By and  on August 21, 2007

John Montgomery Belk, who died Friday at 87, molded the family-owned Belk department store chain into a retail empire in the South.

The chairman emeritus and former chief executive officer of Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk Inc. built the business on traditional values, close community ties and bringing better assortments to smaller cities and towns avoided by the competition. He steadfastly kept the retailer aloof from the takeovers and consolidations that overwhelmed and reshaped the U.S. department store industry in the Eighties and Nineties.

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