In 1932, two New Yorkers, Theodore Baumritter and his brother-in-law Nathan Ancell, founded The Baumritter Corp, which was a house wares sales agency. This was during what is considered by many as the worst year of the great depression, and unfortunately, people just didn’t have the extra money for their house wares at that time. Consequently, at first Baumritter and Ancell ended up losing a lot of the money that they had originally invested into the company. In 1936, they bought a furniture factory located in Beecher Falls, Vermont. Ancell and Baumritter quickly fell in love with Vermont. They decided to name their furniture company Ethan Allen after the Vermont revolutionary leader. In 1939, their furniture line made their grand debut inside stores.
Their first collection was a grouping of 28 pieces of Early American furniture. By 1962, Ancell and Baumritter owned 14 furniture factories in the East. By the middle of the 1960’s, The Baumritter Corp had by far the largest group of furniture in the world, with a 1,600-piece line to choose from. Also by the mid 1960’s, there were approximately 700 Ethan Allen stores in the United States. They also had Ethan Allen stores by that time in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Australia, and Canada. In 1970, Baumritter retired. In 1972, The Baumritter Corp officially changed its name to Ethan Allen Industries, and they ran their first series of nationwide television ads. During this time in the early 70’s, they also moved their headquarters from New York City to Danbury, Connecticut. Additionally, around this time, they started producing draperies, wallpaper, oriental rugs, and broadloom carpeting.
In 1988, M. Fahrooq Kathwari took over Ancell’s spot as chair and chief executive. Around 1985, when the company realized that Early American Furniture wasn’t in high demand anymore, they set out to create some new furniture designs that were met with great success. Just to name a few there was the American Dimensions line which focused on accenting geometric shapes, Country Crossings which showcased rustic looking furniture, and the Legacy line which was modeled after Italian architecture. In 1991, Ethan Allen started offering wall decor, bedding, textiles, lamps, and other home decor items to their store.
In 2008, Ethan Allen’s products became available to purchase over the internet. An interesting fact to note is that over seventy percent of their cherry, maple and alder wood pieces of made in the United States. Over the years, Ethan Allen has become a tremendously successful company. As of June 2008, they were said to have sales of approximately $980.0 million, with a net income of $58.1 million!