Von Maur has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Started in 1872 as a 20-by-50-foot storefront in Davenport, Iowa, the retailer now operates an e-commerce website and 24 "upscale" department stores in nine Midwestern states including Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, and Nebraska. They opened their latest store in November 2008 in Overland Park, Kansas at 14,000-square-feet. By early 2010, they plan to open their first Missouri store in Lake Saint Louis.
Rule number one at Von Maur is: "the customer is always right." They also offer an interest-free Von Maur charge account, free delivery anywhere in the United States, free giftwrap, and a no-questions-asked return policy. During
store hours, a pianist plays at every store. Stores have no internal walls "for an unobstructed view of every "floor" and extra wide aisles. Instead of mannequins, they are adorned with accessorized displays, antique furniture and artwork to "create a residential environment."
In the intimate apparel department, all of the staff are trained bra fitters. There is a buying team divided up into foundations/daywear, robes/sleepwear and a divisional merchandise manager. This team attends the Curve NY tradeshow
Intimates range anywhere from $10-$350, with bras cup sizes of A-H in bandwidths 30-48, and sleepwear in sizes S-PXL. The company's divisional merchandise manager gifts/ intimate apparel, Jennifer Schwallie, listed their most popular brands as Wacoal, Spanx, and Karen Neuburger.
Currently, her most requested bras are Spanx'Ilujah ($62), Chantelle's Body Sculpt T-Shirt ($74), Wacoal's Body Suede Ultra ($57), and Le Mystere's Dream Tisha ($64). The average costumer is a size medium with a cup size of 36C-38D. In men's underwear, they carry Calvin Klein, Intimo, Jockey, Polo, Burberry and 2(x)ist. Recent trends Schwallie has noticed are an increased awareness of shapewear, new technology in foundations, contemporary styling in sleepwear, and an abundance of "feelgood fabrics" like modal and bamboo. She identified Spanx as the industry's current most popular brand, and Juicy Couture Intimates and DKNY
Intimates as the up-andcoming new brands. She listed word of mouth, and reaching out to customers through the
Von Maur charge account as the company's most successful advertising techniques.
She believes that Von Maur remains popular because of their superior customer service, interestfree account, and quality name brand merchandise.