Basketball legend Vinnie Johnson winds down furniture business
November 4, 2021 | 3:40 am CDT
Vinnie Johsnon closes his Airea office furniture dealership.

NBA legend shutters office furniture dealership.

Photo By Piston Group

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- Vinnie Johnson, a legendary basketball player who helped lead the Detroit Pistons to two NBA championships and later established a multi-billion dollar business, has shuttered his Michigan-based office furniture dealership.

The decision was made earlier this month to close Airea Inc., which is one of the companies in Johnson’s Piston Group LLC holding company. While no reason was given for the decision, Johnson confirmed Airea’s pending closure on the company website:

"Thank you. With gratitude we want to thank our clients and team members over the years for their business and service. Effective October 6, 2021, Airea Inc. will stop taking orders and slowly wind down our business. We started in 2002 with the mission to create connections through furniture, and we are incredibly proud of the relationships we’ve built, projects we’ve installed, and partnerships we’ve formed.

"To our clients, the entire design community, and Haworth, thank you for your loyalty and support over the years."

The closure, according to the Crain Detroit Business. would be finalized by the end of the year. Airea was a Haworth office furniture dealer.

Crain’s reported that the Piston Group has been involved in a legal battle since 2020 with the Detroit-based Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, which in February stripped Johnson’s nearly $3 billion company of its minority-business enterprise, or MBE, status. 

According to Crains, the MMSDC determined that Johnson, Piston Group’s CEO and 100-percent owner, does not run day-to-day operations of the Group, which is a requirement. Lawsuits and countersuits have been filed by both organizations, Crains reported.

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).