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Belk marks remodeling with morning celebration

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By Ben Sheroan

More than 200 people visited Towne Mall — some more than three hours before it opened Wednesday — to celebrate renovation of Belk department store.

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While lined up in the chill to receive a free Belk gift card, customers were entertained by two-time “American Idol” contestant Kenzi Lewis and a pair of dancing teddy bears.

Belk’s Elizabethtown store never closed during its three-month, $1.4 million renovation. Merchandise rotated as segments of the 44,000-square-foot anchor store underwent changes. Employees and customers dealt with temporary walls, a children’s department in a separate section of the mall plus temporary construction walls and lots of dust.

“I’m so thankful for the patience of our customers and our associates,” Store Manager Theresa Meacham said during a tour of the building.

The renovations include all new flooring, increased lighting, remodeled fitting rooms and restrooms. An additional 1,000-square feet has been devoted to the shoe department and the fragrance line has been expanded.

New products now available at Belk include Via Neroli shoes, the Fever upscale clothing line and Ann Klein jewelry, Meacham said.

During an outdoor celebration prior to the store’s opening, the company was praised for being a business and community partner. It marked the occasion by presenting a $5,000 check to the Woman’s Club of Elizabethtown. Belk is known nationally for its Belk Gives program that supports the fight against breast cancer.

Meacham moved to Elizabethtown from Raleigh, N.C., to manage the store slightly more than 20 months ago. She said the community has been supportive of Belk, which opened at the mall in 2005. Last year, store sales were $7.5 million with $8.5 million expected this year.

The grand re-opening, which included a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting and remarks by Mayor Tim Walker, coincides with Belk Days, which Meacham described as the company’s largest annual sale, which is offered for two weeks each fall.

The store employs a staff of 63.

Ben Sheroan can be reached at (270) 505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.