Out: Art Van
In: Loves Furniture
From the June, 2020 issue
The Ann Arbor Art Van closed in March after the Warren-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Just three years earlier, Art Van Elslander had sold the 190-store chain to Boston-based private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP (THL). Van Elslander died in 2018. THL announced plans to add 200 stores by 2020, but with $400 million in debt, the company was in trouble even before the pandemic. According to a March article in Crain's Detroit Business, THL sold assets and cut staff and salaries. "They took a successful brand with a successful executive team and destroyed a great company in three years," former senior VP of marketing Diana Sikes told Crain's. Now, some of the old team may be getting back together: in May, Jeff Love's Texas-based U.S. Assets announced it was buying the leases and assets of twenty-seven former Art Van stores, including Ann Arbor's. It's already brought aboard a half dozen former Art Van executives and plans to reopen the stores under a new, Michigan-based brand, Love's Furniture.
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