Von Maur got its start like many of its department store peers: An immigrant with an American dream opened a downtown store, customers came, they shopped, the brand took hold and took off.
In the case of the midwestern upscale department store banner Von Maur, the dreamer was German immigrant J.H.C. Petersen, who opened a downtown storefront in Davenport, Iowa, in 1872. He and his sons grew the business and sold it nearly a half-century later to a partnership that included two Austrian brothers — C.J. and Cable von Maur, whose family gained full ownership by 1937.