A true enterprise hero in the Carolinas who created a successful business through a creative use of his talents and resources, and whose life is marked by good character and virtue. He was an innovator, leader and well respected member of his community, business and civic organizations. Most importantly, he used his success to give back to people and philanthropic organizations.
FREE ENTERPRISE HERO
1862 - 1952
CHARLES A. CANNON FREE ENTERPRISE HALL OF FAME
William Henry Belk
His Work & Legacy
WILLIAM HENRY BELK
Hard work and perseverance
CHILDHOOD / EARLY YEARS
IN 1888, AT AGE 26,
BELK OPENED HIS FIRST RETAIL STORE
Belk overcame obstacles in life to later build a retail empire.
After working at a dry goods store in Monroe, Belk decided to use his perseverance and background in retail to start his own venture.
Son of a farmer, Belk overcame obstacles in life, his father was killed shortly after the civil war by Union soldiers.
FAMILY MOVED TO MONROE, NC
BORN 1862 IN LANCASTER, SC
Where he went to work as a store clerk for just $5 a week.
He started his venture using personal savings & $3,000 worth of a bankrupted stores consignments.
He built it as the cheapest store on earth.
ACHIEVED GREAT SUCCESS
THE NEW YORK RACKET
CAREER / ACHIEVEMENTS
BELK BROTHERS COMPANY WAS CREATED
By 1891, the business had expanded and Belk’s brother John joined in the endeavor. Belk Brothers Company was created and continued to open stores in the Charlotte region.
Expanded his successfull business
1891 THE BUSINESS HAD EXPANDED
Belk’s brother John joined in the endeavor
MORE THAN 200 STORES
Today there are more than 200 stores in the southeast & mid-Atlantic region
THE BELK COMPANY WAS ONE OF THE LAST PRIVATELY OWNED RETAIL CHAINS IN THE USA.
IN 2015 BELK COMPANY WAS ADQUIRED BY SYCAMORE PARTNERS, BASED IN NEW YORK.
Honored by the legacy of philanthropy and community service.
William Henry Belk died in 1952.
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SENATOR HELMS SPEAKS TO THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL IN THE YEAR 2000.
Son Ike Belk is a major contributor to the arts around country – especially NC. Helped get UNC Charlotte started. Helped arrange for Senator Helms to speak to the United Nations Security Council in 2000.
& community service legacy
The Belk Company was one of the last privately owned retail chains in the USA.
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How much profit do you think Belk earned in his first year of operation (after he paid his debts)?
YOUR ANSWER WAS CORRECT!
YOUR ANSWER WAS INCORRECT!
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The correct answer is #3
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1 / 2
The correct answer is #1
Click the “Finish Quiz” button to finalize the experience.
Until 2015, when Belk was sold to a New York private equity firm, Belk was the nation’s largest privately owned mainline department store company. How much do you think the company sold for?
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It was sold for
WE HOPE YOU LEARNED A LITLE BIT MORE ABOUT ONE OF OUR FREE ENTERPRISE HEROES.
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