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Chicago’s CD Peacock Builds Bikes for Foster Children

Hands-on activity is a bonding experience for the team.

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CD Peacock executives, left to right, Adam Woitkowski, chief commercial officer; Chelsea Holtzman Lawrence, VP of marketing and communications; and Olivier Stip, president.
CD Peacock executives, left to right, Adam Woitkowski, chief commercial officer; Chelsea Holtzman Lawrence, VP of marketing and communications; and Olivier Stip, president.

ASSEMBLING A BIKE is generally not in any jewelry store job description. But when CD Peacock of Chicago spearheaded a philanthropic project involving just that activity, everyone from sales associates to corporate staff was put to the test. In addition to benefiting local children in the foster care system, the effort also proved to be an ideal team-building exercise, says Chelsea Holtzman Lawrence, vice president of marketing and communications, who represents the third generation of the family-owned business.

“We did it together,” she says. There was some nervous laughter when more than 100 boxes arrived at CD Peacock’s Oakbrook location and employees formed teams to spend the day assembling bicycles.

“Everyone was excited,” Holtzman Lawrence says. “I think they were intimidated at first, seeing the shipment of all these bike pieces.

Chicago’s CD Peacock Builds Bikes for Foster Children

“I don’t think anyone was familiar with building bikes,” she says. “I’ve never assembled a bike before. I can barely ride a bike! What was most surprising was how many people were complete naturals at it and very fast. The president of our company, Olivier Stip, was so fast, it was incredible. He started knocking out the bikes very quickly.”

The company joined with Foster Love, a nonprofit organization devoted to improving children’s lives in the foster-care system. CD Peacock allocated a portion of their sales proceeds to purchase kits to build the bicycles. Owning a bicycle can help young kids develop confidence while having fun, and serve as a mode of personal transportation for teens. The bikes are different sizes to accommodate different ages of kids. “They provide such autonomy and freedom,” says Holtzman Lawrence.

Everyone felt a sense of accomplishment once the bikes began to take shape. And it was fun, too: CD Peacock made it a party with music and pizza.

Chicago’s CD Peacock Builds Bikes for Foster Children

The team also participated in Foster Love’s Sweet Cases initiative by decorating and filling duffel bags for foster kids. Often, during a move, children in the foster system have only a trash bag to carry their stuff, making them feel disposable during one of the most difficult moments in their lives. Having their own du el bags filled with teddy bears, blankets, crayons, hygiene kits and other comfort items can make these transitions a little less scary.

At the end of that day, the CD Peacock team was ready to donate 50 bicycles and 130 custom duffel bags to Chicago foster care centers.

Although there was no marketing blitz around the project, the team did share information about the program with their clients. “We could say that a part of their purchases was being used for this and that they helped do this with us,” Holtzman Lawrence says. “It was a great unifier between the clients, the team and the kids.”

As a generational business, it’s important for CD Peacock, established in 1837, to support the next generation of Chicago. Holtzman Lawrence works with her dad, Steve Holtzman, vice-chairman, and her grandfather, Seymour Holtzman, chairman and owner of the company, who acquired the business in the 1990s.

Chicago’s CD Peacock Builds Bikes for Foster Children

CD Peacock is involved in the community in many different ways, including with direct donations. But this activity was an opportunity to be hands on. “It was a bonding experience for associates and corporate to work on this project and figure out something new,” she says. “I liked the idea of donating our time.

“Children in the foster care system deserve to feel loved and supported, and we are honored to play a small part in providing them with things that bring childhood joy.”

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