The Flatiron

This is a northern Arizona member spotlight for The Flatiron in Jerome.

flatiron-historicWhen you think of “The Flatiron” you probably think of the iconic building in New York City. But did you know that it is rumored in Jerome that the Flatiron Building pre-dates New York City’s Flatiron building by several years? The name “Flatiron” refers to an architectural design in the triangular shape of the heavy old flat irons that were once used to iron clothing. There are similar buildings across the country and Jerome is proud that the historic building still stands and functions today as a local business.

In the past century the Flatiron building has had many incarnations: first as The Arizona Lunchroom, then a nurse’s station, a needlework shop, a market, a bakery and finally began its current incarnation as a café in the early 1980’s as a satellite shop of Macy’s Coffee House, still located in Flagstaff, Arizona. The current owners purchased The Flatiron in 2012 and continue to carry the tradition of a unique dining experience featuring simple, fresh, delicious food and unforgettable espresso beverages.

menu_MODWith just 380 square feet of space, The Flatiron is not able to use the large food purveyors that bring in supplies for the larger restaurants. As a result, our menu is unique, based on whole foods with fresh, local, high quality ingredients. The Flatiron is committed to supporting local businesses. Our tortillas are handmade at Verde Lea Market in Cottonwood and our Organic San Francisco Sourdough bread comes from Pangaea Bakery located in Prescott. Much of our produce comes from Whipstone Farm in Paulden, Arizona, where the owners schedule pick-ups each week to get the freshest products.

The Flatiron bakes all their sweet-treats in house, much of it gluten-free. On a typical day you’ll find scones, quinoa breakfast blondies, banana polenta cake, vegan/gluten free chocolate chip cookies and triple chocolate brownies. Waffle Sundays are now a tradition at The Flatiron. Our waffles are gluten-free, multi-grain, made from scratch, and served with real butter and pure maple syrup, with a different flavor featured each week. They use Firecreek Coffee Company’s Boxcar Espresso blend for their house coffee. It is used for simple drip, espresso and cold brew Toddy. It is delivered fresh from the roaster each week and available for purchase in the cafe as well as in the online store. 

FlatironCafe-smMany local artists have rendered images of The Flatiron. Mark Hemleben (see image, right) and Cody DeLong are both featured at the café. The Flatiron is also the exclusive gallery for PhotoFlashbacks, the rare and unpublished 1960’s concert photography of the late Doug Hartley. As a freelance photographer Doug was given front row and backstage access to Phoenix area concerts including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Cream, Simon and Garfunkel, and Alice Cooper, just to name a few. In 1971, at the age of 21, Doug was killed in a tragic accident while riding his bicycle home late at night. After his death, his photographic slides were stored in the basement of his mother’s home where they stayed for three decades until her death. They were finally found by Doug’s sister Connie Lacey, a Jerome local, who has generously granted The Flatiron permission to display them. These unique photos have not been previously available to the public.

theflatThe Flatiron is open for Jerome Art Walk, the first Saturday of each month. Sweets and espresso are available from 5-8pm. If you want a perfect place to stay during Art Walk or on any trip to Jerome, there is an amazing space for rent above The Flatiron. The Flat is a 340 square foot studio located above the cafe. It is available for $159 per night or at a reduced rate of $1000 per week. Contact for more information.



Posted in LFA Member Spotlight, Local First Movement, Local Food, Northern Arizona, Restaurants & Dining, Rural Arizona | Leave a comment

Foster a Cat at Your Local Business!

aawl cat

Wouldn’t Salt here look nice sitting next to your register?! Image via AAWL.

The Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA is proud to announce a wonderful new program for local businesses that will help homeless animals in their community, and provide wonderful marketing opportunities for the business.

“Kitty in the City” is a program that will place amazing cats in local businesses. Though this program is the first of its kind in Arizona, similar programs have seen success in other states.

The AAWL sometimes has cats that become stressed or uncomfortable in the shelter environment. AAWL strives to create a place that allows each cat to feel welcome and safe, but AAWL truly knows the best place for a cat is in a loving home — or the next best thing: a loving shop!

Your business will have the opportunity to:

  • Lower the feline euthanasia rate in Maricopa County
  • Increase adoptions, and provide a unique aspect to your local business
  • Attract new customers, create repeat customers, and provide an endless source of social media marketing ideas for both your business and AAWL’s!

The program is elegant in its simplicity. A representative from the AAWL will come to your business with a catalog of their “kitties in the city” for your perusal. (Do you want a sassy white snowball, or maybe a shy calico to match your shop?) After your selection, the AAWL will bring you food, litter, and a cat condo, along with your newly selected kitty. If needed, they will happily provide your business with free litter and food for the entire time the kitty is staying with you.

You will love having a furry shop companion — who is sure to “woo” your patrons … as well as help rescue other animals. Joining our program means more than just helping your community; you are changing lives. The kitty in your shop will lead a happier life … and be given a chance at a better life, because of your kindness and compassion. You give them, if only for a short time, a place to call home. And that’s beautiful.

Sponsor a Virtual Cat

aawl cats 2

Image via AAWL

For businesses that are eager to participate but do not feel that they can adequately provide a suitable environment for a cat, AAWL has the answer! Very similar to simply sponsoring a kitty, your business would receive a virtual cat that, with your help, will find its perfect home while remaining at the shelter.

That’s it! AAWL just asks that you provide love and support for your new physical or virtual shop mate, and help promote their adoption at your location. If someone has fallen for your wonderful kitty, AAWL will help them complete the adoption, with no extra work for you!

Please consider being a part of this up-and-coming new program. By partnering with the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA, you can help us pave the way for new and innovative ways to place homeless animals into loving homes.

Posted in Greater Phoenix | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Help Create “The Arizona We Want” – Vote in the Arizona Primary Election

I voted

Photo via Flickr

One of the things that we love about local businesses is that they create a community we’re proud to call home. But did you know that they can also help improve civic engagement?

A recent study found that “counties dominated by a few big firms have lower levels of social capital and less engaged citizens than those in which economic activity is dispersed across many locally owned businesses. ‘We find that residents of communities with highly concentrated economies tend to vote less and are less likely to keep up with local affairs, participate in associations, engage in reform efforts or participate in protest activities at the same levels as their counterparts in economically dispersed environments,’ they conclude.”

Many organizations across Arizona are working to increase voter turnout, especially in the Primary Election on August 26, 2014. You can be part of the action and help your neighbors remember to vote at the Arizona We Want and Expect More Arizona Day of Action on Saturday, August 9. Volunteers will help increase voter turnout in the Primary Election by canvassing key neighborhoods in Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, and Pinal County, and sharing information about important issues with Arizona voters.

Click here to participate in this important event and help your fellow citizens exercise their civic duty!

Remember to vote on or before Tuesday, August 26, in the Arizona Primary! Click here to find your polling location, or contact your County Recorder’s office to find early voting locations near you.

Posted in Greater Phoenix, Policy | Leave a comment

Verde Brewing Company Owner to Speak at Rural Policy Forum


Owner Alex Goetting standing next to Verde Brewing equipment.

The Arizona Rural Development Council (housed under the Local First Arizona Foundation) will host a Rural Policy Forum on August 7th-8th in Globe-Miami. Under their mission to help equip communities with resources to help advance rural Arizona, the Rural Policy Forum will connect rural economic development professionals, nonprofits, community leaders, business owners and others who are interested in sustaining rural communities. The Forum will be an all-day event for the two days at the Bullion Plaza Community Center, 1000 Sullivan St Miami, AZ 85539.

The goals of the forum will be to hear strategies from national experts as well as learn about success stories around Arizona, in hopes to give rural leaders the tools, resources and relationships they need for future growth. Camp Verde business owner Alex Goetting, owner of the Verde Brewing Company, was invited to speak on the panel for the session, “Crowd funding: Raising Money for Small Town Projects.” The Verde Brewing Company, a farm to table brewery located in downtown Camp Verde, successfully launched after two funded kickstarter campaigns last year. Goetting, a University of Arizona graduate, has a passion in helping rural economies through community efforts. Goetting immediately saw the potential in crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe, to help stimulate and grow rural communities.

“Young cultural entrepreneurs have great ideas but need support getting them off the ground,” Goetting explains. “Crowdfunding helps raise the necessary funds and create self-assurance for cultural entrepreneurs to launch their ideas.”

Along with other experts in the field: Kimber Lanning, executive director of Local First Arizona, and graphic designer Safwat Saleem, the panel will discuss how crowdfunding websites can help fund capital using small donations from the community and beyond. Goetting will share his success stories of the Verde Brewing Company and announce future crowdfunding campaigns he plans to explore.

More information about the Arizona Rural Policy Forum and to register for the event, can be found on their website at The forum costs $119 to attend the two day event. For more information about the Verde Brewing Company visit or follow them at

Posted in Northern Arizona, Rural Arizona | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Local First Arizona members honored at Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Tourism is one of Arizona’s largest industries and a huge contributor to the local economy. The tourism industry is responsible for employing thousands of Arizonans and fostering billions of dollars in spending in Arizona’s local hotels, stores, boutiques, restaurants, and more.

travel and Tourism works for AZ

Every year, statewide tourism leaders are honored at the 2014 Governor’s Tourism Awards Gala held during the industry’s annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism. These awards highlight those who are contributing the most to creating exciting tourism opportunities here in Arizona.

Congratulations to the following Local First Arizona members who were honored this year for contributing to the local Arizona economy and promoting local tourism:

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 11.02.23 AM

Our WeekendZona video that promotes visiting the Verde Valley

Did you know that Local First Arizona and Old Town Cottonwood received the Governor’s Tourism Award for Creative Collaborative Marketing in 2012? The campaign helped introduce Old Town Cottonwood and the Verde Valley to hundreds of Arizonans and kept thousands of dollars in the local Arizona economy by promoting local tourism. When Arizonans choose to vacation in their home state instead of traveling elsewhere, they keep their dollars circulating in the local economy. Those dollars are a direct investment in our own communities and state.

Congratulations again to this year’s honorees! Be sure to bookmark them for great travel opportunities in your own state.

Have you thought about planning a “staycation” this year? Visit the Local First Arizona directory or WeekendZona page for some fun ideas! We also have tons of suggestions of unique places in Arizona to visit here on our blog

Posted in Exploring Arizona, Greater Phoenix, Northern Arizona, Rural Arizona, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Leave a comment

What’re our CSA friends up to?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

Seasonal produce is shared from farmer to community member, through a mutually beneficial subscription arrangement that helps farms succeed and delivers the best pick of the farm to consumers. [More on CSAs...]

Civilization developed with the advent of agriculture, which is why it is so important to support our local farmers and keep our local agriculture economy running. With the summer season here, many Arizonans and visitors assume that our agriculture all but shuts down during the summer; but in truth it doesn’t! Arizona’s climate is so diverse that you can find many common produce items from somewhere within our own state lines, virtually any time of year. Unfortunately, lower consumer participation in the summer produce market can be tough for farmers.

Here are all the awesome CSAs in the Local First Arizona Coalition:

Lucky Nickel Ranch LNR LogoLucky Nickel Ranch Inc. – Eloy, AZ
Come watch us grow
A veteran owned certified organic produce grower that offers our community fresh local produce from the farm.  CSA, Farm Tours, Farmers’ Market, Bed & Breakfast and Agricultural Incubator program! 
**Join the Lucky Nickel Ranch’s CSA here

maya's farm logo mf logoMayas Farm – Phoenix Metro, AZ
Fresh. Local. Better than organic.
Located in Phoenix, Mayas Farm is a small sustainable operation that produces high quality specialty vegetables, herbs, flowers, and eggs for local markets, restaurants and schools.
**Join the Maya’s Farm CSA here

walking j farmWalking J Farm – Amado, AZ
Small family owned polyculture farm.
Diverse sustainable farm that tries to minimize external inputs and maximize production on the space they have utilizing sustainable farming methods and practices.
**Join the Walking J Farm CSA here

302096_129193263849393_1077698547_nGila Farm Cooperative – Phoenix Metro, AZ
No pesticides. No chemicals. All natural
Gila Farm is an incubator program in Phoenix and Chandler, Arizona. Gila Farm places refugees with unique agricultural skills from around the world on their farms and gives them work to do; then helps them to hone their business acumen and prepares them to secure new land and start their own agricultural startups!
Gila Farm Cooperative is committed to sustainable, local agriculture and does not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on its crops. Their newest pickup location is at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market every Wednesday evening at 5:30 PM.
**Join the Gila Farm Co-op’s CSA here

Blue sky organic farm logoBlue Sky Organic Farms – Phoenix Metro, AZ
No farms, no food
Offering opportunities to meet in a different way and to help educate on shifting diets to include more fresh produce when it is in season and preserving for summer months.
**Join the Blue Sky Organic Farms CSA here

Chow Locally CL LogoChow Locally
– Phoenix Metro, AZ
Bringing local farms to local tables
Allows you to receive the best local foods each week in one box and provides you with recipes, nutrition information, and online cooking videos.
**Join the Chow Locally CSA and get your Chowshare here


Yum Yum Produce Logo YYPYum Yum Produce – Verde Valley Area, AZ
Connecting local organic growers to consumers
Weekly CSA shares feature selections from local farmers and gardeners. Yum Yum also offers home composting services!
**Join the Yum Yum Produce CSA here

Posted in Local First Movement | Leave a comment

International Economic Development Council Names Kimber Lanning Citizen Leader of the Year

Local First movement gains pivotal seat at the traditional economic development table

LOCAL FIRSTLocal First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning has been named the recipient of the 2014 Citizen Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The annual award recognizes a community leader who has endeavored to further the profession of economic development and has played a key role in economic development in his or her community.

“This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local First initiatives as a viable part of economic development.” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Kimber can proudly accept this award on behalf of everyone working to create sustainable, resilient, diverse, and vibrant local economies in their own communities.”

Lanning’s background is entrepreneurial, having owned three arts-related businesses over the past 27 years. Her work in the arts and culture community provided the platform for Lanning to launch Local First Arizona (LFA) in 2003. “I founded Local First Arizona for two reasons,” said Lanning. “First, I saw too many bright young people leaving Arizona for other cities like Austin and Portland. I wanted to inspire others to stay in Phoenix to help build a world class city. Second, I thought the massive subsidies being given to national chain stores were a raw deal for local communities, and I wanted to see Phoenix return to a climate where businesses, particularly retail and restaurants, had to pay their own way.”

Making an impact on the local economy

Photo courtesy of Rick D'Elia of D'Elia Photographic

Photo courtesy of Rick D’Elia of D’Elia Photographic

Lanning’s leadership has transformed Arizona’s local economy in a drastic way. LFA is now the largest locally owned business coalition in North America with over 2,500 business members, large and small. The online business directory she and her team created gets searched uniquely 48,000 times per month on average and they have amassed nearly 70,000 social media followers. She has 13 full-time staff members in offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Cottonwood working tirelessly to help citizens, business leaders and policy makers to understand the connections between local ownership and widespread prosperity. It is clear that the message is being heard, as the local business community reported sales were up 8.1% in 2013, which is significantly higher than the national average retail sales (local and national chains combined) of 4.2%.

“The movement to diversify our economy isn’t about baristas, shop keepers, or servers,” Lanning explains, “but about the ecosystem of businesses that support independent ownership. Accountants, graphic designers, web developers, attorneys–they all prosper when diverse, independently owned Arizona businesses are thriving. That ecosystem is lost when local business ownership is scarce.”

Using “sense of place” as a tool for economic development

NorthernArizonaTourismLanning is quick to site a Knight Foundation study which recently showed “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. Communities with a strong sense of place are highly successful in attracting the very kinds of high tech workers that our high level economic development teams seek to bring here to Arizona.

“Through Local First Arizona, Kimber continues to create a sense of pride within our communities and showcase the vibrant cities in our region, which helps our organization in attracting businesses to the region,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “It comes as no surprise to see an outstanding community leader from Arizona selected as the IEDC Citizen Leader of the Year.”

Policy and programatic successes

Fuerza Photo1As Director of Local First Arizona, Lanning has overseen many policy changes that have fostered local economic development. She has worked on streamlining the adaptive reuse program at the City of Phoenix, which has enabled more businesses to open up in older building stock that only just recently blighted the city. This policy work has been pivotal in jumpstarting downtown Phoenix’s revitalization and recently landed Lanning the Distinguished Citizen Planner Award from the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association last year. 

Additionally, Lanning and her team have worked diligently on government procurement policies that would enable more Arizona companies to compete, keeping more dollars and jobs flowing through the local economy. Local First Arizona has also seen many programmatic successes that have directly contributed to economic development. LFA was the first local business organization in the country to implement a Spanish language initiative, called Fuerza Local, a business accelerator program which works to encourage low-income Latinos to think entrepreneurially to create a pathway to prosperity for themselves and their families. 

Furthermore, LFA’s efforts extended far beyond Arizona’s urban areas when LFA acquired the Arizona Rural Development Council (AZRDC) in May of 2013. Today, Lanning regularly travels across the state to work with rural stakeholders to help find creative solutions for building resilient and diverse economies for the state that include increasing in-state tourism. She also leads the annual Rural Policy Forum, a gathering of rural economic development professionals, nonprofits, community leaders, business owners, and stakeholders who are interested in sustaining rural communities. 

Taking a broad approach towards economic development

Kimber Lanning“The successes of Local First Arizona over the last decade have underscored the broad range of strategies that Arizona needs to pursue for sustainable economic development,” said Lanning. “Through supporting entrepreneurs and locally owned enterprises—both large and small—we are maximizing the ecosystem of a healthy economy that builds widespread prosperity and supports more jobs. Local First Arizona is creating healthy local economies across the state that will in turn draw further economic development opportunities.” 

Lanning emphasizes that a healthy Arizona economy needs to be diverse, resilient, and thriving. “To get there,” she says, “We need to invest in our own talent and develop policies that enable our business community to thrive.”

Lanning will accept the Citizen Leadership Award at the IEDC Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday, October 21. Lanning is the second from Arizona to be recognized with the IEDC Citizen Leadership Award. Last year’s award recipient was Sharon Harper of Phoenix, a founding board member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and co-founder of the real estate firm Plaza Companies.

Posted in Local First Movement, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Southern AZ July Mixer Recap: Enjoying the Finer Things in Life at Alfonso’s Olive Oil

This post is guest written by LFA Intern, Matt Poulton. 

14565314904_5eb19eb130_zJuly’s Local First Arizona (LFA) member mixer was hosted by Alfonso’s Gourmet Olive Oil & Balsamics. Alfonso’s introduced everyone to their newest, Oro Valley, location on the Southeast corner of Magee and Oracle in the Trader Joe’s Plaza. Alfonso’s truly has a taste for fine dining, bringing a wide selection of amazing, ultra-premium extra-virgin olive oil and flavored olive oil. They bring all these unique flavors from around the world and put it under one roof, allowing the customer to really explore and experience all there is to offer. Alfonso’s also has a unique business model which separates it from the rest of the competition – its in-store partnership and collaboration with – Blu A Wine & Cheese Shop.  Blu carries an enormous variety of cheeses and provides many local restaurants with top quality cheese and wine. These two businesses under one roof create an experience which will seduce your palate.  Alfonso’s also has a central location at St. Philip’s Plaza on the corner of River and Campbell, which also hosts Blu.

14566209602_5c8f6a4a8d_zThe mixer started strong as members began to pile in early filling up the entire store from wall to wall.  Over 55 local businesses showed up to network and support each other and the LFA mission.  Great connections were made  between old and new members and several members took the party next door after the event closed down.   We also received numerous gift donations from many attending businesses for our monthly mixer raffle.  A raffle donation is a great way to highlight the products or service of your local business and all the donations helped to make this our biggest raffle yet.

14380403318_cef0bc4d25_zSpeeches from Alfonso’s owner Tom Alfonso, and LFA’s Kimber Lanning and Erika Mitnik-White really built up the mixer’s momentum, as the audience eagerly listened and occasionally chimed in with a friendly shout-out. Kimber, LFA’s executive director, delivered a wonderful speech about why this movement matters and how each member is helping to create and strengthen a more prosperous, economically viable community. Kimber also mentioned upcoming events such as:

This month’s Local First Arizona Lunch and Learn Seminar on Building Customer Loyalty (July 23rd,12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M.):

We’re excited to announce that Maher Pedersoli, CEO of Dualswipe, will be leading this informative seminar on how to sustain and grow customer loyalty for almost any type of business. Maher has over 18 years in technology-related companies, including business-tech giant IBM. He’ll discuss the difference between a discount program (i.e. Living Social) and a loyalty program (i.e. My Starbucks Reward), and what really creates a loyal customer base. This event is sure to be very informative and helpful for any business that wants to grow their customer base. The seminar will be hosted at Nova Investment Training Center at 1650 E. River Road, Suite 201RSVP here.

Our next LFA member mixer is at Connect Coworking on August 6th. Connect provides exceptional collaborative workspace for business startups and incubators. Their new-age, modernized Google-like offices will surely be as interesting an environment as will be the people you “connect” with!  RSVP here.

Also, for those interested in the work LFA is doing to help rural Arizona, don’t miss the Rural Policy Forum August 7th – 8th.
Again, thank you to everyone who was in attendance and for continuing to make these mixers an amazing experience!

Posted in Local First Movement, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Leave a comment

Last Exit Live Raises the Volume on Downtown Phoenix’s Music Scene

This Local First Arizona member spotlight is on Last Exit Live:

Last Exit LiveLast Exist Live, a live music venue located in the historical warehouse district of downtown Phoenix, features both national touring acts and the best in local talent with an emphasis on high quality sound, lighting, and production.

Formerly the home of the Ruby Room, the venue has a vintage swank feel and is hands down becoming a local favorite for checking out live shows from local bands and national up and coming acts. 

Looking to mix up your weekend plans, perhaps catch a live show that has an intimate, up-close feel? Last Exit Live is hosting Tony Lucca, a singer-songwriter who raised to fame in 2012 as a finalist on the hit show The Voice on NBC; Emerson Hart, frontman for the multi-platinum band Tonic, who recently released his first solo release in over six years; and Tempe based favorites, Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special this Saturday, August 2. Tickets are $15, doors open at 8:00 p.m. and the show begins at 9:00 p.m. For more information on this Saturday’s show or a list of upcoming shows, visit

Click here to find out more about Last Exit Live. You can click here to read past member spotlights. You can also search our local business directory to find 2,500 local businesses across Arizona. 

Posted in Greater Phoenix, LFA Member Spotlight | Leave a comment

Shop on Main Street and Win in Mesa

Celebration of Freedom FansWe are certainly excited for the Light Rail to expand into downtown Mesa! In the meantime, you can shop at local businesses on Main Street and win great prizes! Valley Metro started the Shop On Win On contest on July 4, which promotes Mesa METRO Max Rewards businesses. The contest will run until September 30 and will have six drawings during the course of the summer with 24 winners winning prize packs!

There are two ways to enter the contest:

1.)    Business Raffle - Visit for raffle locations. Then stop by a participating METRO Max business and complete raffle entry form!

2.)    Facebook and Twitter – Take a selfie at any METRO Max business. Then post with business name and #ShopOnWinOn to Twitter (tag @valleymetro) or

The next prize pack is “Back to School” themed and features:

• Classic Spa Facial Treatment at Aesthetics Institute & Laser Sciences Student Spa Clinic
• Designer haircut with Patrick Provost at Bladz Hair Color Spa
• Edge Boutique gift pack ($50 value)
• $10 Downtown Mesa gift card

Remember to support your local businesses during the light rail construction in downtown Mesa and along 19th Avenue in Phoenix! Don’t let a little construction get in the way of visiting your favorite local businesses this summer!

Posted in Greater Phoenix | Leave a comment