art van elslander
Art Van Elslander (b.1930 d.2018) is Founder and Chairman of Art Van Furniture, the Midwest's largest furniture and mattress retailer. Headquartered in Warren, Michigan, Art Van Furniture is ranked in the top 20 of the leading 100 furniture stores in the United States.
Mr. Van Elslander opened his first store, a 4,000-square foot unit, in 1959. The family-owned company now operates 94 stores throughout Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana, including freestanding Art Van Puresleep mattress stores, Art Van Flooring stores, and Art Van Furniture franchise locations as well as a full service e-commerce website. With more than 3,200 associates, Art Van Furniture has grown to be an extraordinary company with a compelling success story.
Founding Principles - Mr. Van Elslander built his company with a deep understanding that "buildings aren't just brick and mortar, but the heartbeat of a company is its people." He has earned and secured unwavering loyalty from his employees who share his steadfast commitment to customer service and satisfaction.
Innovator and Leader - Mr. Van Elslander's business acumen and marketing initiatives have earned the admiration and respect of his peers throughout the industry. He has been inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame, and recognized as the 2009 Retailer of the Year by Furniture Today magazine. Mr. Van Elslander has also received awards from the North American Home Furnishings Association, the Michigan Retailers Association and the National Home Furnishings and Consumer Electronics industry. In addition, he was honored with the Spirit of Life Award from City of Hope.
Giving Back - Supporting the communities he serves is a topmost priority for Mr. Van Elslander. In 1990, he made a donation to save Michigan's historic Thanksgiving Day Parade from financial crisis. Since then, he has been a major contributor each year to assure the continued success of the parade, now known as American's Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van Elslander.
His philanthropy is legendary and includes support of programs for the homeless, the disabled, and others in need, as well as education for underprivileged youth. Cancer and ophthalmology research are also among the important causes he supports. He has made significant contributions to the Van Elslander Family Pavilion, the Van Elslander Neurosciences Center at St. John Providence Health System and the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center at Henry Ford Health System.
In 2009, Art Van Furniture established the Art Van Charity Challenge during the height of the recession and donated $1 million among 50 charities. Today, the initiative supports over 200 charitable organizations throughout the Midwest focusing on children, health care and human services in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. More than $7 million has been donated by the company directly to charities and more than $19 million raised as a result of the Art Van Charity Challenge to date.
Mr. Van Elslander has been the recipient of more than 55 awards that celebrate his generosity, honor his philanthropic, humanitarian and community efforts, and highlight his lifetime achievements. He was honored with the prestigious Ernst and Young Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, many organizations including the Arab-American Chaldean Council, St. John Providence Health System and Hospice of Michigan have recognized his humanitarian efforts.