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Young Appliance first Art Van Furniture franchisee

WARREN, Mich. - Art Van Furniture has found its first franchisee in Young Appliance, a longtime retailer of primarily electronics and appliances in Alpena, Mich., in the Northeast region of the state.
     Led by fourth-generation owners Bob and Naoko Young, the 33,000-square-foot showroom will undergo a major remodel over the next few months. Young will convert more than 20,000 square feet, including warehouse space, to Art Van Furniture, with an Art Van PureSleep department and a clearance center.
     The franchise fee and other financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Art Van declined to a projected sales figure but David Braun, Art Van's director of franchise development and operations, said, "We think we will at least double their sales."
     The store, which goes by Young's and is preparing to celebrate 112 years in business, will change its name to Art Van Furniture/Young's. The furniture offering will come entirely from Art Van, delivered from its warehouse, Braun said.
     Among the new suppliers to the store: Flexsteel, Tempur-Pedic, England and private label lines carried by the Top 100 company, which operates 34 Art Van full-line stores, six freestanding Art Van PureSleep bedding stores and 29 Mattress World stores in Michigan and Indiana.
     Young's, a longtime member of the BrandSource buying group, will continue to carry its existing furniture lines, primarily Ashley, Coaster, Broyhill and Lane, but now it can expect delivery within two days instead of week, said Katie Young, one of three Young children involved in the business. She heads marketing, sales and other areas.
     The store won't include a Paul's TV electronics department, common to other Art Van stores, but is looking at adding Art Van's World of Floors flooring department, Katie Young said.
     Earlier this year, Art Van announced plans to franchise its full-line stores in smaller markets in Michigan, preferably with the No. 1 or No. 2 existing furniture store in each market. This was on top of previously announced plans to franchise the Pure-Sleep concept nationally.
     Art Van CEO Kim Yost said at the time that he expected the Art Van franchisees would be in the 30,000-to 35,000-square-foot range in size and doing less than $5 million in annual sales.
     He also estimated it would cost existing furniture stores $250,000 to $300,000 to convert. Braun said he couldn't say how much the Young's conversion will cost because the two parties are still working out the extent of remodeling work.
     "We are so excited to be a part of one of the strongest brands in the state and to offer our guests more selection and more value," Bob Young said in a release. While the name is changing, he noted the Young family will run the business and "continue to be a part of the community."
     "We already are No. 1 in electronics and appliances," Katie Young said. "This franchise allows us to be No. 1 in all areas of our store."
     Young's is planning to hire 10 additional employees to staff the store and has slated the grand opening for Jan. 1.
     Katie Young's brothers Benjamin and Jason are active in the business, as is Bob Young's sister, Mary Young, who is secretary, treasurer and office manager.
     "The Youngs have retail in their blood and we believe this is a perfect fit for the Art Van family," Yost said in the release.
     Diane Charles, Art Van director of corporate communications, said additional franchise announcements are expected by year's end.

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