Art Van Furniture Acquires Two Furniture Retailers in Pennsylvania

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Warren-based Art Van Furniture today announced the acquisition of two privately-held Pennsylvania companies, Pittsburgh-based Levin Furniture and Altoona-based Wolf Furniture. Both companies will maintain their brand names and management teams; terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Founded by Sam Levin in 1920, Levin Furniture is led by his grandson, Robert Levin, who serves as president. Art Van’s acquisition of the 97-year-old family business will add 35 stores across Pennsylvania and Ohio to the company’s portfolio of brands and showrooms.

Wolf Furniture was co-founded in 1902 by Charles Wolf and John Fox, and is currently led by CEO and fourth-generation family member Doug Wolf. The company acquired Maryland-based Gardiners Furniture and rebranded stores as Gardiner Wolf Furniture, and overall it operates 18 showrooms across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. All of the stores will be added to Art Van’s portfolio.

The two acquisitions make Art Van a top 10 national furniture retailer based on sales, with 176 stores include 18 Art Van franchise stores in nine states and $1.3 billion in expected annual sales. The deals also add 1,900 new employees, bringing the total to 5,500 workers. All Levin and Wolf customer accounts and product warranties will continue.

“Today’s acquisitions of these two well-established furniture retailers – both intricately woven into the fabric of their communities – underscores a transformative new era of thoughtful expansion at Art Van Furniture,” says Kim Yost, president and CEO of Art Van Furniture. “From their commitment to their customers to their long-standing histories and corporate cultures, Levin and Wolf are a perfect fit for Art Van’s growing family of brands.”

RBC Capital Markets in Toronto acted as financial advisor to Art Van Furniture, and Kirkland and Ellis in Chicago provided legal advice.

In March, Art Van completed an equity recapitalization in partnership with Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. THL of Boston, one of the world’s oldest private equity firms, is now the majority shareholder of Art Van Furniture.

Founded in 1974, THL has a history of investing in growth-oriented businesses like Art Van Furniture. The firm has a portfolio of consumer and retail brands, including 1-800 Contacts, Bargain Hunt Superstores, Dunkin’ Brands, Fogo de Chao, and Party City.

The deal was announced in January. After 58 years as chairman and founder of the Warren-based furniture retailer bearing his name, Art Van Elslander is in the process of starting a foundation, and new office space is under construction at Oak and Woodward boulevards just north of downtown Birmingham.

Prior to the sale of Art Van Furniture, Elslander was the sole shareholder. He opened his first furniture store in 1959 on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit.

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