SOURCE: Art Van Furniture

Art Van Furniture

October 02, 2009 05:49 ET

Art Van Furniture Raises Over $1 Million for Charity at Ultimate 50th Birthday Party

WARREN, MI--(Marketwire - October 2, 2009) - Art Van Elslander, founder and chairman of Art Van Furniture, today celebrated the company's 50th anniversary by throwing the ultimate birthday party. To make this the most memorable birthday party ever, he invited friends like Cindy Crawford, brought in a mesmerizing 'cirque' troupe for everyone's enjoyment, and had a fabulous 14-piece band entertain guests. Then he gave all the presents -- over $1 million in gross Gala ticket sales and donations -- to charity!

The store was transformed into an elegant fantasy complete with red carpet, celebrities, a strolling supper and a live TV telecast. More than 1,000 business leaders, VIPs, employees, vendors, customers and friends attended the birthday bash for a night of intrigue, fun and charity.

Art Van Furniture underwrote the entire event with 100 percent of ticket sales going to the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center and the Neuroscience Institute at Henry Ford Health System. "We are extremely pleased to be able to help these important regional medical centers," said Art Van Elslander, chairman and founder of Art Van Furniture. "I believe it is our responsibility to give back, when you're fortunate to be as successful as we've been for five decades." Art Van opened its first store on Detroit's east side in 1959, and opened its 31st store in Grandville, Mich. earlier this month.

The Gala drew local and national attention. The guest list included Cindy Crawford, who has a long business relationship with Art Van Furniture and has her own popular furniture line; Jonas Jerebko, a 2009 NBA Detroit Pistons draft pick and the first Swedish basketball player in the NBA; and notable local community leaders. WXYZ-TV Channel 7 broadcast the event live from 7:00 - 7:30 pm, and the station's own Diana Lewis was Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening. The broadcast included interviews and a retrospective of Art Van Furniture's milestones. Guests enjoyed presentations by iL CiRCo, a cirque performance group, and dancing to The Simone Vitale Band.

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.

The Gala was the culmination of a yearlong 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. "What a joy it is to help these children, health and human services groups. It's our way of saying, 'Thank you,'" added Van Elslander.

To see Gala photos, go to, User ID: Gala, Password: 50years2009.

For more information, visit Special Galas will also be held at the Flint Art Van store on October 4, and at the Grand Rapids store on October 28. Like the Warren Gala, all proceeds will benefit regional medical centers.

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

Contact Information

    Diane Charles
    Director of Corporate Communications
    Art Van Furniture
    Email Contact