MANATEE COUNTY - Bealls Outlet is all about the “treasure hunt.”
Unlike what you'd find in its sister department stores, the dress or pair of shoes a shopper sees one day in an outlet store might not be there the next.
That's the beauty of the hunt, says Dave Alves, president of the Bradenton company's outlet store division.
“It's that sense of urgency, that this is too good of a deal to pass up,” said Alves, whose spent the last two and a half years reinventing Bealls Inc.'s already-healthy outlet arm. “It's taking everything we know about retail and turning it on its head. Off-price stores like Bealls Outlet are about giving the shopper a reason to come back every day.”
This year, Bealls, a retail company known for selling apparel and home goods in department and outlet stores in Florida and across the country, is celebrating 100 years of business. Staying in business for a century has been no small feat. It has meant continuing to grow several key markets, and revamping the look and merchandise in its outlet division to prepare to roll out an all-new, upscale boutique format, Bunulu, this year.
But the hometown retail company has managed to reinvent itself and find new avenues to grow over the years.
“The outlet stores continue to do well because Bealls has kept a strong regional focus,” said Steve Kirn, executive director of the David F. Miller Retailing Education and Research Center at the University of Florida. “With that kind of focus, Bealls Outlet has been able to create assortments that speak typically to a Florida customer.” read more