Von Maur invests in 5-year, $100M in-store renovation plan 

Davenport-based Von Maur Department Stores operates 37 stores in 15 states and an E-Commerce facility in Davenport. CREDIT VON MAUR

Von Maur Department Stores shoppers are already accustomed to the ambience that the upscale retailer strives for in its stores with their open floor plans, wide aisles, soft seating and signature grand pianos.  

But the 152-year-old company, headquartered in Davenport, says it’s time for a refresh for many of its older properties. That is why Von Maur is investing more than $100 million over the next five years to complete an extensive, multi-phased renovation of a majority of its brick-and-mortar stores. 

The company, whose footprint includes two Von Maur stores in its Quad Cities hometown, announced earlier this month that stores slated to be renovated will showcase an entirely new interior aesthetic as it continues to prioritize its customers’ shopping experience.

“As Von Maur has grown, new stores have evolved to reflect the trends present in residential design,” Jim von Maur, the company’s president, said in a news release Thursday, May 2, announcing the renovation plan. “It is important that we reinvest in our existing locations and bring those same updates to the customers that have been the bedrock of our success.”

Founded in 1872 in downtown Davenport, today Von Maur operates 37 stores in 15 states along with its 120,000-square-foot E-Commerce facility in north Davenport. 

Renovations are underway currently at these Von Maur locations: Towne East Square, Wichita, Kansas; Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Westroads Mall, Omaha, Nebraska; Laurel Park Place, Livonia, Michigan; Oxmoor Center, Louisville, Kentucky; Corbin Park, Overland Park, Kansas; and Hickory Point Mall, Forsyth, Illinois. All stores will remain open throughout the construction process. 

According to Melody Wright, Von Maur’s chief operating officer, the renovations are happening to various degrees across the retailer’s properties. She said Von Maur considered each store’s need, overall foot traffic, sales volume and age to determine which stores to upgrade. 

For example, she said no upgrades are needed for the NorthPark Mall store in Davenport because it was renovated department by department over the past five years. Similarly, its Iowa City store is fairly new and the Cedar Rapids store at Lindale Mall recently was renovated. 

However, the Von Maur store at SouthPark Mall in Moline and one in Cedar Falls, Iowa, will see some changes later in the renovation process

“Those that are new do not require renovations. Stores 20 years or older will receive the most extensive renovations, with other renovations happening at differing levels …,” Ms. Wright told the QCBJ in an email. 

“Our ambience has always been part of our value proposition,” she wrote. “We hear time and again how much our customers appreciate our layout, amenities and overall decor. But just like our own homes, the time has come to update our store environment.”  

The major investment follows Von Maur’s previously announced plans for new locations at South Hills Village in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (fall 2024) and at West Acres Mall in Fargo, North Dakota (spring 2025). Von Maur also owns and operates 81 Dry Good Stores, located across 21 states.

Von Maur plans to refurbish the existing stores using white and cream tones, mixed with warm woods, and modern lighting. “The result will be the same clean, delightful shopping experience, but with color pallets and materials shifting to more neutral tones that better highlight our products,” according to Ms. Wright. 

The design work for the renovations was provided by Iowa-based Shive Hattery, Inc. Architecture and Engineering, with headquarters in Cedar Rapids and Iowa offices including Bettendorf and Iowa City. 

Ms. Wright said the major renovation project represents a 100% investment by Von Maur, which is owned by the von Maur family. There are no city government funds or incentives involved.  

“We believe investing in our locations is an investment in our loyal shoppers, employees and communities we serve,” she said.

“The great news is our stores in Iowa are in fantastic shape. In fact, it was the renovations at our store in Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines that in some ways served as the spark for our larger renovation plan,” Ms. Wright explained.

Describing the timeline as fluid, Ms. Wright said completion of the plan is dependent on material availability, lead times and trades worker availability. “The current plan is five years, but could flex depending on those and other variables.”   

While in-store employment levels will not change because of the remodels, she said “We have grown our corporate operations department to help oversee this work.” 

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