Full-Spring Ahead!

During the colder months most of us make a pretty good dent in our sofas by spending lots of time getting all cozy and dreaming of warmer weather. We were ecstatic to hear that Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow (yippee!), because at Art Van, we dream of warmer weather… and redecorating. If you feel the same impulse to create, we’re here to remind you that a little rearranging goes a long way. You’d be surprised how different your favorite chair looks three feet to the left.

Now that we know spring is arriving sooner than we expected, we really have the urge to freshen up the furniture and maybe toss on a fresh coat of paint in one of the super hot colors for 2011. If the “it’ color Honeysuckle is too out there for you, there are plenty of other color options to put a spring in your step.

Gray is still the neutral that reigns supreme. It’s the go-to color for walls, floors, furniture, and fashion. We love how well it goes with what you already have, but also how it brings out the vivacity of brighter colors like orange, fuchsia, and green. Speaking of green, what other color paints a better picture for the promise of new beginnings? There are various shades you can use to give your home a fresh feel, and this color is especially good for accent walls and accessories.

Before you start with all of the heavy lifting, try redecorating with our Room Planner. This free tool allows you to input all your room dimensions and contents so you can see how different arrangements will look. Then shop online or come in to see all the exciting new designs blooming in our showrooms, the Clearance Center, and Scott Shuptrine Interiors design studio. And don’t forget, our fun Spring Design Classes will be happening soon, so make sure you check the Special Events page at artvan.com to find out when and where we’ll be bringing spring to your town!

Marking a Memorable Year: Fall

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

525,600 minutes! 525,000 journeys to plan.
525,600 minutes — how can you measure the life of a woman or man?

It’s time now to sing out, the story never ends

let’s celebrate, remember a year in the life of friends.”

Seasons of Love from RENT

Fall is probably the most beloved season we have here in Michigan. Gorgeous arrays of color on the trees extend from the Upper Peninsula to the “Mitten.” The rich diversity of our state is what makes it a great place to live and do business. And most importantly, it provides us with a multitude of philanthropic opportunities!

Play Me, I’m Yours

Just two years old, ArtPrize® in Grand Rapids has become one of the premier art events in the country. Part arts festival, part social experiment — this international contest is decided solely by public vote.

So you can imagine our excitement when we announced that we would be sponsoring British artist Luke Jerram’s piano installation piece titled, Play Me I’m Yours. Twenty pianos were placed throughout the streets of downtown Grand Rapids. Using the core of the city as a backdrop, each piano acted as a sculptural, musical, blank canvas, and provided musicians of all levels an opportunity to share their creativity by performing in the public.

“We are thrilled to be involved in bringing Luke’s project to ArtPrize,” said David Van Elslander. “It’s an opportunity to engage the community, bring out hidden musical talent, allow people to express themselves and just to have fun.”

This year alone Play Me I’m Yours will be presented in New York City, London, Belfast, Cincinnati,  and San Jose. At the conclusion of ArtPrize, the pianos were donated to schools and community groups in the area.

Simply Irresistible Party

Art Van and Detroit News columnist Chuck Bennett hosted a night of food, furniture, and fashion for a great cause. While the event gave us an opportunity to showcase our new Fall Home Catalog, Simply Irresistible, it also gave us the chance to raise over $14,000 for the Horatio Williams Foundation, which supplies uniforms for underprivileged inner-city students. In 2009, the Foundation was able to outfit one school in Detroit. Thanks to this party, they were able to provide four schools with 560 uniforms! Now that’s a great style statement.

Charity Challenge, Round 2

After months of reading heart-tugging submissions (and going through boxes of tissues) our panel of judges whittled over 600 Million Dollar Charity Challenge applications to 50, and we went on a whirlwind, 50-hour tour across Michigan to announce the lucky recipients of grants ranging from  $5,000 to $50,000.

The first press conference took place at our flagship store in Warren where past recipients spoke about the positive impact 2009’s donation had on their charities. From feeding children and providing support to families coping with domestic violence to serious medical conditions. And, last year’s recipients were able to leverage the Art Van grants to raise an additional $4 million in donations.

But we didn’t stop there. To raise more awareness about these remarkable charities, we created http://artvancharitychallenge.com/. This website featured bio’s on each charity and a donation functionality. We also asked people to vote for their favorite charity. The charity that received the most votes would be given an additional $25,000 check.

Charities like HAVEN and Ozone House tapped into their supporter base with e-mails, while DADiaperBank took to social media. A digital billboard was even donated to promote Paws With A Cause. In the final stretch, Grace Centers of Hope and Paws were running neck and neck toward the finish line, with Grace Centers ultimately winning the check.

After the winner was announced, the gracious Paws With a Cause posted this on their facebook page:

Many thanks to ALL PAWS FB friends and family who voted fro PAWS in the Art Van Charity Challenge Bonus Grant voting! While we took second place, we truly appreciate your support and that of Art Van Furniture‘s! In the end, we all ‘won’ because of the community awareness this opportunity provided all 50 winners…thanks again for supporting PAWS!

And Whaley Children’s Center wrote:

We had a child named Jacob arrive on Friday, it was freezing that day, his case worker came and said “Miss Karen we have a problem” Jacob’s bag he brought is full of toys, no clothes.  He had on only what he was wearing.  I stepped back, swallowed hard so I wouldn’t cry and said, “Dude lets go up in my donation closet and shop for some clothes”.  We found a coat that fit and boots too, he said thank you for every item of clothes (no matter how tattered) that I gave him.  I came down into our lobby area and started to cry wishing I could help every child, every way possible, then I looked at the Art Van check proudly displayed on the mantle in that room, and my heart was happy because you guys cared and shared!  Please let everyone know that this has been an amazing uplifting experience for all of us here! 

Detroit Meets New York

In October, we brought the Big Apple to the Motor City for a spectacular gala to benefit Henry Ford Health System. Faster than a New York-minute, our Tech store was transformed into signature NYC neighborhoods like Chinatown, SoHo, Central Park, and Times Square.

Over 600 guests enjoyed the sights, sounds, and flavors of “the city that never sleeps.” They were even treated to a Broadway revue. Most importantly, 100% of the proceeds raised from ticket sales went directly toward the services and research being done at the Henry Ford Neuroscience Institute and the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center at Henry Ford Health System.

Strike up the Parade!

One of the most legendary moments in Art Van Furniture’s 51-year history is the moment Mr. Van Elslander received a eleventh-hour call from The Parade Company. It was 1990 and due to lack of sponsorship, America’s Thanksgiving Parade was in danger of being permanently cancelled.

With the simple act of writing a $200,000 check, Mr. Van operationally brought the Parade from the brink of death, and in the process inspired other businesses to get on board. The Parade went on as planned, and the following year Mr. Van announced that we would match the contributions of other business up to $100,000. From there, things really started to take off and the Parade once again gained momentum to continue the cherished tradition of bringing families together on Thanksgiving morning.

We are proud to say that 2010 was Art Van Furniture’s 21st year of sponsorship. In the wee hours of November 25th, Art Van employees from all over the metro Detroit area descended upon Detroit to take their place alongside the “Knights of the Charitable Round Table” float and assist in blowing up the crowd favorite 48″ Flicker the Dragon balloon. And as a special treat this year, Deidre Hall, best know for her role as Dr. Marlena Evans on NBC’s daytime drama Days of our Lives, rode in the Parade with Mr. Van.

Afterwards, she shared a Thanksgiving meal with the women at Genesis House III in Detroit. She also participated in two in-store book signings where she autographed copies of her latest book, Kitchen Close-up, in exchange for donations to the shelter.

And that’s how we measure a year. We hope you’ve enjoyed our stroll down memory lane. These events are just a snapshot of the ways we’re involved in our communities. We also participate as sponsors for festivals and cultural events around the state, and we treasure the value of being able to share it with each one of you.

Here’s to many more wonderful opportunities to give in 2011! Happy New Year!

Marking a Memorable Year: Summer

“525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

525,600 minutes! 525,000 journeys to plan.
525,600 minutes — how can you measure the life of a woman or man?”

Seasons of Love from RENT

“Hot town, summer in the city” was definitely the theme in 2010, and Art Van kept things hopping all season long! Check out how we spent our summer vacation.

Rescue Me

We’re not only concerned about our fellow man, but we also look out for our four-legged friends! Our Saginaw and Bay City stores collected supplies for the Few Steps From Home animal rescue shelter. Saginaw Sales Associate Lori Lagalo-Balko, who volunteers her time fostering homeless animals, inspired the stores to host the drive, and the guest response exceeded our expectations and resulted in new beds, leashes, food, and toys for the shelter.

 

 

Shake Your Groove Thing

The Drayton Plains store hosted a Saturday Night Fever party to help children with special needs. Over 300 guests attended to support Clarkston SCAMP, a 2009 Million Dollar Charity Challenge recipient and provider of recreational and social activities for young adults who are mentally and physically challenged. This party was another wonderful opportunity to partner with our Charity Challenge recipients to further help the community and a chance to invite new guests to visit our stores.

Ladies’ Night Out

“An act of kindness from one person is one less burden for another.”

Mr. Art Van Elslander.

Art Van Furniture, along with ABC TV-12 and CARS 108, treated the hardworking ladies of Flint to a free night of pampering that included: a DJ; delicious drinks, appetizers, and desserts from local restaurants; Mani/pedi’s; dancing lessons; and more!

But the event was also about receiving diaper donations to help the 50% of mothers giving birth in Genesee County who live below the poverty level. And the ladies answered the call by bringing 400 plus packages of diapers to the event!

We’re just happy we won’t be the ones responsible for changing them!

Christmas Comes Early

Living with a serious illness puts a significant strain on a family’s finances, time and emotions. So in July, we teamed up with the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan* to lessen the burden felt —especially around the holidays — by hosting a Christmas in July toy drive. We can only imagine the huge smiles on the faces of these precious children on Christmas morning as they opened all the wonderful presents so generously donated by wonderful folks like you.

*This great organization was also one of our 2009 Million Dollar Charity Challenge recipients.

Strength in Numbers

In July, we were delighted to be able to donate 11 brand-new beds to the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit. The beds will be used in recently renovated rooms at the House, which provides “a home away from home” for families of seriously ill children who are hospitalized nearby.

“This donation will save the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit thousands of dollars in expenses and ensure our families have a comfortable place to sleep and rest during their stay,” said Jennifer Litomisky, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit. “Art Van Furniture has been a longtime supporter and we greatly appreciate their investment in our House.”

Each year, more than 1,200 families stay at the 16,000-square foot House, which includes all of the amenities a normal home would provide. The House consists of 25 bedrooms, four TV rooms, an exercise room, quiet area, indoor and outdoor playrooms, phone booths, dining room, and kitchen. The average length of stay for families at the House is two weeks, with some staying for many months. Families pay $10 each night they stay at the House while donors cover the rest of the operating expenses and the nightly rate for families who cannot cover that cost.

Goodwill for All

Branded with “Donate for Jobs” messaging, we handed over the keys to a 26-foot truck to Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. This stylish new ride will enable the collection and transportation of goods donated to the upscale resale Goodwill store that opened in Canton on December 11. And it’s another way we can support Goodwill’s efforts to help Metro Detroiters overcome employment challenges and become “Trained, Trusted and Ready to Work.”

Next up: Fall

 

Creating an All-Star Space

Attention, Sports Fans! With baseball season in full swing, you want to maximize your television’s viewing possibilities before the World Series rolls around. Whether you get a new big screen from Paul’s TV in Art Van, or just plan to make the most of your current set, there are a few basic guidelines to make sure your television set-up hits a home run.

Westwind Entertainment Collection

The size of your TV often depends on the room. For a kitchen or bedroom, you can easily view something like a 24-inch screen, but for a family room or home theater, you should go as big as your space and budget will allow. Start by measuring the room you’ll use. If the TV will be against a wall, that space should be at least a foot wider than the base of the screen, to allow for the frame and ventilation (you don’t want it overheating during the seventh inning stretch). If the TV is on a console or in a wall unit, there will be six inches to a foot of space behind it, bringing it further into the room. The TV should be proportional to the furniture, or you risk having an off-kilter room, or worse: damaging your expensive equipment on a too-small console.

Your room’s seating is also very important when deciding the right TV size. For rooms with seven or eight feet between the sofa and the TV, 32 or 36 inches is a good size screen. For a larger room, with 10-12 feet between the sofa or recliner and TV, you can go as big as 50 inches. Keep in mind, sitting too close to large screen may cause the pixels to be distracting and make it hard to watch. But if you’re too far away, you’ll miss the “movie theater” impact, and all those slo-mo replays and “outta the park” hits will lose their thrill factor.

By carefully choosing your furniture—and television—you can make the most out of summer sports, and have a rocking room the rest of the year.

Great Shots from the MARKET

Mr. Van discussing industry trends with Ellen Gefen, host of The Home show
Rustic accents set the mood
You never know who you'll meet at Market!
Ecclectic accents at Hooker Furniture
Create a Sanctuary with new Hooker Furniture styles
Art Van VP Amelia Ellenstein starring in a video from Sam Moore Showroom at Market
A Sweet Seat – a chair made of candy at Rowe Furniture