Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:58 pm
Twenty years, 200 people and 200,000 pairs of shoes.
Those numbers represent how long upscale department store Von Maur has wanted to be in the Milwaukee area, how many people the new store in Brookfield will employ and the incredible number of shoes that are kept in the store’s two-story stock room.
Von Maur will open its doors on Saturday, April 8 at The Corners of Brookfield in the Town of Brookfield. The Davenport, Iowa-based department store will occupy 140,000-square feet of the mixed-use development at West Bluemound Road and I-94.
“We’ve been trying to get into Milwaukee for 20 years,” said Melody Wright, chief operating officer of Von Maur. “We have always felt that the Milwaukee market was underserved and for a lot of reasons we were not able to get into the existing malls. We love the location, we have always been very, very committed to this site and we are thrilled that we are finally getting to the day that we can open here.”
Other tenants at The Corners include Sendik’s, L.L. Bean, BelAir Cantina and Café Hollander. The Mandel Group is also building 244 luxury apartments at the development.
The von Maur family opened its first store in the late 1800’s in Davenport, Iowa. Today, there are still only 30 Von Maur stores located across the Midwest and South.
The company’s slow growth plan, family ownership and customer service, including offering an interest-free, no late-fee credit card, are what has kept Von Maur from suffering the fate of some other retail chains, Wright said.
The two-level Brookfield store features an expansive shoe department, with high-end shoes on display on one-quarter of the second level. To make sure inventory is plentiful, there are 200,000 pairs of shoes in the stock room.
Two televisions are built into the walls near the men’s shoe department to keep the non-shopper occupied.
Throughout the store, there are antiques that have been brought in from around the world. Art work hangs on the walls that has been commissioned by the von Maur family for the stores.
“When you are privately owned, and don’t have to answer to shareholders, you can do things like that,” Wright said. “It is something to look at while you are shopping and it makes it much more of an experience rather than just running in to pick up a shirt.”