Belks department store was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, North Carolina. William named the store the New York Racket. In 1893, he convinced his brother, Dr. John Belk, to leave his medical practice and join him as a full business partner.
When William opened the first store, sales were only in cash and unsatisfied customers were free to return purchased goods for an exchange or a full refund. The store name was changed to Belk Brothers after John Belk joined his brother. Under the Belk brother's leadership, the company grew steadily through bargain sales and investing in partnerships. Belk's main competitor was Proffitt, but it later bought the chain. In 1998, Belk created a new entity, Belk Inc, to merge all of its stores.
As of 2015, Belk is the largest family-owned department store chain in the United States, with over 300 stores in 16 states. Its main competitor is Dillard’s, but it also competes with Macy's, Kohl’s and J.C. Penny. On Oct. 12, 2010, Belk officially introduced its first new logo since 1967. Many Belk stores are located in Carolina, Atlanta and Birmingham. In 2013, Belk celebrated its 125th birthday as a successful fashion retailer.