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Wolf Furniture bought by growing Michigan-based chain

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The Altoona-based Wolf Furniture chain has been purchased, ending more than a century as an independent business.

The buyer is Michigan-based Art Van Furniture LLC, which operates more than 100 stores.

Recently recapitalized in a partnership with Boston-based private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, Art Van also is buying Pittsburgh-based Levin Furniture.

"Today’s acquisitions of these two well-established furniture retailers – both intricately woven into the fabric of their communities – underscores a transformative new era of thoughtful expansion at Art Van Furniture," Kim Yost, president and CEO of Art Van Furniture, said in a statement. "From their commitment to their customers to their long-standing histories and corporate cultures, Levin and Wolf are a perfect fit for Art Van’s growing family of brands."

The sales will not result in any layoffs. The terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

Founded in 1959, Art Van is based in Warren, Mich. The purchase of Wolf and Levin will bring its store total to 176 in nine states and its employee count to 5,500.

The company's store brands include Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep, Art Van Flooring and Scott Shuptrine Interiors. Wolf and Levin stores will continue to operate under their existing names.

Founded in 1902, Wolf has five stores spread across Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties, as well as one in Franklin County. The chain also has stores in Maryland and Virginia, including some under the Gardiner Wolf brand.

"Wolf Furniture will benefit from Art Van’s enormous buying power, warehouse and distribution capacity and services," Wolf said in a statement.

Wolf's CEO, Doug Wolf, expressed confidence in the company's future under the Art Van umbrella.

Wolf is no stranger to mergers and acquisitions. It bought Gardiners Furniture in 2015.

Consolidation is likely to continue in the industry, noted Art Van spokesperson Diane Charles.

Larger chains can exercise greater buying power, and can pass on savings to consumers, she said.

"There's no question about it, it's tough for the mom and pops to compete and furniture is one of the last businesses to consolidate " she said. "You're seeing a lot of it."

Founded in 1902, Levin has 35 stores in southwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio.

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Joel Berg

Joel Berg

Joel Berg is editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Born in Philadelphia, raised in Northern Virginia and now living in York, he's a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and the University of Maryland. Have a question or story idea? Email him at jberg@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JoelBYorkPa.

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