History

Bob Barker1970s… Bob Barker graduated from Campbell University in 1965 and began his career as publisher/editor of his own newspaper, Western Wake Herald, in Apex, North Carolina. He became the town’s mayor in 1972 was elected state senator and served until 1974. Eventually, Bob sold his newspaper business and got involved selling slushy machines, but as the weather turned cold, he realized he needed to expand his line. By the late 70s, Bob had added chicken fryers, icemakers and many other products to become a full-line restaurant equipment supply company.

1980s… In the early 80s, Bob bought a friend’s small jail supply business and started supplying restaurant supplies along with personal care, bedding, clothing and security equipment to ja ls in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The company soon expanded sales into the Southeast and started a cut-and-sew operation to manufacture uniforms and mattresses. In1985 the company created and mailed its first full-line catalog throughout the country. In 1986, Bob Barker Company moved headquarters to downtown Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina and soon after purchased a building to manufacture metal products. By the end of the 80s the company had grown to 33 employees.

VanCell Prisoner Transport1990s… As business grew, more space was needed for cut-and-sew and distribution so the company built a 200,000 square foot building for these operations. Throughout the 90s, Bob Barker Company brought many new innovative products to the corrections market including a polyester-core mattress which became the industry standard, a triple bunk to help with over crowding, the Van Cell to provide secure and economical prisoner transport, and personal care products in see-through plastic containers to make it impossible to hide contraband. By the late 90s, the company had grown to over 200 employees.

Robert Barker2000s… Throughout the 1990s Bob Barker’s children, Nancy and Robert, worked in various aspects of the company learning the family business. In 2001, Bob turned over the role of President to his daughter, Nancy. After several years Nancy decided to spend more time with her children and passed the position of President to her brother Robert. In 2006, Robert led a merger with Leslee Scott, Inc. further growing the company’s product offering to include Officers Only. Today, Robert still serves as president and Nancy has returned to the company as Vice-President of Corporate Social Responsibility. Bob Barker serves as CEO and along with his wife Pat continue to play an active role on the company’s Board of Directors.