The Dollar Limit

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 and was most easily reached by steamboat from Tampa. 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.

1915 - Original building of 'The Dollar Limit', Old Main Street, Bradenton Florida
V ("Five") Dollar Limit

Following World War I, inflation pushed up prices and in 1918 he changed the name of the store to the V (Five) Dollar Limit. As his business grew he bought his own property and in 1926 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.

Early 1920's - Robert M. Beall, Sr. and employees in front of the V Dollar Limit on Manatee Avenue.
Beall's Department Store

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. Charitable Foundation in support of youth and education.

Early 1950's - Robert M. and E.R. Beall admire the newest Spring merchandise.
Bealls Department Store Expansion

Florida experienced explosive growth during the 1950's. Americans were more mobile than ever before and air conditioning transformed southern living. E.R. foresaw the company's future growth in the new shopping centers serving middle income retirees who were flocking to Florida. In 1956 the first expansion store was opened in Bradenton. The third store followed in Venice, FL in 1961. The following year sales passed the million dollar mark for the first time.

1956 - E.R. Beall & Robert M. Beall, Sr. reviewing plan for the second Bealls store in Westgate Shopping Center.
Four Generations

In 1970, E.R.'s son, Robert M. Beall, II (Bob) joined the business after completing his military service and earning an MBA at New York University. The first three generations were active in the company until the death of Robert, Sr. in 1979. In 1980, when Bob Beall assumed the presidency, the chain had grown to $38 million in annual sales. The family tradition continued when Bob's son Matt Beall joined the company in 2004, marking the fourth generation.

E. R., Bob, and R. M. Beall Sr., circa 1970
Beall's Outlet & Burke's Outlet

In 1987 Beall's Outlet was born when Chairman E.R. Beall conceptualized the new chain in response to the boom he observed in outlet retailing in the Carolinas. In 1992 Beall's Outlet opened a store in Arizona, its first location outside the state of Florida. Today under the name of Bealls Outlet and Burke's Outlet, the off-price stores continue their rapid growth, numbering over 460 locations in 17 states.

Bealls's Outlet, Bradenton FL
Beall's Today

Today Bealls surpasses a billion dollars in sales annually with over 535 stores and with www.beallsflorida.com. Featuring exclusive brands and fashions especially chosen for Sunbelt climates, we are the source of choice for lifestyle-right and priced-right apparel and home goods. Nearly a century after opening our doors, Beall's continues to serve our communities with the spirit of pride and appreciation first shown by Robert M. Beall back in 1915.

Bealls's Department Store, Orlando FL
Disclaimer: Stores operated under the Bealls name located in Texas, New Mexico, and Alabama are
managed and owned by Stage Stores, Inc. Stage Stores, Inc. is not affiliated with Beall's, Inc. or its subsidiaries.