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Retail's impact on careers, community and innovation in North Carolina

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In case you haven’t heard, NRF’s This is Retail campaign is taking a road trip across America. With state retail associations as our guide, we’ll be making stops in Ohio, South Dakota, Washington State and California to capture the industry’s best stories about what it’s like to work in retail, impact communities, and drive the best in customer experience.

Our first stop is North Carolina, where today, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, along with North Carolina Retail Merchants Association President and General Counsel Andy Ellen, will reveal the first video compilation of our time spent in the state. North Carolina is an important arena for the retail industry for a few reasons. First, the retail industry is the largest private employer in the state, second only to state government. Additionally, more than 60 retail brands have headquarters or distribution centers across the state and 30 of North Carolina’s top employers are retailers.

As part of our time in the state, I talked with Tim Belk, chairman and CEO of Belk, about what North Carolina has meant to the brand. Belk has been a fixture in the state since 1888, growing from one store to 300 across the South – and nothing is more important to the company than their core values and giving back to the community that helped them start their business.

Belk noted, “Being involved in our communities - it's one of our six core values. It started with my grandfather and its part of our DNA today. My grandfather believed that if you get involved in a community and help it grow, then your business will benefit in the process.”

As a flagship brand for retail in North Carolina, Tim Belk helped us introduce our first Retail Across America series. Watch the intro below, or view the full series at

He noted, “Change is the one constant in retail. Strategies change, the economy goes up and down, new competitors appear, the one thing that stayed constant are our values and so they're what anchors us and we try to make decisions based on values and shape our approach to business.” This is exactly what Retail Across America is meant to capture: Stories that put a face behind these values. Each story will be a critical piece we need to reinforce the instrumental role retail plays in our economy.

Over the coming weeks, as This is Retail road trips across America, we’ll be exploring more inspiring stories from retail leaders who make the industry great. You can follow our adventures on Instagram or Twitter using #thisisretail.