Main Street store to renovate, expand

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 4, 2005

Suffolk has been good to Belk and now the corporation wants to give customers even more to satisfy their retail penchant.

Company officials announced Thursday a $1.6 million expansion and renovation of its store at Suffolk Shopping Center to meet the shopping needs of its customers.

Construction work on the expansion has begun and a grand reopening of the store is set for June 15.

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The project will increase the store size by 14,000 square feet to a total of 60,000 square feet.

The store will remain open throughout the expansion and renovation.

Areas of the store that are being expanded and remodeled include the shoes and accessories departments in the center core area and the home store.

&uot;We’re delighted about the expansion and remodeling because it will enable us to enhance our service to loyal customers in the Suffolk area and better meet their shopping needs,&uot; said store manager Marissa Basla.

&uot;We’re pleased to have this opportunity to offer our customers more choices and larger selections of merchandise.

&uot;Our expansion and remodeling demonstrates Belk’s ongoing commitment to serving Suffolk and the surrounding area. Our team of store associates is excited about having more space and an updated shopping environment that will offer our loyal customers the best in fashion, quality, value, service and convenience.&uot;

The Belk organization has served the Suffolk community since 1933, with the opening of a Leggett department store in downtown Suffolk.

In 1997, the store was relocated to Suffolk Shopping Center and operated as a Leggett outlet store before being converted to a Belk department store after Belk’s purchase of the Leggett department store company. The store is part of the Belk Inc. northern division based in Raleigh, N.C.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk Inc. is the nation’s largest privately owned department store company with 226 stores in 14 Southeastern states.

Belk’s announcement is the most recent in a string of economic development moves, pumping millions into Suffolk’s ever-expanding commercial tax base. At Wednesday’s city council meeting, officials announced that it had attracted almost $80 million in new and expanding businesses in 2004.

Efforts to reach Belk corporate officials and Thomas O’Grady, the city’s economic development director, were unsuccessful Thursday.