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BELK’S REDUX

by Dani Vanderboegh

Flagship Friendly Center location gets a makeover

| elledani@gmail.com

This past Wednesday, Oct. 15, brought the official grand opening and ribbon cutting of the new Belk store in the Friendly Center. Well, actually it’s not a new store, but it’s had a heck of a makeover.

Over two months ago, Belk opened the first and only unattached home store in the country. It’s just up the road, within walking distance of the flagship store. The new location is 23,000 square feet of pure home goodies for bedrooms, bathrooms, and also housewares and china. But it’s better than the housewares section of the old store because it’s bigger, and there are cooking demonstrations with local chefs, samplings, and an expanded bridal section with more bridal consultants.

“It’s exciting to see what the company has done in the Greensboro market,” Store Manager, Tami Wolfenden, said. “We will have a whole dynamic change in this market with our new High Point store that opened up in March of this year and then our retooling.”

But the exciting part is what this means for the main store.

With all of the newly available space left from the home store move, Belk has been able to spread out and expand brands they already carried, plus add nearly 20 new brands. That was the goal with this remodel, to bring more fine things that the customer might want to Greensboro, so the customer doesn’t have to travel to get finer items such as Coach bags, Kate Spade jewelry and even Michael Kors shoes for kids.

Expanding already carried brands meant building shops with the newest fixtures and expanding inventory for sections such as Nautica, Polo, Big and Tall, children’s clothes and more. They also expanded several brand’s merchandising. For example, Belk carried Kate Spade and Coach brands before, but they used to be limited to small leather goods. Now both brands have their own shops, and Belk carries their handbags and has expanded to Kate Spade jewelry as well. This is the same with Polo and other brands; they now carry every line Polo produces.

They have also built all new counters in the cosmetics department. They got rid of the case lines and built new bays where the customer can receive consultations in a more private environment. They also added new brands, including Benefit, Kiehl’s and a section with the feel of a small Sephora shop that sells philosophy and Clarisonics. The Kiehl’s counter is the only place in Greensboro where you can purchase that product.

All of the expansion has allowed Belk to hire approximately 40 new employees in cosmetics alone, which makes for a total of 92 new employees.

“We’re really able to affect the community by adding some new additional jobs and really establishing Belk as the store choice for the Greensboro market,” Wolfenden said.

“We will continue to ramp up for the holidays,” she said. “We’re hiring holiday help now, and we will continue that through mid-November, until maybe the third week in November, getting ready for Black Friday.”

All of this should impact their fourth quarter or holiday season in a big way. Although she wouldn’t go into specifics, Wolfenden said, “We do have very aggressive fourth quarter plans and we do expect them to be met.” !

WANNA go?

Belk is located in the Friendly Center at 3110 Kathleen Ave, Greensboro, NC 27408. Open Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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