Weathering the Storm: Collaboration & Innovation Key to Small Business Recovery

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ National Small Business Week has been postponed. The U.S. Small Business Administration event, originally scheduled for May 3–9, is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation. Never has there been a greater time for innovation in the small business community, nor a better time for recognition at all levels of our local small businesses.

There are more than 550,000 small businesses, (those with fewer than 500 employees) in Arizona, and it is estimated that these businesses employ one million workers, representing 44.5 percent of the state’s private workforce.

Studies show that when residents buy local, it makes a difference. But what happens when a crisis hits — and businesses are closed, or scramble to change their business model in an effort to meet demands or just stay afloat? At press time, Arizona is still under the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” Executive Order, which is set to expire April 30. Whether or not safety restrictions are lifted in May, the small business landscape has been forever altered, and the community is looking for help.

Representing more than 3,000 businesses across the state, Local First Arizona (LFA) is just one organization that is stepping up to provide resources for businesses that are experiencing the challenging impacts of COVID-19.

“As you could imagine, most businesses, if not all, have been impacted in a major way from the COVID-19 crisis, so we have stepped in to provide direct consulting to any business that needs support at this time,” said executive director Thomas Barr.

“All businesses are different and dealing with different things and so we’ve taken a personalized approach to consulting with them. This could be helping them apply for loans through the federal government, making them aware of other grants or loans that are available in their cities or towns, and connecting them to professionals that can help them with deeper questions in legal services, accounting, HR, or even PR and marketing, even business coaching.”

Although the services are offered to members of the organization, they have opened up the membership program for any business that is unable to afford to join.

“We launched a sponsor a business program open to people in the community about a month ago and have had over 300 businesses sponsored to become a part of Local First and get access to these resources at no cost.”

The organization is also active in providing current information and resources to the community in general through its COVID-19 webpage. (www.localfirstaz.com/covid19)

“This is something that is just available to the community and will continue to be a resource, and anybody can access it. This includes up-to-date information from the Small Business Administration, information about jobs that are available for people looking, through our partners at Pipeline AZ (www.pipelineaz.com), and a wide variety of information and resources that we’ve collected to be able to communicate to the community.”

LFA is also collaborating with industry-specific organizations such as the Arizona Small Restaurant Coalition (www.arizonasrc.com) and National Independent Venue Association (www.nivassoc.org) to help spread awareness of available resources.

“We are collaborating at every opportunity possible,” said Barr. “We are getting on board with, linking arms with them, and spreading the word.”

Another resource that the LFA team quickly put together is a Support Local website, a portal where community members can find businesses that are open and offering gift cards, delivery and curbside pick-up, and more. (www.supportlocal.xyz)

“Small businesses have always shown up for us, and it’s now our time. If you have the means, you really need to show up for them so that they reopen once we go to rebuild the economy. We can’t take them for granted. At every opportunity, we need to support them and involve them so that we don’t see more businesses close permanently.” |CST

Sip, Savor, Celebrate at Devour the World Feb. 15

Celebrate the international flavors of the Valley Saturday, Feb. 15, at Devour the World, which kicks off the 2020 Devour Phoenix lineup of events. Taste the multicultural cuisines from favorite countries while enjoying cultural music and dance performances from around the world.

Presented by the City of Peoria, Phoenix Magazine, Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance and Local First Arizona, Devour the World moved to Peoria this year to make this unique cultural festival more accessible to West Valley residents.

Some of this year’s culinary participants include Chef Azeb Getahun, Abyssinian Restaurant and Café; Chef Daniele Lombardo, Bottega Pizzeria Ristorante; Chef Danielle Leoni, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar; Chef Yesenia Ramirez, Salvadoreño Restaurant; and Chef Kamal Singh, Tandoori Times; among many others. Libations will be available from Baja Brewing Co., Hoegaarden Beer, Kirin Ichiban, Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine and more.

Tickets, which are $55, include food and libation sampling from regional restaurants, food trucks, wineries and breweries. The event takes place 11am–3pm at Centennial Plaza, Peoria City Hall Complex, 9875 North 85th Avenue. For additional information, visit www.devourphoenix.com.

Celebrate All Things ‘Local’ at Arizona Fall Fest

Local First Arizona will once again celebrate everything local at its Arizona Fall Fest. The free, family-friendly celebration features food from many of Arizona’s finest restaurants, a beer and wine garden, booths for local merchants and live entertainment.

Formerly known as the Certified Local Fall Festival, the Arizona Fall Fest will have even more Arizona flavor and fun this year. Valley residents are invited to show their Arizona pride and join the community at this annual festival. The Arizona Fall Fest is presented by GoDaddy, Sprouts Farmers Market and Salt River Project.

The festival will feature more than 200 vendors, all local to Arizona. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the folks behind favorite local businesses from across the state. In addition, enjoy food samples from some of the best Arizona restaurants and food trucks. Sampling tickets will be available for $1 each.

Live entertainment will take place on multiple stages showcasing exclusively Arizona talent including cultural groups from across the state. And dozens of locally-made beers, wines and spirits will be available to sample in the Hensley Beverage Garden (21 and over only). Each beverage sample requires two sampling tickets ($1 per ticket).

The official ‘Kid Zone,’ made possible by Sprouts Farmers Market and Tuft & Needle, will feature crafts, games and activities for children of all ages and families. And finally, head to the Arizona Sports Zone to play games, win prizes, and interact with several of Arizona’s professional sports teams.

The 2018 Arizona Fall Fest takes place Saturday, Nov. 3, 10am–4pm, at Hance Park, 1242 North Central Avenue in Downtown Phoenix. For additional information, including a complete line up of vendors, restaurants, entertainment and more, visit www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival.

Celebration, Connection, Discovery: Fall Fest Celebrates All Things Arizona

The Arizona Fall Fest, a free and family-friendly celebration of all things uniquely Arizona, will be hosted at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, Saturday, November 4, from 10am–4pm. Formerly known as the Certified Local Fall Festival, this will be the 13th annual festival hosted by Local First Arizona.

While the name of this local festival is changing, the event will still offer the same great local offerings and entertainment but with an even broader statewide representation.

“We’re expecting a few dozen businesses and organizations from outside of the Phoenix area to join us for this year’s festival, more than what we’ve had in the past,” said Kimber Lanning, founder and executive director of Local First Arizona. “We realized that our annual festival has grown into a true representation of some of the best things that the entire state of Arizona has to offer, and so we wanted the name to reflect that evolution.”

The Arizona Fall Fest is the only large-scale festival to feature exclusively Arizona-owned businesses and organizations. The Arizona Fall Fest will highlight the best of Arizona:

  • More than 200 vendors representing Arizona’s favorite local businesses
  • Food samples from some of the best Arizona restaurants, local chefs and food trucks
  • The Hensley Beverage Garden featuring Arizona-produced wine, beer and spirits
  • Live entertainment on multiple stages showcasing exclusively Arizona talent including cultural groups from across the state
  • Games and entertainment in the Sports Zone with several of Arizona’s professional sports teams
  • The official ‘Kid Zone’ (new this year) made possible by Sprouts, featuring crafts, games and activities for kids and families

“The Arizona Fall Fest is all about celebration, connection, and discovery,” said Lanning. “We want localists of all ages to join us to connect with their favorite local businesses and find new favorites as well. We want Arizonans to feel connected to the local businesses in their communities, and we want local businesses to feel supported by their neighbors. Because when local businesses prosper, communities thrive.”

The 2017 Arizona Fall Fest is made possible through support from SRP and Pride Group. The event is both family-friendly and dog-friendly, and is free to attend. Tickets for food sampling and activities will be available for purchase. Vendors will be selling products and services.

To learn more about Local First Arizona, visit www.localfirstaz.com.

Taste All That Arizona Has To Offer

Arizona Fall Fest is November 4

The Arizona Fall Fest, a free and family-friendly celebration of all things uniquely Arizona, will be hosted at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, Saturday, November 4, from 10am–4pm. Formerly known as the Certified Local Fall Festival, this will be the 13th annual festival hosted by Local First Arizona.

While the name of this beloved local festival is changing, the event will still offer the same great local offerings and entertainment but with an even broader statewide representation.

“We’re expecting a few dozen businesses and organizations from outside of the Phoenix area to join us for this year’s festival, more than what we’ve had in the past,” said Kimber Lanning, founder and executive director of Local First Arizona. “We realized that our annual festival has grown into a true representation of some of the best things that the entire state of Arizona has to offer, and so we wanted the name to reflect that evolution.”

The Arizona Fall Fest is the only large-scale festival to feature exclusively Arizona-owned businesses and organizations. The Arizona Fall Fest will highlight the best of Arizona, including:

  • More than 200 vendors representing Arizona’s favorite local businesses
  • Food samples from some of the best Arizona restaurants, local chefs and food trucks
  • The Hensley Beverage Garden featuring Arizona-produced wine, beer and spirits
  • Live entertainment on multiple stages showcasing exclusively Arizona talent including cultural groups from across the state
  • Games and entertainment in the Sports Zone with several of Arizona’s professional sports teams
  • The official ‘Kid Zone’ (new this year) made possible by Sprouts, featuring crafts, games and activities for kids and families

“The Arizona Fall Fest is all about celebration, connection, and discovery,” said Lanning. “We want Localists of all ages to join us to connect with their favorite local businesses and find new favorites as well. We want Arizonans to feel connected to the local businesses in their communities, and we want local businesses to feel supported by their neighbors. Because when local businesses prosper, communities thrive.”

The 2017 Arizona Fall Fest is made possible through support from SRP and Pride Group. The event is both family-friendly and dog-friendly, and is free to attend. Tickets for food sampling and activities will be available for purchase. Vendors will be selling products and services.

More information can be found at www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival.

Celebrating Arizona’s ‘Independents’

Independents Week is Arizona’s only weeklong celebration of local businesses that also lets residents save money while shopping local. Pick up a Golden Coupon from Local First Arizona and use it July 1–9 to receive a 20 percent discount at hundreds of independent Arizona businesses. Learn more at www.localfirstaz.com.

My Foodie Valentine:

Valley festivals abound

foodie-valentineBy Kathryn M. Miller ~ It’s February, and love is in the air. However, it’s not cupid’s arrow that is hitting its mark, but rather purveyors of all things food and drink who are sending a delectable love letter to Valley foodies – so get ready to celebrate the delicious diversity that can be found in town and around the state.

Beverages take the spotlight early with Arizona Beer Week (February 9-18), followed by Street Eats Fest (February 11-12), Arizona Cocktail Week (February 17-24) and PHX Vegan Food Festival (February 25).

Rounding out the month is a Valley favorite, the Devour Culinary Classic. The premier week long annual culinary celebration is hosted by Devour Phoenix, Local First Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum and Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance at several distinct venues in Phoenix. The goal of the events is to showcase Arizona’s celebrity culinary talent as well as its fine food and drink producers and purveyors, all while furthering Metro Phoenix as a dining destination worthy of international prestige.

The Devour Week of events will be held February 26 – March 5 with a series of events celebrating Arizona’s unique culinary talents. The main event, the Devour Culinary Classic, will be held Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5, at Phoenix Art Museum, where the Dorrance Sculpture Garden will come alive with tastings of food, wine, beer and cocktails, as well as cooking demonstrations and interactive stations where attendees will have a unique opportunity to meet and interact with Arizona chefs.

This year, Devour introduces the Devour Excellence Awards, culinary demonstrations and workshops, exciting new restaurants who have been invited to participate and an expanded local foods experience.

Not only has the Classic weekend of offerings expanded, Devour Week pre-events offer more opportunities to indulge, including Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition (kicking off February 26); the 7 chef Singh Along (March 1), which includes the Arizona Seven: Cullen Campbell (Crudo, Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails), Kelly Fletcher (El Chorro), Josh Hebert (Posh Improvisational Cuisine), Scott Holmes (Little Miss BBQ), Stephen Jones (the larder + the delta), Bernie Kantak (The Gladly, Citizen Public House) and Gio Osso (Virtù Honest Craft, Nico); Palette to Palate (March 2), which pairs Valley chefs with local artists; and a new event, Devour Film Screening: Elements at FilmBar (March 3).

veganSo whether residents like it shaken or stirred, sashimi or shishkabob – and everything in between – February and March will offer a delicious distraction for just about every palate.

For complete information on Devour Phoenix 2017, visit www.devourphoenix.com/classic.

Three Ways To Eat, Drink Or Go Vegan In February! Read more about Arizona Brew Week, Street Eats Festival and PHX Vegan Food Fest, click here and see page 40.

 

Save The Date & Get Ready To Go Local!

The local-first (LFA) Certified Local Fall Festival is right around the corner, and Valley residents are invited to celebrate “local” community.

The 12th annual Certified Local Fall Festival is a free family-friendly event for all ages and an annual celebration of all things local to Arizona. This year’s festival will feature more than 100 vendors with some of Arizona’s favorite local businesses; food samples from some of the best Arizona restaurants and food trucks; the Hensley Beverage Garden featuring Arizona-produced wine, beer and spirits; live entertainment from some of Arizona’s most talented musicians at the Entertainment Stage; crafts and activities for kids and families; a raffle with gift cards and prizes from local businesses; an online silent auction featuring items and experiences, along with staycation packages across the state; and much more.

Founded in 2003 by Director Kimber Lanning, 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.

The 12th annual Certified Local Fall Festival will be held at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, on Saturday, November 5, from 10am-4pm. For more information, visit www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival.

Connecting Arizonans To Local Businesses

Local FirstNew studies show that when Arizonans support local and independently owned businesses, up to four times more money stays and circulates in the local economy to support local job creation, strong schools and local services and vibrant and diverse communities.

In addition, a thriving local business scene contributes to a community’s strong sense of place, says Local First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning. She points to a recent Knight Foundation study, which shows “connection to place” as the single-most leading indicator in places that have prosperity.

“We need to be sure that people living here feel connected to this place, and locally owned businesses play an important role in that connection.”

With a goal of that “connection” in mind, Local First Arizona will host its 11th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival Saturday, November 14, from 10am-4pm at Portland Parkway in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. The free family-friendly event is geared for all ages and an annual celebration of all things local to Arizona.

This year’s festival will feature more than 100 vendors with some of Arizona’s favorite local businesses; food samples from some of the best Arizona restaurants and food trucks; the Hensley Beverage Garden featuring Arizona-produced wine, beer and spirits; live entertainment from some of Arizona’s most talented musicians at the Entertainment Stage; crafts and activities for kids and families; the Scottsdale Cat Clinic Bounce House; the Good Food Finder booth; the Bookmans Entertainment Exchange Musical Instrument Petting Zoo; a raffle and much more. Additional information is available at http://www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival.

BALLE 2015 Injects New Energy Into Localist Movement

– By Kathryn M. Miller

An enthusiastic crowd officially kicked off the BALLE 2015 Conference the evening of June 10 at the majestic Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Phoenix, led by the Valley’s own localist rock star, Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona (www.localfirstaz.com).

Although the conference was well underway with local tours and an opening Vision Session, the Phoenix Sparks event at the Orpheum truly set the stage for the remainder of this week’s activities.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton welcomed conference goers from Arizona and around the country saying, “What Local First Arizona does for Phoenix makes it a stronger city, what you do in your respective cities as passionate localists makes your community stronger and therefore, we are a stronger country because of the work that you do.”

The mayor continued, “Our economy is stronger when we are supporting the health and prosperity and happiness of our local businesses, community leaders and our local organizations.”

And the line-up of Phoenix Sparks speakers went on to underline the mayor’s point.

Speakers included Angela Hughey, ONE Community; Kade Twist, Postcommodity; Oye Waddell, Hustle PHX; Joe Larios, Center for Neighborhood Leadership; Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Cafe; Miguel Jardine, The Local Soil Company; Ann Morton, Artist/Social Practitioner; Joe Johnston, Agritopia; Heidi Jannenga, Web PT; Maynard James Keenan, Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards. Each provided inspiration and the story of their own localist path and shared how their respective businesses and organizations are making an impact within local communities.

BALLE events picked up again this morning and continue into the afternoon with Conference Tracks on a variety of topics ranging from Community Capital and Local First to Soil & Nature and more, followed by and evening Party in the Park at Civic Space Park and after-hours at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour – with more of the same tomorrow. The week of events wraps on Saturday with the final two tours of the 2015 BALLE Conference: Arcosanti Tour and Revitalizing Mainstreet in Rural Arizona Tour.

BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) was founded in 2001 to nurture and curate the emergence of a new economy – one that will support the health, prosperity and happiness for all people and regenerate the vital ecosystems upon which our economy depends. Learn more at www.bealocalist.org.

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