Belk Inc. kicked off a five-month long birthday party at its Charlotte corporate headquarters Wednesday, with an event for associates celebrating the department store companys 125th anniversary.
I feel like a little kid whos been waiting and waiting for Christmas to come, said CEO Tim Belk, before servers handed out cupcakes bearing the Belk logos colors of blue and white. Employees also received T-shirts, lapel pins and a preview of whats to come through July.
New efforts that start Saturday, company leaders said, include the launch of a new website, belk125prizes.com, where customers can register for giveaways. Website visitors can also view and purchase anniversary merchandise created by Belks partner brands, including Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Jessica Simpson.
New print and television advertisements launch later in March, including a television commercial with Cam Newton, who has a menswear line with the retailer.
Through July, employees will be eligible for recognition prizes. And the 23,000 people who work at Belk throughout the country will participate in charitable events to mark the anniversary.
This includes the 1,000 associates based in Charlotte at the Tyvola Road headquarters, who will be conducting book drives, building bookcases and volunteering in schools as part of Belks $2 million partnership with the nonprofit Points of Light Institute to help at-risk schools in the southeast. Theyre going to do a great job giving back to the community, president and chief operating officer John R. Belk said.
Also at corporate headquarters is a new gallery of photos and memorabilia recounting the companys history, starting with the first store that opened in Monroe in 1888 by William Henry Belk, grandfather of the current CEO and president. All 301 Belk stores throughout 16 states will mark the anniversary date on May 29 with special events.
Belk, the nations largest privately held department store company, is in the midst of $600 million in investments, including new store openings and renovations, e-commerce sales, branding and other efforts. For the 2012 fiscal year, results were $3.78 billion, according to the company, and Belk is on track to become a $6 billion company over the next five years.