Art Van and Jennifer Hudson: The Art of Wow!

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The Art of Wow says it all! The Art Van Grand Opening event in Downers Grove, Illinois was an enchanting summer event with Chicago’s who’s who still talking about it. Dressed in their summer chic attire, the VIP guest list consisted of Oscar award-winning actress and songstress Jennifer Hudson, world-renown fashion photographer Nigel Barker, HGTV’s star of Love It Or List It Hilary Farr, city officials, and athletes coming together to honor and celebrate the success and empire of one amazing man…Art Van Elslander.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony of Elslander’s new furniture location was the mark of 55 years in the business and steady expansion across the country. Over 47 booming stores with a brand and legacy that speaks of nothing but quality, style, sophistication, and prestige, the 85-year-old mogul had a lot to be dancing about on this exciting night. Greeted at the door by men on stilts dressed in tuxedos and top hats with violinists playing Flo Rida and Adele’s Good Feeling and statuesque models decorated in the Art Van logo, guests knew they were in for an experience they would never forget.

The 112,000 square feet of retail space on two floors accommodated over 1,500 exclusively invited guests with an open bar at every turn, elaborate spreads of delicious cuisines in every corner, a live band, and top security protecting guests and the high-end furniture decor for sale. The line to the step and repeat for the handsome Nigel Barker was endless as fans of the international photographer could not wait to get their copy of his new book Models of Influence personally autographed. Sound sensors lit up on the wrist of every guest to alert them to head to the second floor for the pièce de résistance Grammy award-winning diva Jennifer Hudson. Stunning in all white, Hudson took to the stage powerful, giving much respect to Elslander. Singing her hits If This Isn’t Love, Think Like A Man, And I Am Telling I’m Not Going, All Dressed In Love from the Sex And The City soundtrack, and the list continues, Hudson invited the Art Van family on stage to let their hair down. Elslander, showing off his smooth dance moves, brought 1,500 people to their feet as he showed ’em…he still got it.

With all the excitement, guests had to be reminded that Art Van was open for business and ready to do business at the party. Furniture that is much too pretty to touch, attendees took photos of the beautiful works of art that would soon be delivered to their new home. Living room, dining room, and bedroom designs from classic to urban were conversation pieces for guests to network and connect. Elslander touched every heart in the room as he took everyone back to the beginning working in a Detroit furniture store as a young man. In just a few short years, he was ready for a bigger challenge and opened his own store on Gratiot Avenue and 10 Mile Road in 1959. His founding philosophy was to provide the community with quality furniture at great prices, with always high standards of customer service. He succeeded.

Overlooking the spacious warehouse, Elslander stood powerful, remembering the journey. His legacy sparkling and shining all around him, Elslander looked to be the happiest man on Earth. Though his road was not an easy one filled with setbacks and disappointments, it must be nice to stand in the middle of a dream come true and simply say to yourself…wow.

About Meleika Gardner

Recognizing that people are struggling in life, Meleika Gardner provides inspiration and a welcoming distraction that goes beyond the glitz and glamour of the rich and powerful to fearlessly report…the real. Prior to branching off on her own as an independent writer, she held a staff editorial position for The Guardian Liberty Voice online news publication. Having been immersed in the good, the bad, and the ugly of the business world as well as the Hollywood music, film, and television scene for many years, readers look forward to Meleika's fresh perspective. Read more from this author.