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Friendly Center Belk undergoes $9M renovation, adds freestanding home store

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TWC News: Friendly Center Belk undergoes $9M renovation, adds freestanding home store
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GREENSBORO — Belk Department Stores is investing more than $9 million to expand and upgrade one of its Greensboro locations.

The retail giant said the Friendly Center location is undergoing a total renovation and a new approach to the "department store" category.

A freestanding home store is also being built across the street from the Friendly location. Bill Roberts, Chair of Belk's Northern Division, said it will give shoppers access to more brands and goods.

"It's going to have a Vietri shop which is going to be new to the Greensboro market," Roberts said. "It's going to have espresso and an expanding shop for cookware and a large kitchen."

The Friendly Center store is undergoing a complete make-over.

"It doesn't serve our needs given the sales potential and what we want to bring to the market, so we have to expand and have to renovate," Roberts said. "So really, it's customer demand that is driving the decision."

Shopper Trish Fisher said she's experienced some minor inconveniences during the retail upgrades, but the long term benefits are worth it.

"They need to keep it relevant to their shoppers and they need to keep it forward as far as Greensboro is concerned," Fisher said. "We love it and we enjoy coming to Belk and it has been a really good anchor for the shopping center so we're glad to have it come."

Fisher's husband, Rich, agrees.

"You've had to look for things, but the progress will be worth the wait I'm sure," he said. "We live close by and we're here frequently and this is a cornerstone of the shopping center."

This flagship location already carries some of the company's premium brands and handles a lot of business, and executives aim to build on top of that success.

"It's a terrific market, great income level, great population base, a lot of people and really just an energetic mall," Roberts said.

Belk officials said construction should be completed by the end of the summer with a grand opening planned for October.

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