Carbon Footprint Will Make a Custom Imprint for Your Home

carbon footprint

If you’re looking to create a custom piece of furniture that is sustainable, modern, and long lasting, Local First Arizona member Carbon Footprint is just the furniture design company that can create the masterpiece dwelling in your mind’s eye. Everything begins with you and the company’s designer. Since each piece is not pulled from inventory, but essentially “made-to-order”, the fabric, the material, the firmness of the foam, and finished textures and colors are unique to you. No one else will have furniture like yours.

Carbon Footprint are local artisans working alongside fellow Arizona craftsmen and fabricators, creating quality furniture using sustainable and recycled materials. This custom design furniture company crafts artisan products from durable materials, and the end result are modern and unique products that are treasured and long lived, and created with materials that are suited to the environment, both natural and built. Everything is handcrafted to ensure the highest quality – each of the artisans aspire to create unique and commanding furniture of quality, integrity and beauty that will last for generations and leave a lighter mark.

Learn more at http://www.carbon-footprint.us/. Find more local businesses at the Local First Arizona online directory.

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

Free Social Media Workshops Offered to Flagstaff and Prescott Businesses

Social Media Workshops NAZ 16

In partnership with Local First Arizona, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, and Too Busy Gals, a pair of free social media workshops will be offered to local businesses in northern Arizona. The first workshop will be in Flagstaff on Monday, May 16, and the second will be in Prescott on Tuesday, May 17.

“Local businesses in northern Arizona need to be able to market themselves to their local and statewide audiences, and social media is a great way to do that,” said Cara Corbin, Local First Arizona’s Northern Arizona Director. “Our goal through these workshops is to give local businesses across the state the resources to promote themselves and their towns to a wider audience, so that all of Arizona and beyond can witness the amazing things happening in these communities.

The social media workshops will be presented by Too Busy Gals, a Local First Arizona member and Tucson-based company that trains businesses on social media, customer service, team building, and leadership communication. The workshops are supported through a grant from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Administration.

The full-day social media workshops will be offered in two parts. Social Media 101 will be covered in the morning, and will be an introductory course on the best methods for deciding what social media platforms to use based on the business and their needs. Social Media 201 will be offered in the afternoon, and will cover more advanced social media marketing strategies and detail how to maximize marketing results.

Workshop details:

Flagstaff Workshop
Date: Monday, May 16, 2016
Location: NACET, 2225 N. Gemini Road, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
Agenda:
– 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Social Media 101: An introductory course to using social media platforms for your business, and deciding what’s best for your business.
– 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Social Media 201: A second level course that will help you analyze your social media marketing and make sure you are maximizing your results.
RSVP: Save your seat

Prescott Workshop
Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Location: Milagro Arts Center, 126 N Marina St, Prescott, Arizona 86301
Agenda:
– 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Social Media 101: An introductory course to using social media platforms for your business, and deciding what’s best for your business.
– 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Social Media 201: A second level course that will help you analyze your social media marketing and make sure you are maximizing your results.RSVP: Save your seat

Those interested in more information on either workshop can contact Ricardo Morales at the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at 520-620-0005

Posted in Businesses, Northern Arizona | Leave a comment

5 Arizona Wine Festivals To Visit This Summer

Photo: Verde Valley Wine Festival

Photo: Verde Valley Wine Festival

As the temperatures start to rise across the state, you’re probably thinking about where you want to travel to this summer. You should know that Arizona has a growing wine industry and, with all that wine, an abundance of wine festivals across the state. This summer, escape to the high desert wine-growing areas of the Verde Valley or Cochise County where the temperatures are cooler and the wine will be flowing. 

If you can’t make the festivals, most vineyards and wineries invite guests to self-taste and tour with reservations. The Local First Arizona local business directory lists Local Vineyards and Wineries  and Local Hotels to start planning your trip.

If you’re not so familiar with Arizona wines, you should check out any of these festivals this summer, or read more about these wines here, here, and here.

1. Verde Valley Wine Festival

Verde Valley horizontal_blue_Logo-01

May 7th, Clarkdale | Buy Tickets Here

The Verde Valley Wine Festival is a premier Northern Arizona wine festival presented by Four Eight Wineworks and Made in Clarkdale. This festival highlights the rich culture of Clarkdale and the Verde Valley vineyards. Enjoy dozens of fine wineries, breweries and restaurants committed to creating homegrown products and authentic experiences. Wineries present include local Burning Tree Cellars, Grand Canyon Winery, Dos Cabezas Wine Works, and more.


2. Prescott Fine Arts & Wine Festival

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Historic Prescott. Photo: Mountain Artists Guild

May 7th and 8th, Prescott | More Information Here

In addition to spectacular Mountain Art Guilds’ artwork, the 30th Annual Prescott Fine Arts & Wine Festival presents a wine garden featuring ten of Arizona’s celebrated vineyards. Entrance to the art show is free and each day guests can purchase their wine tasting tickets for $12. There is also a variety of delicious food, packaged goodies, and gourmet delights from surrounding restaurants.


 3. Willcox Wine Country Festival

willcox wine fest

May 21st and 22nd, Willcox | More Information Here

Rated by Fodor’s Travel as one of the top 10 wine festivals in North America, the Willcox Wine Country Festival is a weekend celebration of wines from the Willcox region. The event features wineries from Willcox Wine Country or surrounding regions including local Carlson Creek Vineyards, Aridus Wine Company, and more. There will also be local vendors, gourmet food, and live music.


 4. Tilted Earth Festival

tiltedearthbanner

June 17th and 18th, Cottonwood | Buy Tickets Here

Local Page Springs Cellars and the City of Cottonwood have teamed up again for the 3rd Annual Tilted Earth Festival. Tilted Earth was founded to foster the growth of culture and community in Cottonwood by bringing together artisans in the fields of craft drink, food, music, and fine arts. Local wineries will include Arizona Stronghold, Fire Mountain Wines, and many more.


5. HarvestFest at Sonoita Vineyards

Harvestfest16_Banner

July 30th, Sonoita | Buy Tickets Here

A great way to kick-off the Harvest Season in Southern Arizona! This festival consistently draws hundreds of guests for fun activities such as grape stomping and horse-drawn vineyard tours. Sonoita Vineyards also offers tastings and pairings of their signature wines. No reservations are needed, but you are able to pre-purchase tickets online.

Posted in Beer Wine and Spirits, Local Food, Northern Arizona, Rural Arizona, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garfield Historic District Welcomes Gallo Blanco

Downtown Phoenix’s first neighborhood is getting a bit more deserved attention these days, and its culinary culture just got a little richer.

On Friday the team behind Garfield Historic District’s famed former Valentine diner, Welcome Hospitality, announced they will be adding a second diner location in the colorful ‘hood at the corner of 10th St. and Pierce. The announcement came with added surprise; that same intersection will soon also be home to the much-missed Gallo Blanco.

The joint-proclamation offers a glimpse into the sense of community that Garfield gives, and that both businesses have built themselves on. Doug Robson, owner of Otro Cafe and creator of the Gallo Blanco concept, says that though the identical location choice was unplanned, it will be beneficial. “When we found out that Michael was also doing something new right across the street, it seemed serendipitous.”

The longtime Devour Phoenix Coalition chef opened the original Gallo Blanco in 2009 at the historic Clarendon Hotel. Quickly becoming a downtown Phoenix favorite (think: daily guacamole, housemade chips, and that Naco Torta), many Phoenicians were sad to see it go in 2015, clinging to the promise of its return someday. Now, it will now be housed out of a 1920’s brick building, formerly American Way Market, at what is known as the Four Corners of Garfield.

IMG_6756“There is something special about the building and the Four Corners of Garfield that just seem right for the reintroduction of Gallo. Our architects at Holly Street Studios have been working hard at honoring the building and being thoughtful about how we preserve its history as it is brought back to life.”

FullSizeWelcomeImmediately across the street sits a small piece of vacant land, which the team at Welcome sees as a perfect space to expand their current nine-seat diner offering over at Roosevelt, while maintaining the charm for which Phoenix knows it. Michael Babcock, joint owner with Jenn Robinson and local artist and real estate developer Sloane McFarland, says construction will begin soon. “We are working collaboratively with Dinermite, a 3rd generation, family owned diner maker, and architect and Garfield resident Christoph Kaiser to re-imagine a whole new space to operate.”

Working with Dinermite, the company that designed the iconic 5 and Diner spaces, as well as Kaiser, known for residential renovations in Garfield including the famed Silo House and the interior of Changing Hands Phoenix, will allow Welcome Diner to stretch their arms in both the front and back of the house. “This new space will have way more than nine indoor seats and a kitchen that will allow us to cook on a whole new level.”

IMG_6757Babcock, who also happens to be a Gallo Blanco alum, says negotiations are in the works with the landlord regarding the original Welcome Diner space. Those worried that they may lose their favorite Big Jim homemade biscuit sandwich or happy hour Hurricane served by your favorite employee shouldn’t fear.

“We hope you’re as excited as we are. It’s time for us to start a new chapter for our company and our community.” Robson added. “We are honored and humbled to be joining the Garfield Neighborhood.”

Both Welcome Diner 2.0 and Gallo Blanco teams are aiming to open doors by early 2017 or, if we’re lucky, later this year. Diner admirers and Gallo reminiscents can look forward to traditional dishes and more of the creations that made us all regulars. And until then, enjoy the original Welcome Diner, sister restaurant Welcome Chicken and Donuts, and Robson’s other brainchild, Otro Cafe for a taste of what’s to come.

Posted in Arizona, Businesses, Devour Phoenix, Greater Phoenix, In The News, Local First Movement, Press Releases, Restaurants & Dining | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Most Business-Friendly Plan for Cutting Carbon in Arizona

Guest blog post by Zach Bernstein, Manager of Research and Social Media at American Sustainable Business Council, which advocates for policy change at the federal and state level that supports a more sustainable economy Zach was in Phoenix earlier in April for a Town Hall Discussion on Carbon Pricing.  He can be reached at zbernstein@asbcouncil.org.


Page - Centrale thermique de Navajo

Navajo Generating Station, By Photo: Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Even folks like me who don’t live or work in Arizona know one thing about it: It’s really hot. As the tenth-hottest state in the nation, Arizona is among the states best positioned to embrace solar power. In fact, you’ve already started. But how can you ensure those gains continue? Business people in particular should be interested in what promises to be the most business-friendly approach: Putting a price on carbon.

It’s a simple, straightforward, market-based strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It avoids the pitfalls of government regulations that pick winners and losers, and instead harnesses the innovation and creative spirit that define the American economy. And it provides a possible transition path for those communities dependent on fossil fuels. But the idea is not well-known yet, especially in business circles. That’s why I was in Phoenix recently, to co-host an event with Local First Arizona for Arizona business people to learn about this promising strategy for addressing climate change.

Make no mistake, businesses are worried about climate change. More than half of small business owners nationwide say climate change will likely hurt them in the future, according to polling from our organization, the American Sustainable Business Council.

Solar_array_asuSolar is an example of how climate mitigation and economic growth can go hand in hand, and Arizona has come a great distance already. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Arizona ranked sixth in the country in 2015 for installed solar electric capacity. Nearly 400 solar companies operate in Arizona, employing 6,900 people. Best of all, solar helps consumers and businesses save on energy bills – as evidenced by companies like Walmart, Intel, and IKEA, which have invested in solar arrays.

Not everyone is happy about this. For example, some in the business community want legislation that would do away with net metering, which currently lets customers with solar panels sell energy back to the grid and enjoy lower electricity bills. Opponents of net metering are clearly concerned that this practice only benefits those able to afford solar, while transferring the cost to everyone.

But what if it was suddenly in everyone’s economic interest to buy and use cleaner electricity? That’s what putting a statewide price on carbon would do.  It leverages market forces by setting a uniform price for carbon pollution. This provides a clear incentive for market participants to reduce their carbon emissions, but leaves it up to each of them to decide how.

The price can be set low to start, letting emitters adjust more easily. It can then be increased over time to achieve our carbon reduction goals. Meanwhile, the funds raised can be used to invest in various state priorities, deliver tax cuts or rebates, or support communities that depend on fossil fuel production.

We know this can work. The Canadian province of British Columbia instituted a price for carbon in 2008, with positive results for both energy usage and economic activity. And many companies, including the “Big Five” oil companies, already include carbon pricing in their internal budgets. The business community is more prepared than you’d think.

Both of Arizona’s senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have supported carbon pricing in the past. Hopefully, they will do so again – because while the sun may keep shining regardless, Arizona’s future looks brightest when we harness it.

Posted in Policy, Sustainability | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Local First AZ Releases 2nd Edition of Gilbert Small Wonders Map

Gilbert Small Wonders 2

Local First Arizona has now released the second edition of the Gilbert Small Wonders map, a pocket-sized guide featuring over 30 local restaurants, galleries, boutiques, venues, and experiences located in Gilbert. All of the businesses included in the guide are independently owned and operated.

“We created the Small Wonders map series to help Arizona residents and visitors find the unique local businesses in their neighborhoods,” said Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona. “These maps also showcase the unique sense of place each of these communities offers, and the Gilbert Small Wonders Map demonstrates the town’s emphasis on agriculture, local foods, and the arts.”

The second edition of the Gilbert Small Wonders map features local businesses all over Gilbert from Pecos Road to Guadalupe Road, and from Country Club Drive to Recker Road. Some of the businesses featured in the second edition of the Gilbert Small Wonders map include diverse businesses such as Gilbert Farmers Market, Higley Center for Performing Arts, and the Farm at Agritopia, but also includes Gilbert classics like Joe’s Farm Grill, Flancer’s, and Art Intersection. This map also features information about a dozen public events regularly happening in the Gilbert area including the Gilbert Folk Festival, Gilbert Days, and the Gilbert Art Walk.

Participating local businesses were thrilled to participate in the second edition of the Gilbert Small Wonders map and highlight what their community has to offer. “Local First Arizona is an organization that does exactly what it’s name says, puts small, hardworking, community based local businesses first,” said Jonathan Buford, owner of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company, one of the businesses featured in this edition of the map. “We are honored to be a part of the Small Wonders map, where it is clear the Valley if the Sun is an amazing destination!”

wilderness brewing

To commemorate the new Gilbert Small Wonders map, Local First Arizona will be hosting a launch party at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company (721 N Arizona Ave, Gilbert, AZ 85233) on Wednesday, May 11, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Attendees will be the first to be able to sample the new Desert Lavender Saison with locally foraged lavender for a special tapping. Executive Chef Stacey Carson will also create a special small-bites menu that ties in with Wilderness’ “Local Wednesday” promotions, which usually features a main menu dish inspired by local ingredients. The event is free to attend although registration is requested at this link: https://goo.gl/4xXRyQ

Local First Arizona has also produced Small Wonders maps for Central Phoenix, Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood, Tucson, the Verde Valley, Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Mesa. The Gilbert Small Wonders map will be available digitally at the Local First Arizona website. Physical maps can be picked up at a variety of local businesses, hotels, apartments, and events in the Gilbert area. Business owners, realtors, property managers, hotels, event organizers, and individuals can request maps for distribution free of charge by contacting Local First Arizona at info@localfirstarizona.com. Fifty thousand copies of the Gilbert Small Wonders maps have been printed for distribution.

Thanks to our back cover sponsors, Joe’s Farm Grill, Joe’s Real BBQ, Liberty Market, and Agritopia

gilbert small wonders back cover

Posted in Greater Phoenix, Press Releases, Small Wonders | Leave a comment

13th Annual Pie Party: Sweet Treats for a Good Cause

13th Annual Pie PartyArticle written by LFA Intern Lauren Kaiser.

This Sunday, May 1st, is the 13th Annual Pie Party hosted by Food Conspiracy Co-op! Located at 525 N. Bonita Ave. home of  YWCA Southern Arizona, this Pie Party is sure to make your taste buds go wild! Only

This Pie Party fundraiser promotes non-profit organizations who participate as beneficiaries. Organizations can win some of the proceeds in two ways. The first way to win a reward is by having the guests of the event vote with their pie tickets for the non-profit in which they wish to give the funds to. The second way to win is by having the “Best in Show” pie. Last year close to $2,000 was raised and split between the two winning organizations (Iskashitaa Refugee Harvesting Network and Living Streets Alliance). This year, Local First Arizona is participating to be one of the beneficiaries at this year’s Pie Party. Be sure to vote for LFA when you stop by!

A delicious Banana Pudding Pie from the Back Dough!

A delicious Banana Pudding Pie from the Back Dough!

Local First Arizona interns Lauren Kaiser and Caroline Diglio have been coordinating with Local First Arizona members, who are so kindly able to donate two pies each for this tremendous event. So far participating LFA members inculde Beyond Bread/Back Dough, Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/Bistro, Ghini’s French Cafe, and Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue! Caroline and Lauren have also included Green Valley Pecans in the mix for making their very own local pecan pie! They are sourcing local ingredients in their pecan pie, as well as a possible fruit pie, that will include Hayden Flour Mills and fresh fruit from local farmer’s markets in order to make this a successful local pie throw down!

Come support Local First Arizona and our tremendous members at Tucson’s 13th Annual Pie Party this Sunday at YWCA from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm! Have fun and don’t forget to vote for your favorite local pie!

 

Posted in Business Member Event, Go Local Guides, Local Food, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Reasons to Visit Clarkdale This May

Photo: Clarkdale.gov

Credit: Clarkdale.gov photo gallery

“Staycation” has become a popular buzzword in the past several years. A staycation is a chance for you to become more familiar with your town, your county, and your state, so we really lucked out in the beautiful state of Arizona. A staycation gives you a chance to play tourist without getting on a plane and to keep your money where your home is.

Our state’s unique terrain and world class lodging have placed Arizona on the top of people’s travel lists for decades. Clarkdale, in the Verde Valley, is a gem in Northern Arizona between Jerome and Cottonwood. This city shines with rich history as the first planned town in Arizona surrounding the copper mines. Today, Clarkdale is a fun retreat from the big cities that has shopping, culture, nature, and more.

May is the premier time of year to experience this charming city. Here’s Local First Arizona’s 5 suggestions to guide your exploration:

1. The Verde Valley Wine Festival

Verde Valley vineyard. Photo: Verde Valley Wine Festival

Verde Valley vineyard. Photo credit: Verde Valley Wine Festival

The Verde Valley Wine Festival is Northern Arizona’s premier Culinary and Wine festival of the year, presented by Four Eight Wineworks and Made in Clarkdale. The event will be held on Saturday, May 7th at the historic Clarkdale Town Park. Tickets are still available for $100 VIP Entrance or $25 General Admission.

This festival highlights the community of Clarkdale and the Verde Valley, offering the finest wineries, breweries and restaurants committed to creating homegrown products and authentic experiences for locals and visitors.

2. The Clarkdale Kayak Company

Photo: Clarkdale Kayak

Photo credit: Clarkdale Kayak

Ready for an adventure? Kayaking the Verde River at Clarkdale is a must this summer! It’s a fun, interactive experience where you get to cool off and learn about the unique history of the Verde River. Hop in one of a hard-shell kayaks and cruise. These boats feature a sit-on-top design that makes them comfortable, stable and most of all, safe.

You can expect to spend 2.5 hours on the river, covering 3.5 miles of scenic riverway. As you cruise down the Verde you’ll find yourself immersed in a whole new world as you float past 900 year old ruins of the ancient Sinagua Culture. Under the cool canopy of native willow trees you’ll take in the rich ecology of the forested riparian zone where over 75 percent of Arizona’s biodiversity thrives. Total trip time is 3.5 hours. Learn more about this incrediable experiance on ClarkdaleKayak.com.

3. The Copper Art Museum

Photo: Copper Art Museum

Photo credit: Copper Art Museum

The Arizona Copper Art Museum  is perfect for a day or weekend trip to Clarkdale. This museum is a perfect representation of the history of the city. Clarkdale was founded for the mass-production of industrial copper from 1915 to 1953, which was exported throughout the world.

The museum’s collection is the “largest return of copper,” back to both Clarkdale and the “Copper State” and showcases what man created with the red-metal while it was away. The Arizona Copper Art Museum features exhibits which were made by coppersmiths, soldier artists and braziers; many of whom were masters in their trade. The history of copper is also featured and brings forth forgotten stories, legends and mysteries.

4. The Verde Canyon Railroad

Even if you’ve visited the Grand Canyon 100 times, you’ve never experienced this immersive look at the canyon until you take the Verde Canyon Railroad. From the moment you step foot on one of the refurbished train cars you and your family will feel like you’ve been transported to a simpler, more leisurely time before all the distractions of our modern world.

Breathe deep, order a drink and relax as you glide along on a 20 mile journey through 100 years of history while still enjoying modern creature comforts like climate control, comfortable seating, and thoughtful decor. This adventure starts at $64.95 for adults or guests can ride along with the conductor or in the caboose. Learn more about this one-of-a-kind trip online at VerdeCanyonRR.com.

5. Local Cuisine

Chocolate chip mocha bars with a mocha glaze. Photo credit: Violette's Bakery

Chocolate chip mocha bars with a mocha glaze. Photo credit: Violette’s Bakery Cafe

It is widely accepted that small towns boast some great restaurants where people cook because they love it. From food rich in heritage at Sus Casa, big city class at 10-12 Lounge, to charming desserts made with love at Violette’s Bakery Cafe there is no shortage of local home-grown places to dine during your trip. Clarkdale is also home to Four Eight Wineworks, Northern Arizona’s first wine makers co-operative. Vineyards convene in and around the Verde Valley making it an excellent trip for wine lovers.

Visiting Clarkdale is a fun way to get out the city for the day or weekend and experience what makes Arizona great. Additionally, traveling in-state keeps your money working in our local economies that in turn make our communities vibrant and strong. For more ideas on traveling in Arizona check out our Weekendzona series.

Verde Valley Weekendzona Video

Posted in Exploring Arizona, Go Local Guides, Northern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating an Exceptional Banking Experience

Pinnacle Bank

As a local business owner, your business and financial needs are unique and focused on the ebb and flow of your surrounding community. Pinnacle Bank, an Arizona based, business-oriented bank serving small businesses and the community in northeast Phoenix and Scottsdale areas (along with the Camelback corridor) understands firsthand the Valley’s special banking needs. Pinnacle Bank was formed by local business leaders who own and/or manage their own businesses. Several of them are second generation Arizonans and all of them call Arizona home. For the community, the good news about a locally managed bank is that decisions get made locally and fast so that local business owners can stay ahead of the competition.

Pinnacle Bank is backed by over 300 strong, primarily local, shareholders. They represent a cross section of extremely successful business men and women who see the need for a bank that is committed to providing personalized service and convenience to its clients. To round out the strength of Pinnacle Bank is its management team, which has over 150 years of collective banking experience in Arizona. The Valley is their home, and they are dedicated to helping make our community a better place to live through continued growth and development. Learn more about Pinnacle Bank by visiting their website at http://www.pinnaclebankaz.com/.

Don’t forget that April is Community Banking Month! Learn about moving your money to a local bank or credit union.

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

3 Myths About Banking Locally, Debunked

bank

April is Community Banking Month, where we take the opportunity to celebrate Arizona’s local banks and credit unions and encourage consumers and business owners to make the switch to bank locally! When your money is deposited in locally owned and operated community banks and credit unions, it’s quickly recycled back into our local economy. Currently only 4% of Arizona’s total deposits are in Arizona-owned banks and credit unions, which means that most of our money is controlled by global banks that don’t have a connection to our community.

When talking to people about the benefits of banking locally, we’ve realized that there are some misconceptions associated with local banking. There are three big myths that are associated with local banking that we want to address and debunk:

Myth 1: It is not convenient to bank locally.

GatewayBankImage

Gateway Bank offers fee-free ATM, drive thru locations, and online banking as an example of a local bank that excels in convenience.

One of the largest fears about switching to a local bank or credit union may be how you will access your money. With over 40 banks and credit unions that are based in Arizona all over the state there is likely a local branch in your neighborhood. Most community banks offer online banking portals to manage your money on the go. Phoenix-based credit unions Desert Schools Credit Union and Marisol Credit Union even have mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Most conveniently, many community banks have listened when members asked for no ATM surcharges. One quarter of small banks are no longer charging their regular checking account members to use outside ATMs. Others provide 2-4 outside ATM transactions monthly at no charge or reimburse surcharges monthly. This gives community bank members access to a large no-cost network of ATMs. Compared to national banks, only two large banks waive or reimburse ATM surcharges on basic checking accounts.

Myth 2: Local banks charge more fees.

Save your coins and avoid fees with local banking options.

Save your coins and avoid fees with local banking options. Photo: Pexels

Community bank members receive fee-free checking and savings accounts more often than members at large banks. According to a survey by U.S. PIRG released in November 2012, 63% of small banks offer free checking while completely free checking is only available at 24% of big banks. 

Besides more commonly offering fee-free accounts to their members, community banks are more likely to offer commercial loans to small business owners than big banks. Small and mid-sized community banks control only 22% of all bank assets but account for 54% of small business lending. Additionally, average interest rates for loans are lower at credit unions because they are not-for-profit organizations that return net earnings to their members.

Myth 3: Moving from my current bank to a local bank is too difficult.

Community banks are known for their customer service, meet with a representative to talk about your needs. Photo: Alliance Bank of Arizona

Community banks are known for their customer service, meet with a representative to talk about your needs. Photo: Alliance Bank of Arizona

Making the switch to a local bank is as easy, if not easier than, getting set up at large bank. Before you start looking into your new bank first outline your needs: do you require online banking, direct deposit, and automatic payments? There are dozens of options in Arizona and once you know what you need our Community Banking Month webpage hosts a list of local banks and credit unions.

RELATED: How to Make the Switch to a Local Bank or Credit Union

Community banks are known for their personalized service and high satisfaction scores so once you’ve narrowed down your choice we recommend scheduling an in-person appointment with a banker. Once you’ve made your decision, the rest of the process is straightforward. Contact the local bank or credit union that you want to switch to and they will guide you through the process to move your money easily.

If you want to learn more about local banking or want to make the switch please visit the Community Banking Month Homepage for resources and to sign the pledge to bank locally and keep your money in Arizona. 

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