Culpeper Belk brings on the celebration

The Belk brand turned 125 years old Wednesday and the Culpeper store in Dominion Square Shopping Center brought out balloons, banners, pompons, music and food to celebrate with its more than 300 sister stores.
About 80 people braved the rising temperature and humidity to join in the part pep rally, part party atmosphere and to garner gift cards worth from $5 to $100.
“This is part of our community service,” Lonnie McIver, manager of the Culpeper Belk for the past three years, said before the ceremony. “I look forward to celebrating with the customers, seeing their excitement about today and having them share with us on our 125-year anniversary.”

One of those customers was Joy Weese.
“I came out to see what’s going on and to help celebrate,” she said. “I’m a regular shopper here. I like that it’s clean and neat and that the people are friendly.”

Mayor Chip Coleman proclaimed Wednesday “Belk Day” in Culpeper (see related post) and read his proclamation for the cheering crowd.
Jim Charapich, president and CEO of the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce, used the example of the late Rawley Coleman to illustrate how Belk is part of the fabric of the Culpeper community.
Coleman, who passed March 15 at the age of 95, was manager of the Belk (then Leggett) store from 1949 until his retirement in 1984.
“He was a friendly, energetic, community-minded family man,” said Charapich. “He left a legacy of community-oriented management of Belk.”
Current manager McIver said “Belk knows its niche and sticks to it. We cater to the modern Southern lifestyle. And I want to thank y’all for being our patrons. We couldn’t succeed without you.”

McIver also served as head cheerleader for the celebration, demonstrating both eloquence and enthusiasm.
“When Lonnie spoke to eighth graders at one of the chamber career fairs, he always had a packed table,” Charapich said. “They have a short attention span, but he always had their attention.”

Belk in Culpeper is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.