Retail icon reflects on how writing historic check in 1990 has impacted him, his family, city he loves.
WARREN, Mich. - Nov. 11, 2015 // PRNewswire // - Thanksgiving has long been Art Van Elslander's favorite holiday. This year, it holds particular significance for the founder and chairman of Art Van Furniture as he reflects upon the 25th anniversary of writing a personal check in 1990 to save Detroit's iconic Thanksgiving Day parade.
It was a quarter century ago when a member of Van Elslander's Art Van Furniture management team informed him in the "eleventh hour" that America's Thanksgiving Parade® was in grave financial peril and scheduled for cancellation. When he asked and was told how much money was needed to make sure the event would go on, he wrote the check without hesitation.
"I made the decision on the spot," said Van Elslander. "And to this day it was one of the best decisions I have ever made."
Since his historic donation, Van Elslander has awakened at dawn each Thanksgiving morning to travel the three mile Thanksgiving parade route. His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have walked or ridden on parade floats annually, creating a family tradition that bonds the generations.
"My grandchildren and great grandchildren have never known Thanksgiving without being in the parade," said Van Elslander.
Art Van Furniture has been a major contributor to the parade annually for the past 25 years. In 2013, the Midwest's No. 1 furniture and mattress retailer became the iconic parade's presenting sponsor, and America's Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van Furniture has become recognized by U.S. News & World Report Travel as one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country. It is the second largest Thanksgiving parade in the United States.
In 2014, in a partnership of two iconic brands, the retailer commissioned a float to celebrate Motown's 55 year musical legacy. This year, Van Elslander will be joined by Robin Terry, Motown Museum's CEO and niece of Motown founder Berry Gordy, during the parade on Thursday, November 26.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of Van Elslander saving America's Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van, Art Van Furniture will debut its charming new "Keeping the Magic Alive" float, designed and built by The Parade Company. The 110 foot long float features a giant, smoke-breathing dragon, a winter wonderland snow globe with a castle that pops out, rocking horses, and an enchanted, magic wand-waving wizard.
"The parade is one of Detroit's jewels," said Van Elslander. "This spectacular event spotlights Detroit at its finest, and I plan to make sure it's around for years to come."
For more information, visit artvan.com.
Art Van Furniture is the Midwest's largest furniture retailer and America's largest independent furniture retailer. The company operates 98 stores throughout Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana, including freestanding Art Van PureSleep mattress stores, Art Van Flooring stores, Art Van Furniture franchise locations, and freestanding Scott Shuptrine Interiors Galleries as well as a full service e-commerce website. Founded in 1959, the company is family-owned and headquartered in Warren, Michigan. Visit artvan.com for more information.
SOURCE Art Van Furniture