Two Helena-based entrepreneurs have announced the launch of Reclaimed Helena, a furniture company that salvages wood from abandoned, historic structures found in the Delta and fashions it into beautiful modern furniture in the style of restoration hardware.

Two Helena-based entrepreneurs have announced the launch of Reclaimed Helena, a furniture company that salvages wood from abandoned, historic structures found in the Delta and fashions it into beautiful modern furniture in the style of restoration hardware. 

“Character-rich, quality furniture is extremely popular right now. Instead of faking the age, character, indents and so on, we use materials that already have all those qualities and are readily available,” said co-founder Jan Feldman. “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 Helena-West Helena Mayor Jay Hollowell. “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. 

“What we offer is unique and robust,” said co-founder Misti Staley. “The furniture we produce will be a one-of-a-kind conversation piece in your family that can be passed from generation to generation.”

Reclaimed Helena launched a “kick starter” campaign last week to raise $30,000 in investments that will enable them to mass produce their proprietary locking hinge and begin serving customers throughout the United States and beyond. In the first three days of the campaign, they acquired 31 backers and reached nearly 20 percent of their goal.

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

The two entrepreneurs behind Reclaimed Helena also come with their own story. Feldman grew up in Sweden and came to Helena three years ago to run 3 Rivers Flooring, an engineered hardwood flooring plant that closed last year. He loved living in the area so much that he stayed even after the job that brought him there disappeared. He also convinced his now fiancée to relocate to the community as well. In a similar story, Staley came to the area when her now-husband Will started the innovative non-profit community development design firm, Thrive, in Helena about five years ago.

Reclaimed Helena currently operates out of the Helena Entrepreneur Center, a Helena-based small business incubator, operated through a partnership between Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas and the non-profit community and economic development design firm, Thrive. The business is also leveraging local job creation incentives, including the Helena Jobs Incentive program (through which Reclaimed Helena was awarded funds for creating new jobs) and the Helena Start-up Challenge (a business plan competition in which Reclaimed Helena is a finalist), both of which are managed by Southern Bancorp Community Partners.

 

“We really liked that this business cares as much about our people and our community as it does about its bottom line,” said Vance St. Columbia, VP of Helena National Bank and a member of the committee that evaluates applicants for the Helena Jobs Incentive program. “This is the perfect example of a business doing well by doing good.”