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Art Van Furniture Inc. is an American furniture retail store chain. Founded in 1959, the company is headquartered in Warren, Michigan in Metro Detroit.[1]

Art Van Furniture Inc.
IndustryFurniture retail
FoundedEastpointe, Michigan (1959)
FounderArt Van Elslander
HeadquartersWarren, Michigan, U.S.
Key people
Art Van Elslander, Founder; Gary Fazio, President & CEO;
RevenueUS$ 1.4 Billion (2018 est.)
Number of employees
Art Van Furniture store, Ann Arbor, MI, one of the 30 Michigan stores


Art Van Elslander founded Art Van in 1959, opening his first store in East Detroit.[2] 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.[3] Art Vans Furniture (later changed to Art Van Furniture) opened with mostly modern and Danish-style furniture.[4]

By 1963, Van Elslander owned seven stores and had taken on some partners, including his brother, Bob Van Elslander, Don Fox and Bob McEachin.[5] 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.[6]

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.[3] In 2009, the company's half-centennial, Art Van Furniture was named furniture retailer of the year by Furniture Today magazine.[7] In 2013, the company made a $50 million investment in the State of Illinois to open a sequence of new establishments in the state.[8] In 2015 Patti Smith wrote about Art Van stores as a favorite hang-out of hers during the 1970s.[9] The CEO of the company is Ron Boire.[10] Art Van also operates Scott Shuptrine Interiors retail locations. In March 2017 the company was purchased by Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL) a private equity firm based in Boston.[1]


The company operates 141 stores located in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri a full service e-commerce website, in addition to 45 freestanding Art Van PureSleep bedding stores.[11] The company also has franchised stores located in the Midwest.[12] In 2010, Art Van acquired Brewbaker's Furniture, which had locations in Petoskey and Onaway.[13] The Onaway store was closed in 2013.[14] The first franchise was opened within Young's Appliance of Alpena in 2012.[2]

Franchise locations have since opened in Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie, Mount Pleasant,[15] Gaylord, Owosso, and East Tawas, along with a PureSleep franchise in Midland and a franchise of Sofa Select in Mishawaka, Indiana, Findlay and Genoa, Oh, Rockford Illinois, and Coraville, Iowa[16] The Downers Grove, Illinois store opened in 2015.

In all the company has nearly 200 stores.[17] 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.[18] Other boutique sections have included AV Flooring, and Art Van Furniture also operates three Scott Shuptrine interior design studios in the state of Michigan.[19] Art Van also produces a mail catalog of its furniture designs.[20]


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.[21][22] 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.[23]


  1. ^ [1] "Contact Us." Art Van. Retrieved on November 7, 2013. "Art Van Furniture 6500 14 Mile Road Warren, MI 48092"
  2. ^ [2] "Art Van Elslander Reflects on His Chicago Favorites". Michigan Avenue Magazine. May 18, 2016.
  3. ^ [3] Janet Holt-Johnstone (July 9, 2014). "Retail Success Story: Art Van Furniture". Furniture World Magazine.
  4. ^ [4] Noah Barnes (February 26, 2016). "Art Van Furniture in the Midwest". Ocean Post.
  5. ^ [5]John Presta (April 27, 2013). "Governor Quinn announces retailer 'Art Van Furniture' expands into Chicago area". Chicago City Hall Examiner
  6. ^ [3] Janet Holt-Johnstone (July 9, 2014). "Retail Success Story: Art Van Furniture". Furniture World Magazine.
  7. ^ [6] Daniel Duggan (December 4, 2009). "Art Van Furniture named Retailer of the Year by trade publication". Crain's Business Detroit.
  8. ^ [7] Graydon Megan (August 3, 2015). "Art Van Furniture opens new flagship store in Downers Grove". Chicago Tribune.
  9. ^ [8] Patti Smith (2015). M Train. Knopf Canada. p. 75.
  10. ^ [9] Karen Wright (2012). The Complete Executive: The 10-Step System for Great Leadership Performance. Bibliomotion, Inc. p. 13.
  11. ^ [14] "Art Van Furniture opens new location on Coliseum Boulevard". Wane. February 8, 2014.
  12. ^ [15] Sherri Welch (July 12, 2015). "Art Van Furniture says $1 billion in sales within reach". Crains Detroit.
  13. ^ [16] "Art Van Furniture acquires Brewbaker's". schurz-petoskeynews
  14. ^ [17] Jordan Travis (April 17, 2013). "Community worried about loss of Art Van". The Alpena News.
  15. ^ [19] "Art Van Opens Sixth Franchise Location". Crain's Detroit Business.
  16. ^ [20] "Art Van to Open First Indiana Franchise". Crain's Detroit Business.
  17. ^ [25] "Modern Designs Usher in Classic, Dapper Style to Art Van Furniture's 2016 Spring Style Catalog". Chicago Tribune. April 13, 2016.
  18. ^ [26] JC Reindl (April 13, 2015). "Art Van pulls plug on Paul's TV". Detroit Free Press.
  19. ^ [27] Sherri Welch (March 18, 2016). "Art Van to build new store in Canton Township — right across from Ikea". Crain's Detroit.
  20. ^ [28] "Art Van Spring Catalog and Free Furniture Frenzy". Fox 2. April 16, 2016.
  21. ^ [29]Lauren Abdel-Razzaq (February 3, 2015). "Art Van bets against snow, buyers win big". Detroit News.
  23. ^ [31]Bill Shea (February 5, 2016). "Art Van replaces regional Super Bowl TV ads with thanks for Flint water donors". Crain's Detroit.

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