Ali Besharat, Melissa Archpru Akaka, Brent Chrite, Shereen and Michael Pollak

Business owners have to make all sorts of decisions that could greatly improve or greatly deteriorate the customer experience. But, what if you had a resource that could give you insight before you launched a new product or initiative? Or, what if you wanted to evaluate if a product line or program was working?

These are all things the Daniels College of Business’s new Consumer Insights and Business Innovation Center (CiBiC) can do for companies and organizations.

On May 8, the Daniels community gathered to celebrate the official opening of the Center. Thanks to a generous gift from Michael and Shereen Pollak, CiBiC now has the equipment and dedicated space to take on clients and conduct research.

“With cutting-edge technology, CiBiC optimizes the learning and testing experience to create customer-focused products and ideas that are based on proven methodologies,” said Associate Professor of Marketing Ali Besharat, who serves as its co-director with Associate Professor of Marketing Melissa Archpru Akaka. “We are so grateful to Michael and Shereen. We would not have been able to open CiBiC without their support of our vision.”

Michael Pollak (BSBA 1975) shared how he started his jewelry company on the lawn of the University of Denver before he graduated. The year following graduation, he opened Hyde Park Jewelers in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center and has had a successful business for 44 years.

“My wife and I have received a lot of community support that has allowed us to grow our business over the years,” Pollak said. “One of our founding principles is to give back to the community where we live and serve. DU is special to me for a lot of reasons and when Melissa and Ali presented their vision for CiBiC to me, it was a natural fit.”

Pollak isn’t just a donor, but also a client of the Center. Pollak wants to evaluate his company’s loyalty program and examine an app that he plans to launch in the next month.

“For me, one of the things that is important to us is education,” Shereen Pollack said. “You are never too old to learn something new. This gives business owners an opportunity to get a fresh look at something, maybe something they would not have looked at otherwise.”

Dean Brent Chrite kicked off Wednesday’s celebration by emphasizing that Daniels is committed to co-creating critical partnerships that align intellectual rigor, market relevance and faculty vitality.

“When these two young faculty members approached me with this outlandish idea two or three years ago, I wanted to create a culture of yes. This Center helps achieve our core priorities, including to further faculty research, increase market relevance and allow students to gain critical real-world experience,” Chrite said.

CiBiC is located on the first floor in Daniels. Grand opening attendees toured the new Center, followed by a reception in the Graduate Studio just across the hall.

“We are amazed and humbled,” Akaka said. “This has been quite a journey and we couldn’t have done it without Dean Chrite and the Pollaks.”