Jennifer Furniture is expanding, under new ownership and going in a different direction – back to its Long Island roots.
Formerly known as Jennifer Convertibles, the Great Neck-based retailer will be relocating one of its six stores from Patchogue to a former Pier 1 store space in Sayville in April and adding another store on Long Island, said John Garg, chief executive officer of a holding company that bought the furniture chain from a Chinese owner last year.
"This is an American-based company, and we are now totally focusing on American products," said Garg, who added that the vast majority of the company's merchandise is made in the United States now.
Jennifer Opco LLC, a Great Neck-based holding company owned by Garg and partner Namdar Realty Group, a commercial real estate company in Great Neck, bought the assets and trademark of Jennifer Furniture in June from Morris Holdings Ltd., a Chinese furniture manufacturer.
Jennifer Furniture, founded more than 40 years ago, sells merchandise online and from its six stores — four on Long Island, one in Orange County, and one in Paramus, New Jersey. But the partners plan to expand the furniture chain, focusing first on Long Island, Garg said.
Centereach store planned
A Jennifer Furniture Mattress & Sofabed store is scheduled to open in a shopping center in Centereach by May, he said.
In April, the Jennifer Furniture store in Patchogue will relocate about 5 miles away, from a free-standing building on Sunrise Highway to a former Pier 1 space in Savyille Plaza, a shopping center with a Bohemia mailing address.
"The problem is in Patchogue. The store is just sitting by itself. There is no foot traffic. I think it will be much better if there is an audience there," Garg said.
The Sayville store will occupy an approximately 10,000-square-foot space that Pier 1 vacated in January 2020, said Greg Messina, spokesman for Breslin Realty Development Corp., a Garden City-based real estate firm that owns Sayville Plaza through an affiliate.
The Jennifer Furniture outlet store in Orange County, in Newburgh, opened in June.
Garg partnered with Namdar in the retail furniture business because of Namdar’s vast commercial real estate holdings, he said.
Florida, Midwest expansion
Namdar owns more than 55 million square feet of commercial real estate throughout the country, including Jennifer Furniture’s Patchogue building, according to its website. There are plans to expand Jennifer Furniture into Florida and the Midwest, Garg said.
Namdar could not be immediately reached for this story.
Jennifer Convertibles was founded in 1975 in Woodbury.
Known for its sofa beds, Jennifer Convertibles had 206 stores nationally, including 46 in the New York area, in June 2003, Newsday reported that year.
The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2010.
The company emerged from bankruptcy reorganization in 2011 as a smaller chain and with new leadership.
"Ninety percent of the company’s stock is now owned by the Chinese upholstery maker that was its top creditor, Haining Mengnu Group Co. Ltd.," Newsday reported in February 2011. The new management team at the time was led by Gebing Zou.
At that point, the chain had 64 Jennifer Convertibles, eight Jennifer Leather stores, and six licensed Ashley Furniture Homestores.
In 2018, Zou and his wife sold 100% ownership of the company to Morris Holdings, which is Zou’s company, Garg said.
The name of the company changed to Jennifer Furniture the same year in an effort to widen the store’s appeal by signaling that it sold more than sofa beds, he said.
Garg himself has more than 25 years of experience in the furniture business, including serving as the president of Jennifer Furniture from 2016 to 2019.
Year founded: 1975
Headquarters: Great Neck
Number of employees: 55
Number of stores: 6
Merchandise: Furniture for living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, etc.