Art Van Furniture to be sold to private equity firm

By: Brian Louwers | C&G Newspapers | Published January 27, 2017

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METRO DETROIT — In 1959, Art Van Elslander opened his first store on Gratiot in Detroit. In February, he expects to close on a deal to sell Art Van Furniture to a private equity firm, Thomas H. Lee Partners.

In a media release dated Jan. 25, Van Elslander said the time was right. 

Headquartered in Warren, Art Van operates more than 100 stores across five states and has been named among the top independent and overall furniture retailers in the United States. The business model includes a franchising program and boasts 3,500 employees.

“The heartbeat of any organization is its people. I’m proud of Art Van Furniture’s history and what we have accomplished,” Van Elslander said. “The time for an ownership transition is right, and the opportunity presented itself. There is still much I want to do, and I feel confident knowing the company and its people will be in the very best of hands for continued growth and success.”

According to the release, Art Van CEO Kim Yost will work closely with THL during the transition process to “continue to enhance organizational growth and the brand’s plans for the future.” The company said Gary Van Elslander will remain the president of Art Van Furniture, while David Van Elslander will remain the president of Art Van PureSleep.

THL was described as one of the oldest private equity firms in the world, with a successful history of investments in growth-oriented businesses across a variety of markets, including consumer and retail brands. As part of the sales agreement, the terms of the deal will not be released.

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