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TU alumnus launches Arkansas company that crafts furniture from salvaged wood

JanFeldmanThomas University alumnus and entrepreneur Jan Feldman recently launched Reclaimed Helena, a furniture company in Helena, Arkansas, that salvages wood from abandoned, historic structures found in the Arkansas Delta and fashions it into beautiful modern furniture in the style of Restoration Hardware. 

“Character-rich, quality furniture is extremely popular right now,” said Feldman, co-founder of Reclaimed Helena. “Instead of faking the age, character, indents and so on, we use materials that already have all those qualities and are readily available. If I had to pick between an authentic, original piece and one that was mass-produced, I would choose the authentic one every time.”

Based in the heart of the Arkansas Delta, Reclaimed Helena is committed to operating and producing furniture pieces exclusively made in and from materials native to the Delta. As a result, Reclaimed Helena will not only produce high-quality American-made furniture, but will also play a major role in revitalizing one of the poorest regions of the country through job creation and the remediation of dilapidated properties.

“We’re about to launch an initiative to clean up dilapidated homes in our community, and we see Reclaimed Helena as integral to that effort,” said Jay Hollowell, mayor of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. “It’s a win-win proposition for our city and its people.”

All of Reclaimed Helena’s furniture is of original design, folds completely flat for easy storage and transport, and ships free to anywhere in the continental United States. 

Reclaimed Helena launched a Kickstarter campaign recently to raise $30,000 in investments that will enable the company to mass produce its proprietary locking hinge and begin serving customers throughout the United States and beyond. In the first three days of the campaign, the company acquired more than 30 backers and achieved more than 20 percent of its goal.

“Being steeped in the culture and history of this region, every piece of our furniture has a story that resonates with people everywhere,” Feldman said. “In just the past few days, we’ve already received orders from New York, Atlanta and Europe.”

Feldman was born in Russia, raised in Stockholm, Sweden, before moving to the United States several years ago. He graduated from TU in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management Degree and in 2013 with a Master Business Management Degree. As goalkeeper of the TU Men’s Soccer Team, Feldman served as captain for two and a half years and received conference recognition. As a graduate student, he was a graduate assistant with TU President Dr. Gary Bonvillian. In 2014, Feldman was inducted into the Thomas University Alumni Wall of Fame.

Even though Feldman now lives in Arkansas, he maintains ties with Thomasville and visits frequently.

“Because of my time at Thomas University, I consider Thomasville to be my home in the United States,” Feldman said. “I come back as often as I can.”

In Arkansas, Feldman also serves on the Eastern Arkansas Workforce Board and the Philips County Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s really great to see Jan using the education he received at TU to create an environmentally mindful business that will have a lasting positive impact on his community,” said Joseph Newborn, Thomas University Director of Alumni Relations. “We look forward to seeing Reclaimed Helena grow and where Jan’s entrepreneurial spirit will take him next.”

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