News, State Feed

Art Van Furniture Names Ronald Boire President and Chief Executive Officer

WARREN, Mich. - Art Van Furniture (“Art Van” or “the Company”), the Midwest's No. 1 furniture and mattress retailer, today announced that Ronald (“Ron”) Boire, a retail industry veteran with extensive leadership experience, will be joining the Company as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 30, 2018. Mr. Boire will be succeeding Kim Yost, who recently announced his retirement after 9 years with the Company. 

Mr. Boire comes to Art Van with over 35 years of experience in the retail industry, having previously served in senior executive positions, including President and CEO roles, at a wide variety of retail and consumer electronics companies, such as Barnes & Noble, Inc., Sony Electronics, Inc., Best Buy, Toys R Us, Inc., Brookstone, Inc., and Sears Canada, Inc. Prior to joining Art Van, he most recently served as a Principal at The Upland Group, an advisory firm specializing in the development, leadership, and execution of transformational strategies for retail and consumer product companies.

“Ron is a tremendous addition to the Art Van family,” said Kim Yost. “He is a charismatic and dynamic leader, who has an innate passion for the customer and shares our love for product and for sales. He also brings ‘war stories’ from many other sectors of retail, which will be invaluable as Art Van continues to transform the business into the leading all-home omni-channel retailer in the United States. I have the utmost confidence in Ron’s ability to lead the Art Van, Levin, and Wolf brands through the next chapter of growth and success.”

“I am very excited about the opportunity to join Art Van,” said Mr. Boire. “The furniture and mattress industry is going through a time of significant change and the Art Van portfolio of brands are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the opportunities present in this evolving landscape. I am incredibly impressed by the deep customer loyalty that has come from the decades of history in each brand’s local communities. I look forward to partnering with our highly talented team of associates and partners to build on that strong foundation, as we strive to deliver an industry-leading guest experience.”

“We thank Kim for the leadership and guidance he has provided to the Company through this year of transition, and wish him well in his retirement,” said Jeff Swenson, Managing Director of Thomas H. Lee Partners. “Looking ahead, we are thrilled with Ron’s decision to join Art Van. His deep expertise in retail management and extensive experience leading transformational and omni-channel strategies focused on delivering best-in-class customer experiences – both online and in stores – will be incredibly valuable as we build on a long and storied history of growth for the Art Van, Levin, and Wolf brands.” 

About Ronald Boire

Mr. Boire comes to Art Van with over 35 years of experience in the retail industry, having most recently served as a Principal at The Upland Group, where he advised companies on the leadership and process improvement required to implement and fund transformation in a rapidly changing industry. Prior to The Upland Group, Mr. Boire served as Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc., the world’s largest retail bookseller. He has also held senior executive positions, including President and CEO roles, at a number of retail and consumer electronics companies, such as Sears Canada, Inc., Brookstone, Inc., Toys R Us, Inc., Best Buy, and Sony Electronics, Inc. Mr. Boire has served as a director of various retail industry organizations, including the Retail Council of Canada and the Retail Industry Leaders Association. In addition to his business activities, Mr. Boire is a co-founder of the Ferguson Noonan Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity focused on educating under-privileged children, and has been involved with several other philanthropic organizations, including as a Board Member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Additionally, Mr. Boire was a recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s S. David Feir International Humanitarian Award. Mr. Boire has MBA’s from Columbia University and the London Business School. 

About Art Van Furniture, LLC

Art Van Furniture, LLC is the Midwest's No. 1 furniture and mattress retailer with 185 stores in nine states operating under the following brands: Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep, Art Van Flooring, Scott Shuptrine Interiors, Levin Furniture, Wolf Furniture and Gardiner Wolf Furniture. Founded in 1959, the Company is headquartered in Warren, Mich. Visit for more information. 

About Levin Furniture

Founded in 1902, Levin Furniture has 35 furniture and mattress showrooms and clearance centers in Northeastern Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit 

About Wolf Furniture

Wolf Furniture was founded in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1902, and purchased Maryland-based Gardiners Furniture in 2015. The company has 18 furniture showrooms in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. For more information, visit 

About Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.

Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (“THL”) is a premier private equity firm investing in middle market growth companies, headquartered in North America, exclusively in four industry sectors: Healthcare, Business & Financial Services, Consumer & Retail, and Media, Information Services & Technology. Using the firm's deep domain expertise and the internal operating capabilities of its Strategic Resource Group, THL seeks to create deal sourcing advantages, and to accelerate growth and improve operations in its portfolio companies in partnership with management teams.  Since its founding in 1974, THL has raised over $22 billion of equity capital, acquired over 140 portfolio companies and completed over 360 add-on acquisitions which collectively represent a combined enterprise value at the time of acquisition of over $200 billion.


DES MOINES – Republican candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture Craig Lang announced his statewide steering committee today, saying its six members from across the state represent “my vision of creating to profitable future for rural Iowa.”


“When I began my campaign last December, I pledged to bring Iowans together to improve the state’s soil health, water quality and rural economy.  Today marks another step in fulfilling that promise to Iowans,” Lang said at a Statehouse news conference. “I’m humbled and honored to have the support of what I call the ‘super-six ag leadership team.’ Each one of them is known and respected for his and her accomplishments, vision and effort to make our state better today, tomorrow and far into the future.”


Lang’s statewide steering committee includes:


·         Steve Berger, a Wellman grain and livestock farmer who has built a conservation legacy throughout the state for his extensive efforts to promote the use of cover crops and no-till practices to promote soil health. Berger, who plants more than 2,000 acres of cover crops the protect the soil during the off-season, holds cover-cropping programs for farmers across the country who are seeking to reduce their use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. “Craig is a successful family farmer, entrepreneur and businessman who can oversee and manage a department while providing leadership during challenging times in agriculture.  He has the experience of leading a large organization as the Iowa Farm Bureau and recognizes the challenges that go with bringing ideas and people together for a common goal,” Berger said.


·         Former legislator Sandy Greiner, a fifth-generation family farmer. During her 20 years in the Iowa General Assembly, Greiner served on the Senate Agriculture Committee and chaired the House Environmental Protection Committee and the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. “I’ve been watching Craig Lang’s career for 20 years.  He’s been a strong advocate for all of agriculture,” Greiner said.


·         Mark Leonard, a Holstein businessman and livestock producer. Leonard provides financial planning and financing options for agricultural and commercial ventures. An Iowa Ag Development Authority board member, he has owned and operated Leonard Limousin Inc., specializing in merchandising live animals and breeding, since 1971.   His company is one of the nation’s oldest Limousin cattle breeding firms with customers in more than 40 states and 23 countries. "One of the big reasons I decided to support Craig is that we have never had an activist secretary of agriculture.  Craig is a man who is not afraid to express his opinions and I know he will never shirk from the difficult discussions and decisions involved in being Iowa's secretary of agriculture," Leonard said.


·         Mike Olson of Pella. Olson, who is a community banker with Lincoln Savings Bank in Grinnell, is active in government outreach for the Iowa Bankers Association and represents Iowa on the American Bankers Association's Banker Advocacy and Grassroots Committee in Washington, D.C.  Olson is a retired lieutenant colonel who served in the Iowa Army National Guard for 29 years. “I have known Craig for over 20 years and he is certainly a leader in agriculture.  His deep commitment to the success of small towns and rural areas of Iowa is admirable and worthy of support,” Olson said.


·         Mark Peterson, a Stanton farmer and president of Practical Farmers of Iowa. Mark and his wife Melanie farm about 500 acres and have been experimenting for several years with different farming methods to retain nutrients in their soil and protect nearby water quality by planting cover crops and implementing no-till practices.I met Craig for the first time in January and was immediately impressed with his passion for soil health and water quality. As we discussed further and I came to realize Craig's enthusiasm for rural Iowa revitalization and development, I knew Craig would be the right candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture. He is the one that I support and all Iowans can support,” Peterson said.


·         Bryan Sievers, a fifth-generation Scott County farmer and former state legislator. Sievers is a leader on his own farm when it comes to renewable energy.  Sievers owns and manages AgriReNew, which focuses on producing renewable energy and electricity from biomass, crop residues, animal waste, and agricultural processing waste. "Craig Lang will work tirelessly to represent Iowa's farmers and rural communities,” Sievers said. “The leadership he's demonstrated and the commitment Craig's made to agriculture while focusing on enhancing our natural resources, including the air we breathe, the land we farm, and the water we drink represent the qualities we need from the individual who will serve as Iowa's next secretary of agriculture."


Lang pledged to “embrace and support technologies” that reduce and eliminate the need for fossil fuels.  that provide solutions to dealing with the eventuality of a world without fossil fuels, as well as providing cleaner burning energy for the environment. He said guidance from Berger and Peterson will be invaluable in reaching his goal for farmers to voluntarily increase their cover crop acreage from the current 1 million to 5 million within five years and to protect and regenerate the state’s 29 million acres of farmland.


Lang said Greiner’s experience will add to his effectiveness as an advocate for Iowa farmers as he works with legislators and various local, state and federal decision makers to craft policies and legislation. “Mark Leonard’s experience will be instrumental in helping us achieve my goal of doubling our state’s bovine industry as a way to improve soil health and bring jobs and prosperity to rural Iowa,” he said.


Lang noted that the state’s healthiest local economies are anchored by strong community banks. He will rely on guidance from Olson “as we seek to provide more support for young farmers and rural entrepreneur networks and lead the discussion about the importance of rural investment capital and strategic rural ventures.”


“I've surrounded myself with these great people, who are among the brightest minds in our state, for a simple reason: we're all in this together as Iowans.  We face great challenges and we have tremendous opportunities.  We will succeed together or fail together,” Lang said. “I'm an optimist and a realist ‒ and I know we will succeed if we chart the right course and work together to achieve our common goal of healthy soil, improved water quality and a robust rural economy.”


For more information on Lang and his candidacy, visit


BROOKLYN, Iowa – How President Trump reacts to a reported White House meeting with renewable fuels industry representatives today could be the make-or-break difference for many farmers, bio-fuels producers and the Midwest economy, Republican candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture Craig Lang said.

“Agriculture was already reeling from the one-two punch of a low commodity prices and high production costs. China’s proposed tariffs on soybeans, pork, beefs and other farm products in recent days has been another body blow that we’ve had to absorb,” Lang said. “The last thing we need is for federal officials to give in to Big Oil and fail to uphold the promises made in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel in increasing amounts each year, reaching 36 billion gallons by 2022 in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. The White House meeting, which was first reported by DTN/The Progressive Farmer on Friday, was prompted by concerns that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will weaken the mandate in response to efforts by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and oil interests to contain RFS compliance costs.

“We’re not asking for anything new or outrageous. We’re only asking that the federal government honor the policy and promises that were the basis for investments in ethanol production here in Iowa and across the country. A failure to uphold those promises would further depress corn prices,” said Lang, a former Farm Bureau president. “When President Trump meets with renewable fuels advocates today, he needs to understand that they are the voice for thousands of farmers and agribusiness people, especially in the Midwest, whose very livelihood depends on him keeping those promises.”

For more information on Lang and his candidacy, visit

Registration open for Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Championships

Register now through Thursday, May 10, 2018, for the Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Championships.

The Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Championships event was founded in 2015 to continue the tradition of the Hershey® Track and Field Games in Iowa. Like its predecessor, the Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Championships is a no-fee state-wide event that requires no special equipment to participate. Local meets are hosted all around Iowa, giving participants a chance to compete in their hometowns. Local meet champions will have the opportunity to participate in the state meet held in Marshalltown.  

The Iowa City event, hosted by Iowa City Parks and Recreation, will be held on Friday, May 18 at Raffensperger Track, Bates Field (City High), located at 1900 Morningside Drive. The track will open at 5 p.m. for warm-ups; races begin at 5:45 p.m.

Youth must be age 9-14 to participate. Participants must compete in his/her age division based off of what age the participant is as of December 31, 2018. All athletes must reside in Iowa, and can only participate in one local meet or they will be disqualified from meet in-progress and shall not advance to the state competition.

Volunteers are needed! Iowa City Parks and Recreation is looking for volunteers to help with the meet. If you are interested, contact Matt Eidahl at

For more information or to register, visit


WASHINGTON, Iowa – Republican candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture Craig Lang said the trade skirmish that has prompted China to impose a 25-percent tariff on U.S. pork is bad for the Iowa economy and he called on federal officials to “find a solution to get us back on the right track.”


China imposed a tariff on U.S. pork and more than 100 other products in response to tariffs that President Trump imposed on Chinese steel and aluminum. The United States is the world’s top pork producer and Iowa is the nation’s top pork-producing state. More than $1 billion of U.S. pork was shipped last year to China.


Lang said trade embargoes and tariff wars hurt America’s reputation as a reliable producer of agriculture products and drive customers to other sources, such as Brazil and the European Union.


“Iowa’s farmers have always stepped up and done what’s right for our country, but all too often they get stepped on by government policies that hurt their ability to produce and make a living,” said Lang, a fifth-generation dairy, beef and crop farmer from Poweshiek County. “Once again, federal policies are hitting agriculture hard. Farmers already have enough unpredictability in their lives with the weather and other factors. I hope the Trump administration will ease tensions, take action that encourages China to remove its tariff on pork and other agricultural products and foster the type of free trade that benefits American agriculture instead of hurting it.”


“Farmers are already struggling with profitability; they shouldn’t be forced to shoulder the burden of tariffs,” said Lang, a former Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president. “I would encourage the current administration to recognize the impact this situation has already had on the agriculture sector and the extremely negative effects it will have going forward. The administration needs to find a solution to get us back on the right track in short order.”


For more information on Lang and his candidacy, visit

Craig Lang to participate in Tuesday candidate forum in northeast Iowa

BROOKLYN, Iowa – Iowa secretary of agriculture candidate Craig Lang will participate in a candidate forum on Tuesday at the Arlington Community Event Center in Arlington in northeast Iowa. 

The “Decision 2018 – Faces of Iowa Agriculture” event, sponsored by the Iowa Corn Growers Association, will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a meal. Chip Flory of KOEL Radio will moderate. The event is open to the public. 

“I look forward to addressing any and all topics the moderator chooses. If it’s important to Iowans, it’s important to me,” said Lang, a fifth-generation family farmer and cattleman from Brooklyn, Iowa. “There are many topics that unite us all as Iowans, including soil health, water quality and rural economic success. If I’m elected Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, I will address and advance each of those issues.” 

Lang was president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation for 10 years and served on the State Board of Regents. He was the first to announce his candidacy and file his papers for Iowa secretary of agriculture. 

For more information on Lang and his candidacy, visit

New Iowa License Plates to be Released in Coming Weeks

Iowa License PlateIOWA  —  Iowa’s new license plate design will soon be seen on cars around the state.

The new look was voted on during the Iowa State Fair last August.

The Des Moines Register reports the first eight counties to receive the new plates–due to low inventory–will have them within the next two weeks. The new plates are expected to reach all county treasurers’ offices by summer.


Eastern Iowa cities embrace medical marijuana

Safe, legal cannabis products may soon be coming to a dispensary near you.

State regulators are considering applications for medical marijuana dispensaries across the state, including one each in Cedar Rapids, Coralville and Iowa City.

Five dispensary licenses could be granted later this year by the Iowa Department of Public Health, part of the state’s fledgling medical marijuana program approved by state lawmakers last year.

We are encouraged to see strong interest in offering medical marijuana in Eastern Iowa, and even more pleased our local officials are supportive of the prospective businesses.



GOP ag secretary candidate bolsters Midwest governors’ RFS sentiment


URBANDALE – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Candidate Craig Lang said today that “any and all attempts” to weaken the Renewable Fuel Standard must be blocked.


Lang said he stands with Gov. Kim Reynolds, who sent a letter to President Donald Trump today thanking him for his support of the RFS and urging him to reject proposals designed to weaken or waive “this key pillar of the farm economy. Four other Midwestern governors -- Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard -- signed the letter with Reynolds.


“Ethanol and biodiesel supported 46,864 jobs throughout Iowa’s economy at the end of 2017. These industries generated $2.4 billion in income for Iowa’s households and accounted for more than $5 billion in the economy and 3.4 percent of Iowa’s gross domestic product,” sad Lang, a fifth-generation farmer from Brooklyn who was the first to announce his candidacy for Iowa’s top ag post. “Iowa is not only the nation’s top corn grower, but also leads the nation in corn-based ethanol production with a record output of 4.2 billion gallons from 43 refineries in 2017. As secretary of agriculture, I’ll work hard to defend the RFS against the virtually non-stop attacks from Big Oil and its allies.”


Lang, a Poweshiek County dairy farmer who served as president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation for 10 years, announced his candidacy last fall. He has traveled throughout the state for the past five months to share his commitment to improve Iowa’s soil health, water quality and rural economy. 


For more information on Lang and his candidacy, visit

Walmart, Kroger promised to switch to cage-free eggs. Obscure Iowa law could stop them.

Companies from McDonald’s to Walmart have recently flocked to cage-free eggs, fueling a national sales boom for a product many believe is more humane.

But in Iowa, the country’s largest egg-producing state, there are fears the trend has gone too far. And this week, lawmakers there passed an unusual bill that would require many stores to stock eggs from caged chickens – a move designed to stop retailers from phasing them out.

Although the law would only apply to stores’ Iowa locations, it’s intended to address a growing national dilemma. The country’s largest grocery chains have committed to cage-free eggs, sending shock waves through the industry – but consumers aren’t buying like they were expected.