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LIVONIA, MI-As Michigan’s retail market continues to do much better than the office and industrial segments, another retail chain is moving into the state.

Van Maur, a family-owned apparel chain based out of Davenport, IA, will soon open two large stores in Southeast Michigan.

The sites, one in Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor and one in Laurel Park Place in Livonia, in suburban Detroit, were former Jacobson’s Department Stores.

Jacobson’s, a regional specialty store chain, filed a Chapter 11 petition for reorganization in January 2002 with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit after a loss of more than $57 million in 2001. Its stores were sold, mostly at auction.

Von Maur purchased the two sites for about $12.5 million, said Terry Kilburg, Von Maur’s CFO.

The new stores are now undergoing multimillion renovations at both sites. “The Briarwood store will open on Sept. 20, and the Laurel Park store will open Oct. 18,” Kilburg told GlobeSt.com.

The Briarwood facility will take up about 100,000-sf, he said, and the Laurel Park store will be about 150,000-sf. About 250 people will be hired to staff each store, Kilburg said.

The two stores are the first entry by the company into Michigan, according to Kilburg. “We think both locations are very good markets for us,” he said. “We’re very anxious to get these stores open.”

Von Maur, founded in 1872, has 18 other locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska. There are also two more stores under construction, Kilburg said. The company’s long-range plans are to explore its expansion opportunities in medium to large markets throughout the Midwest.

“We have one being built in Louisville, KY, and another in Glenview, IL,” he said. “We’re always looking for more locations, but we don’t give out pre-announcements.”

The stores in Michigan will have a wide-open feel, Kilburg said. “We really have no interior walls in the stores. They have a very residential feeling,” says Kilburg.

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