Local First Arizona
In recognition of National Independents Week, Local First Arizona will honor locally owned and independent businesses across the state from Saturday, June 27, through Sunday, July 5. The nationwide Independents Week campaign, coordinated by the American Independent Business Alliance and known as “Indie Week,” takes place during the week of Independence Day with the purpose of enlightening consumers to the importance of supporting local businesses.
“Independence Day is a time for us to reflect on what makes our state and country great,” says Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona. “Arizona’s independent business community is the backbone of our local economy and the driving force behind what makes us proud to call Arizona home. Up to four times more money stays in the local economy when consumers choose an independent business over a national chain. Independents Week is our way of drawing attention to the important role independent businesses play in our daily lives.”
This year’s Independents Week will feature the return of the Golden Coupon, an Independents Week contest with great prizes, and fun events with local businesses in the Phoenix Metro area and across the state:
TAKE THE ‘BUY LOCAL’ PLEDGE
Arizonans are encouraged to take the pledge to ‘Buy Local’ and support Arizona’s independent businesses during Indie Week. Anyone can take the pledge by visiting http://localfirstaz.com/independents-week/ and filling out the simple form. Pledgers can choose to publicly have their names listed on the Local First Arizona website or remain anonymous. All pledgers will be entered in a raffle to win a Phoenix staycation package, which includes a one-night stay at the Clarendon Hotel, a $100 gift card to the Vig and admission for two to the Phoenix Art Museum.
THE GOLDEN COUPON RETURNS
The popular Golden Coupon, printed by Think! Graphic and Printing Solutions, is the ticket to saving 20% off purchases from hundreds of locally owned establishments including auto repairs, home furnishing stores, boutiques, florists, restaurants, yoga studios, nurseries, and more. Individuals can simply print out the Golden Coupon from the LFA website or download the coupon on their smart phone and use it at as many participating locations as they please throughout Independents Week. The Golden Coupons present the perfect opportunity for consumers to visit participating stores that they have wanted to try and to find new spots they may not have known about, all while spending locally and saving money.
INDEPENDENTS WEEK EVENTS
Independents Week is always accompanied by several events celebrating local businesses:
5th Somewhat Annual Phoenix Independents Bowl: Grab your friends (and a ringer or two) on Sunday, June 28, and set up your teams for this sometimes annual bowling tournament supporting Local First Arizona. Organized by Steve Chilton of Psyko Steve Presents & LFA, this is a fun get-together at locally owned Let It Roll Bowl in Phoenix.
“Painted Skies” by Lisa Olson & Terry Pisel at Modified Arts: Lisa Olson and Terry Pisel invite you to join them in celebrating the striking beauty of Arizona. From the sprawling spectacle of the Grand Canyon to the gridded streets of Phoenix, Arizona holds a dramatic and ever-changing variety of landscapes. Native Arizonans, photographers, friends, and collaborators, Olson and Pisel use their photographic skills to showcase some of the unique features of our state set against its biggest asset—the sky. Using hand-transferred photographs altered using unconventional mediums, the artists portray a series of wide-ranging scenes: from cactus to pine tree, city to mountain, valley to mesa. Their wood panels feature interpretive regional landscapes giving homage to the forests, deserts and majesty of our home. Opening reception is Third Friday, June 19, at 6:00 p.m.
Independents Week Pub Crawl: Local First Arizona is taking over Old Town Scottsdale on Friday, July 3, for our annual Independents Week Pub Crawl. Hit the streets with us as we trek around sipping libations in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. Each local stop along the way will feature one $4 drink special exclusively for attendees. Attendees can participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the evening for the chance to win prizes. Pub Crawl stops include Brat Haus, Craft64, 5th and Wine, and Hula’s Modern Tiki. Free to attend, guests are responsible for purchasing their own beverages. Find more details on Independents Week at http://www.localfirstaz.com/independents-week/
If you noticed an unusual abundance of energetic tourists in Downtown Phoenix during the second week of June, don’t worry; you’re not going crazy.
They weren’t just tourists. They were attendees of the 2015 BALLE Conference, which brings together the most active minds in small business from around the country. With seminars held in the Orpheum Theatre, ASU Downtown Campus, and the Crescent Ballroom, our out of town guests truly got a taste of what makes Phoenix so special.
Ushered in by Local First Arizona, the biggest local business association in the country, visitors took part in seminars that looked at every part of the small business process. Topics ranged from launching a new idea to the necessity of collaboration among local business owners to answer the needs of their own communities.
Niambi Cacchioli, founder and head artisan of Bloomsbury Sq. Bath and Body from Jersey City, NJ, spoke during the Innovation for Good seminar on Friday, noting the need for local business owners to connect with the local community.
“When we often talk among ourselves and we often talk about the “shared economy.” It’s a beautiful idea, but why doesn’t everybody do it?” she asked during her presentation.
“Because it’s really hard. Because everyday is a negotiation.”
But, as the co-founder of shared workspace 942 Summit, Cacchioli has dealt firsthand with the intricacies of local business owners coming together to create a destination for community members, and found the reward of committing to her own backyard with creative solutions as a business owner.
Business owners and community leaders from around the country congregated in Phoenix, braved triple-digit weather, and shared stories on how to make small business work in every setting. Representatives from Detroit’s Hopeful Harvest and FoodLab/Detroit Kitchen Connect discussed the need to engage the community by creating jobs and opportunity for growth to locals who have a deep investment in the future of the community.
In support of our state’s local and independent businesses, Local First Arizona will recognize Independents Week from Saturday, June 27 – Saturday, July 5. Learn how you can support local businesses during Independents Week through shopping, contests and events.
Photography: Ivan Martinez
Downtown Phoenix is about to host the biggest gathering of local business owners in the nation.
The 2015 Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Conference will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center, June 10 – 12. View the conference agenda here.
BALLE works to support local business associations around the country by providing education and an annual fellowship program.
The revitalization of Downtown Phoenix is due in no small part to the efforts of our own local business association, Local First Arizona, which effectively takes the collective hopes of multitude downtown residents and helps translate them into a vibrant local community. They do this by fostering local business growth, offering support and a structured environment for local entrepreneurs to develop their trade in our city.
Local First AZ is also the world’s largest local business association, and boasts two BALLE Fellows in Founder Kimber Lanning and Fuerza Local Director Carlos Velasco, making Phoenix an ideal location to host the 2015 conference.
Further earning its local credentials, in the past two years Phoenix has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index, and is featured prominently on a number of national business-friendly indexes. Not only that; in 2014 Roosevelt Row was named one of the top 10 arts districts in America by USA Today.
The welcoming atmosphere and record of success will be on prominent display as small business owners from around the country descend upon Phoenix in the coming days.
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Local First Arizona Brings Localism Conference, Local Economy Leaders to Phoenix
WHAT: The 13th annual BALLE (Business Alliance of Local Living Economies) Conference is a three-day event that explores how locally rooted economic systems solve environmental, financial, and social problems. Approximately 700 local business leaders, social entrepreneurs, community funders, policymakers and local economy leaders of all kind from across North America and beyond are expected to attend this year’s BALLE Conference.
The theme, “What’s Working Locally,” will inform this year’s conversation around practical solutions and wisdom that attendees can take back to their own communities to advance the emergence of a new economy that is just, fair, and healthy for people, place, and planet.
WHO: The 2015 BALLE Conference is hosted by BALLE and Local First Arizona. BALLE is a non-profit organization focused on creating real prosperity by connecting leaders, spreading solutions, and driving investment toward local economies. BALLE equips entrepreneurs with tools and strategies for local success, and provides a national forum for the most visionary local economy leaders and funders to connect, build their capacity and innovate.
Local First Arizona (LFA) is a statewide non-profit organization working to strengthen communities and local economies through growing, supporting, and celebrating locally owned businesses throughout the state of Arizona. LFA seeks to promote, support, and celebrate a vibrant and sustainable Arizona economy by educating consumers, stakeholders, business leaders, and policymakers about local business ownership, social equity, cultural diversity, environmental kinship, and collaboration.
WHEN: June 10 – 12, 2015
WHERE: The 2015 BALLE Conference will be hosted at a variety of venues in downtown Phoenix. Optional excursions before and after the conference will take attendees to different areas of the state including Cottonwood and Arcosanti.
WHY: Studies consistently show that communities with higher density and diversity of local, independently owned businesses have more wealth, jobs, and resiliency. The BALLE Conference offers an opportunity for local economy leaders from around the globe to come together and share best practices for advancing strategies and policies that support local businesses and local economies. By sharing this knowledge, these leaders can return to their communities to grow and support their own local economies, thus working towards creating prosperity for all.
The BALLE Conference has chosen Phoenix as its host city for a number of reasons. Since the Great Recession, Phoenix has transformed into a beautiful, new city that now embraces Localism, innovation, entrepreneurship, and diversity. With an eye towards the city’s core and a special focus on adaptive reuse, hundreds of new local businesses have established themselves in the heart of downtown Phoenix over the past five years, and they’re thriving. Ridership on the recently constructed Light Rail line has exceeded all expectations, and is further spurring economic development in Phoenix’s central corridor. For the last two years, Phoenix has received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index.
In a dramatic shift based on these factors, an increasing number of young people are choosing to start their lives and careers in Phoenix, where the cost of living is low and the quality of life is high. Arizona is home to a thriving Localist community and Local First Arizona, the largest BALLE member and local businesses coalition in the country with over 2,600 members across the state.
REGISTRATION & COST: Registration is now open with an advanced discount rate of $450 per person. On February 23, registration will increase to $550 per person for the early bird rate. On May 3, registration will increase to the regular rate of $650 per person. Registration includes attendance at all BALLE Conference activities, including regular conference programming, six meals, evening parties, and more. Registration, programming, and more information is available at bealocalist.org/conference
Saturday, November 15 is an important day for all Phoenicians as we get a sneak peek into the City’s draft General Plan Update, a document that upon review and approval by our elected officials and voters will impact how our city moves forward in the next ten years. For those of us who live, work, study, and play downtown, it’s a double dose of importance because one of the five key themes of the document is, drum roll please, “Create an Even More Vibrant Downtown.” So many who provided input – from all eight council districts over the past year and a half – concluded that a strong downtown is essential for a strong Phoenix, a strong region, and a strong Arizona.
So I urge you to mark your calendar and plan to attend the PlanPHX 2014 Summit, Saturday, November 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Phoenix City Hall, First Floor, 200 W. Washington St. Mayor Greg Stanton, Members of Council, city staff, and the PlanPHX Leadership Committee, comprised of several friends of DPI, including Mo Stein, Carol Poore, and Sandra Ferniza of PCA and Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona, have planned a rigorous agenda and series of workshops for participants:
- Creating an Even More Vibrant Downtown (I’ll be moderating this session)
- Creating Phoenix’s Healthy Food System
- How to Maintain an Active Neighborhood Organization
- How to Organize Your Neighborhood
- It Starts with a Plan
- Making the General Plan Happen
- Strengthening our Local Economy
- Tech + Transit: Moving Phoenix Forward
Prior to Saturday, spend some time reviewing supplemental planning documents that will work side-by-side with the General Plan Update document. What especially tickles your fancy or raises your eyebrows or causes you to lie awake at night? Only you will know unless you voice your opinion:
- Bicycle Master Plan
- Complete Streets Policy
- Comprehensive Downtown Transportation Plan
- Parklet Program
- Tree and Shade Master Plan
- Walkable Urbanism Code
I understand that’s a lot of bullet points, and a lot of reading material behind each one of them, but they’re all so important to consider and act upon to help Phoenix gain its proper place among other major cities in the Western U.S., nationwide, and yes internationally.
During the past 18 months, I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with hundreds of individuals and attending dozens of different neighborhood and community association meetings in the downtown core and surrounding neighborhoods. I’ve worked alongside a committed board, savvy community advisory committee, forward-thinking business leaders, dedicated city staff, and passionate citizen advocates, young and not-as-young. The heartfelt desire and dedication among every one of them to improve our city, warts and all, is staggering. There is untapped opportunity here, for native and newcomer.
With your continued advice and assistance, and a comprehensive and workable General Plan to guide us, we’ll achieve greater things, downtown and beyond.
See you on Saturday.