OUR ROOTS RUN DEEP
In April of 1915, Robert M. Beall opened a simple dry goods store on Old Main Street in Bradentown Florida. He named it the "Dollar Limit," pricing nothing over a dollar. R.M. Beall invested his money in merchandise and little else. When the first good arrived from the North, he recycled their wooden packing cases, turning them upside down to use as display tables. The twenty-two year old saw opportunity in the fast growing pioneer community. His location was just steps from the docks where daily steamers brought passengers and freight from Tampa.
MOVING ON UP
Manatee County was growing fast with new farms and groves springing up and more visitors filling the few wooden boarding houses and hotels each winter season. The Dollar Limit Store thrived. Due to post World War I inflation, R.M. renamed his store the "V Dollar Limit" in 1920. The Florida Boom of the 1920's transformed Bradentown. Tall luxury hotels, new homes and offices sprang up almost overnight. An avid baseball fan, R.M. was responsible for bringing major league baseball to the city. In 1923 the St. Louis Cardinals arrived at what is now McKechnie Field for spring training. In 1924 Bradentown renamed itself Bradenton, and the "V Dollar Limit" moved into a fine new brick store across from the court house. Construction and land speculation reached a fever pitch, only to crash in 1926.
WEATHERING THE STORM
The end of the boom brought hardship to Florida. Many businesses closed and many more failed after the stock market crash. By 1932 R.M. was in debt. He lost his store to the bank, but he stayed on as manager. Throughout the Depression he worked hard and saved money in hopes of someday being able to buy back the business. Despite hard times, he still devoted himself to civic work, spearheading the creation of the Kiwanis Trailer Park, which brought tourists to the hard-pressed community. He guided it for 25 years, during which time it became the largest trailer park in the world.
ACHIEVING THE AMERICAN DREAM
In the 1940's America was at War. R.M.'s son Egbert (E.R.) joined the Army shortly after Pearl Harbor. Betty Beall, his high school aged sister, sold war bonds (an early example of telemarketing). Goods were scarce, but the war stimulated the economy. R.M. achieved his goal in 1944, paid off the bank and regained his business. manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 ads of the period reflect Home Front patriotism. In 1946 E.R. returned from the army to join his father as junior partner in a newly christened manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 Department Store.
THE FLORIDA BOOM
Post-war Florida grew at a fast pace. New roads and air conditioning were changing Florida living, as new suburbs and subdivisions sprang up. manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 grew with it. E.R.'s "handshake deal" with Publix was the first step of building his vision of evolution and growth. In 1956, despite his father's predictions that "no one would shop way out there," E.R. opened a store at West Gate, Bradenton's first shopping center. There he implemented up-to-date retail ideas. R.M. continued to run the Downtown location.
SERVING FLORIDA COAST TO COAST
As America entered the sixties, manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 took off like a rocket at Cape Canaveral. In 1962 the third store opened in Venice, and that year sales topped $1 million for the first time. Retirees were flocking to Southwest Florida, and manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 had the merchandise they wanted. In just four years revenues doubled. Store number 4 opened in Punta Gorda in 1966, and in 1967 sales grew to $3 million. A year later with the opening of manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 in Melbourne, the new tagline became "Serving Florida Coast to Coast." The decade ended with more growth driven changes. The first distribution center opened behind the Westgate store (5,000 square feet), and manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 began its first import program. Also in 1969, R.M. was named Distinguished Citizen of Manatee County. His footprints were added to the walk at the courthouse where they can be seen today.
CONTINUING THE FAMILY TRADITION
As the decade began, E.R.'s son, Bob Beall joined his father and grandfather in the family business. His first assignment was opening and managing the new Dunedin store. Polyester was the fabric of the day, and pants suits flew off the racks. Growth demanded new technology. manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 purchased its first IBM System 3 computer in 1973. It was used initially for accounts payable. Payroll soon followed. Advertising, too, was changing with the success of the first newspaper inserts in 1977. In the mid-seventies manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 was honored as Retailer of the Year by the National Association of Mens & Boys Clubs. 1979 brought the end of an era when Robert M. Beall died at the age of 86. He had worked at the original store until the final year of his life. That same year saw new beginnings when Conrad Szymanski, R.M. Beall's grandson, started his career at manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓.
Bob Beall became President and CEO upon the retirement of E.R. in 1980, and E.R. became Chairman of the Board. manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 expanded in size and and scope as the decade progressed with 1981 sales reaching $38 million. manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 had 23 stores, and the number of employees passed 1,000. Seven new stores opened in 1981-82 doubling the selling square footage of the chain. manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 also staked out two new and different directions during this period. In 1982 the process of upgrading brands from budget to what was then known as "main floor" began. manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 Outlet began five years later, spurred by E.R.'s inspiration after seeing the new and popular retail format in North Carolina. New talent was also part of the picture. Steve Knopik joined manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 in 1984, the same year Betty Beall Szymanski and Cliff Walters joined the Board of Directors. Other landmark achievements of the eighties included the opening of the Corporate Center and DC and the introduction of the 401K Best Plan. By the end of the decade sales reached $110 million, and the R.M. Beall, Sr. Foundation was established.
GOING BEYOND THE FLORIDA BORDER
As the 20th century drew to a close, the company continued its momentum with significant growth and technical innovation. Some things did not change, however. The Governor's Award for community involvement was bestowed on manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 in 1990. In 1991 manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 manbetx体育app安卓 was established, and manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 Outlet became a stand-alone company with Paul Galizia and president. Customers embraced the new chain, and it experiendced explosive growth. The first store outside Florida opened when manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 Outlet entered the Arizona market the following year. E.R. retired as Chairman of the Board in 1994. In 1995 Conrad Szymanski took the reins as President of manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 Department Stores. Many changes followed. Two years later the first "big store" - twice the size of previous store plans - opened in Spring Hill. 1998 introduced manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓.com, the company's initial foray into online retailing, and in-store kiosks appeared in the department stores soon after. By the turn of the century manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 and manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 Outlet together had 258 stores and employed 5,000 people.
LIVING THE FLORIDA LIFESTYLE
Though manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 lost a moving force with the death of E.R. Beall on March 22, 2000, that year manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 Outlet knocked the ball out of the park when Paul Galizia discontinued traditional advertising. $6 million went straight to the bottom line, funding an explosion of manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 and manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 Outlets in 17 states. In 2004 manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 Department Stores opened its own design studio to develop Florida friendly private labels. A new tagline captured it all: "Live the Florida Lifestyle". Also in 2004, Matt Beall joined the Outlet division, the fourth generation of manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 to work in the family enterprise. The latter part of the decade was a time of challenge. Six hurricanes ravaged Florida and the Gulf Coast in 2004-2005. The R.M. Beall, Sr. Foundation responded by assisting 580 employees with relief amounting to $410,000. manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 employees raised an additional $109,000 to help their coworkers. 2007 brought needed expansion when the Tropicana office building was acquired and christened the "E.R. Beall Center." Recession struck the nation in 2008, impacting Florida in a particularly significant way. However, manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 fiscal conservatism allowed it to retire all of its long-term debt and weather the storm.
RETAILING OUR WAY INTO THE FUTURE
Conrad Szymanski retired in 2012 after a 32 year career. In 2013 manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 found new opportunities, with the outlet opening a Los Angeles buying office, and manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓Florida.com opening a central fulfillment center to handle its burgeoning sales. The outlet entered the online retail channel with the launch of burkesoutlet.com in 2014. In 2014 the manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 company and family foundations exceeded the 7$ million mark in scholarships and donations since its inception. Meanwhile Bunulu, a new store concept, was manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 development for a 2015 debut, exactly 100 years after the Dollar Limit opened. Today, manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 manbetx体育app安卓, still headquartered in Bradenton, operates across Florida and the Southern states. One hundred years have witnessed unimaginable change, and contribution of thousands of good people. Today the manbetx体育appmanbetx体育app安卓 team continues to build on a legacy of excellence every day. The vision of the young entrepreneur, arriving in Bradentown a century ago, lives on.