After 58 years as chairman and founder of the Warren-based furniture retailer bearing his name, Art Van Elslander today announced an agreement to sell Art Van Furniture to Thomas H. Lee Partners, one of the world’s oldest private equity firms.
Van Elslander, the sole shareholder prior to the sale, opened his first furniture store in 1959 on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit. The company now consists of over 100 stores in five states, a successful franchising program, and more than 3,500 employees.
“The heartbeat of any organization is its people,” says Van Elslander. “I am proud of Art Van Furniture’s history and what we have accomplished. 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.”
Existing company leadership led by CEO Kim Yost will work closely with THL to continue to enhance organizational growth and the brand’s plans for the future. Gary Van Elslander will remain as president of Art Van Furniture, and David Van Elslander as president of Art Van PureSleep.
Founded in 1974, THL has a history of investing in growth-oriented businesses like Art Van Furniture. The firm has a strong track record supporting consumer and retail brands — including companies such as 1-800 Contacts, Bargain Hunt Superstores, Dunkin’ Brands, Fogo de Chao, and Party City.
RBC Capital Markets acted as the financial advisor to the sale of Art Van Furniture, while Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor to THL. The acquisition is slated to close in February.