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City of Hope Sets New Goal for Type 1 Diabetes Cure

New Gainesville, Florida Ashley Homestore store front.

Duarte, Calif. — A cure for Type 1 diabetes (T1D) in six years is the new goal of City of Hope’s Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute. Through the generosity of the Wanek family and gifts from anonymous donors, the institution will be able to devote more than $50 million over the next six years to an innovative research effort that seeks to find a cure for T1D.

The family’s gift will establish the Wanek Family Project for Type 1 Diabetes at City of Hope. City of Hope, which has a long and groundbreaking history in diabetes, conducted research that led to the development of synthetic human insulin by Arthur D. Riggs, Ph.D., in 1978. Insulin is still used today by an estimated 1.5 million Americans with type 1 diabetes, (T1D) and 27 million with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Funding for this transformative research is being led by a gift from the Wanek family, which founded and currently owns Ashley Furniture Industries, the world’s largest home furniture manufacturer. The project will create a series of highly-focused programs based at City of Hope that will use an integrated approach to curing T1D, including immunotherapy approaches, as well as research into beta cell transplantation and preventing the body from rejecting those insulin secreting cells.

“City of Hope is best positioned to take on this challenge,” said Robert W. Stone, president and chief executive officer of City of Hope. “This is thanks to our 40-year institutional legacy of pioneering treatment and research advances in diabetes.

“City of Hope is extremely grateful for the Wanek family’s significant gift that will enable the institution to forward type 1 diabetes research, the results of which will have worldwide impact,” Stone added. “We invite others to join the Wanek family and City of Hope as we continue to move even closer to a cure for type 1 diabetes.”

“City of Hope scientists’ research has revolutionized the understanding and treatment of diabetes,” said Todd Wanek, CEO of Ashley Furniture, speaking on behalf of his family. “It continues today as physicians and scientists gain systemic understanding of diabetes as a complex, multifaceted disease.”

“Our family is extremely confident that City of Hope is the institution that will find a cure for the more than 1 million Americans who battle type 1 diabetes disease every day,” Wanek said.

City of Hope’s goal to cure T1D will focus on three core areas that are crucial in treating both types of diabetes:

  • Immune modulation – Research is already underway at City of Hope to unlock the immune system’s role in diabetes, including T cell modulation and stem cell-based therapies that may reverse the autoimmune attack on islet cells in the pancreas, which is the cause of T1D. City of Hope’s Bart Roep, Ph.D., previously worked at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, where he was instrumental in launching a phase 1 clinical trial for a vaccine that aims to spur the immune system to fight, and possibly cure, T1D. Plans are developing for a larger, phase 2 trial to launch in the future at City of Hope.
  • Beta cell expansion and replacement – Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes both develop due to the dysfunction and demise of insulin secreting beta cells. Researchers will work to improve methods of boosting and replacing beta cells, as well as imaging them, to encourage long-term survival, said Fouad R. Kandeel, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Clinical Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, chair, Department of Translational Research and Cellular Therapeutics; director, Islet Cell Transplant Program and associate director, Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute. The Wanek Family Project studies will derive new innovations to correct the beta cell dysfunction in diabetes.
  • Preventing diabetes complications – Both T1D and T2D are associated with similar complications such as accelerated heart, kidney, neural and eye diseases that greatly increase morbidity and mortality rates. Scientists will work on intervening at the genetic level to reverse complications and seeking ways to predict the development of complications in order to prevent them from occurring.

Distinguished City of Hope diabetes research faculty who will lead these efforts include:

Bart Roep, Ph.D., Chan Soon-Shiong Shapiro Distinguished Chair in Diabetes and professor and founding chair, Department of Diabetes Immunology, will lead the Wanek Family Project; Arthur D. Riggs, Ph.D., Samuel Rahbar Chair in Diabetes & Drug Discovery Research; director, Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute and director emeritus, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope; Fouad R. Kandeel; Rama Natarajan, Ph.D., National Business Products Industry Professor in Diabetes Research; professor and chair, Department of Diabetes Complications and Metabolism and member, Molecular and Cellular Biology of Cancer Program; Debbie C. Thurmond, Ph.D., Ruth B. & Robert K. Lanman Professor and founding chair, Department of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology; and Defu Zeng, professor, Department of Diabetes Immunology and Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

About City of Hope

City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as one of only 47 comprehensive cancer centers, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the world. City of Hope is located in Duarte, California, just northeast of Los Angeles, with community clinics throughout Southern California. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation, diabetes and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs based on technology developed at the institution. For more information about City of Hope, follow City of Hope on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

Ashley HomeStore Creates Unique Shopping Experience with New Store in Gainesville, FL.

New Gainesville, Florida Ashley Homestore store front.

Gainesville, Fla. – Creating your dream home just got easier. Ashley HomeStore, the number one retailer of furniture in the United States, will hold the Grand Opening of its new 27,491 square foot store in Butler Plaza North at 3964 Plaza Blvd., Ste 10, Gainesville, FL 32608 on Saturday, January 14, beginning 9:30 a.m.

“This HomeStore is strategically designed to embrace a new way to purchase home furnishings,” said Dave Mattea, Vice President of Global Visual for Ashley HomeStores. “Enhanced lifestyle environments will make the shopping experience inviting, warm, and inspiring - just like home.”

Guests who attend Saturday’s celebration are eligible to win over $10,000 in prize give-a-ways, including 65” Smart TVs, an Ashley Sleep Mattress Set, and room groups valued between $1,000 and $2,000! Winners will be chosen on January 24th from entry forms received at the Grand Opening on January 14th.

In addition, the first 100 guests will receive a $50 Ashley Cash Gift Card, free lunch will be provided while supplies last, as well as souvenirs for adults, and children have the opportunity to participate in the Kid’s Fun Zone area which will feature face painting.

“It is not often in life you get the opportunity to combine two of your passions in your work life.” Larry Lamb, HomeStore Manager says. “It is a distinct honor and privilege to be able to work at Ashley HomeStore – the first here in Gainesville- and also be an alumnus of the University of Florida.”

Ashley HomeStore’s Gainesville location is filled with living room, dining room, bedroom, home accents, youth furniture, mattresses, and home office furniture. The store’s style lineup will include 10 different lifestyles such as Urbanology, Vintage Casual, Traditional, Contemporary, and New Traditions. The Dream Destination Mattress Gallery is outfitted with top name brands like Sealy, Simmons, Stearns and Foster, Tempur-Pedic, and Ashley Sleep.

The opening of this new location in Gainesville marks Ashley Furniture’s 36th HomeStore in the state of Florida and 686th HomeStore worldwide.

As the Demand for Christmas Angels Continues, Salvation Army and Ashley HomeStore Make Holiday Magic Happen – Almost 35,000 Kids and Still Going

Warehouse full of bicycles and toys for children

Jacksonville, Fla. – Jacksonville, FL Ashley HomeStores have been the largest distributor of Angel Tree Angels for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree initiative for seven years, with the community rushing to Jacksonville’s three HomeStores this year to secure their Angels even before the launching its annual media campaign to support the program.

In fact, more than 4,300 children and 780 low-income seniors were Angel Tree recipients this season, a demand that Ashley HomeStore-Jacksonville CEO Howard Fineman is proud to see the community meet. “It’s truly amazing to think that our teams have been able to assist nearly 35,000 children here in our community over the past few years… I couldn’t be prouder of their efforts to continue to give back here at home.”

“We started doing this seven years ago because it made our team feel great that we could leverage our locations and marketing to help the community in such a profound way,” said Fineman. “To know that there is such great need this close to home and be able to make a difference is a gift to us, to our team and the community we serve.”

Ashley HomeStore devotes showroom space for the “Angel Trees” so that guests can choose their anonymous Angels. The HomeStores then store bags and bags of gifts until the Salvation Army picks up the gifts for distribution.

The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program makes an enormous difference to thousands of children every Christmas,” said Major Rob Vincent, Area Commander of The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida. “Christmas is about so much more than gifts, but for a child, having a surprise under the tree creates a sense of joy and wonder. We think every child should have the opportunity to feel that on Christmas morning. We are so grateful to Ashley HomeStore for their longtime support of Angel Tree, which has touched nearly 35,000 lives cumulatively over the years of our partnership.”

According to Fineman, it’s more than the showroom display and financial support that makes a difference.

“When a guest returns with their Angel’s gifts it fills us with pride and takes our mission and sense of purpose to a whole new level,” said Fineman. “Our team has even grown to participate in the Toy Shop distribution center and we have groups that consistently participate as part of their holiday traditions. That’s where you really see the amount of lives that are touched by this program and that’s why we continue to be involved.”

Angel Tree is the Salvation Army’s program that empowers the community to purchase gifts anonymously for children in need during the holiday season. Combined with St. Augustine, Clay County and Nassau County, NEFLAC Salvation Army Angel Tree program reached 5,140 individuals in 2016. For more information or to register as a recipient for the 2017 Angel Tree program, contact the Jacksonville Area Command at 904-301-4875.

Ashley HomeStore is the #1 furniture and mattress retailer in America and the #1 selling furniture store brand in the World. Locally, Ashley HomeStore has four convenient locations (St. Johns Town Center, River City Marketplace, Orange Park @ I-295, and Glynn Isles Market (Brunswick GA)). The retailer is an exclusive provider of furniture from Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. (Ashley), the largest furniture manufacturer in North America. For more information on Ashley HomeStore and our products, visit our website at http://www.AshleyHomeStore.com.

Source: prweb

Ashley HomeStores of Central Jersey Donate 50 Beds to Children

Hope to Dream volunteers in a gymnasium full of beds

North Brunswick, NJ – In a surprise party celebration, Ashley HomeStores of Central New Jersey donated 50 beds (mattress and foundation complete with sheets, pillow and comforter) through its Hope to Dream program on Dec. 17. The furniture retailer's goodwill efforts are in celebration of the holiday season. This donation is just part of Ashley HomeStore's broader goal to give back to their local Central New Jersey community.

Braving the winter weather on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 17, 50 invited children arrived to a special holiday carnival at Rutgers Preparatory School in Somerset. This party was full of activities, including face painting, a bounce house,games and prizes. The best part of the event was that each of the children was paired with a buddy, who was a student of Rutgers Preparatory School, to engage them and have fun together throughout the day.

The big "surprise" came after the fun and games when the children were led to another room. There, the 50 beds were set up and stacked with toys and gifts. As each child found the bed with their name on it, an announcement was made that not only were the gifts theirs to keep, but part of the gift was the bed itself, which was delivered to their home later that day.

Today, 50 children in our community received the gift of a healthy night's sleep that is the foundation for excellence in academics, as well as emotional and physical well-being in their current and future life," said Will Schafer, president of Ashley HomeStores of Central New Jersey. "I am proud to continue our commitment to giving back to our communities with this event for the children in Central New Jersey and Staten Island."

The event was made possible through partnership between Ashley HomeStore's Hope to Dream program, FGO Logistics, Rutgers Preparatory School and several additional partners.

Source: My Central Jersey

Double Amputee Purple Heart Veteran Gets New Smart Home Through Tunnel to Towers Foundation

Gray house with red ribbon furnished by Ashley Furniture

Hartville, Ohio – Christmas came early for a Canton family. Sgt. Joshua Stahl and his family were presented with a new home on Friday, complete with furnishings.

Sgt. Stahl served his country in Afghanistan. In 2011, while on a mission there, he accidentally stepped on an IED. "We were looking for IEDs and I stepped on a mine and it blew my legs off."

Life has not been easy for Stahl or his family since the accident. Thanks to an organization called Tunnel to Towers, that has all changed.

We're building these homes all across the country for the most catastrophically injured servicemen. This will be the 56th home that we've either handed the keys over or started at this point. Our ultimate goal is to build at least 200 of these homes across this country," said John Hodge with Tunnels to Towers.

The home is specially designed to make life easier. It is beautifully furnished, thanks to Ashley Furniture, who donated $38,000 worth of furniture.

Sgt. Stahl is extremely grateful for everything that has been done for him and his family.

Source: Fox 8 Cleveland

Ashley Furniture Donates Beds to Several Local Children

Hope to Dream bed being unloaded from Ashley Furniture Homestore truck

Liberal, Kan. – Christmas Eve is Saturday, and that means children all over the world will have visions of sugar plums dancing in their hands as they enjoy a long winter’s nap.

Thanks to Liberal’s Ashley Furniture store, some area children will be doing so on a new mattress. Through the company’s Hope to Dream program, Ashley gives boys and girls who are in need of a bed a new one.

“Anytime we sell a mattress, portions of that sale go towards the program,” said Zach Miller, manager of Liberal’s Ashley store.

Ashley likewise has a mattress called Hope to Dream, and Miller said when one of those are sold, a new mattress is automatically given to a child.

Miller said dozens of beds were ordered for the program, and Ashley received nominations from the internet from school counselors and people in Liberal and surrounding communities telling of young people in need of beds.

“From there, we kind of did an interview process and selected some kids that we thought were the most deserving, most needy and schedule deliveries for them,” he said.

Miller said children from age 3 to 16 are eligible for the Hope to Dream program. This was the first year Liberal’s Ashley store was part of the event, and Miller said 27 new beds were given out.

Miller said fellow manager Kevin Lam went out on some of the deliveries last Friday, and along with Ashley’s delivery guys, he saw plenty of excitement from the children who got some of the beds.

In Liberal’s first attempt at Hope to Dream, Miller said beds were given to young people in not only Liberal, but nearby Plains, Hugoton and Forgan, Oklahoma, as well.

“We’re going to be doing this at least twice a year, maybe three times,” he said. “We gave away 27 just because it was our first time. In the future, we’ll be doing it more often and try to reach out into some other communities as well.”

Miller said those wishing to nominate a child for Hope to Dream can go to the website www.ahopetodream.com or come to the store at 529 S. Kansas in Liberal.

The local effort to bring a better place to sleep for young people is just part of what Ashley has been doing across the U.S., including efforts by NFL teams in Dallas and Jacksonville, Florida.

“A lot of communities have been doing it,” Miller said. “Wichita did one a couple of weeks ago. It’s starting to grow into a bigger deal, which is good.”

Though this is Liberal’s first time with Hope to Dream, Miller said beds that have been ordered have been accrued since the store’s opening about two years ago.

“We added all that up and took all that into account,” he said.

And what better gift to give a child for Christmas than that of a restful night’s sleep as those visions of sugar plums continue to dance in their heads.

“The timing of it, a week before Christmas, we thought was good to get some of these kids that might not have any other Christmas presents a new bed,” Miller said.

Source: Leader and Times

Ashley's Angels Provides for Over 1,000 Children this Holiday Season

Volunteers for the Ashley's Angels 2016 toy drive

Arcadia, Wis. – Ashley’s Angels spread the Christmas spirit this week by delivering truckloads of food, clothing, and toys to 1,056 children in need near Ashley Furniture manufacturing and distribution facilities in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

This year, the non-profit organization raised $174,385.76 across the country. Ashley’s employee contributions accounted for $74,952.72 of this total provided for children enrolled in 56 different school districts.

“We had 20 full-time volunteers over the past couple of months to prepare for this year’s program; with an additional 25 volunteers who helped us shop. With 533 children in Mississippi, it’s an all hands on deck effort to provide a wonderful Christmas for these families,” said Becky Jumper, President of Ashley’s Angels in Mississippi.

The all-volunteer organization works with local schools - primarily school guidance counselors and nurses - to identify children who need some extra assistance. Every child in the program, along with his or her sibling(s), has the option to receive a warm coat, boots or shoes, clothes, blanket, and a special Christmas present. Each child’s family also received a Christmas dinner with all the fixings.

“This program takes countless hours of preparation, but the work is worth it to provide gifts and a meal to families who might not have the means for a great holiday,” said Shari Wagner, President of Ashley’s Angels in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin division shopped for 356 children this year.

The Ashley’s Angels program was established by an Ashley Furniture truck driver from Mississippi in 1997 after he heard about a girl who was living in a car with her mother. The Ashley driver recruited help from other truckers to provide food, clothing, and additional assistance by helping the family find proper housing before Christmas. Seeing the impact that their efforts had made in this family’s life pushed those involved to form Ashley’s Angels.

Each year in December, volunteers are handed a shopping cart and a list to pick out clothes and toys based on the child’s needs and desires. The gifts are then loaded on trucks and delivered to the area schools for distribution to the identified families the week before Christmas, ensuring that each child would have a gift to unwrap Christmas morning.

It just continues to grow,” said Ryan Postal, President of Ashley's Angels in Pennsylvania. “We started the Pennsylvania Ashley’s Angels in 2012, helping out 15 kids. Just four short years later, we have increased to 167."

Todd Wanek, Ashley Furniture’s President and CEO, stated, “I want to thank all of the volunteers and our employees for their selfless efforts in organizing and executing Ashley’s Angels. Ashley is extremely proud of this wonderful program and the tremendous impact it has made on our communities.”

Ashley’s Angels encourages anyone interested in volunteering at next year’s shopping event to sign up online at www.ashleyangels.org under the ‘volunteer’ tab or email info@ashleyangels.org with their contact information.

About Ashley's Angels

Ashley’s Angels is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that provides food, clothing, and blankets; and fills special gift requests for children in need each year. The organization has generated over $2,000,000 in donations and benefited more than 16,000 children in Mississippi, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania since 1997. The community patrons of Ashley’s Angels, including local businesses and volunteers, partner with area schools to provide necessities, with hope for a better Christmas, to children who need it most. Ashley’s Angels receives only the information that is necessary (e.g. shirt size) from participating school guidance counselors and teachers who keep the names of the recipients confidential. For more information on Ashley’s Angels and upcoming events, we invite you to visit www.ashleyangels.org. And for those of you who are interested, we encourage you to volunteer at www.ashleyangels.org/contact-us.html.

Ashley Donates $300,000 to Myers Valley Flood Control Project

Ron and Cameron Wanek present $300,000 check to Arcadia, WI city officials.

Arcadia, Wis. – The volatile Myers Valley Creek watershed has long been a thorn in the City of Arcadia’s side. Thanks to the help of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. (Ashley), the risk of future flooding from this creek has been substantially reduced.

Since a devastating flood cost the City of Arcadia more than $10 million in damages in September 2010, city officials have worked diligently with its largest employer to ensure that it never happens again. Ashley assisted the City by donating 6 acres of premium industrial land and providing hundreds of hours of in kind services through its engineering, legal and public relations staff.

Ashley previously developed the 6-acre property for truck parking by removing 600,000 cubic yards of material. This excavation work reduced the cost of the Myers Valley Creek project by an estimated $2.4 million.

Construction of the new creek channel began on May 30, 2016. By the end of July, approximately 125,000 cubic yards of material were excavated and moved to form a new channel. Prior to the construction of the new channel, the former bridge at the entrance to DSM created a pinch point during flash flood events, causing the creek to overtop its banks and flood the city when this location was overwhelmed by upstream waters.

Upon completion, Ashley provided $300,000 in the form of two installment payments to help finance the project. DSM provided $80,000 to remove the bridge and construct a new entrance for their business.

Arcadia will also benefit from a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help pay for the $1.5 million project. City officials stated that the flood control project has already passed two critical tests by protecting residents and businesses from two flash floods on August 12th and September 21st of this year.

“The City of Arcadia appreciates Ashley’s collective contributions to this project. Ashley is pivotal to our economy and it is our privilege to work with them, Mayor Reichwein said.”

“The Myers Valley Flood Control Project helps protect residents and businesses from major flash flood events, allowing them to focus on more important things,” said Mayor Rob Reichwein. “Arcadia is known as a progressive community and a leader in economic development for the region. The city’s role is to provide the necessary infrastructure to encourage residents and businesses to invest and grow in Arcadia, and provide them with the peace of mind to thrive.”

Ashley Furniture Partners with Wreaths Across America

American Legion member placing a wreath on POW MIA monument at Soldiers Park

Arcadia, Wis. – Ashley Furniture is sponsoring a free and public ceremony with Wreaths Across America to honor veterans for their service to their country this holiday season. The event will occur at Soldiers Walk in Arcadia’s Memorial Park on Saturday, December 17th, 2016 at 10 a.m. to commemorate National Wreaths Across America Day. As one of the premier war memorials in the United States outside of Washington, D.C., Soldiers Walk has become a staple visit for veterans and tourists alike touring the Upper Midwest.

During the ceremony, veterans (including, members of Arcadia’s American Legion Post 17), community members and Ashley volunteers lay wreaths at each of the war memorials along Soldiers Walk. While this is happening in Arcadia, thousands of loyal volunteers and sponsors in over 1,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad will be coordinating their own wreath-laying ceremonies to honor the contributions and sacrifice of U.S. veterans.

Leading up to this day, beginning in Maine, a parade of trucks travels down the East Coast on a mission to lay remembrance wreaths at the grave sites of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, and other Veterans' cemeteries along the way. This year, Ashley Distribution Services is participating in the convoy. The Ashley truck and trailer will haul from Maine to Mississippi and Louisiana, delivering wreaths to nine different cemeteries.

About Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester 25 years ago. The organization’s mission, Remember, Honor, Teach, is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies each December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. For more information, to sponsor wreaths or to sign up to volunteer, please visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org. Follow Wreaths Across America on Facebook and on Twitter.

About Soldier's Walk

Among his many philanthropic contributions, Ron Wanek, founder of contemporary Ashley is the lead benefactor of the Avenue of Heroes/Soldier’s Walk. Located at Memorial Park in Arcadia, Wisconsin, Soldier’s Walk is the premier war memorial in the United States outside of Washington, D.C. This memorial captures all U.S. wars with monuments and memorials in chronological order along a 500 meter walk to honor those leaders and veterans who fought to give us the life and freedom we enjoy today. For more information on Soldier’s Walk, visit the Soldier's Walk Memorial Park website.

Ashley Furniture Employees Donate Over $35,000 to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

Employees present $35,000 check to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

ECRU, Miss. – The employees of Ashley Furniture Industries, one of the largest manufacturers of home furnishings in the world, are pleased to announce the donation of $35,471.03 to Le Bonheur’s Children’s Hospital today. The donation, made possible through Ashley’s “Dollar a Week” program, was raised through employee contributions from Ashley’s Ecru, Verona, Ripley, and Saltillo Mississippi locations to support one of the leading children’s hospitals in the United States.

"We are so grateful for the generosity of Ashley Furniture employees. Together, they have generously given of their own resources to ensure that every child in our community can count on Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in their time of need. Their gifts inspire all of us to do everything we can to help children and families," said Connie Haygood, Special Events Manager.

Along with representation from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Hunter Miller (a prior patient of Le Bonheur) and his parents attended the check presentation. A personalized tour of Ashley’s Ecru facilities was provided to the family and Le Bonheur representatives to learn more about where these employees work, and how they manufacture world-class furniture.

“It’s truly amazing what our employees have raised through the “Dollar a Week” program,” said Todd Wanek, President and CEO of Ashley Furniture. “Ashley has always been a proud supporter of our local communities and organizations – and what these employees have done is nothing short of incredible.”

Ashley Furniture started manufacturing Stationary Upholstery furniture in Mississippi in 1994 in Ecru. In 2006, the Mississippi Ashley employees began making their yearly contributions, through the “Dollar a Week” program, to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital - amounting to over $120,000.

About Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., treats more than 250,000 children each year in a 255-bed hospital that features state-of-the-art technology and family-friendly resources. Nationally recognized, Le Bonheur has been named by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Children's Hospital. Serving as a primary teaching affiliate for the University Tennessee Health Science Center, the hospital trains more pediatricians than any other hospital in the state. For more information, please call (901) 287-6030 or visit www.lebonheur.org. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/lebonheurchild or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/lebonheurchildrens.

Ashley Furniture Dedicates New Advanced Technology Center; Adds Manufacturing Capacity

Ribbon cutting ceremony at the new furniture manufacturing facility in the U.S.A.

ARCADIA, Wis. – Western Wisconsin’s “Can Do” city of 3,000 residents has added to its legend as a regional economic hub with Ashley’s Furniture’s announcement of two major investments in Arcadia.

Governor Scott Walker joined city officials, community leaders and company executives today on the front lawn of Ashley Furniture’s new Chapel Hill Advanced Technology Center to celebrate the completion of the unique project’s first phase of development. The name “Chapel Hill” was bestowed on the facility by Ashley CEO Todd Wanek, who felt that it was appropriate to memorialize its religious roots.

Ashley’s Chapel Hill project includes the repurposing of a former hospital and chapel that was first built in 1948 by the Franciscan Sisters and members of the community.

During the ceremony, Ashley also announced it is nearing completion of a 155,000 square-foot expansion to its Plant 4 manufacturing and distribution facility here that adds 36 loading docks.

Chapel Hill was the talk of the town, however, more than 5 years after the closing of the city’s only hospital. Facility tours were provided to the general public before and after the dedication.

“Due to the historic nature of this building and its tie to the community, we took every precaution to preserve its original exterior,” said Ashley Furniture CEO Todd Wanek. “We did our best to maintain some interior elements while updating it in function and design to create an inspiring workplace for our associates to meet our future business needs. This dedication is really a tribute to the four sisters who devoted their life to this facility. We’re very proud to have preserved this building.”

Ashley has completed remodeling the top two floors of the 82,000-square-foot building, and is in the process of remodeling the first floor. More than 200 office professionals, including members of Ashley’s design and information technology teams, will occupy the technology center when the renovation is finished in the spring of 2017.

Chapel Hill’s renovation features large rooms that add natural light. Ashley removed all sub ceilings and exposed mechanical systems to give the work environment a modern industrial look that is welcoming and bright. Workstations have adjustable heights with sit/stand capabilities.

“The Ashley Furniture ribbon cutting ceremonies and Myer’s Valley Creek relocation project announcement is great news for the citizens and business owners of Arcadia,” Governor Walker said. “Our goal, first and foremost, is to keep the people of Wisconsin, and their property, safe from harm. We’re proud to work with the city of Arcadia, DNR, Ashley Furniture, and others to fund the Myer’s Valley Creek relocation project to prevent future flooding and damage as well as encourage investment in the area. Ultimately, these projects will lead to more jobs and a stronger local economy.”

Since 1970, Ashley Furniture’s manufacturing workforce in Arcadia has grown by several thousand employees. Today’s announcements reflect continued growth in demand for the company’s case goods and upholstery products. The Plant 4 expansion project is expected to be complete by November 1, 2016.

Wanek said, “I am extremely proud of the outstanding work our associates do every day for our customers. We are building a great future together.”

Ashley Furniture Contributes $20,000 to the Independence School District S.T.E.M. Program

Ashley Furniture and the Wanek family passing a check to school officials in support of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

ARCADIA, Wis. – Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. (Ashley) and the Wanek family contributed over $20,000 to the Independence S.T.E.M program at the Independence Public School on September 1st. The donation to the S.T.E.M program will support the upgrades to the Independence Middle and High School Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics programs.

As part of the S.T.E.M. program, middle school students will now have a “Project Lead The Way” (PLTW) - Design and Modeling class. High school students will also be able to take a PLTW - Principles of Engineering Class as an upper-level science course.

Through this monetary donation, the middle school core science program will receive a complete overhaul, where IQWST curriculum will serve as a foundation. In preparation for S.T.E.M. program, the Independence Public School teachers participated in several weeks of professional development to prepare for the implementation of significant upgrades and materials. Through this new program, teachers will engage students in problem-solving while having the students work in a “hands on” environment. The program focuses on the “Minds on Learning” techniques to strengthen student skills in writing, reading, and speaking about science. 

“When we invest in our students, we invest in our future.” said, Todd Wanek, President and CEO of Ashley Furniture Industries. “Ashley proudly supports the Independence School District in their investment to inspire student innovation and enhance the quality of education in the S.T.E.M. fields.”

“Independence Public School extends our most sincere appreciation for the support of Ashley Furniture in this important shift in our science curriculum and for their investment in our student's education.” said Dawn Woychik, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for Independence Public School.  

Throughout the upcoming fall, annual partnership meetings will be held at the Independence Public School to for local professionals working in the science and engineering fields to review the progress made through the S.T.E.M. program. 

Ashley for the Arts Breaks Another Attendance Record

Band at the Ashley for the Arts concert in Arcadia, Wisconsin.

ARCADIA, Wis. – Ashley for the Arts, one of Wisconsin’s largest charity events, hosted more than 35,000 guests at its 3-day music and art festival in Arcadia’s Memorial Park. In spite of an extended rain on Friday, overall attendance increased by 8,000 over last year’s event. The event, now in its 8th year, has matured into a bona fide hit among music and art festival patrons from throughout the upper Midwest. It also raised more than $300,000 for nearly 30 participating non-profit organizations. More than 2,500 volunteers participated in this year’s event.

Thursday, August 11th kicked off Ashley for the Arts with its annual Pursuit of a Cure 5K (and Miracle Mile) Run-Walk. Pursuit of a Cure acts as a fundraiser to advance medical research and help offset the medical-related costs that patients incur. Each of the 260 plus participants were able to choose a charitable organization where 100% of their registration funds went towards. More than $18,000 was raised over the weekend benefitting the American Cancer Society, Rita Tranberg Memorial, OLPH Mission, and the Arcadia Ambulance Service. 

Despite the rain on Friday, fans of the festival arrived by the thousands to attend this one-of-a-kind charity event. Two miles of walkways subtly directed pedestrian traffic by art and craft vendors, four music stages, a car show, hot air balloon launches, two air parks (featuring bouncy houses and obstacle courses), an interactive art station, and a kids jungle gym and playground area. Two of the 19 supported school districts, Arcadia and Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau, performed on the iconic Amphitheater Stage with their A Capella Choirs to kick off the night’s musical entertainment. Regardless of the rain, headlining entertainers Kellie Pickler and Chicago delivered incredible performances to over 10,000 people on the Ashley for the Arts Main Stage followed by LOCASH rocking the Amphitheater Stage in style to end the night’s festivities.

For the final day on Saturday, August 13th of Ashley for the Arts, local school districts started the music entertainment on the Amphitheater stage. The Independence Vocal Jazz Choir, Arcadia Middle School Choir and High School Marching Band, Whitehall’s Band, Eleva-Strum’s Choir and Band, Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau’s Jazz Band, Blair-Taylor’s Vocal Jazz “The Early Birds”, Osseo-Fairchild’s High School Choir and Band, Cochrane-Fountain City’s Jazz Band, and Winona Cotter’s Marching Band showcased their extraordinary talents.

Additional music entertainers and many family-friendly off stage performances occurred throughout Memorial Park, including a wheel of death, juggling, balloon sculptures, bubbles, Wild West-themed performances, a living statue, a scavenger hunt, and a Mexican Dance group which performed near the Pavilion dressed in traditional attire.

As Saturday progressed, more than 25,000 people gathered in the park to watch the headlining performances from High Valley, Craig Morgan and American Authors on the Main Stage. After high energy performances by High Valley and Craig Morgan, the atmosphere was ripe for American Authors to take the stage – and they did not disappoint. The stage was set, the atmosphere was right, and the Brooklyn based group engulfed the audience in a magical performance while sky lanterns flew overhead. Fireworks immediately followed, lighting up the night sky.

To close the evening’s festivities, and adding the exclamation point to Ashley for the Arts, X Ambassadors filled the entire Amphitheater bowl with fans from all over the Midwest. Standing shoulder to shoulder, hands swaying in the air, the crowd sang along to all their favorite songs, taking cue from the energetic frontman Sam Harris.

At the exceptionally low-cost of $10 to the 3-day festival, Ashley for the Arts continued to add to its popularity as a premiere music and art fest destination. Memories were made, magic was created, and over $300,000 was raised for nearly 30 non-profit organizations.

Ashley HomeStore Creates Unique Shopping Experience with New Store in Marietta, GA.

Ribbon cutting at the new Marietta, Georgia Ashley Furniture HomeStore

Marietta, GA – Creating your dream home just got easier. Ashley HomeStore, the number one retailer of furniture in the United States, will hold the grand opening of its new 19,185 square foot store at 4281 Roswell Road, Suite 312, Marietta, GA 30062 on Saturday, August 20, beginning 9:30 a.m.

“This HomeStore is strategically designed to embrace a new way to purchase home furnishings,” said Dave Mattea, Vice President of Global Visual for Ashley HomeStores. “Enhanced lifestyle environments will make the shopping experience inviting, warm, and inspiring - just like home.”

Guests attending Saturday’s celebration, between 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., are eligible to play the “Spin to Win” for their chance to win over $15,000 in prize give-a-ways. Highlighted prizes include a 70” Smart TV, and room groups valued between $1,000 and $2,000! In addition, children have the opportunity to participate in the Kid’s Fun Zone area which will feature face painting and an interactive balloon animal station. The first 200 guests will also receive free lunch provided by “Gotta Have It Catering”.

“As a long time Cobb County resident, I was thrilled to be chosen to open the newest Ashley HomeStore in the East Cobb area” said Lora Maher, Store Manager of the Marietta HomeStore. “My team is especially looking forward to helping our customers find inspiration within our wide variety of lifestyles to furnish their dream home! We look forward to serving the community in a positive way for many years to come." Ashley HomeStore’s Marietta location is filled with living room, dining room, bedroom, home accents, mattresses, and home office furniture. The store’s style lineup will include 10 different lifestyles such as Urbanology, Vintage Casual, Traditional, Contemporary, and New Traditions. The Dream Destination Mattress Gallery is outfitted with top name brands like Sealy, Simmons, Stearns and Foster, Tempur-Pedic, and Ashley Sleep.

The opening of this new location in Marietta marks Ashley Furniture’s 21st HomeStore in the state of Georgia and 636th HomeStore worldwide.