Art Van Dies at 87

Art Van Elslander, founder of Art Van Furniture, has passed away at 87 years old.

Metro Detroit Businessman Art Van Elslander has died. He was 87 years old.

Van Elslander opened his first furniture store in 1959 on Gratiot and 10 Mile Road. Art Van Furniture became one of the nation’s largest independent furniture retailers.

Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah says he has many fond memories working with the beloved philanthropist.

“He was always charming. Always, always upbeat. Always very positive about the city and what was happening I just really enjoyed being around him. And again he will be missed. He was a great business leader and a great philanthropist,” Baruah says.

Van Elslander was a big benefactor to organizations like Focus:HOPE and Forgotten Harvest, and most notably the Parade Company, host of Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving DayParade.

Art Van Elslander is survived by his wife Mary Ann and ten children. Funeral arrangements have not been completed yet.