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Art Van Furniture Inc. is an international furniture retail store chain. Founded in 1959, the company is owned by MixCorp and headquartered in Warren, Michigan in Metro Detroit.
Art Van Eslander founded Art Van in 1959, opening his first store in East Detroit. Van Elslander's furniture first business was a 4,000 square-foot space on Gratiot Avenue and 10 Mile Road. He expanded to three stores in that same year, and a fourth store opened in 1960. His first employee was not hired until this time. Art Vans Furniture (later changed to Art Van Furniture) opened with mostly modern and Danish-style furniture.
By 1963, Van Elslander owned seven stores and had taken on some partners, including his brother, Bob Van Elslander, Don Fox and Bob McEachin. The following year, three of those stores were sold off, however Van Elslander expanded the chain in the 1970s and in 1973 the company purchased its headquarters in Warren, Michigan. Around that time, the company had fifteen stores in its chain. In the late 1970s opened several warehouses and a corporate training department. In 1977 the company opened stores outside of Detroit, in Flint and Lansing, Michigan.
In 1980, the company issued its first credit card and in 1985 the company introduced clearance centers attached to many of the stores offering overstocked merchandise. In 2009, the company's half-centennial, Art Van Furniture was named furniture retailer of the year by Furniture Today magazine, that same year, it was sold to MixCorp. In 2013, the company made a $50 million investment in the State of Illinois to open a sequence of new establishments in the state. In 2015 Patti Smith wrote about Art Van stores as a favorite hang-out of hers during the 1970s. The CEO of the company is Kim Yost. Art Van also operates Scott Shuptrine Interiors retail locations.
Mattress World acquisitionEdit
Mattress World of Michigan was a mattress retailer with 24 stores in Michigan and seven in Indiana. The company was founded in 1998 when the first store was opened in Howell, Michigan. In May 2011, Mattress World of Michigan was acquired by Art Van Furniture which said it would keep the Mattress World name on some stores, while others would be rebranded as Art Van PureSleep. It also said it would keep Mattress World's 100 or so employees.
The company operates 37 stores located in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, a full service e-commerce website, in addition to 39 freestanding Art Van PureSleep bedding stores. The company also has franchised stores located in the Midwest. In 2010, Art Van acquired Brewbaker's Furniture, which had locations in Petoskey and Onaway. The Onaway store was closed in 2013. The first franchise was opened within Young's Appliance of Alpena in 2012.
Franchise locations have since opened in Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie, Mount Pleasant, Gaylord, Owosso, and East Tawas, along with a PureSleep franchise in Midland and a franchise of Sofa Select in Mishawaka, Indiana. The store's first franchise location in Illinois opened in 2015, in Rockford. The Downers Grove, Illinois store opened in 2016 was the chain's largest.
Art Van has transitioned family businesses into Art Van locations on several occasions. In the Fall of 2015, Art Van converted Ingrassia Furniture, a 93-year-old family business, to its 11th franchise location. Earlier that year, the 61-year old independent chain Genoa’s Samsen Furniture was converted to Art Van stores. In all the company has about 100 stores. Art Van had partnered with Paul's TV to open a section for Paul's TV to sell televisions inside Art Van stores. 18 locations were opened, however all were closed down by 2015. Other boutique sections have included AV Flooring, and Art Van Furniture also operates three Scott Shuptrine interior design studios in the state of Michigan. Art Van also produces a mail catalog of its furniture designs.
In 2015 the company paid out $2.5 million dollars in free furniture to 3000 customers after a promotion that gave away the purchases of customers if it snowed three inches each in the cities of Toledo, Fort Wayne, and Chicago. In 2016, Art Van replaced its regional Super Bowl advertisements in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas with a thank you message for donors of water to Flint, Michigan, which the company had solicited through its charitable programs.