Family-owned and -operated Von Maur runs some 30 upscale department stores, primarily in the Midwest, offering shoppers amenities such as an interest-free credit card, free gift wrapping, online shopping, and free shipping within the US. The stores range in size from 42,000 to 203,000 sq. ft. and offer clothing from brands such as Burberry, Eileen Fisher, Kenneth Cole, and Tommy Bahama. Distinguishing itself from the rest of the pack, the Von Maur chain has avoided advertising and big blowout sales; it even closes up shop on traditional retailer high-dollar days such as the Fourth of July. The Von Maur family opened its first store in Davenport, Iowa, in 1872. The chain is expanding beyond its core market.
Iowa-based Von Maur operates department stores in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, and Ohio. Iowa and Illinois are the department store chain's largest markets.
The regional department store chain is pursuing a targeted national growth strategy. After adding stores in Hoover, Alabama and Rochester, New York in 2013, it has plans to open its first store in Oklahoma in fall 2014. Another avenue for growth is Von Maur's new fast-fashion specialty chain aimed at young women called Dry Goods. The first Dry Goods store, which opened in Aurora, Illinois, in fall 2010, is part of a broader Midwest expansion. The retailer plans to open additional Dry Goods stores in shopping centers that are not anchored by a Von Maur department store. The new concept competes with fast-fashion chains, such as Forever 21, Zara and H&M, that are popular with younger women. Ultimately, the family-run chain would like to expand Dry Goods beyond the Midwest.
Since entering the Chicago market in 1994, the Windy City has become Von Maur's largest market. Prior to the onset of the deep recession in the US, Von Maur had announced plans to build two more department stores in the Chicago suburbs, but abandoned them when the economy crashed.