Select Art Van Furniture stores in Michigan may get a second chance — and a new name


  • Photo via GoogleMaps

Art Van Furniture, once the most popular furniture retailer in the Midwest, may get a second chance after announcing it would be closing all of its company-owned stores in early March.

Last week, a U.S. bankruptcy judge approved a $6.9-million agreement that would allow a Texas-based private-equity firm called U.S. Assets, Inc., to purchase 17 Art Van Furniture locations throughout Michigan, The Detroit Free Press reports.

The deal would also include 10 out-of-state Art Van locations, as well as select Levin and Wolf furniture stores. Art Van acquired the two Pennsylvania-based retailers, Levin and Wolf Furniture in 2017.

The deal implies that the company may reopen the 27 locations with a new name while rehiring Art Van's previously laid-off staff, including those stores in Ann Arbor, Warren, Livonia, Royal Oak, Taylor, Shelby Township, and others. It is estimated that 1,000 Michigan Art Van employees lost their jobs following the closures.

The pending sale does not include furniture sold to customers during its liquidation sale (many people never received the items they purchased) nor does it include the actual real estate. According to The Free Press, most of Art Van stores were included in a $550 million acquisition in 2017 to a Boston-based private equity firm.

The US Assets Facebook page says it's preparing to launch a new business called "Loves Furniture." It is unclear if Loves Furniture is a rebranding of the Art Van stores.

Following the March bankruptcy filing, son of Art Van founder, Gary Van Elslander submitted a bid to buy back the Art Van name and trademark, Crain's Detroit reported.

Detroit philanthropist Archie “Art” Van Elslander founded his furniture brand in 1959 with just one storefront along Gratiot Avenue. As the company's popularity and national footprint grew, as did its charitable work in metro Detroit, including its contributions to preserving a major Detroit institution, America's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Elslander died in 2018.

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