A SELF-MADE WOMAN, Hilary Walker’s life is a continually blossoming adventure, the product of lessons learned and a deep-rooted desire to share the wealth of her knowledge and experience with others. With multiple businesses including three locations of Kidz Klub House, Hilary runs one of St. Tammany’s largest female-owned businesses and is proud of her contributions to the area’s employment, quality of childcare and community causes.Hilary credits her parents with instilling in her the discipline and importance of education – despite the difficulty of the job. “I was an independent and strong-willed child who constantly tested my parents. I became a young mother at 16, but they supported me and saw to it that I worked hard and completed my education. Those traits that challenged my parents are the ones that make me a successful businessowner today.”
Hilary met her husband, Chuck, at 18 and went on to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education. “Chuck is my greatest supporter. I think back and wonder how I went to school and worked full-time with two kids while pregnant with the third. I certainly couldn’t have done it without his encouragement and help. I’ve always loved young children, and I’ve lived the core value that education is the basis for success in life. It’s now my mission to provide quality childcare here – my way of giving back and influencing the next generation.” Of Hilary, Chuck praises her as one of a kind. “I knew she was special when we first met. She is the most determined person I know and doesn’t stop until the job is done. She’s not a workaholic — family is foremost — but she’s smart, solid and steady and accomplishes everything she sets out to do.”
Hilary began teaching at Kidz Klub House in Slidell in 1999. The owner immediately recognized her leadership potential and planted seeds of future ownership. Hilary invested in herself and the community by purchasing the school in 2003, eventually expanding to Madisonville in 2015 and Mandeville in 2020. “I couldn’t maintain my high standards of quality while opening new locations without my team of directors and teachers. I was initially drawn to Kidz Klub House for its fun, educational environment, and we strive to always make it better.” Hilary says the focus is on Kindergarten prep starting as early as six weeks old and continuing through five years old. Students graduate having begun to learn reading and math.
Another of Hilary’s lifelong passions – one she shares with Chuck – is fitness. “Sports and fitness are important to a child’s development and happiness as well.” Hilary played soccer in school and is a committed weightlifter; Chuck played college baseball and owns several baseball training facilities in the region; and all three children have played competitive sports. So, it’s no surprise, especially considering Chuck’s entrepreneurial spirit, that the Walkers own multiple Anytime Fitness locations and Peak Fitness in Slidell. They also created the Walker Way Foundation to fund college scholarships for deserving high school students. “We select athletes who are strong leaders with good academic performance. It’s our way to give back.”
Hilary is well-served by the healthy habits that help her operate at peak performance in all her endeavors. A typical day starts at 5:30 with a workout. School business then takes over. She is extremely involved in the day-to-day operation visiting each location at least weekly for team meetings, to assess the quality of the environment and education, and improve daily best practices. “It’s rewarding to see our students succeed knowing that the foundation we provide was instrumental in that. Three of our teachers were once students here who embrace the importance of early learning and have returned to pass along that advantage.”
The Walker home reflects their priorities as the warm and welcoming space prominently displays smiling family photos and affirming mantras such as “Together We Have Everything.” Beloved rescue dog Lacey even grins from the frames. Dedication to stable family life, as Hilary’s parents provided her, is evident in their children’s trajectory. Maddie-25, now married to Codey Miller with one-year-old son Miles, earned her degree in Family and Consumer Science working her way up from the kitchen, to teaching, to running the Mandeville location of Kidz Klub House. “She didn’t set out to join the family business, but she’s a natural and earned her place as director. And Miles, my newest joy in life – it’s important I get quality time with him.” Fritz-21 excels at baseball and football at Millsaps College and studies Business and Finance with plans to join the family’s fitness businesses. And while at 17 Allie’s future plans aren’t finalized, she has the benefit of a strong, dedicated and involved family.
“We’re all growing and prospering from generations of life-long lessons. It’s not always easy, but through perseverance and hard work, we’ve learned to seize on the opportunities presented to us. We feel it’s our purpose to nurture a passion for making the most out of life – for our children, our students and our community.”Hilary Wa,er