In the best of times, running a business can be a challenge. But when the overall market is shaky, running a business can be a scary experience. The business owner often fights to stay afloat, and consumers and the market become the determining factor of whether the business thrives or is eliminated.

Family-owned businesses are built on a rich history of dedication and tenacity, and most importantly an enthusiastic entrepreneurial spirit. Businesses run by families not only have the stressors of a regular business, but they also have a legacy to uphold. The business often becomes their lives, and when they’re in the midst of an economic downturn, abandoning the business when it can no longer be kept afloat, can be one of the most difficult decisions for a family to make.

Dillard’s department store has been in a similar situation over the past several years and for awhile there was a real danger of them going out of business. Dillard’s is a family-owned store chain, having been started by William Dillard in 1938. Mr. Dillard spent most of his life building the successful business on quality merchandise and customer service. After his death in 2002, his son William Dillard II took over as CEO of the Dillard’s brand which included 300 stores across 29 states.

However economic troubles set in across the entire market around 2008 or 2009; and when the economy remains poor for a long period of time, retail stores like Dillard’s have to take important steps in order to stay afloat and weather the storm of the bad economy. They will very often delay the opening of new stores, or scale back on or even forego any expansion plans. One of the main things they’ll do is begin examining their stores to assess performance. When they come across underperforming stores, chances are those are the ones the CEO will elect to close. This is precisely what happened to Dillard’s in 2008. CEO William Dillard II announced that their three-fold plan to remain a stable company would include closing underperforming stores, reassessing and updating inventory, and reducing their expenses. At that time, they closed 21 stores in 2008 and countless others in 2009.

Current Year 2012 Status

Yet in recent years, it appears that Dillard’s business has been picking up. They still have an active website, and according to investor reports, they now have 304 stores spanning across 29 states – indicating that they have been growing and expanding as a company. Investor reports show that Dillard’s stock has been on the uptick since early 2012 and continues to rise. Good news for a company with such a rich legacy and history.