The History of the Dillard Chain Store’s Impact on Arkansas

Introduction: The Dillard’s chain store began in a small-based business entity in Little Rock, Arkansas and extended to 24 states. The expansion program saw the establishment of hundreds of other stores across the states. The stores sold brand-name items of Dillard chain store, which include home furnishing and popular clothe line trends. In the history of the company, Dillard’s seldom sell discounted goods but sets prices that meet the local competition to the benefit of the local people. The company was incorporated in 1964 with 53,598 employees. It is also listed in the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol of DDS. The corporation’s perspective of operation recognizes the supremacy of the customers, which has been to driving factors towards the market capture, financial achievements, and development of superior brands. This essay explores the successes and other notable operations of Dillard chain stores and the historic impact that the corporation brought to the Arkansas people.  

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The Initial Impact of the Corporation: The firm was established by one William Dillard who the head until he passed on in 2002. Mr. Dillard started the company given the rich history of his family on establishing merchandises. The current tradition of selling brand names began earlier after the business was set up. Dillard’s involvement in the World War II as a US Navy meant that he had to temporarily close this store; though, the store remained opened to offer credit sales to the customers. The Dillard family then reopened the store in 1944 as the WWII continued and the firm could make as much as $300,000 in sales. The growth of the firm meant that the Arkansas region was economically prospering. The need for further expansion was inevitable and as the firm extended its operations to the Arkansas-Texas border. The firm was beneficial to the local residents as they benefited from the revolving credit service that Dillard offered. This together with the name brand goods made the firm to grow quickly.

The banking institutions in Arkansas were attracted by the growth of the Dillard stores. For example, one Fred Eisman, a director at the First National Bank advised Mr. Dillard to take over Tulsa, Brown-Dunkin, and Mayer & Schmidt. The investment advice from Dillard’s friends, business associates, and other investors was backed by financial support helped the firms in its takeover bids. The credit facility was a major boost to the local people and the economy of Arkansas and as Taub notes, “As is the case with many small towns and cities, virtually all shopping activity and moved out of the mall on the outskirts of town-this one anchored by a Wal-Mart and a Dillard’s department store,” (100). The local firms used credit facilities to create more opportunities to the local people. In essence, the roll out of Dillard’s operations within Arkansas was conformity to the investment culture of the corporate entities. Dillard’s financial success and aggressive marketing gave hope to the people because revolving credit was the cornerstone of the firms’ operations.

The firm did sell some of its stores following the decision to sell and effectively manage the stores in and concentrate its effort in developing the sales across the metropolitan areas. The corporation cared about the welfare of its employees and as Rosenberg notes, “Dillard met with the employees in an attempt to reassure them of employment and to restore morale,” (59). The firm grew to become the biggest family-owned business in not only Arkansas but in the entire nation. The growth of the business was so fast that it attracted the attention of the community after an annual sales growth of 50.7% while the stores grew to 93 in 1984. In addition, the number of employees increased by 4000 to take charge of the new business opportunities (Rosenberg 92). Employment opportunities in the historical development of Dillard’s is one critical role that the firm as played in shaping the economy of the Arkansas State.     

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The expansion and growth of The Dillard's business entity has a positive impact in the Arkansas State (Plunkett, 23). The Dillard’s the family has a rich business background which span for many decades. The Dillard’s retail store is one of the family business entities which has grown and expanded to other regions in the country. Following the success of the Dillard Company, the Dillard family is seen as the elite family in the state. This is because it offers a motivating and act as a role model in entrepreneurship. In this regard, the Dillard's family has influenced Arkansas history in many ways. The benefits include;

Development of free Capitalism Market in Arkansas State: Dillard's chain store rapid growth and development is a clear indication that the concept of capitalism enables free and fair competition in the market. However, the competition on several occasions is geared towards gaining more profits at the expense of other stakeholders in the market. Capitalism is argued to promote voracious tendencies among firms and companies. However, it has worked well for the people of Arkansas State. This is because it brings the benefit of affordable prices of goods and service. Similarly, globalization enables firms to expand their operation to overseas market thereby extending their profits and dominance. The competition which has been encouraged in the area by Dillard's chain store has changed the face of the city through many developmental activities. These development activities include infrastructural development, environmental cleanup and many others.  

Entrepreneurial Spirit among the People: The Dillard's family spurred entrepreneurial spirit in the area through the creation a successful business entity in the region. In this regard, several enterprises came up in the state. Therefore, the family and the company are a great motivational factor to many residents and business community. The success of a business calls for dedication and strong leadership qualities. These are part of business virtue which the Dillard's family has directly or indirectly imparted an entrepreneurial spirit to most people in Arkansas. This is because people like to emulate the living example and the company is a symbol of entrepreneurial success in the area.

The Development of Maumelle Internet Fulfilment Center: Dillard's came up with a new Maumelle Internet Fulfillment Center in Arkansas. This technological establishment in the city   uses the latest in fulfilment and distribution technology including the highly advanced application of robotics together with improvements in ergonomics, noise reduction and safety.  The environmentally-friendly features of the new facility include less power consumption due to reduced conveyor usage as well as advanced energy efficient lighting systems.  Dillard's, Inc. is ranked among the American’s biggest fashion apparel, cosmetics and home furnishings stores with annual revenues which exceed $ 7.0 billion. Today, Dillard Company provides employment opportunity to approximately 2,400 individuals in Arkansas (Entrepreneur magazine, 2). Employment is a critical aspect of social and economic development of a place. Therefore, the company has been part of social and economic force that drives the prosperity of the city. Dillard's company runs six distribution centers which include one in Mabelvale, Arkansas, and an Internet fulfillment center located in Nashville, Tennessee. The internet fulfillment facility has promoted the economic development in the Arkansas region. It is prudent to note that Arkansas development has been greatly influenced by the Dillard's, Inc. success story in the place.

Dillard's chain store is of great importance to the public in many ways. To begin with, it creates employment opportunity to not only Arkansas population but also other American citizens. Secondly, it promotes economic development the place due to infrastructural development and efficiency in good and service provision. Dillard's chain store further makes it easy to obtain goods and service expediently at affordable prices.

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The company has pioneered several changes in the retail industry in the area. These changes include the establishment of consumer credit which made many people to own commodities with much more ease. Secondly, the inclusion of technology in their business operation has made Arkansas to be a role model for other states and business individual since many organizations come to learn and copy the model of the Dillard's chain store so that they can replicate it elsewhere.

Conclusion: the Dillard's business entity has contributed to the development and transformation of the Arkansas State. This is because the company has for many years been an economic pillar of the state since it contributes in several economic activities. For instance, it pays taxes to the government, it provides employment and it spurs entrepreneurial activity in the state. In this regard, the social and economic history, of Arkansas State has been significantly influenced by the Dillard's family and their business entity.

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