The new Von Maur department store at Quail Springs Mall is planning for an October opening and is hiring about 150 workers, ranging from loss prevention staff to piano players.
Jim von Maur, president of the Iowa-based department store chain said the spot at Quail Springs, which had been vacated by Sears and acquired by mall owner General Growth Properties, was an ideal spot for the company’s first Oklahoma store.
“We feel there is a lot of growth in that part of town and in Edmond and beyond — also the opportunity was there,” he said. “Oklahoma City is a great community that we feel is underserved in terms of a better department store.”
Eventually Von Maur would like to have a store in Tulsa, he said.
Von Maur sets its self apart from the competition by offering services such as free gift wrapping, interest-free credit and free shipping. Stores also feature minimal signage, plush seating and live piano music.
Building permits issued for the former Sears space put the cost for the construction of the new Von Maur space at $12 million.
General Growth agreed to spend at least $15 million buying and remodeling the space as part of the tax incentive agreement with Oklahoma City to lure Von Maur to the city. County records show $8 million was spent purchasing the property from Sears.
The store is expected to generate $40 million in annual sales, city documents show.
In its agreement with the city, Von Maur can receive a sales tax rebate of up to $225,000 the first year and $275,000 by the eighth year. To qualify, the retailer’s sales must be at least $27.5 million the first year and $30 million each year after for the remainder of the agreement.
The incentives helped put Oklahoma City at the top of list for a Von Maur store, over locations where such rebates were not available, Jim von Maur said.
“We always we may have many locations each year where we would like to go, we have to kind of select based on the quality of the location and we look at the overall economic package, so that was certainly a deciding factor in our decision to come to Oklahoma City,” he said.
Von Maur began hiring for the Oklahoma City store in June and is still looking for applicants for full- and part-time positions, store manager Jessica Stetler said.
“We’ve had a lot of success with hiring so far, especially as we get closer to opening and work on the store is looking farther along,” she said.