MARQUETTE Art Van Furniture, the largest family-owned furniture and mattress retailer in the U.S., held a grand opening Thursday night to officially open the doors to its most recent franchise store in Marquette.
The company, which got its start in 1959 when Art Van Elslander opened the first store in Detroit, has joined forces with Marquette's Household Appliance at 2873 U.S. 41 West, the site of the former American TV and Appliance.
"It's very exciting, and it's a win-win situation," Art Van Furniture CEO Kim Yost said. "When two families come together the family of the folks that have been running (Household Appliance) for years, and our family - it's a great combination."
A flag waves to customers outside of the store’s grand opening. (Journal photo by Justin Marietti)
Art Van Furniture CEO Kim Yost speaks during the grand opening of their Marquette Township store on Thursday night. (Journal photo by Justin Marietti)
Household Appliance began in 1971 when Charles Anderson and Bill Palomaki opened at their Ishpeming location. As with Art Van, the business was passed down to their sons, Steve Anderson and Jeff Palomaki.
"This was a huge opportunity for us and the community has just been great," said Jeff Palomaki. "There's not another store in the U.P. that looks like this and offers the value and the quality that we do."
Before the red ribbon was unveiled and cut to christen the new store, Steve Anderson delivered an emotional speech in which he said his biggest motivation for making this decision was the reputation that he and Palomaki inherited from their fathers, and making sure that what they created endures.
The opening featured food, drinks, door prizes and live music from Bongo Fury. Gary Van Elslander, Art Van president and son of its founder, was in attendance.
"I have to tell you, I feel really at home here," Van Elslander said. "I feel as though this could be one of our stores anywhere in southeast Michigan, where I grew up.
"Steve, Jeff, (and their) team have really done a fantastic job. On behalf of the Van Elslander family, we cannot tell you how proud we are to join with Household Appliance and to form a great partnership. The sky is the limit."
Justin Marietti can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 245.