|Headquarters||Columbus, Ohio, United States|
|Number of locations||125|
|Parent||Schottenstein Stores Corp.|
American Signature, Inc. is a privately owned furniture company based in Columbus, Ohio. It is the parent company of the retail brands Value City Furniture and American Signature Furniture, and the manufacturer brand American Signature.
In the early 1900s, E.L. Schottenstein emigrated from Lithuania to Columbus, Ohio. To support his family, Schottenstein opened his first clothing store located at the corner of Parsons and Reeb. While he saw great success in clothing retail, he noticed a growing demand for furniture, which is why in the 1930s he decided to use the basement of his department store to sell furniture. His timing was perfect. After World War II, the country saw a major baby boom and the demand for furniture dramatically increased. His furniture sales skyrocketed, and he knew it was time to create a separate business dedicated to selling just furniture. In 1946, Schottenstein Stores Corporation was formed to operate both the department store and the furniture business. In 1948, E.L. Schottenstein’s son, Alvin, took over the furniture portion of the family company and Value City Furniture emerged as a separate entity of the business.
Alvin Schottenstein and Value City Furniture
With Alvin Schottenstein at the helm, Value City Furniture saw great prosperity and amazing growth throughout the years. He believed that the best way to deliver quality furniture at a great value to customers was to buy the factories that built the furniture, which in turn, would cut out middleman cost. In other words, the company started taking steps toward becoming vertically integrated. In the 1950s, Alvin purchased the company’s first manufacturing plant. In the 1960s, he purchased upholstery manufacturer Kroehler furniture. And in the 1970s, he expanded the Columbus distribution center to 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) to support an expanding chain of 28 stores in 4 states. For almost 30 years, Alvin helped to grow a furniture business that had started in the basement of his father’s department store. It was now time for Jerome Schottenstein to pass this tradition to his son, Jay.
Jay Schottenstein and American Signature, Inc.
In 1976, Jay Schottenstein joined Value City Furniture and in 1984, he was named company president. Jay brought to the company the vision of launching different brands in the hopes of reaching as many different customers as possible. In 1995, the proprietary furniture brand American Signature was formed. This exclusive line was sold in Value City Furniture stores.
Under Jay’s leadership, the company continued to grow at an amazing rate. By 1998, there were 53 Value City Furniture stores located in 13 states and the Columbus distribution center expanded to a million square feet. Jay also purchased the American Signature Design Center in High Point, North Carolina where expert artisans created exclusive designs for the American Signature brand.
With the addition of the proprietary American Signature brand, and the overall expansion of Value City Furniture, Jay knew it was time to completely break away from the department stores. In 2002, American Signature, Inc. was formed, and eventually the company completely separated from Schottenstein Stores Corporation.
American Signature, Inc. became the parent company of the retail brand Value City Furniture and the manufacturer brand, American Signature. But the biggest change came in 2003, when the company announced the launch of the American Signature Furniture retail brand, with their first store opening in Nashville, Tennessee. With the exception of a few, the majority of American Signature Furniture stores are located in the Southern United States. This retail brand offers more fashion-forward furniture options to customers, but much like its sister store Value City Furniture, American Signature Furniture continues to offer fine home furnishings at a great value.
In 2004, Jay Schottenstein’s son, Jonathan, joined American Signature, Inc. As a 4th generation family member, he is committed to this business started by his great-grandfather almost 100 years ago.
American Signature, Inc. continues to own and operate Value City Furniture, American Signature Furniture and American Signature. The retail stores are supported by a total of five distribution centers catering to all 125 store locations spanning 19 states throughout the Eastern United States.