Nathan S. Ancell
In 1932, Nat Ancell (b.1908 d.1999) recognized as the furniture industry’s true visionary, co-founded Ethan Allen with his brother-in-law Theodore Baumritter. Prior to that, while acquiring a law degree from Columbia University, Nat read in a textbook that "Home is the Core of Civilization." That became Nat’s central tenet, and would guide Ethan Allen through the formation of the Ethan Allen concept, and became, for many, the true mission of the furniture industry- "To promote dreams, not just furniture-to help consumers have the attractive home they want regardless of their station in life."
Nat Ancell was the father of the gallery concept. During his early years, Ethan Allen furnishings were marketed through department stores and general furniture stores. In the 1950s, the search began for stores that would use the Ethan Allen gallery display concept with furniture and accessories in decorative room vignettes. Ethan Allen showrooms in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and High Point promoted the gallery concept, and more and more retailers began to embrace the idea.
Ethan Allen began to create free-standing galleries in the 1960s and expand manufacturing facilities to support the concept. Organization was added to support necessary marketing, merchandising, and educational programs.
The publication "Ethan Allen Treasury" was introduced in 1962 to educate consumers on furnishings and home décor, and was regularly updated. The Ethan Allen stores reached 200 in 1971 and annual sales in 1978 were $237,000,000. By 1999, company and independently owned galleries numbered 309, with 1998 sales at $762,000,000.