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artvanofallonArt Van Furniture this month celebrated the opening of five new stores in the St. Louis area with ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

The St. Louis area will feature the prototype for the furniture company’s Art Van Design Studio. The store in O’Fallon, Ill. (shown) is at 1776 W. Highway 50 West O’Fallon, Ill.

In November, Art Van — called the Midwest’s largest furniture and mattress retailer — signed its largest franchise agreement with Jay Steinback, former president and CEO of the 90-year-old family-owned and operated Rothman Furniture and Mattress chain. A $1,000 donation was made at each store location to a local charitable organization. The donation in O’Fallon, Ill., went to H.E.R.O.E.S. Care.

Art Van Furniture offers designs by name brands such as La-Z-Boy, Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines, Cindy Crawford Home, and Nigel Barker. The new stores will also include Art Van PureSleep, featuring Sealy, Beautyrest, Stearns & Foster, Tempur-Pedic, Serta, iComfort, Sleep to Live, King Koil, Reverie and PURETECH.

The other stores are in St. Louis, Richmond Heights, Bridgeton and O’Fallon, Mo.

Founder of chain dies

Art Van Elslander, the founder of the Michigan-based Art Van Furniture chain, has passed away at the age of 87, the family said Tuesday.

Van Elslander died of complications from lung 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 oldest son, said in a statement to media.

Art Van Elslander opened his first store on Gratiot Avenue and 10 Mile Road in Detroit in 1959.