Belk, Inc. is a mid-range to upscale department store chain founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, North Carolina. It is the nation's largest family-owned and operated department store company and has 306 locations in 16 different states. The company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership. Belk stores and Belk.com offer national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, a wedding registry, and home furnishings. Belk competes with department stores, J. C. Penney and Kohls. Its flagship locations are larger and sell higher-end, more specialty brands of merchandise. Therefore, they compete with higher-end retailers, such as Dillard's and Macy's.