Von Maur Grows Slowly, But Steadily

by Nate Hunter

Davenport, Iowa — The national retailer never opens more than two stores a year.

Von Maur will open locations in Alabama and New York, both of which will open in fall of 2013.Davenport, Iowa  — Von Maur has undergone four generations of family leadership, but the company’s business strategies have stayed the same since it was founded in Davenport in 1872.

The national retailer has a “slow and steady” growth model that involves deliberately never opening more than two stores a year. President Jim von Maur says that because of this, the company is able to focus more on customer service and creating a residential like store environment.

“If we were just opening a bunch of discount stores and service wasn’t important, we could just open them as we wanted. But, we want each store to have the ‘Von Maur feel.'”

The average location size is 140,000 square feet, with some stores reaching upwards of 250,000 square feet. Mall locations prove most successful for the company.

“There is activity where older malls are being demolished or remodeled, and we’re being asked to be a part of that,” says von Maur.

In addition to a unique growth model, Von Maur also has developed their e-commerce department in order to attract even more customers outside of its Midwest roots. The company offers free shipping domestically, an interest-free credit card with no annual fees or late penalties, and free gift-wrap.

Jim von Maur says, “We just feel like our concept is unique enough where every person across the country would respond to it and like it.”

Von Maur has plans to open a second location in Atlanta in November 2012 at Perimeter Mall. Its two stores for 2013 will be located in Alabama and New York, both of which are slated for fall openings.

— Brittany Biddy

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