Rubin: Art Van is still headed to Detroit — plus more

Neal Rubin
The Detroit News

The Parade VIP Pancake Breakfast is just your typical 7 a.m. business meeting, except that everyone is smiling and then the governor shows up.

Also, there’s a breakfast buffet — and there’s Art Van Elslander, promising to bring even more to the party.

At last year’s kickoff for the annual America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van, Art Van told me he was planning to put an Art Van furniture store downtown. Friday morning, he said the location would more likely be Midtown ... and not only that, he’s bringing the city a Pure Sleep mattress store and a sofa factory.

In other news from the 17th annual breakfast, Gov. Rick Snyder flipped ceremonial pancakes even though a year ago, a bank president told him that his flapjacks looked like a crime scene.

Also, as more than 800 movers and shakers packed the Parade Company float barn on Mount Elliott, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan gave details on his upcoming spin as a chauffeur.

But the big news, hot off the griddle, came from Van Elslander.

His company is nearing a decision on the site for its Detroit Art Van store, he said; figure a year after the signing of the lease before the building is remodeled and the first furniture goes out the door.

The mattress store also is in the where-should-we-put-it phase, and the factory is actually in Mississippi. But it’s making a model called the Detroit Sofa, with an upper-middle price point of about $1,200, and he said production will move here when he finds a suitable 100,000-square-foot facility.

“We designed it here, and we wanted to train people in Detroit to make it,” said Van Elslander, 86.

Stay tuned for more information — and more pancakes — in a year.

By then, Duggan’s career behind the wheel will have waxed and waned.

He’s not usually in the parade, he said, but on Thanksgiving Day, he’ll be driving living legend Judge Damon Keith down Woodward Avenue.

The parade, of course, is an even bigger breakfast meeting than the one Friday. Weather permitting, it’ll have even more smiles.