HOBART | An iconic Michigan furniture store, in the midst of a large expansion into the Chicago area, has opened its first Indiana store in Hobart in the former JC Penney Home Store site.
Art Van Furnishings, 1600 E. 80th Ave., will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. Saturday, said Diane K. Charles, director of corporate communications.
The 45,000-square-foot store is a called a “3.0 version” of the business, Charles said. It is the latest look for the family-owned company which was founded 54 years ago by its chairman, Art Van Elslander, she said.
“It has a different kind of look to the store,” Charles said. “Our others have glass atriums. It has more natural lighting, flowing walls and different innovations. It is all about shopping, designed to make a great shopping experience for our customers.”
Charles said the chain’s main customers are “busy-busy” mothers 35- to 54-years-old.
“They are the CEOs and CFOs of their households,” Charles said.
The Hobart store is the 36th for the company, she said, with new Illinois stores coming soon in Batavia, Bedford Park, Woodridge and in Chicago’s Ford City and Logan’s Square neighborhoods.
“I think that what is so cool is that Art Van Elslander has been in business 54 years and he is still so excited about coming into the Chicago area,” Charles said. “He is like a little kid.”
Charles said the community has been welcoming. Hobart has been “very supportive, absolutely helpful and easy to work with,” she said. The Hobart site was chosen for its demographics support and great location, Charles said.
What sets Van’s apart from other furniture stores is people, Charles said. “Buildings are just brick and mortar,” Charles said. “’People are the heartbeat of every company’ is what Art Van Elslander says,” Charles said. “His goal is to make careers for people.”
Charles said the store carries great products, features great service and offers overnight delivery. Art Van Furniture offers financing plans and many of its sales associates are trained in interior design.
Charles said that in addition to a complete line of home furnishings, the store also has accessories and artwork. The store carries familiar brands like La-Z-Boy, Broyhill and England, as well as electronics brands like Samsung, Sharp, Panasonic and Toshiba. There is a Clearance Center section which features discounted items.