Robert Levin is at the head of the table once again. After earlier attempts to reacquire his family’s furniture business failed, Levin announced on May 19 that he had reached an agreement to buy the Levin Furniture brand out of bankruptcy and will serve as the new company’s chairman of the board.
“We have worked tirelessly over the past two months for an opportunity to buy back the Levin Furniture brand,” said Levin in a statement.
Pending approval by the bankruptcy court in the coming weeks, Levin Furniture will reopen selected stores in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
“My goals have always been to protect as many jobs as possible for Levin associates, and to continue to serve our loyal customers,” added Levin. “Today’s agreement is the first step in accomplishing those goals,”
Levin first attempted to purchase the Pennsylvania and Ohio assets of Levin Furniture and Wolf Furniture through a court restructuring of parent company Art Van Furniture, LLC months earlier. That deal crumbled when Art Van Furniture filed for bankruptcy in March 2020.
“My heart broke when I read the stories of customers who made deposits, and who were left with nothing when the company suddenly closed leaving them with no one to contact for help since all employees had been let go,” said Levin. “We will help those customers who have been unable to get refunds. We have been working on ways that our new company can provide solutions including fulfilling their orders. Our customers are the heart and soul of Levin Furniture’s business.”
Last month, Levin sent checks for more than $1,500 to eligible Pennsylvania employees of Levin Furniture and Wolf Furniture. In an April 23 letter, issued along with each check, Levin wrote: “I can’t express how heartbroken I am for the disappointment that occurred when I was unable to buy back the company.”
“My motivation to rescue the business was based on my concern for you and for the customers that have supported us all for many years,” the letter continued. “When I was informed that the stores were closing, and the sale was off because of issues with lenders and the pandemic, I felt that our hopes had been swept away.”
“This gift from me is tax free and does not need to be paid back. Please use it for health care premiums or for any expenses or needs you may have,” Levin wrote.
Levin plans on opening several locations this summer, with headquarters based in Pittsburgh. Matt Schultz and John Schultz will serve as co-CEOs of the new company, while Levin will serve as chairman of the board.
“The Schultz Family has been in the furniture business for 80 years and operates stores in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Their family shares the same values as Levin’s in putting employees and customers first,” said Levin. “This year is Levin Furniture’s 100th Anniversary. I am so pleased to be able to continue the story of Levin Furniture, and to have something that we all can celebrate.” PJC
– Adam Reinherz