Kozy’s Cyclery: Illinois’ 2014 Retailer of the Year

Any Economics 101 student knows business is driven by supply and demand. It’s not often a company succeeds in creating demand for its products – and changing the way people live in the process. Kozy’s Cyclery has done just that, and this year its owners have received the Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s “Retailer of the Year” award.

Ron Kozy and his son, Paul, own four Kozy’s Cyclery shops in Chicago. Ron took over the business from his father, Stan Kozy, who opened the first location as a repair shop in 1944. Seventy years later, the Kozys have transformed the family business into one of the nation’s top 25 bicycle dealers by volume. Their shops employ as many as 70 people during the warmer months.

The fitness movement and Chicagoans’ growing interest in sustainable (and inexpensive) transportation options have helped Kozy’s Cyclery grow, and the Kozys have gone to great lengths to promote the health and environmental benefits of cycling. The company was involved in former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Bicycle Advisory Council, created in 1991, and supports Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020. They also sponsor the city’s “Bike the Drive” program.

But for the Kozys, spreading the joy of cycling is about more than just cultivating new customers. The company participates in a variety of civic organizations and efforts — including offering free and discounted bikes and educational programs to local schools — in the communities it serves.

"The Kozys not only know how to run a successful retail business, but they know how to take care of people. Their customers trust them and their employees count on them. Their impact is felt beyond their business and beyond the customers they serve daily,” said Rob Karr, President and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “For all of these reasons and many more, IRMA is pleased to name the Kozy’s as the 2014 Illinois Retailers of the Year."

(Video courtesy of Illinois Retail Merchants Association)