee for Little Caesars and on the Advisory Board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Johnson City.
Mrs. Walters has served on the board of the steering committee for the "Taste of Johnson City," the Johnson City Symphony board, and the Johnson City Hospice. She is a member of the North Johnson City Business Association. In Michigan, she was program director for WJJW radio in Wyandotte and served the Wyandotte News Herald as assistant display manager and as editor for the home and garden section. She was also director of display advertising for the newspaper, Dearborn Guide.
ETSU's Little Caesars Tennis Tournament is sponsored by Robert and Mary, with proceeds funding the Little Caesars Tennis Scholarship at the university. A strong supporter of this university, Mr. Walters is a member of the ETSU Distinguished President's Trust, the Pirate Club, and the board of directors of the ETSU Foundation.