By Christiane Cordero

ROSEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — A rare event happened at Rosedale Center on Monday: A new department store opened.

In an era when many retailers struggle to make ends meet, the survivors have a few things in common, according to University of Minnesota professor George John.

John says at one point, the core group of successful department stores provided outstanding service, decent prices and the occasional sale. He says companies then became so competitive with each other, they changed the model. Suddenly, many of them tried widening their reach by dropping prices and offering more sales, compromising profits.

“Von Maur has not tried to play that game,” said John, who teaches at the Carlson School of Management. “I think they understand [they] can’t play the game because [their] costs are higher, [they] provide better in-store service, and they do. They get well-trained sales reps who are paid well, so they are higher cost.”

Davenport, Iowa-based Von Maur has historically been very selective with where it opens its stores, and because it is a privately-held company, it’s not as easy to compare their financials to other department stores.

However experts, John included, agree the stores surviving the retail disruption tend to offer something extra as an in-store experience.

Christiane Cordero