Von Maur

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Von Maur
Type Private/Department store
Industry Retail
Founded 1872
Headquarters Davenport, Iowa
Number of locations 29[1]
Key people Charles R. von Maur, Co-Chairman
Richard B. von Maur, Co-Chairman
James D. von Maur, President
Products Clothing, footwear, jewelry, handbags, beauty products.
Website Von Maur website

Von Maur is a department store chain with stores primarily located in the Midwestern United States. The chain, based in Davenport, Iowa, sells mid-priced brand-name apparel, accessories, cosmetics, gifts, jewelry and shoes. As of late 2013, the chain has 29 stores in thirteen states.

Traditionally located in the Midwest, the chain has recently expanded to the Eastern and Southern regions of the country. The majority of its stores anchor shopping malls or lifestyle centers. A hallmark of Von Maur services are a no-interest bearing credit card account, free shipping (in-stores and online), free online returns, and free gift wrapping offered every day. Another signature element of Von Maur stores is a live pianist who performs for customers during normal business hours. Regionally, it competes on the same level as Dillard's, Lord & Taylor and Macy's.

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

The Redstone Building in Davenport, Iowa, was the longtime home of the Petersen Harned Von Maur flagship store
Von Maur entrance, Briarwood Mall, Ann Arbor, MI

In 1872 German immigrant J. H. C. Petersen and his three sons opened a store in a 20-foot-by-50-foot storefront in downtown Davenport, Iowa. The store would eventually expand and move into their flagship store, the Redstone Building at 2nd and Main Streets in Davenport. In 1916, J.H.C. Petersen's son, William D. Petersen, sold the family store to a partnership of R.H. Harned, C.J. von Maur, and Cable von Maur.

C.J. von Maur, who came from Austria, established the Boston Store (later renamed Harned & Von Maur) in downtown Davenport in 1887. Despite the common ownership, Petersen's and Harned & Von Maur would continue to operate as separate stores for twelve years, even after C.J. von Maur died in 1926. On May 7, 1928, Harned & Von Maur merged with the Petersen's store in the Redstone Building. The store was renamed Petersen Harned Von Maur, which was often shortened to "Petersen's". The von Maur family assumed complete ownership of the store after R.H. Harned died in 1937.

1970s-1980s[edit]

In the company's centennial year of 1972, Petersen Harned Von Maur opened its first branch store at Duck Creek Plaza in Bettendorf, Iowa. Another branch store opened at SouthPark Mall in Moline, Illinois, in 1974. In 1976, Petersen's opened its first store outside the Quad Cities area at Valley West Mall in West Des Moines, Iowa. The company continued to open new stores in shopping malls throughout Iowa and Illinois during the late 1970s and 1980s; along the way it acquired two former Killian's department stores in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa, in 1981. As the company shifted its focus to malls, the Petersen Harned Von Maur flagship store in downtown Davenport closed in 1986. (The Redstone Building is now home to the River Music Experience.)

Petersen Harned Von Maur shortened its name to Von Maur in 1989 to reflect the von Maur family's management of the company. One year later, it moved its corporate headquarters and executive offices from the Redstone Building to a 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) building on Brady Street (near the interchange with Interstate 80) in Davenport. The company distributes all of its merchandise from this building using its own fleet of semi-trucks. It also has its own credit union and credit department as well as a print shop.

In 1989, Von Maur purchased stores vacated by Carson Pirie Scott at Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth and College Hills Mall in Normal.[2]

1990s-2000s[edit]

Von Maur successfully entered the Chicago market in 1994 with a 207,000-square-foot (19,200 m2) flagship store at Yorktown Center in Lombard, Illinois. Von Maur currently has 6 stores in Illinois, more than any other state. From there, the company expanded its geographic reach into Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Nebraska during the late 1990s and early 2000s while closing stores in Bettendorf, Iowa and Muscatine, Iowa, during this period. In 2004 Von Maur expanded into Michigan by taking over two mall locations of the defunct Jacobson's chain (The Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Laurel Park Place in Livonia, Michigan). In late 2005 it opened a store at Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, Ohio, the 23rd store in the chain. On January 31, 2007, Von Maur closed its store at Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which brought the store count down to 22. On Saturday, September 13, 2008, Von Maur opened its 23rd store, a 140,000 sq ft (13,000 m2) store in Phase II of The Greene, a project of Steiner Associates in Dayton, OH. The 24th store at the Corbin Park Lifestyle Center in Overland Park, Kansas had its soft opening on Monday, November 3, 2008 and the grand opening on Saturday, November 8, 2008.

Exterior of the Von Maur at Valley West Mall in West Des Moines, Iowa

Von Maur shooting[edit]

On Wednesday, December 5, 2007, the Von Maur Westroads Mall location in Omaha, Nebraska, was the site of a mass shooting. A sole gunman identified as Robert A. Hawkins, age 19, entered the store, which has three levels, killing eight people and injuring four others. The shooting started at 1:43 p.m. and ended six minutes later with Hawkins' suicide.

In response to the shootings, the company temporarily closed that location and set up a victims fund through the United Way of the Midlands.[3] The store reopened on December 20, 2007.[4]

Today[edit]

Today, the privately held company remains under the leadership of the Von Maur family, including co-chairmen Charles R. von Maur and Richard B. von Maur, as well as president James D. von Maur. Von Maur offers free gift wrapping year round as well as free shipping year round. Von Maur caters to the typical middle class consumer but thanks to their clearance items, customers who would normally shop at discount chains can afford top quality merchandise at any Von Maur location.

On November 11, 2010, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Von Maur announced the chain would open its first store in the Southeast in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta. The regional flagship store would convert a former location previously occupied by Lord & Taylor, then Belk, at the North Point Mall into a much larger anchor. The store opened in early November 2011.[5] Direct mail advertising to some households in the area indicate the actual opening date to be November 5, 2011. More recently, Von Maur opened a new three story 240,000 square foot southeast flagship store in the northern Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody upon the exit of Bloomingdale's from that city's Perimeter Mall.

On November 2, 2013, the chain opened its first store in Alabama, at the Riverchase Galleria in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover. [6] The store is located in the space first occupied by Macy's, then Proffitt's, and later Belk;

In March 2011, it was reported Von Maur would enter the Wisconsin market with a store located at a new lifestyle shopping center in the Town of Brookfield, WI named The Corners.[7] The new store that is proposed will be combined with a three story parking structure. Final design and other details are still pending, and the project has been delayed. It had been predicted that the space would open in the Fall of 2014.[8]

In November 2011, it was announced that Von Maur would enter New York State with its first store at Eastview Mall, outside Rochester, replacing a Bon-Ton store. Von Maur's first northeast location, opened on October 26, 2013.

In September 2011, Von Maur announced that it would open a store in Coralville, Iowa. The Coralville, Iowa store at Iowa River Landing, replaced the chain's Iowa City store, previously located at Sycamore Mall.

Von Maur announced in early January 2012 they would be opening their second Atlanta area store at the soon-to-be shuttered Bloomingdale's location at Perimeter Mall on Atlanta's north side.[9] The Perimeter Mall location opened on November 10, 2012.

On February 26, 2014, it was announced that Von Maur would be opening a new location in Oklahoma City as the fourth anchor store at Quail Springs Mall. Construction of the 150,000 square foot facility (vacated by Sears) is underway, and the new store plans to open on October 18, 2014. This will be the 30th location (store) for Von Maur. [10]

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