Belk - Company Profile


We have an incredible story.

One that has stood the test of time.
One that grows richer year by year.
This is where it started.

In 1888, 24-year-old William Henry Belk opened his first store in Monroe, N.C. He had $750 in savings, a $500 loan, and $3,000 worth of goods taken on consignment. He thought an impressive name was a must, so he named his store the New York Racket Store.

His philosophy:

“A bargain leaves both the buyer and the seller feeling good.”

“A customer may not always be right, but he always has rights.”

“A one-trade customer won’t help much. You’ve got to keep them coming back.”

It worked. So much that he realized his own name was even more impressive. He convinced his brother Dr. John Belk to join as his partner. And the business began to flourish, often through store partnerships with trusted businessmen.

John and Tom Belk, sons of founder William Henry Belk, became the chief executives of the company in the mid-1950s following the death of their father. They began developing relationships with manufacturers of national apparel brands and led the migration of Belk stores from older downtown buildings to modern expanded stores in suburban malls and shopping centers throughout the South.

In 1967, a single logo unified the Belk brand. The store shed its bargain image for one of fashion. The big “B” could be seen all over the South.

In 1988, Belk celebrated its 100th anniversary, in 300 stores across 16 states.

In 1998, 112 store corporations become one. It was one of the largest SEC filings in history, with more than 7,000 pages of legal paperwork.

In 2004, a new generation took the reins. Tim Belk was named chairman and CEO. His brothers Johnny and McKay were named president and chief operating officer, and president and chief merchandising officer, respectively. They guided the acquisition of key department stores, including Proffitt’s, McRae’s, and Parisian, completing a dominant market share.

Today, Belk occupies 29 million feet of retail space, all with the single goal of satisfying the modern Southern lifestyle.

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