In order to highlight the amazing local businesses in Florida’s 47th District, the Anna For Florida campaign has launched “47 Means Business,” an ongoing blog series to spotlight local business owners in Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando, Winter Park, and throughout the district.

Our blog digs deeper into local businesses by collaborating with business owners to showcase their success and to identify what the legislature can do to support them. Together, these profiles come together to create a larger picture of the amazing diversity and ingenuity of local business owners that Anna hopes to serve and represent in the Florida House.

This week, we’re proud to share the story of Will Walker of Will’s Pub, one of the district’s premium live music venues and community hubs. A steward of the arts and a community builder, Will has seen the the Pub grow and adapt alongside Orlando, while Will’s Pub has built meaningful connections over independent music and cold brews for over 20 years, making it a true district staple. A toast — to District 47!  

Team Anna: What inspired you to start your small business?

Will Walker: My dads were both business owners. I owned a few different businesses before I was out of high school. It’s almost like I didn’t have a choice.

TA: What has changed since you first opened your doors and how has your business grown?

WW: I opened Will’s in 1995. Both Orlando and the Central Florida area have grown up and out. It’s become more cosmopolitan, but it’s lost some charm. We at Will’s have also grown up and out. We are way more focused on community than we were at the beginning, and we understand our place in community-making better than before.

TA: How does music unite a community?

WW: Live music obviously brings people together. Often times, total strangers are standing next to each other enjoying a show. There’s no cars in-between, no agenda other than observing music and the musicianship. People can connect and grow into communities based on similar tastes in music.

TA: What are some of your favorite aspects about your job?

WW: I enjoy the ability to create a fun time for people. I like to turn people onto new art and to facilitate people meeting each other.

TA: Describe a perfect day at work.

WW: Well, that’s tough. I guess, a solid night of music. Just the right amount of people communicating and having a good time.

TA: Why is it important to celebrate local, independent music?

WW: In my opinion, independent music is much like the nature of a small business. Even though it’s an artform, it still pays an artist’s bills. There’s a whole subculture–labels, studios, record stores, t-shirt printers–that thrives at a local level. That local music also nurtures a broader range of artistic expression because it isn’t held to restrictive corporate confines.

TA: Are there any current policy issues impacting your business? If so, how?

WW: I’d say there’s always going to be issues with government and business. Currently, most of my issues are at a city or more local level.  

To keep up with the music community at Will’s, visit their site here for the latest in upcoming events.