GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Art Van Furniture, the Michigan-based chain known for rambunctious advertisements promising low prices, is going out of business.
“I don’t even know what to say,” longtime customer Ardy Frey told News 8. “It’s so sad.”
The company announced the decision to close Thursday. It said it would start liquidation sales Friday at all its Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep and Scott Shuptrine Interiors stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio.
“Despite our best efforts to remain open, the Company’s brands and operating performance have been hit hard by a challenging retail environment,” Art Van spokesperson Diane Charles explained in a statement.
Charles told News 8 the company has 3,100 employees.
Art Van-owned Eight Wolf Furniture Stores in Maryland and Virginia will also close. Levin & Wolf Furniture in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be sold.
Charles said the closure will affect Art Van’s sponsorship of the Santa Parade in Grand Rapids and the Sports Complex near Rockford, though the situation involving the complex is still murky.
“This is a very sad day for Art Van and the state of Michigan,” Charles told News 8 over the phone. “For decades, we have been in people’s homes and now we won’t be. It’s not just impacting employees, but communities. Remember, we do support things like the parade and the Sports Complex and hundreds, if not thousands, of charities throughout the state of Michigan.”
“We started our house here,” customer Kim Livingston said. “When we got married, we bought all of our furniture from here.
“I guess I don’t know where I’m going to go to get other furniture,” she added.
The company was started by Art Van Elslander in metro Detroit in 1959. It was sold to Thomas H. Lee Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, in 2017. Crain’s Detroit Business news reported in mid-February that it was considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization or liquidation.
Van Elslander died in February 2018 at the age of 87.
—News 8’s Donovan Long contributed to this report.