Iowa-based dept. store names VP merchandising

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Von Maur Department Store has announced the promotion of Joy Place to VP merchandising, effective immediately. She will report directly to Melody Westendorf, chief operating officer of Von Maur.

Place will now be responsible for overseeing product buying for all of Von Maur's 27 locations. This entails leading efforts to grow the company's merchandise distribution, including: staying atop industry and product trends; maintaining and pursuing new vendor relationships; continuing to provide customers with the industry's most sought after brands and products; and hiring and maintaining a strong team of buyers. Reporting to Place will be the company's merchandising employees, along with the company's advertising and analyst departments.

"Von Maur's strategic merchandising program nurtures strong relationships with many of the nation's premier brands in order to ensure we remain ahead of key trends and repeatedly exceed shopper expectations," said Westendorf. "With strong sales and merchandising instincts cultivated over her 14 years with Von Maur, Joy is uniquely positioned to deliver the competitive mix of products and brands our customers demand, all while driving meaningful value for our partners."

For the last seven years, Place has served as the general manager of merchandising of all feminine apparel at Von Maur, where she supervised a team of 20 buyers. During that time, Place led efforts to transform the Company's mix of feminine apparel, specifically strengthening its distribution in the contemporary fashion sector.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Place has a bachelor's degree in secondary education, with a focus in English.

Von Maur currently operates 27 stores in 11 states. The company also runs an online business at, in addition to a new chain of women's specialty stores under the nameplate DRY GOODS.

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