Von Maur to Close Westdale Mall Location

By Mark Geary, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS -- Von Maur is moving out of Cedar Rapids Westdale mall.

The store says the location just isn't attracting enough customers. Von Maur has brought customers to the mall for more than 25 years.

Next week, the doors will close forever.

"There's a lot of vacancies out at the Westdale mall. It's going create problems attracting customers to this location and we've just continued to see that erosion," Melody Westendorf, VP of store operations, said.

About half of Westdale Mall's tenants have moved out. Several companies are trying to bring the mall back to life, but Von Maur just couldn't wait any longer.

"Although we had hoped it would turn around. Unfortunately, it just couldn't get going and we did have to make the difficult decision to close this location," Westendorf said.

You might be wondering if they're going to have a big sale. The answer is no. All of the merchandise will just go to the other stores.

All of the employees will keep their jobs, too. The store will transfer them to other locations in Eastern Iowa. Customers seem to understand the company's decision to close.

"I've gone in there a lot of times and there's just nobody there," customer Mary Vezina said.

But, not everyone believes all hope is lost. Current management has a plan to solve the mall's problems.

"This is a new ball game. There will be new ownership and the owners have every intention of turning this around. It doesn't take much of a drive around the mall to notice it's not a depressed area," Tom Slattery, jr of Heritage Associates said.

Westdale Mall didn't fall apart overnight. No one can put it back together overnight either. But, key investors promise the mall will improve over time.

Von Maur officially closes its doors on Jan. 31. The store has other locations at Sycamore Mall in Iowa City and Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids.

E-mail Mark Geary at Mark.Geary@kcrg.com
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