The Art Van Furniture stores in Battle Creek and Portage are back from the dead.

According to an announcement late last week, those two Art Van stores along with sixteen others (and stores from the former Levin's and Wolf's, in other states) will become Loves Furniture. The goal is to have the stores opening as Loves later this summer. The hiring process has begun and many former employees left unemployed by the former company's bankruptcy will likely be re-hired.

Loves Furniture will be the new name of 18 former Art Van stores in Michigan and across the Midwest. (Loves Furniture website)

The new company, founded earlier this year by investor Jeff Love, will be headquartered in metro Detroit. Its stated goal is to hire approximately 1000 employees.

In an interview with the Detroit Free-Press, the new company's president, Matthew Damiani, a former Art Van executive and Michigan native, said Loves will take a different approach to furniture shopping, incorporating their website for sales, and will attempt to make the sales experience less high pressure.

Art Van was founded in Detroit, in 1959 by Art Van Elslander. The company grew to being one of the biggest furniture retailers in the country, but was sold to venture capitalists Thomas H. Lee and Company three years ago, which failed to keep the company successful and profitable. Art Van filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and closed all its stores. The subsequent liquidation process was complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

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