By Samantha Joseph
MARTIN COUNTY -- An area company is gearing to donate a bike in the name of each of the next 1,000 customers who make purchases at its stores across Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties.
BikeStreet USA, a chain of chain of specialty retail cycling stores, is partnering with Bikes for Tykes to make the donations this month and next, in time for the holiday season.
And it doesn't matter whether customers purchase mountain bikes or bike jewelry, each purchase will lead to a donation to a child from a low-income family who otherwise could not afford a bike.
"There's no major prerequisite to donating the bike," said Pat Patregnani, founder and chairman/CEO, which has its flagship store in Stuart. "You can come in and purchase a 50-cent item. We will donate a bike to a child in your name."
The bikes are suitable for boys and girls, ages 7-10.
"Bottom line is if you look at our personal history, it's always been about growing the sport. Where better an opportunity to grow the sport than to get children back out riding bikes?" Mr. Patregnani said.
The bike giveaway is the latest philanthropic venture for the Juno-based company, which opened eight area stores in November. This month it donated $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity's Women Build project and contributed $5,000 to a ride to support families displaced by natural disasters.
Mr. Patregnani said his nonprofit, zMotion, has raised millions for Florida nonprofits. The retail value of the bikes, plus expenses promoting the giveaway, brings its total costs to about $270,000.
BikeStreet USA is working with 10 charities in Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach to help identify children for the bike donations.
"It's simple, no child should be without a bike," Mr. Patregnani said in a press release. "As passionate cyclists, my team and I understand and appreciate the things that cycling has done for us in our lives and we want to make sure every child has the same opportunity to have that feeling."
BikeStreet USA stores are located in Stuart, Hobe Sound and Port St. Lucie. For more information on the Martin County stores, call (772) 402-7443 and (772) 402 7353. For Port St. Lucie, call (772) 402-7412.