In this 1959 photo, Art Van Elslander (far right) is joined by partners (from left) Don Fox, Bob McEachin and brother Bob Van Elslander. (Courtesy of Art Van Furniture)

   

 
 

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  Archie (Art) Van Elslander, founder of furniture chain, dies at 87

By HB Meeks/Tell Us USA

WARREN, MI - Archie Van Elslander, the founder of Art Van Furniture and a major Detroit-area philanthropist, has died. He was 87.

A statement released by his family says Van Elslander, who was known as Art Van, died Monday. Company spokeswoman Diane Charles says he had cancer.

“My family is heartbroken by the loss of our father,” said Gary Van Elslander, President of Van Elslander Capital, and Mr. Van Elslander’s eldest son.

Van Elslander opened his first furniture store in 1959 in East Detroit, now called Eastpointe. There are more than 120 Art Van stores in the Midwest, although most are in Michigan.

“Tony Michaels, President & CEO, The Parade Company said, "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Art Van Elslander. He was larger than life in everything he touched and we are incredibly fortunate to have had him as a close friend, supporter and part of The Parade Company family for 30 years."

Detroit mayor Mike Duggan said, "The City of Detroit lost one of its greatest supporters and philanthropists. Detroit always has been his heart. There will never be another "Art Van." He will be terribly missed and fondly remembered."

The business was sold last year to Thomas H. Lee Partners, a Boston private equity firm.

Van Elslander is credited with saving Detroit’s Thanksgiving parade. In December, he said he was donating $20 million to expand the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit, named for a Roman Catholic priest who is on a path to sainthood.

 

 

 

   
 
 

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