BLOG REWIND! Coats For Kids & Paying it Forward This Holiday Season

As Steinhafels and Fox 6 get ready for a new era of ‘Coats For Kids’… we look back on one of our most inspiring stories from last year.

We all love Vince Condella, but now that he’s retired, Meteorologist Tom Wachs is taking over!!  Tom and some dedicated volunteers will be at our Corporate Store in Waukesha on Wednesday, December 7, collecting your donations from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The first 200 people to come through the drive-thru donation line, and donate at least four (4) coats, will get one (1) pair of ticket vouchers to see the Harlem Globetrotters on New Year’s Eve (while supplies last).

No need to park or get out of your car – just drive on up.  It’s quick and easy, and most importantly, you’ll be helping kids right here in southeastern Wisconsin.

Now, let’s take a look back on our Coats for Kids Blog from last year… about a woman who truly took her donation to the next level!!

Yvonne’s Story (First Published 12/23/15)

Condella’s Coats for Kids‘ is a passion project that Steinhafels has been proud to support over the years.  The program is a community-wide effort to collect new and gently used coats for children in Milwaukee’s inner city.

Steinhafels has always been committed to community, so it was a no brainer to team up with Fox 6’s Vince Condella to help bring this project to a new audience. Each year the Salvation Army, Fox 6, and several other local businesses work tirelessly to make sure Coats for Kids is a success.

However, none of it would be possible without the fine people of Southeastern Wisconsin.  Hundreds of coats are collected every year–from Fox 6 viewers, to Steinhafels customers, and anyone else who is looking for a way to give back. Every year it’s humbling to see the generosity overflowing, just like the bins holding the coats!




One of those generous people is Fox 6 viewer Yvonne Ondrejicka.  She wrote Vince Condella an inspiring letter.  We’d like to share a few excerpts of it with you to help you get in the holiday spirit!

Yvonne writes, “I just wanted to tell you about a wonderful event that my law firm, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. runs every year for employees.  It is called ‘Whyte Lights’ and each employee receives $100.00 in cash to ‘pay it forward’ in any way the employee pleases.”

Paul Eberle is the Chief Executive of WHD, where the Whyte Lights Program is in its 4th year.  He explains, “Simply put, it was the right thing to do.  Good companies invest in their employees as well as in the communities they serve.  They reinvest profits to support many of the underfunded nonprofits that provide the last safety net to the poorest among us. They donate employee time and talent to improve our schools, support our arts groups, and sustain critical civic organizations. By giving employees the opportunity to do something good with $100, Whyte Lights allows each of them to make good corporate citizenship something very personal.”

Yvonne goes on to write how she has always donated to Coats for Kids, but was disappointed this year because her daughters are grown, so she doesn’t have any extra coats. That’s when she had the bright idea to use her Whyte Lights money!

She says, “The next evening I went to 3 different Goodwill stores in my area (Waukesha).  I took my time at each one and found wonderful winter coats and vests in every kid size imaginable.  After the third store, I counted how many coats/vests I was able to purchase with $100.00 and I had over 20 items! … Last evening I went to the Steinhafels Superstore in Waukesha and brought in all 7 bags of coats.  People looked at me kind of strangely and asked if I brought all those bags.  I then told them the story of how they got there.  People were just astonished at the whole idea of an employer giving each employee money to ‘pay it forward’, and what a great idea it was to do this.”

Coats for Kids Goodwill Letter pic

Eberle was thrilled to hear about Yvonne’s use of her $100.  When asked about it how it makes him feel, he says, “In a word, awesome!  Purchasing coats from Goodwill to help keep children warm this winter, while simultaneously benefiting the nonprofit, which provides training, employment and supportive services for people with disabilities or disadvantages seeking greater independence, was a wonderful way to spend $100.  Yvonne rocks.”

We are so happy Yvonne shared her story with Vince, and with us.  What a great way to take a little initiative, and turn it into a thoughtful and meaningful gift this holiday season.

If you have a story like Yvonne’s, let us know!  Feel free to leave a brief comment and/or contact info in the Comments section of the blog.




2015 Year in Review: A Year of Giving and Growing!

2015 has been a big year for our company.  From continuing long-standing partnerships with local organizations, to making new friends in the community, to breaking ground on a multi-million dollar warehouse expansion… there’s never a dull moment here at Steinhafels.  We’d like to now briefly share a few of our favorite moments with you — as we look back at the year that was, and look forward to the new adventures 2016 has in store.

March 2015:  House of Hope Donation with the Kuhn Family

A home.  It’s something most of us take for granted.  For some people, finding a place to call home is a daily struggle.  The ‘House of Hope’ in Green Bay is hoping to change that.  Steinhafels is still new to the Fox Valley market, and we are excited to partner with The Green Bay Press Gazette, and help House of Hope in its fight against homelessness.  On this particular day we donated various pieces of furniture to help update the House, and make it more of a welcoming environment for those who need it most.  Packers Fullback John Kuhn and his wife Lindsey were also on hand for the event!



April 2015:  “Five Words on Freedom” documentary premiere

Steinhafels is proud to partner with the Journal Sentinel and Pick ‘n Save in supporting the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.  The Flight honors all vets by flying World War Two, Korean War, and terminally ill vets to D.C. to visit their memorials.  A documentary crew followed the vets and special guest, Brewers star catcher Jonathan Lucroy, on a recent flight.  The documentary premiered at Steinhafels’ Corporate Center in Waukesha.  Here’s a behind the scenes look at the big event!


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May 2015:  “Keeping Tradition Alive in Pewaukee”

Fireworks on Pewaukee Lake have been a tradition for more than 25 years. However, due to the strained economy and funding challenges many communities are facing, the city’s hands were tied and leaders weren’t sure they could fund the annual event.  Steinhafels joined in Pewaukee’s ‘GoFundMe’ project to help save the fireworks.  Steinhafels pledged to match the final donation amount, dollar for dollar, up to $5,000.

Boaters on Pewaukee Lake watch a distant fireworks display to the west while waiting for the annual July 4th fireworks at Pewaukee's Lakefront Park on Thursday, July 4, 2013.

July 2015:  Groundbreaking for New Warehouse

As business continues to grow, Steinhafels is expanding its headquarters to match.  This July we broke ground on a more than 100,000-square-foot expansion at our Pewaukee facility.  An increased demand for quality furniture has led to this need for more space.  We’re constantly looking for more hard-working, dedicated people to join our team!  The expansion will take place in two phases, and ultimately add hundreds of employees to our company’s workforce.

“We’re breaking ground to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced, both with same-store sales with the economy picking up, and with the stores we’ve opened through the purchase from American (TV and Appliance),” president Gary Steinhafel told a local media outlet covering the event.


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October 2015:  Design for a Difference

We can’t forget our community neighbors to the West!  This was our first year taking part in ‘Design For a Difference’.  Steinhafels was one of many local companies to help with this Extreme Makeover-style redesign at the ‘Center For Families’ in Madison, which helps families in crisis.  Thank you Floor 360 for inviting us to take part in this wonderful event.

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October 2015:  Kathy’s House Donation

We were excited to partner with Kathy’s House in Milwaukee for the first time this Fall.  Kathy’s House provides rooms for families who come from out of town and have a loved one in the hospital.  Thanks to some help from Tempur-Pedic, we were able to supply Kathy’s House with new mattresses and frames… so family members have a comfortable place to sleep during a traumatic time in their lives.

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October and December 2015:  Condella’s Coats for Kids

Steinhafels, Fox 6, and the Salvation Army team up every year for ‘Condella’s Coats for Kids’.  This year we held two coat drives at our Corporate store.  The community’s generosity was overwhelming, as volunteers collected hundreds of coats that will cleaned and distributed to children who need them throughout Milwaukee.  Those who donated also got 2 free tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters on New Years Eve!!


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December 2015:  CBS 58 Toy Shop

Families in Milwaukee continue to struggle during these difficult economic times.  This is especially evident during the Christmas Holiday Season.  The Salvation Army ‘Toy Shop’ provides an opportunity for parents to choose from donated new toys so their children will have presents on Christmas Day, even if the family cannot afford to buy toys.  Barrels to accept toys were set up at all Steinhafels stores in southeast Wisconsin.


As we look ahead to the next year, we are constantly working to update our retail stores and our online services, to make your shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.  We want to hear from you!  Please, feel free to comment on our blog at any time, or give one of our friendly customer service agents a call.  We wish you and yours a wonderful New Year, and we look forward to seeing you in 2016!