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Art Van Elslander, Founder and Chairman of Art Van Furniture, Receives First Ernst & Young Lifetime Achievement Award

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Art Van Elslander, founder and chairman of Art Van Furniture, received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award.  It is the first time the coveted honor has ever been awarded in the Michigan and Northwest Ohio division. According to Ernst & Young LLP, the award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who consistently demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success. Van Elslander was selected by an independent panel of judges, and the award was presented at a gala event at the MGM Grand on June 9, 2011.

"It's always nice to be recognized for your work," said Van Elslander, who has been in business for 52 years, "but when that recognition comes from your peers, it is a true honor.  The key to our success has been our unmatched customer service.  We always put the customer first, and do whatever it takes to make sure they are satisfied."

Art Van opened his first store in 1959, with a philosophy that is still the foundation of store operations today -- quality furniture, great prices, high standards of service. He was honored with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement award for more than 50 years of business success and contributions to the community. 

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Program celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, with Van Elslander being the first in Michigan and Ohio to be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Past notable winners of the general Entrepreneur of the Year Award have included Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, Arthur M. Blank of AMB Group, LLC (Home Depot, Atlanta Falcons), Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc., Ruth Fertel of Ruth's Chris Steak House, Inc., Maxine Clark of Build-a-Bear Workshop, Tom Adams of Rosetta Stone Inc., Matt Szulik of Red Hat, Inc., and last year's national winner, Howard Lutnick, Chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Capital Partners, Inc.


Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a national sponsor.

In Michigan and Northwest Ohio, sponsors include Charter One, Foley & Lardner LLP., Smart Business, University of Michigan – Dearborn, Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business, Hermanoff Public Relations and News/Talk 760 WJR Radio.

About Art Van Furniture: Art Van Furniture is Michigan's largest furniture retailer and America's largest independent furniture retailer. The company operates 34 stores in 33 communities throughout Michigan, a full service e-commerce website, plus three freestanding Art Van PureSleep bedding stores in Canton, Troy and Rochester Hills, Michigan. Founded in 1959, the company is family-owned and headquartered in Warren, Mich. Check out artvan.com for more information.

About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries.

About Ernst & Young: Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 141,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young LLP is a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited operating in the US. For more information about our organization, please visit www.ey.com

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