Wisconsin’s first Von Maur store has arrived.
And along with a footwear department stocked with 200,000 pairs of shoes, a children’s section with an animated talking tree, an area displaying luxury name brand purses and other departments featuring a variety of apparel and merchandise, there’s something else company President Jim von Maur says he hopes visitors will find inside: an atmosphere where shoppers can relax.
Amenities like live piano music, wide aisles, a fireplace, artwork, no “sale” signs hanging from the ceilings and spacious restrooms help set the stage, he said.
“The consumer is always being screamed at — advertising, marketing, social media,” von Maur said Monday during a tour of the 150,000-square-foot upscale department store. “So when you walk into our store we want you to relax, not feel like you’re being forced to see something or buy something. When you come into our store, your blood pressure is going to go down a little. You can relax, get some great service, enjoy the merchandise, the products and not be bumping into dump tables. It’s all about the experience.”
The experience begins with a splash, however, during a grand opening Saturday at Von Maur, which is the anchor of the new The Corners of Brookfield retail-residential development on W. Blue Mound Road just east of S. Barker Road in the Town of Brookfield.
Von Maur is conducting a soft opening this week, though, allowing customers to come in early while finishing touches are being put in place.
Davenport, Iowa-based Von Maur had sought to build a store in Wisconsin for years, von Maur said. The Corners redevelopment site, with easy access to I-94 at the Barker Road interchange, made for an excellent location for a retailer that expects to draw from many parts of the state, he said.
In all, The Corners will include 400,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and more than 240 apartments. Among other commercial tenants will be Sendik’s Food Market, Anthropologie, Arhaus, Anthony Vince Nail Spa, BelAir Cantina, Café Hollander, Evereve, Francesca’s, Free People, lululemon, L.L. Bean, Paper Source, Scout, and Molly’s and Twigs.
The Von Maur project cost around $30 million and is the 32nd store in the chain. Jim von Maur, who is the fourth-generation leader of the family-owned company, said Von Maur opens only one or two stores a year, and sometimes takes a year off from expansion.
“We don’t want to grow too quickly and kind of lose what makes the stores special,” he said, “I think we’ve seen a lot of retailers grow too quickly and lose what made them special. Service takes a lot of effort.”
The grand opening Saturday will have events throughout the day, including a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:45 a.m., with doors opening at 10 a.m. Von Maur will have live music, children’s entertainment, gifts with a purchase and in-store giveaways, including a $1,000 shopping spree and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. There will be guest appearances throughout the day. Green Bay Packers play-by-play announcer Wayne Larrivee will be among the guests, Von Maur said.