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Levin trying to buy back furniture chain

The former owner of Levin Furniture has negotiated a deal in bankruptcy court to reacquire the brand, but it’s undetermined as of yet whether closed stores in Niles and in Boardman will reopen.

Those decisions and on which other stores will reopen will be made when the deal closes in a few weeks, according to a company official.

Robert Levin’s $25.7 million bid for assets and inventory is pending in U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware. Part of the offer contains $10 million set aside for customers of Ohio and Pennsylvania stores who lost out when owner Art Van Furniture filed bankruptcy and closed in March.

The transaction, which should be approved by the court soon, allows for a new Levin Furniture in Ohio and in Pennsylvania led by board chairman Levin and co-CEOs Matt and John Schultz, who operate Wisconsin-based Ashley Homestore with a store in Boardman.

Levin Furniture would remain headquartered in Pittsburgh.

Levin previously reached an agreement with Art Van Furniture LLC to buy back the company, but that deal fell apart when the company, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, closed its doors and terminated its employees.

Art Van attempted to restructure its debts under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but converted to Chapter 7 liquidation in April under stress of stay-at-home orders and the closure of nonessential businesses.

“We have worked tirelessly over the past two months for an opportunity to buy back the Levin Furniture brand,” Levin said, adding the agreement “is the first step in accomplishing those goals.”

More details on Levin’s proposed effort to help make customers whole will be posted to the store’s website when the court approves the deal.

Levin also created a $2 million fund to help employees of former Levin stores who lost their jobs in the Art Van bankruptcy.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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