Into Antiques?

On ebay you'll find over 100 categories covering the Medieval and Renaissance periods, through Georgian, Regency and Victorian, to Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Antique Dealers in California

Linda Stamberger

Linda Stamberger, author of "Antiquing In Florida", is a Florida expert and freelance writer of many genres. Visit this site to read her articles - some of which are available for purchase - as is her book.

Brooks Novelty Antiques and Records

Brooks Novelty is an all-vinyl record store. We specialize in: jukeboxes, vintage soda machines, antique slot machines, pin balls, arcade games, neon clocks and signs, rare concert posters, old advertising signs and much more!

The Antique Company

Established in the late 1900's, we occupy a huge corner building with a small garden area that leads to another 1000 sq foot store (called TAC) that contains our Mid Century collection.

Vintage Westclox

Westclox photo identification gallery and history and information of clocks, watches and other timepieces. This site primarily displays American clocks made by Westclox that were made from the early 1900's up to about the 1960's.

Antique Appraisals On-Line

We are one of the country's largest, oldest, most qualified and respected appraisal services. The majority of our appraisals are estate and personal property evaluations for valuation documentation purposes. However, we have evaluated goods and personal property for natural disaster losses (hurricanes), theft, fire, freight and shipping damage after the loss has occurred.

Connoisseur Antiques

Featuring fine antique furniture, Connoisseur Antiques is a Los Angeles Antique Furniture Showroom specializing in antique clocks and mirrors, European and French antiques, Antique Lighting, Chandeliers, Sconces, Armoires and much more.

Liz's Antique Hardware

Antique Hardware is the backbone of our business. We offer a complete selection of door, window and furniture hardware, lighting and accessories circa 1890 to 1970.

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall is the largest antique mall in northern California. We opened our doors in October 1997 with 75 dealers and today we have over 200 of San Francisco's most professional antique specialists.

Ambiance Antiques

Importer of 18th and 19th Century French Antiques

C'est La Vie Antiques

European Antique and Accessories in San Diego, CA.

Lang Antiques

We carry a large selection of fine antique jewelry, antique rings & antique engagement rings. We also have vintage estate jewelry, vintage estate rings & vintage estate engagement rings from the Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian & Art Deco style periods.

Once in a Blue Moon Online Thrift Store

We are an online thrift store featuring new, used, and unusual items.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

California lettuce grower expands recall over listeria contamination - Denver Post

California lettuce grower expands recall over listeria contamination - Denver Post

SALINAS, calif. —A lettuce grower has expanded a recall of some bagged salads after routine sampling detected listeria contamination. No illnesses have been reported.

The voluntary recall by River Ranch Fresh Foods of Salinas initially included lettuce shipped to California and Colorado. The company said Monday it had expanded the recall to the entire nation.

The bagged salads are sold under the names River Ranch, Farm Stand, Hy-Vee, Marketside, Shurfresh, The Farmer's Market, Cross Valley, Fresh n Easy, Promark and Sysco. The recalled retail and food-service salad bags have "best by" dates between May 12 and May 29 or Julian dates of 118 and 125 . The Associated Press


Solar Rollover Credits: The Right Thing for California - Huffington Post

Very quietly, California utilities are threatening to undermine the dream of widespread clean energy in our state. If this happens, the state will lose jobs, our booming solar industry will suffer a major setback, and our progress at cutting emissions and displacing dirty energy will stop in its tracks.

At issue is a proposed ruling that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is slated to consider Thursday, May 24, which would increase the number of rooftop-solar installations that qualify for "net metering." Net metering is like the rollover credits on your cellphone. It enables utility customers with solar panels connected to the grid to receive full credit for all of the electricity they produce. Excess power generated during sunny daylight hours gets fed back to the grid, and the customers earn a credit that helps offset their electricity costs during the times when they're using more power than they are generating.
Net metering is fair, and it's a critical part of the equation for making rooftop solar installations affordable for thousands of homeowners and small businesses. Thanks in large part to net metering, California has one gigawatt of customer-owned clean energy (over 100,000 rooftop solar systems). In addition, clean energy fed back onto the grid by net-metered systems makes it possible for California to turn off more "peaker" power plants -- the state's dirtiest and least-efficient -- which are typically powered by diesel or gas and sited near poor neighborhoods.

Most California consumers probably take it for granted that they should receive the full value of energy they generate and put back into the grid. Why would they choose to buy or lease rooftop solar panels if they will be forced to give away a significant percentage of the power they generate to the same utility that's sending them a bill every month?

But we can't take net metering for granted, because when California passed its net metering law in 1996, it included restrictions. Most alarmingly, under the current law, utilities can refuse to accept new net-metering customers altogether once the amount of power coming from those customers reaches five percent of "aggregate customer peak demand."

The utilities have chosen to interpret "aggregate customer peak demand" as meaning the highest overall system demand for energy in California history, which was on July 25, 2006 during a record heat wave that killed more than 100 people. Under that interpretation, California will reach its five percent net-metering cap at approximately 2.5 gigawatts -- which could happen as soon as early next year. The CPUC has proposed that a more sensible way to calculate "aggregate customer peak demand" is to add up (aggregate) the peak demand of every individual utility customer. If you calculate it that way, California will reach its net-metering cap at approximately 4.6 gigawatts of capacity. To put that in context, Governor Brown has said the state needs to reach 12 gigawatts of installed local clean energy sources such as rooftop solar panels, small wind turbines and fuel cells by 2020.

Clean, renewable, locally generated energy is not a luxury for California nor, for that matter, the rest of the world. Failing to use clean energy translates to continuing to use dirty, polluting fossil fuels that threaten our health, our economy and our climate. We cannot afford to stumble when we should be running as hard as we can to take full advantage of the energy that rains down on our rooftops day after day -- most of it wasted as we burn more coal, frack for more natural gas and drill for more oil. California is a leader -- not just in the United States, but in the world. It would be shameful if utility companies in this forward-looking state succeeded in making it harder for their customers to harvest the clean solar energy of the future.

The customers who want to buy or lease solar systems wouldn't be the only ones affected, either. At a time when the residential construction industry is still struggling, the boom in solar-rooftop installations has created thousands of badly needed jobs, which would be put in jeopardy.

Utility companies can't have it both ways. They cannot boast about how much they love clean energy while simultaneously working to undermine it. If the utilities don't like net metering (which, clearly, they don't), then the proper response is to propose something better -- not to sabotage the current system and derail the transition to clean, locally generated power.  

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California Workers Compensation Board Rules Against NFL Player Forum-Shopping -

NFL teams earned what could be a powerful victory on May 1, as the California Workers Compensation Board handed down a ruling preventing a former NFL player from taking advantage of California's employee-advantageous workers compensation laws.

Retired defensive end Vaughn Booker filed workers compensation claims against the Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers in California based on having played one game in California in 2001 as a member of the Bengals.

The NFL and the NFL Players association have been battling over workers compensation rights, with California sitting at the center of the fight. California has allowed retired NFL players to file workers compensation claims in the state, so long as they played at least one game in their career within the state. Players elect to file in California because the state generally provides higher workers comp benefit payouts than many other states. Additionally, the statute of limitations is longer in California, which means players are filing years after they retired.

The Board ruled against Booker on several grounds, with the most pertinent coming in section II(C). The board stated they would not assume subject matter jurisdiction over the case because Booker's contract with the Bengals included a forum selection clause. Addendum two of Booker's contract stated:

"As a material inducement for the Club to employ Player's services, Player promises and agrees that any workers' compensation claim, dispute, or cause of action arising out of Player's employment with the Club shall be subject to the workers' compensation laws of Ohio exclusively and not the workers' compensation laws of any other state. Player further agrees that any claim, filing, petition, or cause of action in any way relating to workers' compensation rights or benefits arising out of Player's employment with the Club, including without limitation the applicability, or enforceability of this addendum, shall be brought solely and exclusively with the courts of Ohio, the Industrial Commission of Ohio, or such other Ohio tribunal that has jurisdiction over the matter."

The Board pointed out that the contract was not an adhesion contract where the player has little or no ability to negotiate terms more favorable to it. Additionally, the Board pointed out the reasonable nature of requiring the use of an Ohio forum.

The Board's decision does not stand as binding precedent on any other court, or even on the Board's own future decisions. It does, however, provide the NFL and its teams with one piece of evidence they can use in future cases.

This case was specifically raised this past week in Bruce Matthews' own lawsuit against the NFL and the Tennessee Titans over workers compensation. The Court of Appeals is not obligated to accept it, but it stands as a point in the NFL's favor for now.


California High Speed Rail Authority's Email Policy Draws Critics - Huffington Post

This article comes to us courtesy of California Watch.

By Lance Williams

A congressional committee is investigating California's $68 billion bullet train project. The U.S. Government Accountability Office is investigating, too.

Meanwhile, this proposal for the largest public works project in California history is the target of a flurry of lawsuits filed by local governments and opposition groups.

All those investigators, lawyers and bullet train critics want to pore over the California High-Speed Rail Authority's trove of documents, looking for evidence.

So it's an unusual time to purge five years' worth of bullet train project e-mails, critics say. Nevertheless, that's what the agency is contemplating.

In February, the rail authority filed papers with the state saying it intended to enact a new policy to destroy its e-mails after 90 days.

Then, on May 1, in response to a request for information from a project critic, the rail authority said it could not produce e-mails that were older than 90 days, citing the new policy.

The rail authority's lawyer downplayed the issue's significance, but it has caused concern among high-speed rail critics, who say they fear the authority is jettisoning important information about how the expensive project is being shaped.

The new e-mail policy is "highly suspect," said Kathy Hamilton of the Community Coalition on High Speed Rail, a San Francisco Peninsula group that opposes the bullet train. The project would link San Francisco and Los Angeles with trains traveling up to 220 mph.

It was in a letter to Hamilton that the rail authority first revealed its new e-mail policy.

In a phone interview, Hamilton said she didn't believe the rail authority had already discarded the e-mails she sought - exchanges between the staff and a panel of rail experts called the peer review group. In the past, the group has criticized the bullet train plan's financial projections.

"If they are being investigated and they have been dumping e-mails, they would be in all kinds of trouble," Hamilton said of the rail authority. She said she had forwarded the letter about the e-mail policy to the staff of U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from Vista and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Issa's committee is investigating alleged misspending of federal funds on the bullet train project. In a letter last month, the lawmaker warned the rail authority to preserve two years' worth of documents, including e-mails, so his investigators could review them.

In a phone interview, Thomas Fellenz, chief counsel and acting chief executive officer for the rail authority, said the e-mails sought by Issa have not been discarded.

Fellenz said all state agencies are supposed to have a policy on retaining documents, including e-mails. But the rail authority had never enacted a policy regarding e-mail, he said. Most state agencies delete e-mails after 90 days, he said. The rail authority's staff will cull the e-mail, saving documents that "we think, for business or legal reasons, we need to retain" and dumping the rest, he said. There's a five-year backlog. But nothing will be discarded until after Issa's probe is complete, he said.

"We will be completely responsive to the committee," he said. "We stayed our implementation (of deleting e-mails) - we have this investigation ongoing."

Fellenz acknowledged that the rail authority does indeed have the e-mails Hamilton had sought in her request, which she made under terms of the state Public Records Act. The authority has sent her another letter saying it would give her the e-mails she requested, he said.

State law sets guidelines on how many years specific types of records must be retained by public agencies. E-mails that aren't considered "substantive" can be deleted upon receipt, said Peter Scheer, executive director of the nonprofit First Amendment Coalition advocacy group. Mistakes can occur, depending on whether the person making the decision knows the rules, he said.

"When you have ordinary staff deleting or destroying e-mail based on their own understanding of the law, you are inevitably going to be destroying lots of public records," he said.

David Schonbrunn, a plaintiff in an environmentalist lawsuit that challenged the high-speed rail project's proposed route over the Pacheco Pass in Santa Clara County, said he suspects the rail authority routinely destroys e-mails that would provide useful insights into its decisionmaking.

Schonbrunn said part of the lawsuit turned on whether the rail authority had altered a computerized "travel mode demand model" that had been used to plot the best route to link the Bay Area with the Central Valley. The plaintiffs believed the model had been tweaked to make the Pacheco Pass route seem more attractive than an alternative route over the Altamont Pass, he said. During pretrial investigation, the plaintiffs found evidence that the model had indeed been changed, said Schonbrunn, a paralegal who worked on the case.

"But because the e-mail was destroyed, we were unable to get somebody giving the instructions for that to be done," he said.

"An awful lot of business is transacted using e-mails, and when those are deleted, you're losing the entire history."

Lance Williams is an investigative reporter for California Watch, a project of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting. Find more California Watch stories here.


Stockholm luxury shopping guide - Daily Telegraph

First, we visit Svenskt Tenn: a beguiling mix of Design Museum-meets-Conran Shop – filled with the designs of Josef Frank, and the vision of his mentor, Estrid Ericson. She was an aesthete, he a Jewish-Austrian refugee whom she helped become one of Sweden's most celebrated furniture-makers and fabric designers. Three-quarters of their two-storey emporium is occupied by his designs (including bright, distinctive fabrics), while the rest showcases an evolving collection by other Swedish designers. Since Ericson died, in 1981, the shop has been run by a foundation that maintains her vision while promoting new talent (hence its central role at the annual Stockholm Furniture Fair).

In nearby Ostermalm, we nip in and out of boutiques. At Oscar & Clothilde, we find theatrical rooms of new homewares inspired by traditional lines. At Gamla Lampor, on Almlöfsgatan, we explore a warehouse of retro lighting, from giant film-set rigs to dainty chandeliers. Modernity features such clean-lined classics as a 1928 lamp by Poul Henningsen and a covetable 1960s Hans Wegner desk. At vast Jacksons, I fall in love with 20 different chairs. Tiny Sjöström Antik has a Borge Mogensen leather sofa perfect for my living room. At Rehn's Antiques, I'm crazy about a 1950s portrait, but can't afford the five-figure sum which the charismatic owner, Tony Andersson, says is "very inexpensive".

Although the selection of pieces is wide, prices are no cheaper than in London – and you still have to ship your shopping home. Try your luck at the auction house Bukowskis (, and they will do the shipping for you – or you can scour junkier shops for smaller pieces to cart back in a suitcase. Try A La Carte Antik – in which I find beautiful porcelain-topped bottles (Kr30/£3) – or the Sunday flea market, by the concert hall, where I buy eight fine white china tureens (Kr50) and an oil painting (Kr1,200); get there by 10am to snaffle the best pieces.

Having scoured smart, cobbled Ostermalm (also nipping into contemporary shops such as Nordiska Galleriet, Asplund and Stockholm Modern), the next day I take in the more bohemian Södermalm. Along cafe-lined streets where youngsters are enjoying brunch lie the city's grungier shops, stocking such treasures as records, vintage clothes, cool 1950s teak pieces at Nordlings Antik, and 1950s Arne Jacobsen chairs at Södra Skattkammaren. Nothing groundbreaking, but fun. The best find is the city's hippest food store, Urban Deli, which sells liquorice ice cream. It's spirit-lifting, particularly when enjoyed, with blistered feet up, on a boat trip around the city's 14 islands, watching the handsome medieval city – and its rather overwhelming rooms of furniture – drift by.

After all that 20th-century design, I relish the city's rich National Gallery, hung with gilt-framed pictures of silk and opulence; Skansen, the open-air island museum showcasing Swedish architecture; and the Vasa Museum, home to the oldest surviving ship, sunk in 1628, salvaged in 1961, and now restored. On a trip in search of wooden classics, there can be no object as enthralling. This is one Swedish treasure that is definitely not for sale – nor shippable to Britain.

How to do it

Charlotta Carlsen: Kr500 (£50) an hour (00 46 70 316 00 98,; Nanette Fickendey: Kr2,500 for three hours (00 46 40 26 066,

Select Collection ( offers three nights at the Grand Hôtel from £975 b&b, with flights.

For seafood, Lisa Emqvist ( or Sturehof (; for a treat, Michelin-starred Matbaren (

The Lydmar Hotel (; or cocktails at Verandan at the Opera House (

Take the funicular railway to the top of the spherical Ericsson Globe.


Three essential addresses


Sibyllegatan 53 (00 46 8 665 33 50, Launched 30 years ago, this is home to one of the biggest collections of 20th-century Scandinavian furniture, by designers ranging from Alvar Aalto to Hans Wegner: Great for sofas, lights, chairs, fabrics and ceramics. Everything can be viewed online, for previewing and to purchase.

Svenskt Tenn

Strandvägen 5 (00 46 8 670 1600, Opened in 1924 by the visionary aesthete Estrid Ericson as a showcase for leading design from around the world, Svenskt Tenn is now devoted to furniture and fabric by Josef Frank, and to contemporary home-grown talent. Pieces range from silverware by Prince Carl Philip Bernadotte to myrtle-leaf-embossed crockery by Signe Persson-Melin


Sibyllegatan 6 (00 46 8 20 80 25, This small, stylish boutique is owned by a Scot, Andrew Duncanson , who fell in love with Stockholm design – and a local woman. As well as bringing together classics such as 1950s Eames chairs and Verner Panton lamps , he has gathered rare treasures such as 1960s jewellery by Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe. The big bonus is that Modernity ships worldwide.


California Assemblyman Logue co-authors bill to help save state parks - Red Bluff Daily News
SACRAMENTO North State Assemblyman and Chief Republican Whip Dan Logue announced at a press conference Monday that he has coauthored a bill to help save California's state parks.

Assembly Bill 1589 is also known as the California Park Stewardship Act of 2012.

I am proud to fight to keep state parks like Bidwell Mansion open for the public to enjoy, Logue said. These parks are a part of California's rich history, and serve to remind us of the beauty of God's creation and of our state's great accomplishments. We cannot allow them to be lost.

Assembly Bill 1589 by Assemblyman Jared Huffman would require the Parks Department to work on finding an alternative before closing a park, and disclose to the public its reasoning to close down a certain park.

The bill would limit the number of parks that can be closed from 2012 to 2016 to no more than twenty- five, unless the Legislature specifically authorizes it.

The bill would also allow a park with extra money to share excess revenue with another park.

This could have substantial impact for the parks and could help save Woodson Bridge (State Recreation Area) and the William B. Ide Adobe State Historical Park, Logue said. It has substantial support. As the co-author, I'm pretty excited.

In order to raise more funds, the bill would allow individuals to receive a tax deduction if they donate more than the cost of an annual park pass, and

require the DMV to create a special license plate that honors California's parks with sale proceeds going towards state parks.

There would also be a place on tax returns to donate to parks, he said.

In these difficult economic times, there are certainly tough decisions that have to be made, but I will do everything I can to ensure our parks stay open, Logue said.

AB 1589 is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and will be voted on later this week.

Assemblyman Logue represents the 3rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Butte, Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra and Yuba.


Top 100 Furniture Stores grew sales 6.4% in 2011 - Furniture Today

Ashley remains No. 1 with U.S. sales of $2.6 billion

Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, May 22, 2012

HIGH POINT — It took a while to get here, but 2011 was the year big retail survivors of the credit crunch and a drawn-out industry recession saw sales momentum building, thanks in part to a vital bedding segment and a group of lifestyle retailers on the march.

Furniture, bedding and accessories sales for Furniture/Today's Top 100 U.S. Furniture Stores increased for the second year in a row - this time by 6.4% to $28.4 billion.

What's more, the store count for the Top 100 registered its first increase since a small gain in the 2009 report. The combined store count for this year's companies grew by 1.3%, or 115 units, to 8,684 stores.

Sales growth in 2011 topped the 5.7% increase for the Top 100 companies on last year's list, which was the first gain since the anemic 0.5% growth in 2008 (based on 2007 sales).

Indeed, the 6.4% gain far outpaced the estimated 1.7% increase in furniture, bedding and accessories sales for all U.S. furniture stores, which grew to $42.7 billion. The difference helped the Top 100 grow its market share for all furniture stores to 67%, compared with 62% for the companies on the previous year's list.

Last year's Top 100 companies were on the rebound from a massive consumer pullback and depressed housing market. This year's group, however, appears to have found a recipe for sustained success - or at least growth. That broad scale increase does not surprise industry analyst Jerry Epperson.

"It reflects what was happening during the recession, when we lost so many of our smaller stores, especially at the higher end," said the managing director of Richmond, Va.-based Mann, Armistead & Epperson. "They couldn't continue to hang on so it just caught up with them."

Meanwhile, larger stores in almost every market - Top 100 types - saw an opportunity to gain market while the going was tough and because of the loss of so many smaller players.

More than three quarters of the retailers on this year's list, 76, posted sales increases in 2011, slightly better that the 71 gainers on last year's list and a huge turnaround from the 18 increases the year before. This time, only 18 companies posted sales decreases.

More Top 100 companies were in growth mode, too, as 41 reported net gains in store count, including three that grew store count by double digits and two - No. 9 Sleepy's and No. 10 Mattress Firm - who grew by triple digits. Most of the others on the list grew cautiously, by two or three stores, while 23 companies this year trimmed their store counts.

Click here to download a copy of the full Top 100 U.S. Furniture Stores report, which is available free through June 21.

For the second consecutive year, the cutoff for making the Top 100 ticked up, this time to $38.6 million from $38.4 million for last year's list. No. 100 Marlo Furniture made the cut despite a small sales decrease for the four-store, greater Washington, D.C.-area retailer.

For the sixth consecutive year, the Ashley Furniture HomeStores dedicated network of licensed and company-owned Ashley stores took the No. 1 spot on the list as sales grew 12.2% to $2.6 billion and U.S. store count grew by a dozen units to 434 stores. Its net sales gain of $292 million also topped all Top 100 companies.

The HomeStores' sales increase was just a tick smaller than the network's 12.4% increase the previous year despite opening a net nine fewer stores. That speaks to the strength of many of the Top 100 companies that operate HomeStores. Seven of them had sales increases that rank among the top 15 on the list, including No. 78 Broad River Furniture, with sales up nearly 25% last year to $66.4 million.

The Top 10 on this year's list again outgrew the Top 100 as a whole, increasing sales 7.4% to $13.8 billion, while growing store count 8.1% to 4,053 units. That store-count gain was thanks largely to the two bedding specialty retailers on the Top 10.

No. 10 Mattress Firm bumped No. 11 La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries from the Top 10 and posted the greatest percentage sales increase and the greatest net store growth of any Top 100 company.

Houston-based Mattress Firm, which went public late last year but remains majority owned by a private equity firm and senior management, grew sales 39.2% to $831.2 million. It added a net 181 stores for a total of 855 units by the Jan. 31 end of its fiscal year. This is the second year in a row Mattress Firm led all companies for increase in net store count.

Part of the growth came from new franchised stores but also through the acquisition of 55 Mattress Giant stores in Atlanta, St. Louis and Minneapolis. (This year, the retailer acquired the rest of Mattress Giant's assets on May 2, including about 180 more stores in Texas and Florida.)

No. 9 Sleepy's was no slouch either, growing its store count by a net 115 units to 809. The Hicksville, N.Y.-based chain also acquired some Mattress Giant stores last year, 67 units in New England. Sleepy's net store growth was not only second best among the Top 10, it was second best among all Top 100 companies.

There was only a little more movement in the Top 10. No. 6 Raymour & Flanigan traded places with No. 7 American Signature, as Raymour grew sales 3.8%, breaking $1 billion for the first time, while American Signature's sales decreased 12.2% to an estimated $965.8 million - dropping under the $1 billion mark.

Another standout on this year's list is No. 18 Art Van, which slipped one spot in the ranking but posted the best percentage gain in store growth. The Warren, Mich.-based retailer's store count nearly doubled to 68 stores, thanks in part to the opening of three more Art Van PureSleep bedding stores, the acquisition of the 29-store Mattress World of Howell, Mich., and Art Van's first, full-line mall store in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Just like last year, there are four newcomers to the list, including Winfield, W.Va.-based Innovative Mattress Solutions. The bedding specialty retailer - doing business as Sleep Outfitters, Mattress Warehouse and Mattresses Unlimited - debuts at No. 68 with estimated sales of $80 million at 120 stores.

Innovative Mattress, which operated stores in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, acquired Nashville, Tenn.-based Mattress Unlimited this past October, boosting its Louisville, Ky., presence and giving it entry into Tennessee. And this April, the retailer moved into Alabama with the acquisition of 19-store Mattress King.

Entering at No. 80 is yet another bedding retailer - American Mattress of Elmhurst, Ill., with stores in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The Serta and Tempur-Pedic retailer added a net four stores and generated 2011 sales of $63 million last year, up 14.5% from the year before.

At No. 97, Knoxville, Tenn.-based Knoxville Wholesale Furniture made the Top 100 for the first time on a 9.4% sales increase to $39.6 million. The four-store retailer, which operates two Knoxville Wholesale Furniture stores, a clearance center and an Ashley Furniture HomeStore, more than doubled the size of its clearance center in 2011 by moving into a 112,000-square-foot former Kmart building, where, among other things, it added Ashley's Furnish 123 retail concept to the space.

The final newcomer is No. 98 Wellsville Carpet Town of Weston Mills, N.Y. The 10-store promotional to midpriced retailer added two stores this past year with the acquisition of the Ashley Furniture HomeStores in Altoona and Johnstown, Pa., previously operated by R.H. Kuhn's Roomful Express Furniture.

Pittsburgh-based Roomful Express was placed in receivership in December 2010 and subsequently shut down. It's one of the four retailers that fell off the Top 100 this year.

The others were Lack's of Victoria, Texas, which filed for bankruptcy and liquidated; Fort Myers, Fla.-based Robb & Stucky, which filed for bankruptcy, closed down, and then was reincarnated as Robb & Stucky International; and Pilgrim Furniture City, the Southington, Conn.-based retailer that was No. 97 on last year's Top 100 and just missed the cut for this year's list.

Bedding Experts, No. 99 on last year's list, is now part of No. 56 Back To Bed/Bedding Experts/Mattress Barn. In November, the Itasca, Ill.-based company's acquired Mattress Barn - the retail subsidiary of manufacturer Advanced Sleep Concepts - with stores in central Florida and along Florida's east coast.

Perhaps another sign of improving business conditions is better results in two of three store performance categories.

Median sales per square foot for the Top 100 was $225 based on 42 company estimates. That ended a multi-year drought in sales-per-square-foot improvements and easily bested the $210 median for last year's Top 100. Indeed, it was the best performance since the $233 median for the Top 100 companies reporting on the 2009 list.


Click here to download a copy of the full Top 100 U.S. Furniture Stores report, which is available free through June 21.


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