All Aboard! National Train Day is Just Around The Bend

National Train Day is May 9th and is a great opportunity to explore, experience and learn about Arizona’s rich history of rail tracks. In the mid historic train19th century most of the Arizona territory was still a desolate place, mainly just an area to pass through to get to the Gold Rush of California. With the addition of tracks, steam and steel Arizona quickly evolved from a stopping point to a welcoming place to settle. Bring the family out on National Train Day, or any day for that matter, to one of these special train locations and learn how Arizona came to be the great community we call home.

Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarkdale.

In the glory days of the iron horse, the train station was typically the bustling hub of every small town across America. Those times may have passed but Verde Canyon Railroad is verde_canyon_railroad_tunneldoing its part to ensure that they are not forgotten. This 38 mile track is sandwiched between two protected sanctuaries, the Coconino National Forest and the Prescott National Forest, the Railroad runs a rare ribbon where dramatic high desert meets a precious riparian area. Such scenery comprises only 2% of the Arizona landscape. Book your unique experience through northern Arizona here.

Grand Canyon Railroad in Williams.

This 65 mile trip takes you from the small town of Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon Country is located on the Colorado grand-canyon-railway-tourPlateau in northern Arizona. Most of the plateau is set at an elevation of 5,000 feet. However, the plateau also includes the San Francisco Peaks, the highest point in Arizona at over 12,600 feet. As a result, the journey through Grand Canyon Country features a variety of stunningly different landscapes: from the Ponderosa pine forest surrounding Williams, to a gentle drop in elevation down to the wide-open prairie before climbing back up to the Pinion pine forests as the Train approaches Grand Canyon National Park. Book your next trip here.

Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza in Yuma.

Catch a glimpse of Arizona’s spectacular “Ghost Train” at this outdoor exhibit located where Madison Avenue meets the river – the exact site where the first railroad train pivot ptentered Arizona in 1877. As kids clamber over the 1907 Baldwin locomotive, a 21st-century audio system re-creates the sounds of a passing steamboat, the swing-span rail bridge cranking open and the arrival of a train at the old Southern Pacific Hotel leaving you with the feeling that you have just traveled back in time. A stroll around the plaza is a walk through local history, sprinkled with fascinating photographs and interesting stories about Yuma’s train history.

Southern Arizona Transportation Museum in Tucson.

In 1998, the City of Tucson purchased the former Southern Pacific Railroad Depot on Toole Avenue downtown. The main attraction is Steam Locomotive #1673, one of 105 of its type locomotive-1673-smbuilt with very few left in existence. Visitors are encouraged to explore the restored train, take a peek inside the 100 year old box cars, ring the locomotive bell and pick up an audio phone in the museum to hear an exciting story of a railroad job. Don’t miss the restored depot lobby where you will find it exactly as it was in 1942. Enjoy the countless exhibits, artifacts and photos as you immerse yourself in the history of steam locomotion. For more information on available tours and hours of operation click here.

Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler.

The Arizona Railway Museum was founded in 1983 as a non-profit, educational and historical organization. Boasting four passenger cars and a caboose the museum is AZ RW muesdedicated to the celebration and restoration of the railways in the southwest. You are welcome to take a self guided tour through the yard to see the vintage equipment or step into the building and wander around the countless artifacts that have been collected. The fascination of railways and trains have no boundaries at this unique museum, so artifacts include railways of all kinds. For information on hours and tours click here.

Posted in Arts and Culture, Exploring Arizona | Leave a comment

Increasing Access to Healthy Food is Difficult, Not Impossible

my subway stationGrowing up in Arizona, the move to Queens, New York my junior year of college was a major culture shock. After visiting NYC a few times throughout my life, I decided to take advantage of my school’s unique exchange program, which allows students to study in other places in the country, rather than going abroad. I knew I wanted to be as close to Manhattan as possible, so I ended up at Queens College in Flushing, NY. I soon found out that there are many differences between big city life and my suburban upbringing. The main one being I no longer had a car of my own to get around, which posed a problem I never had to think about before- I had to rely on public transportation and my own two feet to get around. I quickly learned where the closest bus stops and subway stations were, but I also needed to figure out where I could buy food. This seemed to be the toughest problem.

In Queens, as in many city locations, instead of driving to my local grocery store or farmer’s market, I had to walk to a bus stop, ride the bus for 20 minutes, and walk another 15 minutes to Target (which had a limited grocery section) in order to purchase food. This was a task that I came to dread. Public transportation was so crowded that I sometimes had to wait for multiple busses to pass until one had enough room for me to get on. This meant the ride home, with bulky armfuls of groceries was even more daunting. It blew my mind that my whole community was living like this.

Because I was frustrated by making this journey so often, I decided to do a little research on the issue, and came to learn that I was living in a food desert.

phonto (3)Food deserts, like poverty, affect people all over the country in both urban and rural communities, and are categorized as low-income areas with low-access to a grocery store or market. In Maricopa County alone, there are 55 food deserts and 1 in 5 Arizonans lives in poverty. So what does that mean for these residents? It means that instead of having a reliable car to use for grocery shopping, residents must resort to using public transportation, bicycles, or walking to grocery stores that are miles away. While small pushcarts can be used to carry food, these carriers and transportation options limit the amount that can be purchased. This can be a real issue when trying to buy adequate food to feed a family even for a few days. Fresh produce can be bulky and heavy, and frozen fruits and vegetables can begin to defrost on the journey home. At this point, the decision must be made between healthy food, and food that’s easily accessible.

In most food deserts, while grocery stores are few and far between, convenience stores and fast food restaurants are plentiful. An article from the Harvard School of Public Health found that convenience stores and fast food establishments tend to locate more in low-income neighborhoods and near schools, making it much easier to buy food there, instead of at a grocery store. As a result, these options are often used as the main food source for families and individuals in food deserts.  This means eating highly processed, packaged foods, high in sugar, sodium and saturated fats, and it means fresh produce is limited to pre-packaged items such as salads and sandwiches. It’s no secret that eating this type of food without the addition of fresh produce can lead to health issues, not to mention, an all-around crummy feeling.

So what’s being done to combat food deserts in Arizona? Programs such as Kitchen On The Street and Fresh Express by Discovery Triangle Development Corporation use mobility as ways to reach out to as many children and families in need as possible.  Kitchen On The Street’s food truck acts as a mobile classroom to teach children about nutrition and healthy cooking and to teach valuable job skills to adults.

fresh express busFresh Express uses a refurbished city bus to travel to community hubs in order to provide fresh produce and health and wellness resources to communities located along the Lightrail corridor in Phoenix and Tempe. In addition, they accept SNAP/EBT to help low-income families pay for their services.

Recently, the Navajo Nation passed the Healthy Diné Nation Act, which not only places a 2 cent tax on anything deemed to have “minimal-to-no nutritional value” (sodas, snack cakes, chips, fried foods, candy, etc), but also lifts the longstanding tax on fresh produce. The money raised from the junk food tax will go towards funding educational health and wellness programs for those living on the Navajo Reservation.

Education programs are a crucial element in eliminating food deserts. Fresh Express Executive Director, Elyse Guidas comments, “In areas where healthy food is scarce, many individuals are not familiar with recipes, preparation techniques, or the importance of incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diets. Nutrition education is key to getting residents to not only purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, but also to prepare and eat them as well.”

It’s also important to understand that simply adding in more supermarkets, and creating higher access to fresh produce is not the only step necessary to combat food deserts.  In an interview with PBS Newshour, Steven Cummins, a professor of population health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says there needs to be a sense of community connection the shoppers feel in addition to having produce available.

growhouseOne of the easiest ways to create this essential sense of connection is through community gardens, like Downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row Growhouse. They provide information on desert gardening, healthy eating, and edible landscaping and source their produce to local markets and restaurants. When the neighborhood takes part in the entire process, from seed to table, they experience working toward a common goal. Neighbors can share recipes, learn new gardening techniques, and kids are more likely to try something new if they’ve helped in its growing process. Check out the University of Arizona’s Community Garden Directory to find one near you!

As individuals, we can make a real impact. Elyse from Fresh Express gives great insight on how we can take this issue and make it personal:

  • Chat with community members and neighbors about their involvement in community gardens and other nutrition programs
  • Attend city council meetings, where you can learn about zoning for community gardens if there aren’t any near you
  • Find out how others in your neighborhood access food and maybe offer to help those without a vehicle purchase a few healthy options

“I think people often feel like we live in such a big area that it is difficult to find out what is going on or know how their voice can make a difference. But the momentum to increase food access in underserved areas is out there; you just have to plug into it.”

The issue of food deserts boils down to one simple point: people need ready access to fresh, healthy food.  By implementing different types of programs such as community gardens, mobile food deliveries, and educational opportunities, we can fight food deserts from all angles. It’s important to know that we can empower ourselves to take on the responsibility of learning about food deserts and make those important connections to help reduce the impact on our communities. No one should have to face living without healthy food. With raised awareness and coordinated community efforts, we can address and stamp out this epidemic forever.

Posted in Greater Phoenix, Local First Movement, Real Food Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Local Job Postings from May

This blog is guest written by Rob Briggs.

The weather is getting hotter, and so are the employment opportunities! With over 60,000 jobs coming to our local economy by the end of 2015, you can have confidence that if you’re currently out of work, you won’t be for long. Whether you’re looking for opportunities in Healthcare, Transportation Logistics, Technology, or Home Improvement, there are more opportunities out there than you might think; you just have to know where to look.

localwork has claimed its place at the top of thousands of job seekers’ list of resources they use to find local and currently hiring job opportunities.

Here’s a list of six local companies with some examples of jobs they’re hiring for:

1. Blue Sky Pest Control

Home Improvement companies range from pest control to traditional construction/trades companies. Blue Sky Pest Control is a leading Home Improvement company in the Valley with various employment opportunities to choose from like, New Account Representatives and Home Protection Specialists, who’re responsible for helping homeowners discover ways they can protect their loved ones from dangerous outdoor pests that tend to find their way indoors, especially when the weather starts warming up!

2. Ontrac

Transportation Logistics is one industry that honestly reflects how the economy is either growing or shrinking. Well, let’s just say this Transportation Logistics company is growing like gang busters, and they have the employment opportunities to prove it. There jobs range from, Customer Service Representatives to Settlement Entry Clerks and Vendor Relations Professionals.

3. Universal Background Screening

Most employers request background checks before hiring employees right? Well, if you ever wondered what the process entails or have been curious about what background screening companies do, then you will want to consider this thriving company. Some of their listings include, Verification Specialists, Court Research Specialists, and Order Processing Specialists.

4. Apple Recovery

It would shock you to hear how many people in our country are in uncontrollable debt. Perhaps you personally know someone who has literally suffered under the weight of debt that crushes them on a daily basis. There is help! Apple Recovery helps people settle their debt with recovery plans that are manageable and possible while truly keeping the best interests of the client in mind. They’re currently hiring for Customer Service Representatives to assist in this massive recovery initiative.

5. Nextiva

Nextiva is a growing Technology company with many high-tech, low-tech and general office opportunities available. Their intense hiring outlook is not a result of turnover, but rather a product of aggressive growth and exciting corporate expansion. Some of their jobs include, Account Managers, Front End Developers, Project Managers, and Technical Support.

6. Milestone Pediatrics

If the idea of working in the Healthcare industry excites you beyond anything else, take a look at this company that is really changing the way respite and rehabilitation services are delivered to children. They’re currently hiring for Bilingual Special Needs Program Assistants and Respite Caregivers.

If perhaps the opportunities above aren’t quite the best fit for you, go to the Greater Phoenix Job Fair, held on May 11th at the Phoenix Airport Marriott from 10AM – 1PM, to choose from over 1,500 employment opportunities. For more information about the job fair click here.

Like was said in the beginning, there are lots of jobs out there; you just have to know where to look, and hopefully this gave you a few more ideas.

You will land a great job soon, no worries!

Posted in Arizona, Greater Phoenix, Local First Movement, Local Work | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Distant Drums Beat in Verde Valley RV Resort

cliffcastleFor travelers who like to travel in luxury while maintaining some control over their facilities, Distant Drums RV Resort in Camp Verde is among the state’s best RV parks. With nearly 160 spacious RV sites, Distant Drums provides a beautiful place to set up camp while you explore the Verde Valley. It is located in close proximity to the Cliff Castle Casino, Red Rock State Park, and Coconino National Forest – so no matter what brings you to jeromethe valley, there is sure to be something nearby for you to explore. You’re also only a short drive from Dead Horse Ranch and the incredible town of Jerome, a former copper mining camp turned beautiful day trip destination.

redrockIf you’re planning on sticking around your RV camp and relaxing, have no fear – Distant Drums’ top of the line amenities make it the best place to unwind and capitalize on your getaway. Each site in the resort comes with full hookups (including a 30/50 amp electrical service), cable TV, and wifi. An air-conditioned exercise room and the pristine community room are perfect for enjoying the company of your friends, family, and park neighbors. If sunshine is more your thing, there’s also a community pool and a jacuzzi for you to enjoy. To see a full list of amenities, click here.

45Distant Drums offers a wide array of affordable deals, including those for groups traveling together. All of the amenities listed above are included in your rate. To see nightly, weekly, and monthly rates, click here. To contact the resort with questions, call (928) 554-5507 or email the office at

Posted in Businesses, LFA Member Spotlight, Northern Arizona | Leave a comment

5 Reasons to Advertise Locally This Summer

Depending on where your business is located in Arizona, you may experience a surge or a lull in business this summer. Regardless of your situation, summer is a great time to plan an advertising campaign for your business.

SEE ALSO: 5 Steps To A Successful Advertising Campaign
SEE ALSO: 27 Summer Advertising Specials for Local First AZ Members

Here are 5 reasons to advertise locally this summer:

1. Help Your Business Stand Out

stand out

Photo Credit: stevendepolo via Compfight cc

Is your business located in a popular summer destination like Payson, Prescott or Flagstaff? Stand out from the crowd and bring those visitors in to your business by advertising in local markets in Phoenix, Tucson, and beyond.

2. Brand Your Business as a Local Business

hayden flour ad

Hayden Flour Mills advertising in Edible Phoenix as the local option.

The “Buy Local” message has entered the mainstream, what better time to brand your business as a locally-owned business? People are actively seeking out new local businesses to frequent, take the opportunity to brand yourself as the local option. You can even use the Local First Arizona logo in your print advertisement, or mention you are a proud member on the radio or television!

3. Connect With The Locals

Green-Living-Magazine cropped

Increase your brand awareness among the locals by advertising with local media companies during the summer time. This is the audience who will support your business all year long, so get your name in front of them now so they will remember when they’re choosing where to spend their money during the summer and beyond though the holiday season.

4. Get More Bang For Your Buck


In the summer time, advertising rates with specific local publications may be discounted or less expensive as demand wanes. If you’re an LFA member, don’t forget to take advantage of discounts from our local media partners.

5. Opportunities for Collaboration

Banking ad

Several local banks got together to place this ad in In Business Magazine for a 6-month campaign.

To extend your advertising dollars even further, band together with a group of other local businesses in your industry or area to bring the total advertising cost down. The summer is a great time to explore this option. For example, multiple businesses in Globe-Miami could band together to create an advertisement promoting Globe-Miami as a summer destination.

Don’t forget to check out summer advertising specials from Local First Arizona Media Partners!

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Thank you for Arizona Give Day!

AZ-Gives-Day-FB_V1_GAVEThank you to all who donated to Local First Arizona on April 7th!

This year Arizona Gives Day received over two million dollars donated to participating nonprofits organizations all over the state.

This was LFA’s first time participating in Arizona Gives Day and we are very happy and grateful to announce that we made our goal of $5,000!

Some of the highlights from LFA’s Arizona Give Day are:

-Over 80 individuals donors! Wow! Thank you all so much!

-We met our goal and raised over $5,000 on Arizona Gives Day! In addition to the $5,000 we were generously given a matching $50 grant from a sustaining LFA member, Carolyn Sechler, a local accountant specializing in non-profit business.

-We met our goal in crunch time- just before midnight! But nail biting aside, what a thrill to see our amazing donors come together in the final sprint!

-100% of AZGivesDay donations fund our BALLE Localism Conference scholarship fund. We have met our goal of a $20,000 fund! That’s a lot of entrepreneurs who now have the opportunity to experience BALLE Localism!

 Thank you so much from all of Local First!

Posted in Arizona, Local First Movement | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Independent Bookstore Day and Comic Book Day

Independent Bookstore Day is May 2nd and our state’s lovely Independent Bookstores want to put books in your hands and connect you to a whole new world! Celebrate with these local peddlers of paperbacks with specials including sale prices, contests, and even some cake! 

Besides being Independent Bookstore Day, May 2nd is also Free Comic Book Day and a number of bookstore and comic book stores are hooking it up for the graphic novel fans. Click here!

Participating Bookstores:

Thrifty Joe’s Books and Music
Glendale: 602-547-2540.
In celebration of Independent Bookstore Day, Thrifty Joe’s is running a raffle April 25 – May 2! Enter to win one of four $25 gift certificates, or the iconic Thrifty Joe’s hutch! One entry per day for either the gift cards or the hutch. Ask about the raffle in-person at their front counter. No purchase necessary. Visit their website here!

Changing Hands Bookstore
Tempe: 480-730-0205. Phoenix: 602-274-0067.
Only on Independent Bookstore Day enjoy 15% off almost everything at our Tempe and Phoenix stores, and happy hour prices all day long at First Draft Book Bar! Changing Hands will also have 14 extremely limited edition items, with no pre-orders or holds on these items, so you’ll have to join in order to get your hands on these exclusive gems. Visit their website here!

Antigone Books
Tucson: 520-792-3715
Join Tucson’s 100% solar powered bookstore for all day amusement including all-day entering to win a $25 gift certificate, one-of-a-kind books, art pieces and gifts created especially for Independent Bookstore Day, and a free Antigone bumper stickers for everything while supplies last. Also, got a Smart Phone? Take your photo with an Antigone “speech bubble,” tag us on Facebook or Twitter, and you get a coupon for 20% off the item of your choice on May 2nd. Visit their website here!

Bonny Books
San Tan Valley, Queen Creek, and Mesa: 480-388-5514
Follow Bonny Books on their Facebook to keep up with their Independent Bookstore Day specials! This includes contests, deals, and fun. Their Facebook is here!

fcbdbannerParticipating Stores

Visit the following local businesses for a free comic book. Call or visit their websites for guidelines and regulations about the great opportunity of free graphic novel(s).

Bookman’s Flagstaff
From 9am to 10pm.
1520 S Riordan Ranch
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 774-0005
Click here for their website.

All About Books & Comics
From 10am to 6pm.
5060 N. Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85012
(602) 277-0757
Click here for their website.

The Peregrine
From 10am to 4pm.
219A North Cortez
Prescott, Arizona 86302
(928) 445-9000
Click here for their website.

Posted in Arizona, Greater Phoenix, Local First Movement, Northern Arizona, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Rare Find

Photo by Zachary Radel

Photo by Zachary Radel

These days, it’s harder to find vintage gems in your neighborhood thrift store. But, don’t despair. Rare Scarf Vintage, a Phoenix boutique is a diamond in the rough, a treasure trove of highly curated period gems for both men and women. Established in 2013, this Cave Creek Road landmark caters to the stylish Phoenician who understands that the best fashion is a mix of the past and present. Rare Scarf’s owner Mitch, combines her love of vintage, a unique personal style, and her own artistry as an interior designer with her other company Modern Living Environments, to provide an extensive glamorous vintage collection.

This Phoenix hotspot is the place to get that over-the-top, authentic wardrobe that no one else in the room will have. The shop is stocked with a full range of amazing vintage clothes, accessories and sparkles including jewelry, shoes, handbags and more. Rare Scarf has already become a destination hotspot for designers on the hunt for inspiration and is secretly known within the fashion set as the go-to-shop for vintage style. The secret’s out, so be sure to swing by this rare jewel to find your next coveted fashion item.

Written by Somlynn Rorie

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5 Ways to Be a Localist with Mom for Mother’s Day

Localist Be A LocalistMother’s Day is right around the corner, and what better way to show mom your love, than with the gift of local fun all year long? The Localist Membership guarantees monthly events and deals that give a behind-the-scenes experience at local businesses in a fun and social way. Why should you sign yourself and mom up to be a Localist? Here are 5 ways you and mom can have fun throughout the entire year:

1. Farm to Table Dinner with Chef Kevin Binkley

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.58.16 AMTreat yourself and mom to a 4 course dinner with the James Beard award-winning Kevin Binkley of Binkley’s, Bink’s, and Cafe Bink. Included in the dramatically reduced ticket price are four courses thoughtfully prepared by Chef Binkley using all fresh local ingredients, as well as a wine pairing, and special table-side chef talk.

2. Localist Exclusive Spa Day at Hotel Valley Ho

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 12.11.27 PMLocalists will be invited to attend a decadent evening at the spa at Hotel Valley Ho. Relax and revitalize after the work day with a one-hour all levels yoga class, then enjoy a refreshing cocktail and Bissinger’s chocolates while mingling with fellow Localists. Choose three mini treatments to enjoy from a selection of spa favorites. You’ll also get 20% off any of VH Spa’s seasonal specials if you book that day.

3. Mill to Mill: An Exploration of Hayden Flour and Queen Creek Olive Mill

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 12.25.37 PMIn celebration of all things local and delicious, Localists will be invited to attend a Mill to Mill experience between Hayden Flour Mill and the Queen Creek Olive Mill. Localists will learn what goes into creating the delicacies that we enjoy, and will get to sample a variety of crackers and olive oils fresh from the mill. There will also be a collaborative bruschetta board featuring bread made from the Hayden flour, and toppings created by Queen Creek Olive Mill.

4. Brewery Tour of Iron John’s Artisan Brewing Company

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 12.34.20 PMLocalist events happen all year long, in Tucson, Phoenix, and soon to come, Flagstaff! As a Localist, you are invited to attend all statewide Localist events. Our upcoming event in Tucson will be an exclusive tasting and tour exploring the artisanal process of bottling craft beers with Iron John’s Brewery. We also feature events in Tucson like soft openings of restaurants, a private shopping hour (with breakfast & mimosas!) and Fed by Threads, and discounted tickets at UA Presents shows.

5. Discounted Early-bird Tickets to the Devoured Culinary Classic

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 12.47.18 PMThat’s right! As a Localist you not only get cheaper tickets to the premiere culinary event in the state, but you also get the chance to purchase yours tickets early before they sell out (and they do, this past year general admission tickets sold out in 3 days!). Treat your palette to savory and sweet offerings from the best chefs Arizona has to offer, and sip fine wines, spirits, and beer to quench your thirst. Keep an eye out for details in late November to early December.

Localist BlueSo with all of these amazing reasons, and so many more, a Localist Membership is definitely the best way to show mom that you care. The best gift you can give your mom is time spent with each other, and a Localist membership will be a fun way you can ensure that! Purchase a Localist Membership for mom (and yourself!) for just $20 each.

Click here for an updated calendar of Localist events!

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Frequently Asked Questions: Independents Week

Independents Week

Local First Arizona’s annual summer campaign, Independents Week, will be happening June 27 – July 5, 2015.  Visit the Independents Week website to find out more, and find answers to frequently asked questions below.

What is Independents Week?
Independents Week is a national campaign organized by the American Independent Business Alliance. Local First Arizona’s goal is to raise awareness of locally owned businesses in the state and encourage individuals to “go local” for an entire week. In Arizona, it starts on June 27 and ends July 5, 2015.

What does Local First Arizona do for Independents Week?
We create a Golden Coupon good for 20% off at participating Local First Arizona member businesses. We partner with LFA media members to offer special advertising discounts for businesses. We hold events to raise awareness of the campaign. We send press releases to the media. We speak to staff at local companies and hand out Indie Week kits to them, encouraging them to support locally owned businesses and use the Golden Coupon. We ask individuals to sign a pledge to “go local” during Independents Week and do a drawing from the pledgers for a staycation package. LFA staff tables at events and hand out coupons to individuals.

Is this a statewide campaign?
Yes! LFA members across Arizona can participate.

Is there a cost to participate?
There is no cost other than honoring the 20% discount. Participants must have current business membership with Local First Arizona.

A lot of people are out of town over Fourth of July. Why is this campaign held during a holiday?
It runs during the Fourth of July holiday to coincide with celebrating our nation’s independence, to coincide with the national campaign and to add a cash injection to businesses during a time of year that is typically slower.

How many businesses accept the Golden Coupon?
In 2014 we had 300 members accept the Golden Coupon.

Can I offer less or more than 20%?
Businesses have to offer 20% so that there is consistency in the campaign and so that it is clear to consumers.

Do I have to offer 20% off all of my services/products or can I add restrictions?
You can add restrictions but we recommend keeping this to a minimum so it is easy for coupon users to understand.  We post restrictions on the website under your business listing. There is limited space to list restrictions so we have a count of 100 characters.

How do people know I am accepting the Golden Coupon?
Your business will be listed on the Independents Week webpage. Businesses are listed by city. You are highly encouraged to promote your involvement to your network of customers and clients. Our Independents Week toolkit provides you with information to help you promote via social media, your newsletter or blog, and printable signs you can hang in your business.

I am trying to attract new customers to my business. Why would I want to promote this to my existing customers?
The campaign is an exercise in collaboration. It is likely that new customers will find your business because one of your fellow LFA members sent the Independents Week information to their customers. Why not return the favor? Many businesses have also told us this campaign gives them an opportunity to thank their loyal customers.

My business is online and does not have a storefront. Can I still accept the Golden Coupon?
Yes! You can offer a promotional code for shoppers to enter online. The code you provide us will be entered in the restrictions for the coupon. We recommend the code GOLDENCOUPON.

My business is service based. Can I still accept the Golden Coupon?
Yes! This campaign is for retail and service based businesses.

How do consumers get the Golden Coupon?
The Golden Coupon can be printed from the LFA website, a digital version is available for smart phone users and LFA will hand out printed copies of the coupon at events and various locations.

How is Independents Week promoted?
LFA sends press releases out to media across the state. In 2014 the campaign was featured in 35 media outlets across the state including newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. We promote in our newsletters and social media.

Will you provide me with promotional tools?
Our Independents Week toolkit provides you with information to help you promote via social media, your newsletter or blog, and printable signs you can hang in your business.

What happens after I sign up to accept the Golden Coupon?
LFA will list your business on the Independents Week webpage in a short time. We will send you an email and advise you to review the Independents Week toolkit that contains promotional materials. Keep an eye on your Member Newsletter which will have details on the campaign and attend our free webinars which give you information on how to get the most out of the campaign.

Am I required to track anything?
We ask you to track how many coupons you receive, both printed copies and digital copies. A tracking template is provided in the Independents Week toolkit.

What do I tell my employees about the campaign?
You want to ensure that customers visiting your business with the Golden Coupon have a good experience, so be sure your staff knows about the coupon and how to process it. Encourage staff to learn more about the campaign by going to the Independents Week website, viewing the toolkit and attending our free webinars.

How many people should I expect to see at my business during the week?
According to our survey of participating businesses, most businesses receive between 1 – 5 Golden Coupons. This varies a lot by region and industry. Businesses that heavily promote their involvement in Independents Week also see a much higher amount of coupons used. The highest number of Golden Coupons received by a business was 300.

What if no one uses the coupon at my business?
Even if your business doesn’t have a coupon turned in, there is still a lot of promotional value to being in this campaign. The Independents Week website gets searched by thousands of individuals so your business will be seen and potentially visited at a later date. We also have media members searching the website and featuring participating members in print, radio and TV. Being involved has marketing value and helps raise awareness of your business.

How do I sign up?
Fill out the online registration form.

When do I need to register by?
There is not a firm deadline to register but the sooner you sign up the more your business will be promoted. We encourage businesses to sign up by June 22, 2015.

My business does not accept coupons. How else can I be involved?
You can help promote the campaign by using the Independents Week toolkit. You can attend our Independents Week events. You can take the pledge to go local. You can use Golden Coupons at your fellow members.

I have more questions. Who can I contact?
Email and we will make sure you are directed to the right staff member.

Posted in Independents Week, Local First Movement | Leave a comment