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200 Jobs to Be Created in Burke County

Carolina Artisan Group announced today it will create 200 new jobs in Valdese, North Carolina. Focusing on American made furniture, the Carolina Artisan Group is a joint venture between Art Van Furniture, Michigan’s largest furniture chain, and Kellex Corporation.

The new company is a powerful partnership that will design and develop quality custom and semi-custom living room and family room seating for the discerning customer who appreciates style, comfort and quality. The bonus for consumers is that this quality will come at a tremendous value. The upshot for Burke County and the State of North Carolina is the creation of 200 new jobs.

The launch of Carolina Artisan Group will be officially announced at a news conference on Friday, September 10, 2010, at 3:30 p.m. at 501 Hoyle Street in Valdese. North Carolina Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Dale Carroll, along with Art Van CEO Kim Yost and Kellex owner Charles Rice, will be on hand for the announcement.

The Carolina Artisan Group Story

In 2009, Art Van Furniture owner Art Van Elslander began searching for an opportunity to launch his own upholstery company. Van Elslander has had a life-long passion for upholstery and wanted to make sure that his products be made in America, in a community with a rich artisan history. He could have chosen any community in the U.S., but because of their similar values and the tremendous resource of people and suppliers, he chose to partner with Kellex Corporation in Valdese, North Carolina.

Owners of both companies saw that today?s consumers are demanding more for their dollar. Higher quality, faster delivery, and longer-lasting products are essential in meeting the needs of today?s buyer.

When asked about the new joint venture, Van Elslander said: ?We see this as a win-win for everyone involved. We are fulfilling a consumer demand for high quality, affordable products made in America. And North Carolina with its rich history and talented pool of artisans is the epitome of craftsmanship in the furniture industry. We could not have asked for a better suited partnership.?

For his part, Kellex Corporation?s Charles Rice said: ?The opportunity to partner with an icon in the furniture industry, Art Van Furniture, not only makes good business sense, but the leadership style and commitment to the U.S. furniture industry matches the beliefs and values of Kellex Corporation. As Art said, it truly is a win-win partnership.?

The Carolina Artisan Group Collections

Six new collections of Carolina Artisan Group living room and family room seating will be available in Art Van Furniture stores by mid-October 2010. For the launch, all furniture produced in Burke County, North Carolina, by Carolina Artisan Group, will be sold exclusively by Art Van Furniture. This joint venture of Art Van and Kellex is expected to expand upon a strong legacy that both well-respected names bring to the furniture industry.

Art Van Furniture

Art Van Furniture, Michigan’s largest furniture retailer, opened for business in 1959 with one employee and one 4,000-square-foot retail store. Today, the company owns and operates 35 stores, employs more than 2,500 associates, and has experienced significant growth even amidst a struggling economy. Art Van has recently added 250 associates and opened three new furniture stores and three new free standing bedding stores.

Kellex Corporation

Kellex Corporation, a leading manufacturer and supplier of high quality commercial upholstered furniture for the Hospitality and Healthcare industries, was founded in 1994 and is originally based in North Ridgeville, Ohio. The company opened a new plant in Valdese, NC in 2008.


Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

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