Harlem Furniture is steeped in history. Named Harlem Furniture because of its flagship location on Harlem Avenue, the company was founded by Sam Berman in 1912 in downtown Chicago, where he sold furniture door-to-door. The retailer sells furniture by the room at a discount and operates nearly 25 retail stores, primarily in Illinois, under The RoomPlace banner. Private equity firms Pouschine Cook Capital Management, Bear Growth Capital Partners, and Mercantile Capital bought a controlling stake in Harlem Furniture in 2005. The move eventually spurred a change in the executive suite. In November 2009, founder Berman's grandson, Bruce, left as president and CEO; he remains on the board and as a shareholder.
Soon after, industry veteran Steve Giordano was appointed as the company's CEO in March 2010. Giordano joined the executive suite at Harlem Furniture from the RoomStore, where he was COO. He was sought to head the furniture retailer for his expertise in merchandising, marketing, and operations. Giordano also has been charged with improving Harlem Furniture's bottom line, as sales in the furniture industry had slowed during the economic downturn.
Under new ownership and with deeper pockets for more funding opportunities, the company has opened a handful of new stores in Illinois and Indiana. Harlem Furniture is looking to expand further into the Indianapolis area, as well as other strong markets within a 200-mile radius of its distribution center.
To attract customers in the highly competitive Chicago area market, Harlem Furniture launched an ad campaign called "Live What's Next" to spotlight its The RoomPlace collection of value-priced room groups. The company aims to have its finger on the pulse of the latest products, colors, and designs. – less