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Eastview welcomes new store in Von Maur


Tom Tobin, Democrat and Chronicle
Von Maur, a midwestern department store chain, will open its first Northeast store at  Eastview Mall in the fall of 2013, replacing 
the Bon-Ton outlet. 

The new, 140,000-square-foot store is expected to create up to 200 jobs, more than twice the number employed at Bon-Ton. 

Von Maur was described Monday by mall owner Wilmorite Corp. as high-end, selling brand-name fashion apparel, accessories, shoes and gifts. The chain it is replacing, Bon-Ton Stores Inc., typically is described as midscale, closer to Macy's and J.C. Penney than Saks or Nordstrom. 

"I'd say Von Maur is a mid- to high-end, somewhere in that range," said George Cook, a retail professor at the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester. 

"The stores have a pianist playing for the customers, which is definitely a Nordstrom's thing." 

Von Maur, based in Davenport, Iowa, is a privately held company with 26 stores in the Midwest. Most recently, the company opened a store in the Atlanta area as it begins looking to other parts of the country 
for growth. 

The Von Maur deal is the first regarding the three mall-based Bon-Tons, which are being closed because they were underperforming, the York, Pa.-based company said last week in announcing the sale of the three properties to Wilmorite for $13.25 million. 

Wilmorite owns and operates the Rochester area's largest shopping malls — Eastview in Victor, The Marketplace in Henrietta and T 
he Mall at Greece Ridge in Greece. The Greece and Victor Bon-Tons will close in March, while the Henrietta location is to close in 2014. 

Dennis Wilmot, senior vice president for leasing and development at Wilmorite, said an announcement about the Greece site will be made soon. Wilmorite three years ago released plans for a renovation of the 
Greece Ridge mall that involved a razing of the Bon-Ton store. Those plans were set aside when Bon-Ton objected and are likely to be revived now that Wilmorite owns the Bon-Ton space. 

"We're very happy about this," Wilmot said Monday about Von Maur. "We think this is a great, upscale addition to the mall. Von Maur is on the same tier as Nordstrom's and two tiers up, I think, from Bon-Ton."