Not many businesses can say they’ve been around more than a century, but Charleston retail staple Belk passed that milestone 25 years ago. This week, it’ll be celebrating that longevity.
The Southern department store chain is officially marking its 125th anniversary Wednesday. Each location is having a small get-together with community leaders at 8:15 a.m., followed by a public gift card giveaway at 9 a.m., said Susan McWatters, vice president and regional manager for Belk.
The company will be handing out at least 100 gift cards per store, she said. They are valued at between $5 and, for some lucky shoppers, $1,000.
The chain traces it roots to 1888, when William Henry Belk opened a store in Monroe, N.C., with $750 in savings, a $500 loan and $3,000 in consigned goods, according to the company’s website.
Belk Inc. is the largest family-owned and operated department store business in the country, with about 300 stores in 16 states. Together, they rang up $4 billion in sales in the last fiscal year.
Locally, the Charlotte-based chain has locations in Citadel Mall, Northwoods Mall, Mount Pleasant Towne Centre and North Main Market in Summerville.
The State Ports Authority has said that its hefty investment in an Upstate cargo yard would boost the area’s local economy.
The first dividend was announced late last week when G&P Trucking announced it is increasing its business by acquiring another 10 acres in Greer, where the Gaston-based company already operates a 14-acre terminal.
G&P said in a statement that the investment was a “direct result of the new inland port that is being opened by the ... Ports Authority later this fall.”
The SPA broke ground on the $47 million, 40-acre cargo yard in March. When it opens, shipping containers will be transferred between trucks and Norfolk Southern rail cars running to and from the Port of Charleston, some 220 miles away. Clifton Parker, G&P’s president, said this “‘port without water’” will give customers more options for transporting their imports and exports.
The Northbrook, Ill.-based owner of the Cooper River paper mill has added a local voice to its board. KapStone Paper and Packaging announced in a federal filing this month that it has elected Charleston resident David G. Gabriel as a director. His term expires in 2016. Gabriel is chief executive officer of Sonepar North America, a huge distributor of electrical and industrial supplies.
He moved to Charleston about a decade ago, when he was named CEO of locally based Hagemeyer North America. Paris-based Sonepar bought Hagemeyer’s Dutch owner in 2009. Gabriel now runs the U.S. and North America businesses. Sonepar North America is based on Tobias Gadson Boulevard in West Ashley.
He’s the first local resident with a seat on the board of KapStone, which has owned the former MeadWestvaco paper mill since 2008.
Industrial-style apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city’s skyline and waterways is usually reserved for urbanites in places like Manhattan.
But that same Gotham-style motif is a key selling point for the East Central Lofts, the new 72-unit apartment complex scheduled to open in August at 274 Huger St. in downtown Charleston.
The high-profile development — it sits right next to a pair of Ravenel Bridge traffic ramps — includes 12-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, stainless-steel appliances and large windows. Pre-leasing has started for the units, which range from $850 to $1,800 per month.
The developers are dispelling a misconception about the wooden canopies on top of the building. While they appear to the casual observer to have all the makings of a rooftop bar or other gathering place, they actually have a prosaic purpose: coverage for the heating and air-conditioning system.