7 Places to Shop Local for Black Friday Weekend

shopping bagsAs we head in to the biggest shopping weekend of the year and you’re setting your post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping plans, remember to think Local First! You can still score great deals (and amazing, unique gifts) from local businesses across the state. Plus, when you shop local, more of the dollars you spend stay in the local community to support local job growth and economic development. So you can feel good about your gift giving! Here are 7 places to shop local this weekend:

SEE ALSO: Local First Arizona Buy Local Month Offers & Discounts

Don’t forget – while you’re out shopping, post on social media with the hashtag #IBuyLocalAZ to let your friends and family know you’re supporting local businesses! 

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 4.29.45 PMPure Life Trunk Show
Saturday, November 29, 2014, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Bunky Boutique, Phoenix

Join Bunky Boutique and local jeweler, Pure Life, on Saturday November 29th for a trunk show celebrating Pure Life’s newest holiday designs. 10% off everything at Bunky! – MORE

Maker House Gift ShowMaker House Buy Local Gift Show
Saturday, November 29, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Maker House, Tucson
Enjoy curated vendors, kids crafts, music, food, hot cocoa, beer, and great local holiday shopping! – MORE

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 4.53.01 PMAlternative Black Friday
Friday, November 28, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
CityScape Phoenix
Think you know what Black Friday is all about? Think again! Avoid the crowds. Sleep in. Sip mimosas and local beers while shopping local vendors and listening to live music. All of this and more is happening at CityScape Phoenix’s annual “Alternative Black Friday.” – MORE

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 4.48.40 PMFlagstaff Shopping Crawl Scavenger Hunt
Begins Friday, November 28
Across Flagstaff
The Christmas Shopping Crawl is an activity that invites customers to “Decorate a Christmas Tree” by collecting colorful bauble stickers from each participating business. You will be provided with the map/game board and stickers to handout to those interested in participating. – MORE

artisan marketScottsdale Artisans Market
Saturday, November 29, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Scottsdale Waterfront
Live music, over 60 small businesses, visit with Santa, holiday carolers, raffle prizes, and more! – MORE

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 4.42.18 PMOrnatment Marketplace
November 28 – 30
Heard Museum, Phoenix
Decorate your home for the holidays with wonderful Native-themed ornaments hand-crafted by American Indian artists from the Heard Museum Shops during this annual event! – MORE

Computer emailOnline!
Any Computer!
You can still shop local and shop easily online! Many Local First Arizona members have online stores that you can peruse from the comfort of your own home. Don’t forget to check out Local First Arizona member’s Buy Local Month offers.MORE

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Have a great Thanksgiving with your favorite local businesses

This post guest written by LFA Intern, Annie Munroe

Maynards-Thanksgiving-website-2014Don’t want to cook for Thanksgiving this year? If you aren’t in the mood to deal with the holiday grocery shopping, defrosting the turkey days early or the hassle of cleaning all those dishes, help is in store!  Several of our great Tucson chefs are ready and willing to serve up a Thanksgiving meal to remember.

RELATED POST: 6 Ways to Go Local for Thanksgiving

For those who have the turkey covered, but want to bring a little something extra to the table, Chef Ghini is happy to provide great home made holiday sides and sweets, all made from scratch with love daily.  Call ahead to pick up favorites like Sausage stuffing, Scalloped Potatoes, Haricots Verts, Fresh Cranberry Sauce and Pies.  The Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/Bistro is also willing to  provide everything but the Turkey! Place your holiday orders now for Pies, Potatoes, Stuffing, Gravy and Dinner Rolls.

Feel like dining out on the big day?  Over at Agustin Kitchen, Chef Ryan Clark is sure to hit the spot with some traditional Thanksgiving favorites complete with AK Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream, Salted Banana Pudding and AK Pecan Pie.  At downtown’s own Hotel Congress, the Cup Café is featuring some tasty items for the holiday to accommodate all different tastes. Not only are they serving turkey but shepherds pie and white fish benedict as well.

Just across the street, Maynard’s Kitchen will be going all out this holiday with herb crusted turkey, Sleeping Frog Farms Braising Greens with roasted onion and pepitas, Grand Marnier cranberry sauce and more. Sure to impress as they always do, Maynard’s Kitchen is ready for you.

Boasting one of the largest holiday menus, Pastiche is serving up some traditional tasty treats as well as some of their most popular items including a Pumpkin Ravioli with toasted fennel and champagne cream sauce and fried leeks, Quinoa Crusted pan-seared chicken breast with mango sweet chile sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, chef’s vegetables and a Triple Berry Crisp with a brown sugar and streusel topping.  Be sure to call in advance for a spot as these holiday dinners fill fast.

With a long weekend ahead, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is one of the most popular for an evening out.  With old friends and long lost relatives in town, spend the night catching up at one of our many great local bars and pubs.

loft_logoStaying in the night before but want a reason to get out of the house on turkey day? Thanksgiving is also the most popular day for movie theatres! Try a smart alternative and check out the selection at The Loft. Want to see the newest, latest and greatest? Head for Harkins and support AZ owned theatres!

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An Online Treasure Trove

Gift Local ScottsIf you haven’t heard of Scott’s Marketplace, then swing by this curated online marketplace featuring local, small businesses specializing in beauty products, clothing, home décor,  jewelry, specialty food, and more. At Scott’s Marketplace, you have access to unique, artisan and handmade products and the same personal service and sense of community that you’ve come to expect from small businesses. This online marketplace enables you to shop online and pay local businesses directly, so you can find unique gift items and support local makers from the comfort of your home. At your fingertips, you can scroll and uncover awesome gifts and treasures to share with friends and family this holiday season. P.S. for those of you who are local shop owners be sure to visit the website to learn how your custom-made products can get in front of the eyes of prospect shoppers and the Scott’s Marketplace growing community. www.scottsmarketplace.com

Be sure to visit LFA members’ Scott’s Marketplace shops including:

D’Elia Photographic

D'Elia Photographic

D’Elia Photographic

Clothes Minded

Gifts to Go


Brenda’s Teas & Gift Baskets

Fiesta Seasoning

Cookie Girl Shop

Fluff It Marshmallows

Sweet Simplicity Natural Baby Foods


Happy Tails Barkery

Happy Tails Barkery

Happy Tails Barkery

World Vitae

Mozaik Skin & Body

G.B. Proudfoot’s Natural Body Care

Bunky Boutique

Junkie Threads

Standard Wax

Striking Stone



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Everything but the Turkey: Seasonal Sides for Thanksgiving

In addition to your regular fare, try these seasonal sides by local foodies to treat your friends and family to a local Thanksgiving. Find a local source for some of these ingredients at www.goodfoodfinder.com.

Roasted Roots with Crème Fresh Pesto by Maya Dailey, Maya’s Farm
Sweet Potato Puddin’ by Danielle Leoni, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar
Aloo Goobi by Raveen Arora, The Dhaba
Crispy Brussels Sprouts by Natalie Morris, Mesa Community College’s Sustainable Foods program
Turkey Enchiladas with Red Pumpkin Sauce by Rachel Morningstar, Local First Arizona

Continue reading

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Localists enjoy a Real and Rare taste of Gilbert

Gilbert7Localists arrived at Joe’s Real BBQ Thursday, November 13, poised for a fun night of gallivanting through Gilbert and sampling some of the gems that the town has to offer. Upon arriving at Joe’s, they were lead to the charmingly lit patio to enjoy co-owner Tad Peelen’s hand selected buffet that included smoked lamb, bison, and turkey, as well as craveable smoked veggies, mac-n-cheese, and a soda bar. Once everyone had filled their plates, Tad led a mini history on downtown Gilbert and how it has become such a fun and spirited destination within the metro phoenix area. He also previewed for us some of what is on the horizon for Gilbert, as far as new restaurants and businesses.

Gilbert3From Joe’s, folks headed over to Joyride Taco House for a tasting of 4 top shelf tequilas. The pours were plentiful, and the hosts charming, and the atmosphere jovial. Localists were treated to tastings of tequilas with hints of smoke and saltiness that paired nicely with Joyride’s delicious salsas and guacamole. After enjoying the Joyride patio and the crisp autumn air, localists were ready to venture down the street to explore Art Intersection.

Gilbert5At Art Intersection, the group was lead through a tour of current exhibits, as well as the gallery’s on-going silent auction “Off the Wall.” The auction showed several beautiful photographs, some of which employed historic printing processes to create one of a kind pieces of art. Localists also got to explore the Art Intersection print lab, where folks can take classes in photography and dark room film development.

Gilbert6The evening closed out with a delightful dessert offering from chef LaDawn of Liberty Market, who shared with us her take on the classic holiday favorite, chocolate oranges. The desert consisted of layers of white chocolate panna cotta, clementine gelee, dark chocolate mousse, and a dark chocolate disk adorned with gold leaf. Placed into the glass was a pipette of Grand Marnier to tie all of the flavors together. The evening ended on the picturesque patio, with localists reflecting on their Gilbert experiences, past and present, as well as where they hope to visit in the future.

Overall, the event was a great opportunity to witness the revival of downtown Gilbert and the local restaurant scene that has developed there. Next time you’re looking for a fun new restaurant to try or a night out on the town, consider heading to Gilbert! 

Interested in attending awesome events like this?! Sign up to be a Localist for exclusive invitations to behind-the-scenes events. Declare your love for local!

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122934aWe had a fantastic time at our monthly local business mixer on Thursday, November 13th at Granite Mountain Brewing. There was no shortage of beer and fun at this three-barrel brewery, everyone enjoyed their specialty American-style ales and craft beers.  El Gato Azul, Prescott’s favorite creek side tapas restaurant, partnered to host this event and provided delicious treats to enjoy. Natural Healing Garden, Prescott’s premier massage and healing center, also partnered to host and ensured us all a bit of relaxation in the massage chairs.

We talked about some great upcoming local events including:

Buy Local Month is quickly approaching. ‘Tis the season to shop local! This holiday season, make an impact with your holiday shopping by supporting local businesses.  Help us kick off this event in Flagstaff November 28th through December 24th with out Shop Indie This Christmas Challenge. You’ll find unique gifts for your loved ones and keep money in the local economy to build vibrant communities we’re proud to call home.

FFFF FB Profile badgeThe Food and Farm Finance Forum is right around the corner. Being held in Clarkdale January 15th and 16th this event will be an exciting way to educate yourself about how to expand and enhance your local food business and connect with other key players in the local food movement. Hosting several speakers with high levels of experience as well as smaller break out sessions this event will be educational, interesting and fun.

Local First Arizona is so excited to welcome Kelsey Melvin to the northern Arizona office. Kelsey is an Americorps VISTA volunteer who joined Meg Williams Jamison in the new Cottonwood-based office in November. As our northern Arizona outreach specialist, she will complete a year of service with Americorps and will be with Local First Arizona until November 2015.


Check out who attended:

Granite Mountain Brewing

El Gato Azul

Natural Healing Garden

Prescott Councilmember Jean Willcox

Zucker Architecture

Health Source


Lincoln Hospitality Group

Suzanne Morse

Prescott Farmers Market

Man at Leisure

Ability Remodel

Whiskey Row Screen Printing

Prescott Brewing Company

Prescott Chamber of Commerce

Prescott Good Governance

Peter Pierson Freelance Communication

Yavapai College Performing Art Center

Yavapai College Music Department

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Member Spotlight: El Gato Azul

This is a northern Arizona member spotlight for El Gato Azul in Prescott

558996_516998238362800_1774640660_nA locally owned bistro situated in Prescott, El Gato Azul offers an extensive menu of delicious dishes specializing in lunch, dinner and tapas. El Gato Azul uses only the freshest ingredients available and proudly prepares all desserts daily in house. Owner Barry Barbe’s homemade Chorizo and the favored Crème Brulee are just a few of many specialties that have designated this bistro as a favorite among locals and visitors alike. El Gato Azul’s casual, yet sophisticated ambiance has provided guests over the years with a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience.

Besides their notable dishes that have become favored among the community, El Gato Azul has more reasons to celebrate. The locally owned bistro is proud to be celebrating its 10-year anniversary on December 4th and 1620959_663008847095071_2073752483_ntheir long run of success comes at no surprise. El Gato Azul was recently selected to be featured on “Check, Please! Arizona,” a PBS Eight channel television show that reviews restaurants throughout Arizona. It was by viewers selecting their favorite restaurants in Prescott that El Gato Azul earned a spot on the show. The episode is scheduled to air sometime in February.

While making their presence in local entertainment television, El Gato Azul also manages to regularly provide entertainment for guests at the bistro. They proudly host the best Happy Hour in town Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., while their monthly entertainment calendars feature musical performances.

1920624_821112117951409_3651361757010718159_nWith owner Barry Barbe overseeing every dish that leaves the kitchen and ensuring that guests have a unique and personal dining experience, it is evident why El Gato Azul is so popular among locals and visitors. For your own remarkable experience at this local bistro, make sure to stop by to try some of their delicious dishes. They are located at 316 W. Goodwin St. in Prescott, serving lunch Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday at 12:00 p.m., Tapas daily 11:00 a.m. to close and dinner daily at 4:30 p.m. For more information, please contact them at (928) 445-1070 or visit their website at www.elgatoazulprescott.com.

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Welcome to the team Kelsey!

Kelsey HeadshotLocal First Arizona is so excited to welcome Kelsey Melvin to the northern Arizona office. Kelsey is an Americorps VISTA volunteer who joined Meg Williams Jamison in the new Cottonwood-based office in November. As our northern Arizona outreach specialist, she will complete a year of service with Americorps and will be with Local First Arizona until November 2015.

Americorps was established in 1965 and the VISTA program includes a group of individuals dedicated to bringing communities and individuals out of poverty throughout the country. Like other VISTAs, Kelsey will focus her efforts building organizational, administrative and financial capacity for our organization. She will help Local First Arizona foster economic development in northern and rural Arizona and will be assisting with a variety of programs and projects coming up. Welcome Kelsey!

Kelsey is an Arizona native with a heart for service. She believes strongly that she has the need to give back in her life and looks forward to the opportunity to do so serving her home state. Please feel free to reach out to Kelsey anytime if you have questions at kelsey@localfirstaz.com. She looks forward to meeting all of you, as time goes on.

KelseyFaireGet to know Kelsey… here are some fun facts about our new northern Arizona outreach specialist!

1) She graduated from ASU with BAE in Secondary Education in Biological Studies

2) She was born and raised in the Phoenix suburbs

3) She is fluent in ASL ( American Sign Language) and Japanese

4) She fenced on her college team

5) She volunteer every year out at the Arizona Renaissance Festival

6) She looooves reading

7) She enjoys camping, cooking, and volunteering



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6 Ways to Go Local for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving1-300x218Thanksgiving is all about history, family, and community. As we give thanks for the things that matter to us, we should also remember that local businesses offer a lot to our lives and communities:

The best way to give thanks for local businesses is to visit them for your Thanksgiving needs! Here are 6 ways to go local and give thanks for Thanksgiving:

1. Get the best local ingredients for the big feast.


To get the best tasting Thanksgiving dinner, use the best local ingredients! Contact your local butcher shop or ranch for a delicious turkey or other main dish. It’s prime farmers market season in central and southern Arizona, find one that’s close to you! You can also visit your neighborhood grocery store for last minute items.

2. Find local help for all that cooking! 

Thanksgiving Dinner

No one is going to blame you if you’d rather visit with family than be stuck in the kitchen! Whether you’ll be eating in or going out, we have a great list of local restaurants and caterers who will provide decadent dishes or entire meals at a reasonable cost.

3. Put visitors up in local hotels.

The Hotel Congress in Tucson

Have friends and relatives visiting from out of town? Give them a true Arizona experience with one of our many locally-owned hotels or B&Bs!

4. Keep visiting relatives occupied with local entertainment.

Phoenix Zoo Lights is a big hit for both kids and adults

Need to get out of the house for a bit? There are tons of great things to do around the state to entertain your family.

5. Get out of town with a day trip or weekend getaway.


Whether it’s just a few of you or the entire family, plan to get out of town for an Arizona adventure! Check out our Weekendzona videos for some trip ideas to Jerome, Prescott, Bisbee, and more.

6. Go Local for Black Friday and holiday shopping.


Skip the big boxes and hit main street for some truly unique holiday shopping! Buy Local Month kicks off on Friday, November 28. Check out the events and activities going on across the state. You can also use our local business directory to find over 2,500 local businesses across the state. Tag #IBuyLocalAZ on social media while you do your holiday shopping!

Posted in Buy Local Week, Exploring Arizona, Go Local Guides, Greater Phoenix, Local First Movement, Northern Arizona, Rural Arizona, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wear and Share Your Love of Arizona

For most youngsters, free time equals play time. But between juggling family life, recreational activities and school, 8-year-old Julian Baldrick devotes his spare time to developing AZ STRONG, a father-son start up that promotes a stronger, prouder, and more united Arizona. Through its website Julian and father, Thomas Baldrick, sell Arizona-themed retail products, such as tshirts and watches, to help support schools and charities across the Grand Canyon State. The idea for developing the AZ STRONG brand az-strong-launchcame to Thomas in the shower one morning. “I was thinking of the Boston Strong movement; and it inspired me to change Arizona from being divided by issues such as immigration, ethnicity, geography, and politics. I knew it could be great to unite One Arizona with people feeling proud and AZ STRONG. Choosing to take on this project with my favorite little native Arizonan and empower him with strong real-life experience is exciting beyond words.” The AZ STRONG website is not just an e-commerce website but also a website that features unique local content including an Arizona blog, online polls, and an AZ STRONG Person of the Month. Get involved – and help support this labor of love that is Arizona-made by visiting their website and perhaps purchasing a few items, which would make wonderful gifts this holiday season.


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