In 1915 Robert M. Beall, Sr., age
22, opened a dry goods store in Bradenton, FL on the banks of
the Manatee River. At that time the pioneer town had a
population of just over 3,000 people. Beall wanted to
spend his entire investment of $2,500 on stock, so he
over-turned wooden packing crates that his goods arrived in and
used them for display tables! Nothing was priced over
$1.00, so he named his store The Dollar Limit.
With the inflation that followed World
War I, prices increased and in 1918 he changed the name
of the store to the V (Five) Dollar Limit. As his business grew
he bought property and built a larger store a few blocks away on
Manatee Avenue. During the Depression, he lost his store
to the bank, but continued to operate it. In 1940 he was
able to repurchase the company.
In 1940, Robert Beall's son,
E.R., joined the family business after graduating from the
University of Florida. In 1946, after serving in the
army, E.R. rejoined his father. That year they changed the
name to Beall's Department Store. Robert Beall ran the original
downtown store until just a few months before his death, at age
86. The old store continued to operate until 1987
when it was torn down for new construction. The proceeds from
the sale of the building were used to establish the R.M. Beall,
Sr. Foundation which supports youth and education.
It was E.R.'s vision that began the
company's expansion into the shopping centers that served the
middle income retirees who were flocking to Florida. In
1956 the second store was opened in Bradenton and the third
store followed in Venice, FL in 1961.
In 1970, E.R.'s son, Robert M.
Beall, II (Bob) joined the business after completing his
military duty and earning an MBA at New York University. The
three generations were active in the company until Robert, Sr.
died in 1979. In 1980, when Bob Beall assumed the
presidency, the chain had grown to $38 million in annual sales.
In 1986, Bealls established a
401K plan that enables employees to purchase company stock as
one of the investment options. Bob Beall believed it was
important for employees to be able to own company stock and
share in the growth of the company. Today many of Bealls'
employees are stockholders.
In 1987 they created the
Beall's Outlet chain of stores. Chairman E.R. Beall
conceptualized the new model in response to the growing number
of outlet malls in Florida. In 1992 Beall's opened
an Outlet store in Arizona, its first store beyond the state of
Florida. In 2011 the Outlet chain has grown to over
450 stores in 14 states.
In 2011, Bealls exceeds a billion
dollars in sales annually with over 535 stores and on
www.beallsflorida.com. They are the destination of choice for
lifestyle right and priced right apparel and home merchandise.
In 2015 Bealls
includes over 535 stores and
In 2015 Bealls launched a new store concept called
Bunulu. You can learn
more about the
Bunulu coastal lifestyle fashion store on our fashion blog..
Learn more about
Beals Florida at the
Beals Florida website and learn more about the company at the
Beals corporate website.