MCCONNELLSVILLE, N.Y. - The story of one of the nation's oldest furniture maker never ends.
The name and intellectual property of Harden Furniture, whose future has been in limbo since last February, is being sold via a sealed bid sales process by PPL Group on February 1. Harden Furniture has been crafting furniture in McConnellsville, New York since 1844.
In 2018 the company went into foreclosure, largely as the result of a debt from a leveraged buyout in 2016. After two failed attempts to restart production, PPL Group conducted an auction sale of the all machinery and equipment in October 2018.
“The intellectual property, including all of the patterns, furniture designs, trademarks, customer lists, the website, and more than 1700 high-resolution product line photos, will allow this venerable brand to be reborn as part of another manufacturer’s offerings,” said Joel Bersh, at PPL Group in Northbrook, IL.
“The ideal outcome would be for an established manufacturer to purchase this historic brand name and bring it back to life,” said Bersh.
Sealed bids are due by February 1 via email to [email protected].
The company's fate has been unknown for quite some time. As of last February, its assets were in a foreclosure auction to Big Shoulders Capital, a loan firm based in Northbrook, Illinois. After closing the plant briefly, Harden announced weeks later that it would resume limited production - recalling 82 employees back to work.
On May 29 Big Shoulders suspended the company's operations - affecting 100 workers. Longtime Harden leader Greg Harden was also terminated as CEO. Harden then remained on the advisory board, focused on building the company's sales.
Phil Ison, CEO of Ison Furniture Manufacturing, then acquired much of Harden's equipment and assets from Big Capital in late August. Ison recalled 35 workers and resumed production.
In September, Ison planned to move production to North Carolina and create 200 jobs.
But now that all seems to be over. Ison told Furniture Today that the amount of money it would take to turn the operation around didn't make sense financially.
“We decided it was not a good deal for us,” he said. “We bailed out.”
Big Shoulders, which retained the rest of Harden's equipment, reportedly held an online auction and sold it all in November.
Harden's former CEO Greg Harden hopes to bid on the Harden name and intellectual property, which will be liquidated. He still owns the original 400,000-square-foot McConnellsville plant but possesses no manufacturing equipment.
“You don’t know what the future holds," he told Furniture Today. "I would love to be back in the home furniture business and that may happen at some point.”
If the past is any indication, this probably won't be the last you hear of Harden Furniture.
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