BATAVIA – A Michigan-based furniture retailer has confirmed its intention to open a new store inside a vacant big box on Randall Road.
Friday, executives from Art Van Furniture formally announced the company’s plans to enter the Chicago market.
The company intends to open six retail stores, including one in Batavia, and a regional distribution center in Bolingbrook.
Other store locations will include Bolingbrook, Orland Park and two in Chicago, as well as a store in Merrillville, Ind.
Art Van Furniture said the store openings represent the first phase of its plans to open more than a dozen stores in the next three years.
In Michigan, the retailer operates more than three dozen stores, employing more than 2,700 workers.
The company expects to hire about 600 workers at its new Chicago area stores and distribution center.
An Art Van Furniture spokeswoman said the company expects the Batavia store to open in September.
The new store will employ 60 to 100 people, said Art Van spokeswoman Diane Charles.
The store will set up shop in the building at 165 N. Randall Road, which recently housed Wickes Furniture.
The property has been vacant, aside from seasonal occupancy by stores selling Halloween-related merchandise, since Wickes went out of business in 2008.
The property will be leased by Art Van Furniture from new property owners, Paragon Batavia, a corporation affiliated with Paragon Real Estate of Oak Brook.
Paragon purchased the soon-to-be Art Van Furniture location earlier this year for $3.5 million.
Charles said Art Van Furniture has “been getting requests for years to open stores” in the Chicago area.
She said Art Van Furniture believes Batavia “aligns nicely” with the company’s target customer demographic – women ages 35 to 50, who run a household.
Charles also noted Art Van believes it can fill a void in the local retail furniture market.
“There is no furniture or mattress store in the market like Art Van Furniture,” she said.