SOURCE: Art Van Furniture

Art Van Furniture

October 05, 2009 05:57 ET

Art Van Furniture Celebrates Ultimate 50th Birthday With Night for Charity

FLINT, MI--(Marketwire - October 5, 2009) - How do you throw the ultimate 50th birthday party? Invite hundreds of friends and entertain them with a mesmerizing 'cirque' troupe, a fabulous 14-piece band, and then give all the presents to charity!

That's how Art Van Furniture celebrated its 50th Anniversary Gala on October 4th at the Flint store, which was transformed into an elegant fantasy complete with red carpet, VIPs, a strolling supper and a live TV broadcast. Over 400 business leaders, employees, vendors, customers and friends attended the birthday bash for a night of intrigue, fun and charity.

Award-winning artist Vickie Winans sang a tribute song to company Founder and Chairman Art Van Elslander, who reflected on the company's first 50 years. John Graham, President/CEO of St. Mary's of Michigan, and Mark Taylor, President/CEO of Genesys Health System, spoke about their respective organizations. Angie Hendershot of WJRT-TV 12 was Mistress of Ceremonies.

The Gala drew local and national attention resulting in a substantial contribution to the Special Care Nursery at the Genesys Regional Medical Center and the Cancer Patient Transportation Unit at St. Mary's of Michigan.

Art Van Furniture underwrote the entire Gala with 100 percent of ticket sales going to the charities. "We are extremely pleased to be able to help these important regional medical centers," said Art Van Elslander. "I believe it is our responsibility to give back, especially when you're fortunate to be as successful as we've been for five decades."

Guests enjoyed presentations by iL CiRCo, a cirque performance group, a fabulous strolling supper and dancing to The Simone Vitale Band. Live television coverage of the Gala was aired on WJRT-TV 12 on Sunday night, including interviews and a retrospective of Art Van Furniture's milestones. All guests received a custom gift box of Sanders chocolates, with one special box containing a 'Golden Ticket' for a spending spree worth $2,500 at Art Van Furniture.

Flint was one of the three cities selected to host the charity Gala events. "I want to give back to these important charities, and to the people of Flint who have supported us since we opened our Flint store in 1977. We are committed to the community, and to supporting the hard-working customers who have done so much for us," he said.

The success of the Flint store led to stores opening in Saginaw in 1984, Burton in 1987, Saginaw in 1992, and Bay City in 1996. Art Van opened its first store on Detroit's east side in 1959, and opened its 31st store in Grandville, Mich. earlier this month.

A Gala was also held at the Warren Art Van store on October 1st, and a Gala will be held at the Grand Rapids store on October 28th. Like the Flint Gala, all proceeds will benefit regional medical centers.

These Gala events are the culmination of a year-long campaign to give back to communities throughout Michigan. Other programs this year included donations to schools across the state, 500 mattresses to shelters, 50 bedroom suites to chronically ill children, and the Art Van Million Dollar Charity challenge that helped 50 non-profit organizations throughout the state.

About Art Van Furniture

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Art Van Furniture is Michigan's largest furniture retailer and America's largest independent furniture retailer, operating 31 stores in 29 communities throughout Michigan, a full service e-commerce website plus a new freestanding bedding store in Canton, Michigan, Art Van Pure Sleep. The company is family-owned and headquartered in Warren, Michigan. For more information, visit

            Gala photos are available at,
                  User ID: Gala, Password: 50years2009.

Contact Information

    Diane Charles
    Director of Corporate Communications
    Art Van Furniture
    Email Contact