The Van Elslander Family Is Buying Back Art Van Furniture’s Rights To Its Name

Gary Van Elslander (the founder’s son) offered $6 million to acquire the name rights through a family investment company called VEC. The transaction was authorized by a bankruptcy court judge overseeing Art Van Furniture’s ongoing liquidation case.

The legal rights to Art Van Furniture were purchased by Archie Van Elslander’s descendants four years after the furniture company was sold to a private equity firm.

VEC spokesperson declined to comment on the family’s plans for Art Van Furniture but made the following statement.

Art Van Elslander started the business in 1959 and sold it in 2017. The Van Elslander family owned the Art Van Furniture brand. It was important to restore a name closely associated with Michigan’s communities and a great deal of value. They are thrilled to see the Art Van Furniture brand return to its rightful home in the family.
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American Signature, the parent company of Value City Furniture, sold the last Art Van Furniture shops and all-must-go stores.

Many of the original Art Van shops were revived as Loves Furniture by a Texas private equity firm in the latter half of the summer and early fall. Loves ran into several difficulties, including logistical and costly warehousing issues. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 6.

Gary Van Elslander (VEC’s president) first offered $2.1million for the Art Van Furniture name rights. American Signature offered $2.2 million on January 20. VEC responded with its $6 million bid and won the auction.

Gary Van Elslander didn’t indicate in court papers what he intended to do with Art Van Furniture. However, he stated that his family is not bound by any prior noncompete or nonsolicitation agreements as part of the name rights agreement.

Art Van Furniture, located in Warren, was sold to Thomas H. Lee Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, in January 2017 for $612.5million. This included the transfer of Art Van’s real estate to new landlords who began charging rent to the shops.

Art Van Eslander died one year later at the age of 87.



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