Local Arizona Dia de los Muertos Events Calendar 2014

disneyland-dia-de-los-muertosWith all of the Halloween festivals going on, don’t forget about another very special celebration, Dia de los Muertos!This Mexican holiday is a three day holiday tradition that will be celebrated across Arizona! Join the Local First Arizona members as they prey and remember their ancestors who have past.


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

Total Transit Introduces Arizona’s Only Legal RideShare Service

Total TransitTotal Transit1, parent company of Discount Cab and a proud, sustaining Local First Arizona member, has introduced Arizona’s first and only fully-insured legal RideShare service accessible through the Total Transit App.

Available only through the app, RideShare vehicles are personally owned and operated, fully commercially insured and legal, with experienced drivers who have passed verified background checks, as well as drug and alcohol screenings. This program allows drivers to utilize their personal vehicles to provide legal RideShare.

“Our new RideShare service supports the sharing economy while adhering to Arizona’s regulation in for-hire transportation,” said Mike Pinckard, Total Transit president. “We have figured out a way to offer RideShare the right way—by making it fully insured, legal and compliant with state law—and look to other ride-share providers to do the same.”

Total Transit App

Screenshot of the Total Transit app.

“We have always said we try to make it easy for companies to do business here in Arizona, as long as they align with the public and passenger safety requirements that are in place,” said Shawn Marquez, acting director of the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures. “Total Transit is doing just that, and we are happy to support them in their new legal RideShare offering. We would do the same for any company that complies with the law. Public safety is paramount and cannot be compromised, and we support any ridesharing effort as long as it does not put the drivers, passengers and the general public at risk.”

Users of the Total Transit App will also be able to choose from a variety of additional vehicle options: Discount Cab, black car and SUV; vans and wheelchair-accessible vans will be available in the coming weeks as well. “We’ve listened to our customers and have added more vehicle options to our fleet in order to meet their needs,” Pinckard said.

The Total Transit App provides a convenient, safe and secure way to request a ride. Features include real-time location of available vehicles, a list of vehicle categories and prices, and current estimated wait times for each category. Passengers can enter a destination for a fare estimate prior to pick-up. Passengers can also see vehicle movement as they wait for the driver, along with the driver’s photo, name and vehicle description. They also have the ability to call their driver through a safety measure that keeps both the customer and driver phone numbers hidden. Customers can store one or more credit cards in the system and choose a card for payment at the time of booking. When the ride is over, payment is automatic. For fares with passenger-determined tip, the customer has up to an hour to change the amount of the tip from the default amount.

The app is available for free download in the iTunes Store and Google Play. Those who currently have the Discount Cab app can simply update it in their Settings; current app users will be prompted to create a new account and add additional personal information to make their account current.

Total Transit App users can receive 25 percent off their first ride by entering the promo code ARIZONA.

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Member Spotlight: Burning Tree Cellars

This is a northern Arizona member spotlight for Burning Tree Cellars in Cottonwood

326986_271511596201179_1803386438_oSituated in Old Town Cottonwood since 2012, Burning Tree Cellars is a small boutique winery committed to producing and serving wine of the highest quality. They take pride in utilizing the finest available fruit sources, quality oak and patience to establish a wine menu featuring an array of options for customers to enjoy. Rather than pushing their wines through chain supermarkets, this company delights in using their expertise in winemaking to remind the community that they are all part of something special. Since joining the Cottonwood community, the owners of Burning Tree Cellars continue to fulfill their mission of serving each other, their families and their friends.

Burning Tree Cellars offers an incredible range of quality wines to choose from. A list of currently available wines, along with detailed background information on each wine, can be found here. However, the owners like to entertain their guests with more than just delicious wines. Every weekend on Friday and Saturday nights, customers can enjoy live music while winetasting in a relaxed ambience.

colibri-vineyard-2   dsc03016

The Burning Tree Cellars tasting room is located at 1040 N. Main Street in Old Town Cottonwood. They invite you to join them at their winery Sunday through Thursday from 12 to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 12 to 10 p.m. For more information on currently available wines and upcoming events, please contact them at (928) 649-8733 or visit their website at www.burningtreecellars.com.


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It’s the Time of the Season

20140907_103808Finally, that time of the year that makes living in Arizona so enjoyable. Get out of hibernation mode and spend a Sunday morning at the newly formed, year-round Tempe Community Market – purchase fresh produce direct from local farmers, sample locally made food items, enjoy breakfast or lunch at the market, or get a kick start on your gift-giving list by visiting stalls filled with artisan craft items.

20140907_095349With the change in the weather, a new season is about to begin at the Tempe Community Market. The Market features new hours, operating each Sunday from 9am to 1pm, new vendors, and will showcase new varieties of produce to kick off the fall season.

20140907_083024Greens such as arugula, bok choy, chard, herbs, various lettuces, greens, and spinach, as well as root vegetables like beets, carrots, onions, radishes and turnips are set to hit the stands when the Market kicks off on November 2nd. Winter squashes will soon be available as well!

20140907_101249Bring your family and friends for some good outdoor fun  –  kids’ activities and live music are featured every Sunday as well as a great group of vendors. Community activities such as a book exchange and a Community Exchange co-op table, where backyard gardeners can bring their excess harvest, makes this new addition to the East Valley even more special.

20140907_090659The Market is located at 620 N. Mill, in the Marquee Theatre parking lot under the 202 bridge. Market-goers can take light rail, exiting at Center Parkway and walk 20 yards east.

Oh, and be sure to bring this $2 off coupon  – a special gift from everyone at Tempe Community Market to all of you! Find more information on their website or Facebook page.

Tempe Community Market

Posted in Greater Phoenix, LFA Member Spotlight, Local First Movement, Local Food | Leave a comment

Local First Members Crowned Phoenix New Times Best of 2014


Local First Arizona is very proud to announce that many of their members have received an award for being voted for Phoenix New Times Best of 2014!
Thank you for voting for your local businesses!
Click here to check out the winners and more information.

Best Art Gallery:
Phoenix Art Museum

Best Blues/Jazz Radio Station:
KJZZ 91.5

Best Lesbian Bar:
Bliss Rebar

Best Music Festival:
McDowell Mountain Music Festival

Best Nightclub:
Crescent Ballroom

Best Venue for Local Artists:
Crescent Ballroom

Best Venue for National Acts:
Crescent Ballroom

Best Bakery:

Best Brewery:
Four Peaks Brewing Co.

Best Chef:
Silvana Salcido Esparza (Barrio Café)

Best Coffee House:
Lux Coffee Bar

Best Downtown Lunch:
Phoenix Public Market Café

Best Farmers Market:
Downtown Phoenix Public Market

Best Food Truck:
Short Leash

Best Gluten-Free bakery:
Jewel’s Bakery and Café

Best Local Beer:
San Tan’s Mr. Pineapple

Best Seasonal Beer:
Four Peaks’ Pumpkin Porter

Best Cocktail:
Pitcha of Primm’s at Windsor

Best Country Radio Station:
KSWG 96.3 FM

Best Club Show:
The Phoenix Rock Lottery at Crescent Ballroom

Best Hip-Hop Series:
Blunt Club at Yucca Tap Room

Best Weekly Dance Night:
Kismet, Saturdays in Crescent Ballroom Lounge

Best Jewish Deli:

Best Food Truck:

Best Thai Restaurant:

Best Vegan Restaurant:

Best Upscale Mexican Restaurant:
Barrio Café

Best Gluten-Free Bakery
Jewel’s Bakery and Café

Best Cupcake:
Urban Cookies

Best Guacamole:
Barrio Café

Best Culinary Festival:
Devoured Food + Wine Clasic

Best Place for First Date:

Best Wine Bar:

Best Independent Movie Theater:

Best Place to be Seen:
Phoenix Art Museum on First Friday

Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner:
The Farm at South Mountain

Best Place to Take a Scenester:
Crescent Ballroom

Best News Radio Station:
KJZZ 91.5 FM

Best Farmers Market:
Old Town Farmers Market

Best Head Shop:
Bud’s Glass Joint

Best Nursery:
Harper’s Nursery

Best Spa:
VH Spa at Hotel Valley Ho

Best Record Store for CDs:

Best Bookstore:
Changing Hands

Best Used Bookstore:
Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Best Comic Book Shop:
All About Books and Comics

Best Magazine Rack:
Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Best Adult Clothing Resale:
Buffalo Exchange

Best Boutique:

Best Art Supply Store:
Arizona Art Supply

Best Shopping on Mill Avenue:
Brand X

Best Tourist Attraction:
Desert Botanical Garden

Best Rock Climbing Gym:
AZ on the Rocks

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Fall Festival Raffle Tickets On Sale Online

The weeks leading up to the Certified Local Fall Festival have the excitement of Christmas in the LFA office. It’s the time when donations for our raffle and silent auction start showing up and we get a first-hand look at all the amazing products and services that locally owned businesses across the state have donated. This year we are selling raffle tickets online as well as at the festival, giving you more chances to get in the drawing for some really cool prizes valued between $25 – $100.

How does the raffle work? We start drawing at 10:30 a.m. on November 8th at the Fall Festival, and will do a total of six drawings throughout the day. If you don’t win in the first drawing, your ticket stays in the bowl so that you have a chance to win in future drawings. Online sales end on November 7th so that we will have time to add your tickets into the fishbowl. You don’t need to be present at the Festival to be a winner! We’ll call or email you if you are a winner during the week of November 10th!

Here is a sampling of the over 100 items that are in this year’s raffle. All funds raised go to support Local First Arizona and help us build better programs, reach out to more communities in the state and spread the word about all the amazing locally owned businesses throughout Arizona.  Purchase tickets by clicking here. Good luck!

chnaging handsGift cards from Changing Hands Bookstore

Gift certificate from Coiffeurs Salon

Gift cards to the Vig

Gift basket from truce

Coffee from Café Esperanza

Gift cards from Daily Dose

Gift certificate from Let It Roll Bowl

Gift certificate from frances boutique

Massage and yoga gift certificates from Desert Song Yoga

Gift cards from Fox Restaurant Concepts

Gift cards from Bookmans

Necklace from Tumblestone

Gift certificate, growler & pint glasses from Sun Up Brewing Company

Gift certificates from Tonto Bar & Grill & Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch house

Brownie combos from Fairytale Brownies

DBGFamily passes from Desert Botanical Garden

Gift cards from Flanny’s Bar & Grill

Gift cards from Chompies

Gift certificate from Terroir Wine Pub

Passes to the Pueblo Grande Museum

Goodie bag from Scottsdale Cat Clinic

Gift basket from H2E Aromatherapy

Gift certificate to Pizza People Pub

Goodies from Samuari Comics

Lunch for two from TexAZ Grill

Gift card from Clothes Minded

Gift cards to Hava JavaHava-Java-coffee1

Gift certificate from Arizona Sunrays

Tickets to the Great American BBQ & Beer Festival

Local j am & honey from Cheri’s Desert Harvest

Gift basket from Scramble

Gift basket from Souvia Tea

Gift bag from Armadilla Wax Works

Passes to the Heard Museum

Gift certificate to Mane Attraction Salon

Gift card to Puff & Fluff Dog Grooming

Gift certificate to Sole Sports Running Zone

Gift certificate to Tammie Coe Cakes

Gift certificate to Phoenix Rock Gym

maizies foodGift cards to Maizie’s Café & Bistro

Gift certificate to SLATHERlotions

Seatbelt purse from Community Tire Pros

Gift basket from China Mist

Coaster set from Pop-Cycle

Engraved pie plate from Striking Stone

Gift certificate from Desert Roots Kitchen

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2nd Annual Live & Local

You can have a weekend filled with local fun November 8-9! After attending the Certified Local Fall Festival on Saturday, November 8, head to Live & Local on November 9! The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale presents Live & Local as a unique event as it celebrates local businesses while raising crucial funds that benefit local youth who need it the most. Join them to rock your culinary world! Check out these great activities:

  • Pitch Black VIP Experience: This “better than a backstage” experience pits VIP guests against each other in a musical showdown of Rock Band while enjoying the taste of Johnny Walker Black Label, Captain Morgan Black and Crown Royal Black under the glow of neon lights. Check out the action from a private bird’s nest or from two double bars. Powered by GoDaddy
  • Ale Yeah Beer Garden: Guests will savor this music-infused craft beer garden showcasing more than 30 unique varieties served with signature bites. Adding to the fun are beer-branded koozies featuring fun sayings like “Hip Hops” and “Brew Haha.” Crafted by Crescent Crown Distributing
  • unWINEd Lounge: And when only wine will do, VIP guests refresh at this wine lounge featuring unique vintages and freshly rolled cigars. Decorated with handcrafted bistro lights, the lounge is the perfect place to relax and un-wine-d.
  • Pick a Track Music Lounge: Browse our wall-to-wall CD collection for a chance to win deliciously loud restaurant gift cards. $25 allows you to “download” any track, each track features a gift card valued $25 to $200 from a culinary hotspot.
  • VIP After Party: Starting at 9 pm the party will continue with this exclusive experience featuring more beats, savory desserts, adult milkshakes and more. Fashioned by Arizona Foothills Magazine.

True to its name, Live and Local will feature many great local businesses, including the following Local First Arizona members!

3 Amigos Tequila FourPeaks-Brew
Chase’s Diner
Four Peaks Brewing Company 
Mother Road Brewing Company
Prescott Brewing Company
Roger Clyne Mexican Moonshine Tequila
San Tan Brewing Company noref_image
The Standard
Tom’s Thumb
Tryst Café
Wildflower Bread Company

We hope you have fun celebrating local for the entire weekend! Click here to purchase tickets. Click here for sponsorship opportunities.

Posted in Excellence in Localism, Greater Phoenix, Local First Movement | Leave a comment

Local First AZ Members Crowned of Best of Tucson 2014

best_of_tucson_cover_imageWith Downtown Tucson becoming better than ever, it is time to recognize for your favorite local businesses for the Best of Tucson 2014!
We’re excited to announce the many Local First Arizona members have received awards!
Thank you for voting for your local businesses!
Click here to check out the winners and more information.

Best Art Museum:
Tucson Museum of Art

Best Movie Theater:
The Loft Cinema

Best Place to See a Concert:
The Rialto Theatre

Best Financial Institution:
Tucson Federal Credit Union

Best Hotel:
Arizona Inn

Best Birthday Party Place:
Children’s Museum Tucson

Best Toy Store:
Yikes Toys!

Best Way to Entertain Kids During the Summer:
Children’s Museum Tucson

Best Burger:
Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar

Best Café Hangout:
Café Passe

Best Casual Dining:
HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery

Best Ice Cream:
HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery

Best Neapolitan Pizza:
Sauce Pizza & Wine

Best New York Style Pizza:
Brooklyn Pizza Company

Best Restaurant for a Cheap Date:
Brooklyn Pizza Company

Best Specialty Foods:
AJ’s Fine Foods

Best Thick Crust/Chicago Style Pizza:
Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria

Best Bookstore for New Books:
Antigone Books

Best Bookstore for Used Books:
Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Best Independent Bookstore:
Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Best Local Blog:
Tucson Foodie

Best Local Clothing Designer:
Alok Appadurai & Jade Beall, Fed by Threads

Best Resale/Vintage Clothing:
Buffalo Exchange

Best Clothing Fashions (Locally Owned):
Buffalo Exchange

Best Eyeglass/Optical Retailer:
Alvernon Optical

Best Florist:
Inglis Florists

Best Public Garden:
Tucson Botanical Gardens

Best French:
Ghini’s French Café

Best Northwest-Side Restaurant:

Best Outdoor Seating:
La Cocina

Best Bartender:
Barb Trujillo, Club Congress

Best Beer Selection on Tap:
Tap & Bottle

Best Nightclub:
Club Congress

Best Place to Dance:
Club Congress

Best Signature Cocktail:
Ghost Orchid, Hotel Congress

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

Tucson’s landmark Buffet Bar celebrates its 80th Anniversary

betterinthebuffSaturday, November 1st will see a very special 80th birthday take place. The party will be celebrating the birthday of Tucson’s ionic Buffet Bar. From 1pm – 5pm, The Buffet will close off its parking lot to host the event. Comments owner, Marilyn Smith, “This little neighborhood bar has been serving cold beer and friendly faces for a very long time. We want to share that excitement with Tucson. We want to give back to our unique community of patrons and supporters over the past 80 years. There will be music, fun, food, raffles, balloons and face painting.”

BuffetBarThe Buffet Bar first opened in 1934, right after prohibition was repealed and has remained on 9th Street for over 80 years, making the Buffet the oldest bar in Tucson. It is in the heart of the historic Iron Horse Neighborhood, which features many small homes once inhabited by railroad workers. According to Smith, “In the early days, the patrons were primarily rail road workers. The railroad workers had to be close to the depot, so they could hear a train pulling in and knew it was time to go to work.” Over the past 80 years, the Buffet has evolved into a unique neighborhood bar that has opened its doors to every type of person that cared to come by. From college students to professionals, homeless folks to musicians, lots of 3rd shift workers that need a place to stop in and have a drink at 6 am after the end of a long workday and all those in-between – everybody eventually showed up at The Buffet. It’s a rare Tucson resident that can claim they have never visited. The bar was even named one of America’s greatest dive bars by Esquire magazine.

Smith owns and operates the business with her daughter Lisha Smith-Davidson, and son-in-law, Bill Davidson. Comments Smith, “We are the 16th owners of the Buffet Bar in the past 80 years. When the opportunity came up to be part of one of Tucson’s oldest businesses, part of Tucson’s great hospitality community and part of one of Tucson’s most iconic establishments – it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and we accepted. It is a privilege and honor to be the caretakers of Tucson’s oldest bar. We treasure being a part of the Iron Horse Neighborhood and downtown Tucson. Being Tucson natives and local business owners, we feel it is important to promote, support and maintain this place .” Smith and her family are longtime supporters of the nearby neighborhood. In addition to celebrating The Buffet, the 80th Anniversary party will also benefit two local nonprofits, Positively Beautiful and nearby neighbor and fellow Local First AZ member, Fluxx Studios.

proclamationEven Tucson’s Mayor Rothschild has commended them on the occasion of their upcoming 80th birthday and declared it a day of celebration by Mayoral Proclamation. In addition to celebrating their birthday, The Buffet will be showing off their newly restored neon sign. Funded by a partnership with The Junction apartments, The Buffet’s vintage neon sign was restored to its former glory by Cook & Company Signmakers. The sign was restored with funding from The Junction development project at the urging of neighborhood residents and City Councilman, Steve Kozachik as detailed in this recent Arizona Daily Star article highlighting The Buffet Bar and surrounding neighborhood.

As the owner of a local landmark, Smith understands the value of supporting and preserving local businesses. Says Smith, “We support many of our local neighborhood businesses. Without their products or services, we couldn’t operate as efficiently. We are all in business to make a living, true. However, it takes the whole community working together to maintain and raise this town to be the very best we can be. Without the sharing and caring among our local businesses, Tucson could stagnate and never prosper. This is our home. We must work together to improve and sustain Tucson as a viable place to call home.”

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

Mixer Recap: Getting found at Petroglyphs in The Lost Barrio

PetroglyphsInstagramLocal First AZ mixers are truly “not to be missed” events.  October’s mixer was a fantastic party, graciously hosted by Jose Jimenez, owner of Petroglyphs. There was live music from Salvador Duran, a taco truck, great drinks, lively conversation and amazing local connections being made. The mixer marked Jose’s 15th year in business, making it an occasion well worth celebrating!   Jose had thrown out an interesting statistic prior to the mixer.  He told LFA that while The Lost Barrio received many out of town visitors, it was his belief that over 50% of locals were still unfamiliar with this amazing collection of local businesses in a historic warehouse district. We took a poll at the event and sure enough close to half of our attendees had never visited the area before! New visitors definitely fell in love with it and many said they would come back soon. One member,  Christine M Schaefer PLLC, enjoyed it so much, she came back to make this great video to help other “find” The Lost Barrio.

We had so much great news to share !

Local First AZ will be involved in a lot of events over the next few weeks. We are a sponsor of Tucson’s big networking event, called The Big Event, on 10/28. This is a great opportunity to connect with other local businesses. The more we work together, the stronger our community becomes!  LFA members can receive $10 off the price of tickets. Use the code “lfamemember” when you register here.

LFA’s own, Kimber Lanning, will be speaking at the Envision Tucson Sustainability Festival on Sunday, October 26th. The festival takes place from 11am to 5pm at the YWCA. You can learn more here.

We will also be out at two great community events this month, Cyclovia and the Viva La Local festival. These are two amazing community events hosted by members Living Streets Alliance and Heirloom Farmers Markets. These are amazing local events that we are lucky to have here in Tucson.  Check them out!  We are also looking for volunteers to help us spread the good word about Local First AZ at these events. Interested in volunteering with us for a few hours at some great community events? Sign up here.

We also talked about some important upcoming programs – Want to get up to speed on your membership benefits? Attend the next member 101 orientation Thursday, November 13, 2014  at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Register here.

BikeSeminarAd2Our next seminar is November 19th on How To Build a Bike Friendly Business. We had to cancel this seminar previously due to our impending hurricane, but we are thrilled to bring it back.  Close to 70 million is spent yearly by the bicycle tourists here in Tucson!  That doesn’t even take in to account all the bicycle friendly residents that have propelled Tucson into being one of the Top 20 cities for cyclists.  The lack of something as simple as a bike rack could be sending signals that you are closed for business to cyclists. Kylie Walzak, who is recently back from speaking on these issues throughout the country, will be presenting on the economic benefits of engaging with cyclists for EVERY kind of business. Register here to learn how to have happier employees and bring new customers to your door.  This special seminar is FREE to attend but seats are limited and you must register in advance.

Watch for other great events coming soon! Buy Local month is coming up and Local First AZ will be doing lots to get the word out!

Missed this mixer? We hope to see you at our next one. We will be headed over to The Sunshine Mile to join our friends at Anchor Wave on November 5th from 6 – 8pm.  Hope to see you there! Click here to RSVP!

Thank you to all  in attendance:

A Time of Healing
A&E Recycled Granite, L.L.C.
Abundant Communities Trust
Anchor Wave
America’s Mattress
Arizona Heritage Tours
Arizona Pest Control
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Artistic Sounds and Video
Athena Southwest
Azteca Design
Barbara McNichol Editorial
Business Development Finance Corporation
Cabinetry Custom Woodworks
Christine M Schaefer PLLC
Community Renaissance
Creative Juice
D & D Pinball
Dependable Personnel, Inc.
DSA Vacations
Dynamic Strategist

Edible Baja
Fluoresco Lighting & Signs
Grand Canyon University
Hotel Congress
Jeff Harman Astrological Consulting
Julie Originals
LifeDonor USA Foundation
Lotus Massage & Wellness Center
Many Hands Artist Cooperative
Maynards Market and Kitchen
MJ Grushka Consulting
Noble Hops
O’Rielly Commercial and Fleet
Originate Natural Building Materials Showroom
Primavera Works
Pure Hart LLC
RBar Organic
Sage Payment Solutions
Solar Solution AZ
Southwest Solutions
Sun Styles Specialty Printing
Sustainable Tucson
Transform 30
Tucson Federal Credit Union
Tucson Improv Movement
Uphill Pictures
Vantage West Credit Union
Vero Amore
Wellness Key Chiropractic
Western Sky Communications
Your Assurance Team

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