Von Maur to test Dry Goods store in Aurora

By Sandra M. Jones
Posted Aug. 4, 2010 at 2:15 p.m.

Von Maur Inc., a family-run department store from Iowa, is stepping into the fast-fashion business.

The 138-year-old merchant, known for its white-glove, service said it plans to unveil a new concept stored called Dry Goods aimed at young women. The first store is slated to open at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora this fall.

The 4,200-square-foot specialty store will carry a constant flow of trendy clothing and accessories. But, the décor will focus on a vintage, 19th century theme, reflecting Von Maur’s early days as a dry goods store in Davenport, Iowa.

Fast fashion chains such as Forever 21, Zara and H&M have been expanding during the economic downturn as department stores in general have struggled to stay relevant.

Von Maur has two dozen stores, mostly in small Midwestern cities, and does little advertising. The chain is known for its neatly stacked displays, free gift wrapping, abundant sales staff and interest-free charge card.

The department store entered the Chicago area in 1994 with a flagship store at Yorktown Center in Lombard. It added a store in St. Charles in 2001 and in Glenview in 2003, making Chicago its largest market.

Before the real estate crash, Von Maur was preparing to build two more department stores at malls planned for construction in the southwest suburbs, but those projects never got off the ground.

Now, Von Maur is looking at Dry Goods as its growth vehicle. The retailer plans to open more Dry Goods stores within the next year, focusing on Midwest shopping centers that are not already anchored by a Von Maur. The company’s long-term goal is to expand Dry Goods beyond the Midwest and develop a national presence.


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  1. Eric Tammes Aug. 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    The name Maur is spelled incorrectly in the headline.

  2. Eric Aug. 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    It has been fixed. Thanks!