August is a Great Time to be a Localist (x5)

localist_member_events_badge-(1)With the lower regions in Arizona heating up to well above triple digits, we’ve cranked up the chances to stay cool throughout the state with FIVE Localist Events in the month of August!

In a month with no holidays, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate local businesses and we’ve invited the whole state! There are events for whatever you might be into, ranging from a huge Northern AZ party to a luxurious spa day to a down home country luau! Some of the following events are open to the public so check out what’s happening in your region (or further.. how about a Staycation?) and join in the fun!

xg112-71dfb3cd-9033-4ebb-973e-42fc4f1c9f3e-v21. Party in the Pines- Open to the Everyone!
We are officially launching the Localist Program in Flagstaff on August 7th at Criollo Flagstaff, and we want you to come celebrate with us! FREE to attend. This event features Chef Flip’s welcome, live original music by Heartwood, art opening of local artist Tanner Jensen, bar, delicious street taco specials, a raffle with awesome local prizes, and everyone’s invited! Read more and RSVP online here!

2. Summer Dessert Social- Open to Everyone!
End summer on a sweet note with us at The Gladly in Phoenix as we host an exclusive Summer Dessert Social in The Gladly’s private dining room! This is an incredible opportunity to interact directly with and sample unique, signature desserts from six of the Valley’s top local chefs, including Chef Bernie Kantak of Citizen Public House and The Gladly, Chef Justin Beckett of Beckett’s Table and Southern Rail, Chef Doug Robson of Otro Cafe, and more! Read more online here!

xg112-849fbcbc-bd9f-4aec-8ba8-0002332650ff-v23. Localist Spa Day
The Hotel Valley Ho invites Localists to spend a relaxing day unwinding in Scottsdale on August 19th. This event features a 60-minute yoga flow class, chocolates and wine, and three 10-minute treatments of your choice that include options like Quiet Mind Neck + Scalp Massage, Inspired Action Facial Cleanse, and Inner Peace Reflexology.  This event is being offered to Localists for the steal of $40 a person to enjoy an evening of “beat-the-heat” relaxation. RSVP online here!

4. Backstage with Inspiración Flamenca
On August 28th, Localists are invited to take part in an exclusive pre-show talk and backstage tour of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to learn about the powerful and passionate dance of Flamenco. Julia Chacon will highlight the rich history of flamenco, reveal details about the inspiration behind her company, and display the technical elements that bring a show to life. $15 includes both the pre-show (5:30pm) and the performance (8pm). Read more and RSVP online here!

And last but not least…

5. Cowboy Monsoon Luau at the Downtown Clifton
$100 Localist price includes hotel room at Downtown Clifton Hotel in Tucson (for two!), full luau (for two!), access to the MOCA Pools (for two!), and a complimentary breakfast at 5 Points Market [You guessed it (for two!)] There is also a $10 ticket to join us for the luau catered by Mama’s Hawaiian BBQ which is open to the public! This deal is stuffed to the brim with local business and fun and is an amazing chance to experience Tucson on August 29th-30th. Read more and RSVP online!


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

Julie Originals Embraces the Art of Business

julierustadAward winning graphic designer and owner of Julie Originals, Julie Rustad has been a longtime supporter of Local First Arizona. Rustad was recently named the recipient of the American Advertising Federation of Tucson’s Next Generation Award. The award recognizes outstanding advertising individuals, age 40 and younger, who make a significant impact on the industry through their leadership, career achievements, community contributions and inspiration to others. The Tucson AdFed has also awarded Rustad many ADDY® Awards for her Desert Dwellers Flash Cards and packaging, as well as for her logo designs for Bird’s Nest Baking Company’s Sonoran Blend Granola. “I help businesses with their branding through design,” says Rustad. “By combining this knowledge with my fine art I also create educational products for children like the Desert Dwellers Flash Cards.”

Rustad has found Local First Arizona to be an amazing resource and support network for her business. To her, the connection between supporting local businesses and growing jobs in her industry is clear. Comments Rustad, “By supporting Local First Arizona, businesses in the advertising industry can really improve our local economic health. When there is a new local business they hire local people to help with marketing, design, website and printing. This leads to more work which keeps money in our town.”

She has also found the Local First AZ directory to be a valuable resource in connecting her with other local businesses. “The more money spent locally the more it helps our local economy,” says Rustad. “I love having meetings at local coffee shops like Tucson Coffee Roasters. I try to have much of my clients and my own marketing materials printed locally with Arizona Lithographers. Building great relationships with local businesses can produce amazing results.”

Desert_Dwellers_Flashcards_Julie_RustadThe Desert Dwellers flash cards are carried at many local retailers including the Heard Museum Shop, Audubon Nature Shop, Arizona Experience Store, Bookmans Sports Exchange, Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort Gift Shop, Mildred & Dildred, Mostly Books, Petroglyphs, Tohono Chul Park, Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tucson Museum of Art, the Tucson Visitor Center and many more. Rustad met many of the local retailers through Local First AZ networking events where she is a regular attendee. “Tucson is a place where you can really make connections. People are friendly here. If you produce quality work and are easy to work with, the word spreads pretty quickly,” she says.

Rustad is thrilled to see the cards in so many outlets. “Creating the Desert Dwellers Flash Cards to teach children about our local wildlife and hearing my son talk about them to others is one of the achievements I am most proud of,” says Rustad. Through the cards, Rustad’s son learned both the alphabet and the value of running a local businesses. “He is proud of them too,” says Rustad, “and is learning entrepreneurship at a young age through watching me.”

Rustad will be given the 2015 Next Generation Award at the Tucson Advertising Hall of Fame Awards event on September 10. For additional information on this year’s inductees and tickets, please visit their event page here.

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

Celebrate National Farmers Market Week

National Farmers Market Week

Farmers market

Did you know there’s an entire week in celebration of farmers markets across the country? Instituted by the USDA, National Farmers Market Week is happening from August 2nd to August 8th and we are very, very excited! So excited that we plan to be at a number of the farmers markets across the beautiful state of AZ to celebrate the home-grown products with you (and maybe even give some away!).

Farmers markets bring communities together, connecting cities with farms and providing the shoppers with fresh, healthy food. Farmers markets provide you with the freshest produce and keep your hard earned money circulating in the local economy.

So come and join us!

Localist Shirts being raffled at listed Farmers Markets!

Localist Shirts being raffled at listed farmers markets this weekend!

Say hi at the Local First Arizona booth at any of the following farmers markets and be entered into a raffle drawing to win a Local First AZ Localist tshirt. Shopping and eating locally sourced food is one of the easiest and most influential ways to support your state’s economy! We would love to share that excitement with you!

If you can’t make it this time, be sure to check out other local farmers market hours this summer: Summer Farmers Markets 2015. 

Visit our booths:

Downtown Phoenix Public Market
Saturday, August 8th, 8:00am – 12:00pm721 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Oro Valley Farmer’s Market
Saturday, August 8th, 8:00am – 1:00pm
10901 N Oracle Road
Oro Valley, AZ 85737

Posted in Agriculture, Arizona, Local First Movement, Local Food, Northern Arizona, Sustainability, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Record number of attendees at Tucson Luau Mixer

This post guest written by LFA intern, Kendra Gramlich

JulyMixerTucsonMamasJuly’s luau mixer was our largest yet with almost 150 attendees! Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue kindly hosted the festivity and Mama herself provided delicious treats such as fruit punch, pulled pork sandwiches, and upside down pineapple cake. With multiple locations all across Tucson you’re never far from that hit-the-spot food of Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue.

Tucson’s mayor, Jonathan Rothschild, was in attendance to talk about his Proclamation supporting the 10th Annual Independents Week. He honored Tucson’s local businesses and the many ways they contribute to the economic well-being of the city.

IMG_3295We at Local First Arizona are proud to announce that Indie Week was a huge success. All week long community members celebrated the 4th of July by shopping at locally-owned businesses all across the state. The most common feedback from participants was that they had newly discovered businesses they never knew existed. Many were excited to have found their new, favorite local hangout. A special thanks goes out to all those who participated in the event by passing out golden coupons, honoring the coupons and acting as passport stops.In addition to the mayor our own Kimber Lanning, the Director of Local First Arizona, discussed the many wonderful ideas exchanged at the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies conference including the ways in which local businesses are coming together to the social and economic challenges that impact their communities.

Farmer Chef

Hot topics at the mixer included upcoming events such as the Rural Policy Forum in Clarkdale, AZ on August 6-7. The forum will connect rural economic development professionals, nonprofits, community leaders, business owners, and other rural stakeholders who are interested in sustaining rural communities. Also discussed is the much anticipated 6th annual Farmer+Chef Connection. For the first time ever the conference will be held in Tucson, at the Tucson Convention Center on September 16th beginning at 12pm. The conference aims to build wholesale food networks at the local level. A special highlight will be the Suppliers’ Marketplace, a vendor fair exclusively featuring Arizona food producers and distributors. If you are interested in making these connections or participating as a vendor please register here.

Mixers are the first Wednesday of every month from 6-8pm. If you missed out on the wonderful events of July’s luau don’t miss out again! August’s mixer will be at the Cafe A La C’art  at the Tucson Museum of Art at 6pm on August 5th come join us for food, fun and friendly conversation. Don’t forget to register here for the event.

Interested in being a business member of Local First Arizona?  Join here!

Thank you to all those who came and luau-ed with us!

A&E Recycled Granite
Accelerated Knowledge Systems LLC
Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oil & Balsamics
America’s Mattress
Arizona Imprintables
Arizona Jewish Post
Barbara McNichol Editorial
BBB of Southern Arizona
Borderlands Brewing Company
Casa de la Luz Hospice
Casino Del Sol Resort
Coffee News
Card Solutions Inc POS Consulting
Custom Quarters LLC
Dependable Personnel, Inc.
Enerjoust, LLC
Envoy Mortgage
Evans Insurance
Film Creations LTD
Food Conspiracy Co-op
Food In Root
Good News Radio (Sustaining Member)
Hayes Construction
IFA Media
Inside/Out Poetry and Sustainability Program
Intestinal Health Institute
IPC Technical Services LLC
Jennifer Mead Creative
Julie DeMarre Photography
Julie Originals
Koty Leavitt Insurance Agency
Lotus Massage & Wellness Center
Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue (Sustaining Member)
Manzo Elementary
Marana Chamber of Commerce
Mrs. Greens World
Nature Medica
Oro Valley Voice
Our Savior’s Lutheran church
Picture Rocks Cooling & Heating LLC
Proof Me Right
Raymont Solutions
Richmond American Homes
Roadrunner Auto Glass and Window Tint
S+S Consulting, Inc.
Seby & Associates
Shoulder to Shoulder Computer Training and Consulting
Sierra Club
Signature Vacation Rentals
Solar Solution Az
Southwest Solutions
Tammy Drezek Insurance Agency
Tucson Originals (Sustaining Member)
The Arrotta Group
US Health Advisors
Valbridge Property Advisors
Vantage West Credit Union (Sustaining Member)
Vector Impressions
Washington Federal
Weathersby Windows & Doors
Wellness Key Chiropractic
Wells Fargo
YWCA Southern Arizona

Posted in Business Member Event Recap, Businesses, Local First Movement, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Medieval Meets Modern at Superstition Meadery

IMG_20150722_132645_788Know in the ancient histories of  Europe, Africa and Asia, and consumed as early as 1100 BC, mead has often been considered the ancestor of all fermented drinks. Remarkably, this historical beverage can still be enjoyed today right here in downtown Prescott at Superstition Meadery.

IMG_20150722_133514_565Superstition Meadery specializes in hard cider and mead, a wine fermented from honey. Having introduced over 50 unique meads and hard ciders in just three year, this meadery is quickly gaining international attention. Superstition Meadery is known for the quality of their product. So much so, that not only can you find it locally here in Arizona, but you can even purchase it in Singapore, Copenhagen, Thailand and Japan. With mead fermented from 100% Arizona honey it is no surprise that these flavorful beverages are enjoyed world wide.

The tasting room at Superstition Meadery stays true to the historical description of a medieval meadery but brings in a modern twist that makes for a truly unique experience. The room itself is located at 120 W. Gurley St in Prescott, specifically at the underground level of the building. Placed underground, the low lights, soft seating, open-faced fermenting room and the honeycomb integration into the decor will give you a sense of excitement as you are about to experience something wonderfully unique.

IMG_20150724_220805The knowledgeable and friendly staff will tell you everything you to need to know about their mead and hard ciders. With flavors ranging from dry to sweet, you are guaranteed to find something that will entice your taste buds. Check out the video below to learn about the mead makers latest project, The White Series. This series consists of four specialty meads; a Berry White, Blue Berry White, Straw Berry White and Black Berry White. For more information on these meads and more take a look at Superstition Meadery’s website here. Come out and try something new, you won’t regret stopping by!


Posted in Beer Wine and Spirits, Businesses, LFA Member Spotlight, Local First Movement, Made in Arizona, Northern Arizona | Leave a comment

Fuerza Local Spotlight: Meet Diego Rios

Diego Rios is the owner of The King Carpet Cleaning, a local business that delivers professional carpet and tile cleaning services throughout the Phoenix metro areaScreenshot 2015-07-29 11.27.47. Since 2010, Rios has been committed to providing quality and efficient cleaning services to all clients. Rios takes special commitment to customer service and sees cleaning as a way to  improve the environment and the health and well being of all people. Rios is a graduate of the third Fuerza Local business accelerator class.

Screenshot 2015-07-29 11.27.26“Hi, my name is Diego Rios and I am the owner of The King Carpet Cleaning…we chose this name because it is easy to remember and it helps us stay on the top of our clients’ minds for further referral . We are committed to building strong relationships with our clients and our community, by providing good services at a reasonable price. Our company is focused on quality and social responsibility, and that is why we are proud members of Fuerza Local.”

Connect with The King Carpet Cleaning by visiting, emailing, or by calling 623.205.2499.

Every Wednesday, we bring you stories of dedicated business owners who are creating opportunities and vibrant communities through entrepreneurship. Stay tuned for more stories from our Fuerza Local members. 

To view this post in Spanish, please click here.

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Strings Attached

Pigsjpg (2) Fun experiences abound in the summer in the Phoenix metro area. Whether you are looking for ways to keep the kids entertained or a unique date night adventure, the Great Arizona Puppet Theatre has fun for all ages. Housed in a beautifully restored historic building near the Japanese Friendship Garden, shows are held year round and include classics like Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks along with Arizona themed shows featuring puppet saguaros and cute desert critters. Leave the kids home for adult puppet slams which are quirky, edgy, short and funny puppet shows by Arizona’s leading puppeteers. The theatre hosts birthday parties, school field trips and family outings, and will also take their show on the road to schools and events. The gift shop, open during performances or by appointment, has a unique selection of hand puppets, marionettes, how-to guides and more. Supporting the creative community in Arizona has never been so fun.GAPT-Seal-Logo-sm

The Great Arizona Puppet Theater
302 W. Latham Street
Phoenix AZ 85003

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

CO+HOOTS is Representing Arizona in Startup Federation

5186CO+HOOTS is a shared office location in downtown Phoenix that promotes collaboration and provides a professional, self-sustaining space to grow and nurture entrepreneurialism. Creatives, entrepreneurs and small businesses of all areas flock there to be a part of the growing vibrancy of downtown Phoenix. As a community of local-minded and business-focused people, we are able to collaborate on projects, share resources and generate more successful businesses.

CO+HOOTS was chosen to represent Arizona in Startup Federation, a global network of the world’s top incubators and coworking spaces. The federation seeks to build density globally and build an ecosystem that transcends geographic boundaries so that our world’s most promising entrepreneurs and young companies can access the resources they need to scale regardless of the city they choose to call home.

CO+HOOTS, home to more than 200 local small businesses, is excited to represent Arizona in the global Startup Federation.

“We’re honored to be representing Arizona for the Startup Federation and incredibly excited to see what new collaborations will come of this partnership,” said CO+HOOTS Founder Jenny Poon. “We have such great talent here in Phoenix and to be able to give entrepreneurs here access to global resources in a world that is becoming so borderless will truly push innovation for all industries.

The vision of Startup Federation to support global entrepreneurship is directly in line with that of CO+HOOTS Foundation’s focus area to build a global network of mentors and resources to support entrepreneurs. CO+HOOTS Foundation, which is the nonprofit arm of CO+HOOTS, also hosts CO+EXCHANGES, a global exchange program and will offer this program for Startup Federation members to participate in the future.

The alliance will broaden the network the CO+EXCHANGES program has, and in turn bring innovative minds from around the world to Phoenix to address local and global issues. It will also help connect CO+HOOTS to coworking spaces around the world for Phoenix entrepreneurs to visit and collaborate.

 Localist Logo Red Heart State SquareCongratulations to CO+HOOTS and check out all the local co-working spots in Phoenix and Tucson here!

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New Courtyard Wows the Crowd at the Grand Highland Hotel

It was a great night to spend with the Prescott community at our northern Arizona July GHHmixer, held last Wednesday 7/22. We could not have asked to spend a better 80 degree evening than the one we enjoyed at the newest Whiskey Row attraction, the beautiful Grand Highland Hotel outdoor courtyard.

The Grand Highland Hotel is a historic boutique hotel located on Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ. Built in 1903, the hotel was recently reconstructed to combine historic architecture and brick with today’s modern amenities. Each of the twelve rooms is individually decorated to reflect an aspect of Prescott’s storied history. Only a few weeks ago the hotel debuted its newest addition to downtown, their state of the art outdoor courtyard. Guests sipped on delicious brews poured by local brewery, Granite Mountain Brewing, as they took in the high-tech sound stage, beautifully strung lights, patio seating, growing flora and exceptional design.

IMG_20150722_182622_388Director of Local First Arizona, Kimber Lanning joined in the evening fun and gave a riveting speech on how a unique town like Prescott, can keep its special identity by working together and supporting the local market. We also discussed the upcoming 2015 Arizona Rural Policy Forum being held this August 6th & 7th in Clarkdale. Northern Arizona Director, Cara Corbinmeyer was excited to make the announcement for the northern Arizona Localist Program launch party, Party in the Pines, being held Friday, August 7th at Criollo Latin Kitchen in Flagstaff.

IMG_20150722_182739_708Join us at our next mixer Wednesday, August 19th at Desert Diamond Distillery in Old Town Cottonwood. Make your RSVP here!

Thank you to all who came out!




Posted in Business Member Event Recap, Northern Arizona | Leave a comment

3 Things We Learned About Whiskey Del Bac


Last weekend, Localists joined at Pastiche for a guided tasting of Whiskey Del Bac from Hamilton Distillers. If you haven’t heard of this super local spirit, it’s because they are still a relatively small distillery  located in the heart of Tucson. Stephen Paul, co-founder of Hamilton Distillers, took his “love of place”, and infused it into the essence of Whiskey Del Bac. Malted over mesquite, rather than peat (as is traditional for most Scottish whiskeys), this spirit has a uniquely Southwestern flare that drew us in and kept us wanting more. Weather you are a whiskey expert or new to the world of spirits, there was something to learn for everyone at the Localist Tasting of Whiskey Del Bac.

1. Hamilton uses sustainably sourced ingredients.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.33.13 AM

Image via BKW Farms

The wheat that Hamilton uses in their distilling process comes from BKW Farms, a local grower and supplier of White Sonora Wheat. “White Sonora Wheat is a sustainable, heritage grain that offers a healthy, delicious alternative to modern wheat. BKW Farms in Marana, Arizona is proud to play a role in re-introducing White Sonora Wheat to consumers and in increasing sustainable food production in Southern Arizona. BKW Farms is growing White Sonora Wheat the way it was traditionally grown – without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers. White Sonora Wheat grown at the farm is USDA Certified Organic.”

2. Hamilton “Closes the Loop” with their production.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.43.51 AMA lot goes in to the process of brewing whiskey, and Hamilton cuts waste on both ends. First off, the mesquite that they use in distilling their Whiskeys Del Bac comes from the left over scraps of their furniture company, Arroyo Design. The theme of re-purposing also comes in at the end of the process. Once the whiskey is malted, distilled, and ready for purchase, there is a lot of leftover grain from the fermentation. This “spent grain” is then delivered to E&R Pork, and the cows at BKW Farms, to feed the livestock. We’re told that whiskey grains make for particularly “happy” cows and pigs.

                          Image via E & R Pork

3. Hamilton appreciates their volunteers, really appreciates them.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 11.03.57 AMLunch and a bottle of whiskey, how bad can that be?  Since Hamilton is experiencing high demand for their products, they are offering a great deal to folks willing to roll up their sleeves for the cause. Simply volunteer for them for a few hours, and get free lunch with a bottle of Whiskey Del Bac! Spots fill up FAST, so make sure to keep an eye out on their facebook to participate.

Image Via Whiskey Del Bac

Looking for a local spot to sample some Whiskey Del Bac? It is available at Agustin, Pastiche, Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails, Proper, and so many more.

Localist BlueThe Localist Tasting of Whiskey Del Bac was curated for the Local First Arizona Localist Program. Members of the Localist program get exclusive invitations to events all over the state that highlight the plethora of amazing local businesses we have to offer. From whiskey tastings, to private shopping hour/style sessions, to backstage tours, the Localist Program has something for everyone. Not a Localist yet? Sign up today!

Our next Localist event in Tucson is going to be our Cowboy Monsoon Luau! This is a Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 9.33.39 AMscreamin’ deal which gets you a room at the Historic Downtown Clifton Hotel, access to the MoCA Pools, Dinner & Drinks from Mama’s Hawaiian BBQ, Live Music, and Complimentary Breakfast for Sunday morning at 5 Points Market, all for just $100/couple. The event is Saturday, August 29th. Sign up today!

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