Albanese, Schlaeppi Acquire FurnitureBlueSeptember 7, 2010
Industry veterans Johne Albanese and partner Charles Schlaeppi have online furniture retailer FurnitureBlue for an undisclosed amount.
Albanese, previously executive vice president of merchandising for 6-year-old, Delray Beach, Fla.-based FurnitureBlue, is now president and CEO. Schlaeppi, an executive based in Thailand, will serve as an adviser but will not be active in the day-to-day management of the company.
Two of the previous owners, David Haut and Brian Levine, have committed to serving during a transition period, and negotiations are underway with both for a possible permanent relationship.
"Several years ago, Charles and I had worked together to create a web-centric business model for home furnishings but the economy at that time made such a launch prohibitive," Albanese said. "However, after joining FurnitureBlue in March and having an opportunity to see such a model in a very practical sense, it was clear to me that it was time to revisit our partnership. At the same time, it was obvious that acquiring an ongoing enterprise made far more sense than starting one from scratch."
During discussions with the previous owners, Albanese realized that there was an opportunity to acquire the company.
"We were able to close the share purchase in record time and because of the significant industry knowledge and expertise we possess, we have already begun to initiate changes in the operation that we feel will generate significant performance improvements while at the same time make us a 'rose among thorns' in terms of being an attractive partner for industry suppliers," Albanese said.
Albanese also stated that once FurnitureBlue is properly situated, he and Schlaeppi would be willing to consider other possible acquisitions of existing etailers within the industry.
"We are most certainly interested in speaking with other home furnishings e-tailers who might be interested in being acquired," he said.