Ethan Allen was founded in 1932 by Nathan Ancell and Theodore Baumritter. After acquiring a bankrupt furniture factory in Vermont in 1936, the company adopted the name Ethan Allen.
Ethan Allen originally began as a housewares manufacturer. It was located in Vermont until 1972 when the decision was made to relocate the headquarters to Danbury, Connecticut. In addition to the furniture division, Ethan Allen also has a hotel and interior design centers. Since its inception, the company has been sold twice. The first sale was in 1980 to Interco. Ancell was allowed to stay on as an advisor.
The company was sold again in 1989 to a management group. The head of the group, Farooq Kathwari, serves as the CEO, president, and chairman of Ethan Allen. The company has had many layoffs and closures over the years. In 2004, plants in Boonville, New York, and Bridgewater, Virginia, were closed. In 2008, the company closed and consolidated some of its design centers. In 2009, the plants in Beecher Falls, Vermont, and Eldred, Pennsylvania, were closed. The closures left only five manufacturing plants operating, including one in Mexico. The company has almost 300 stores still operating in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, as of March 2015.