Von Maur: How is the Midwestern retailer growing as other chains fail?

Von Maur Department Stores will close on Thanksgiving Day.
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Von Maur Department Stores will close on Thanksgiving Day.

As retailers like Sears and Elder-Beerman crumbled this year into bankruptcy and liquidation, one traditional retailer is still going strong after 145 years in business.

Von Maur Department Stores is expanding its footprint across the U.S. with larger stores and new brands. Redeveloped and new stores have popped up across the country within the past year — and more are expected in 2019. Von Maur carries products from popular brands like Vineyard Vines, Kate Spade and Lilly Pultizer.

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The Iowa-based retailer is opening its seventh location in Illinois, spending more than $25 million to revamp a former Carson’s store in suburban Orland Park. It also opened its second location in Minnesota earlier this month.

The new stores continues the family-owned company's "targeted national growth strategy," company officials said in a statement. In addition to opening its first Wisconsin location in 2017, Von Maur has grown in new states including New YorkAlabama and Oklahoma. The Company also plans to open its third location in Michigan in 2019.

"The motivation behind everything we do has always been to ensure we provide an unmatched shopping experience from the moment shoppers walk through our doors. We look forward to continuing to deliver the high-end fashion and signature customer service at our new, premier shopping destination for years to come," said Jim von Maur, president of Von Maur.

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Von Maur is investing in its presence in the local region, which has a location at The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek and the Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus. The retailer opened a location of its new store, Dry Goods, at The Greene earlier this year.

Dry Goods, a clothing brand for women owned by Von Maur, is a “new generation of stores” created for young shoppers. The stores sell clothing, jewelry and accessories. The brand planned to open 12 stores in 2018, including two other stores in Columbus and Akron. Dry Goods already has a location open at the Kenwood Towne Center in Cincinnati.

Von Maur’s success is measured differently than once-powerhouses like Sears, and the privately-held company competes with retailers like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. Von Maur is a significantly smaller department store chain with only 33 brick-and-mortar locations, according to its website.

Niche retailers like Nordstrom — or arguably Von Maur — are able to survive by focusing on delivering a cohesive omnichannel for customers. A luxury in-store experience is just as important as a strong digital presence, retail experts say.

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