Local First Arizona partnered with EZBZ to create an online sub-marketplace where users can create inquiries and send them directly to businesses that carry the Local First Arizona badge in real time.

Need a locksmith? Find the closest one with one outgoing notice, which immediately reaches all locksmiths in the database. The joint venture combines EZBZ’s innovative marketplace and bidding technology with Local First Arizona’s local power to reach Arizona-based businesses that promote responsible and sustainable business practices. EZBZ enables consumers to hire contractors and service providers and purchase goods based on shared values rather than Google rankings. This partnership is just another way that LFA is working to connect consumers to Arizona’s local businesses. 

B Corporations

Local First Arizona continued to partner with B Corporation in 2015. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. In January, new legislation allowed Arizona businesses to incorporate as benefit corporations, and Local First Arizona worked to educate businesses about this new option on how to structure their companies. 

This year’s highlights:

  • Held the first B AZ mixer, attended by almost 40 business owners interested in becoming B Corps
  • Continued the Quick Impact Assessment - 95 businesses have taken the assessment
  • Launched the Local Impact Champions series to highlight business coalition members that are going above and beyond in operating their business with social responsibility in mind.
  • LFA staff attended the inaugural Measure What Matters Summit organized by B Corporation in Portland 

Local First Arizona’s Source AZ program looks at the purchasing power of locally owned businesses and anchor institutions with a goal of getting these businesses to switch their purchasing from national to local companies. Encouraging all local businesses to make this switch halts economic leakage and keeps more dollars circulating in the local economy, ultimately benefiting the surrounding community. 

Tucson’s Downtown Clifton Hotel 

LFA worked directly with Tucson’s Downtown Clifton Hotel to source local products for the in-room minibars in the new downtown boutique hotel. We obtained samples of over 30 local products, several of which were eventually purchased for the hotel. We hosted a food product “tasting” with the Downtown Clifton owners that was covered by Tucson Foodie. In addition to creating a business relationship for several local food producers, the project received highly positive press attention. The project was presented to the Southern Arizona Concierge Network and Visit Tucson partners as a case study for how to incorporate local products into the hotel experience. Several of the food products chosen were prominently displayed at the hotel’s Grand Opening party on March 28, 2015. 

Seminars, Webinars & Workshops

Local First Arizona hosted nine seminars and online webinars for LFA business coalition members. These classes offer technical assistance and important information to give local businesses a better chance at competing in the marketplace. Many local businesses are disadvantaged by having to compete on an uneven playing field, so equipping local businesses with all the tools and resources helps them stay in business and keep dollars circulating in the local economy. Course topics offered in 2015 included marketing, branding, legal affairs, business planning, productivity and time management, storytelling, and others.



Small Wonders Maps

Local First Arizona's Small Wonders maps are pocket-sized guides for different neighborhoods and cities across Arizona. Each map features locally owned restaurants, retailers, hotels, and entertainment in an expertly designed guide that locals and visitors alike enjoy using as a resource to find the best local businesses in their area. 

Number of new Small Wonders Maps printed in 2015: 200,000

In addition to connecting people to local businesses, the Small Wonders maps also serve as a place-making tool by showcasing the unique character of that area. These maps help define the sense of place in a community based on the clusters of local businesses and types of events offered in each area. The Small Wonders maps foster community pride and help keep dollars circulating in the local economy. 

In 2015, LFA produced four new editions of Small Wonders maps for Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson, and the Verde Valley. We also continued distribution of already-printed Small Wonders maps for Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix-Central and Phoenix-Arcadia. Maps were distributed to convention and visitors bureaus, tourism offices, hotel concierges, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, realty offices, local businesses, and at the hundreds of events we attended throughout the year. 

Small Wonders Maps Released In 2015 

  • Tucson Small Wonders Map Volume 3 
  • Verde Valley Small Wonders Map Volume 3 
  • Tempe Small Wonders Map Volume 3 
  • Scottsdale Small Wonders Map Volume 3 

National Independents Week

Every year during the week of Independence Day, Local First Arizona celebrates national Independents Week, which is a weeklong campaign to spread the Buy Local message and lend support to local, independent businesses across the state. 

To encourage spending in locally owned businesses, Local First Arizona offered a 20% off Golden Coupon and hosted a series of local events across the state. Participants downloaded coupons from our website or picked them up at a variety of locations and used them at over 250 participating businesses. LFA distributed 20,000 printed Golden Coupons across the state and received nearly 30,000 visits to our Independents Week webpage that week. 

Participants spent over $40,000 shopping at Local First Arizona member businesses including toy stores, restaurants, music stores, jewelry stores, plumbers, salons, yoga and massage studios, printers, candy companies, boutiques, pet stores, sporting goods stores, coworking spaces, and more. Those dollars re-circulate up to four more times in the local economy when local businesses in turn hires other locals to do business with, a phenomenon called the multiplier effect. 

In 2015, thanks to all of the participating businesses, patrons, organizations, and 30 media partners, Local First Arizona drove people into local businesses and injected cash into the local economy during the long hot summer months. 


  • Over $40,000 spent with participating businesses 
  • Over 300 radio PSAs aired, 20 earned press stories, and support from 30 media partners 
  • 30,000 hits on Independents Week site 
Independents Week is a great way to bring the local businesses together and help bring the local community out of their homes during the hot summer months!
— Frances Boutique

Buy Local Month

Americans spend more than $600 billion annually during the holiday season, offering Local First Arizona a great opportunity to redirect many of those dollars into the locally owned businesses in our economy. We do this with our month-long campaign Buy Local Month beginning on Black Friday and concluding on Christmas Eve. During this time we engage in a variety of advocacy and promotional opportunities to remind holiday shoppers to support local businesses for their holiday needs. We promote holiday craft fairs with local vendors, collect offers and opportunities from hundreds of our business members, plan events to get Arizonans in the doors of local businesses, and encourage shoppers to utilize our online local business directory for gift ideas. Our main goal is to operate as a resource for Arizonans to find local businesses for the holidays, which boosts investment in the local economy and further promote economic development. 

We also hosted some events of our own to encourage local holiday shopping. In Tucson, we partnered with the Tucson Museum of Art and the 30th annual Holiday Artisans Market to kick off Buy Local Month with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. The event featured more than 100 juried artisans of finely crafted pottery, glass, jewelry, textiles, fine art, and gift items, and offered a great way for consumers to keep their holiday spending in the local economy. In Flagstaff, we held the Flagstaff Shopping Passport contest, where consumers could shop at a combination of 21 participating businesses for the chance to win prize packages and gift cards. The campaign received entries from nearly 100 holiday shoppers that spent over $30,000 in these locally owned businesses, pumping more money into the Flagstaff economy. For this year’s Holiday Shopping Road Trip, we brought a busload of Phoenicians to downtown Flagstaff to enjoy some unique, local shopping in Arizona’s winter wonderland. 

Additionally we distributed thousands of our popular hand-stamped “Gifted Locally” gift tags so that consumers could let their loved ones know that their holiday gifts were purchased from a local business or created by a local artisan. This year, businesses could also purchase their own stamp kits and sets of gift tags to hand out to their customers and clients. 

Economic Impact During Buy Local Month 

  • Downtown Tucson Gift Card Sales $12,100 
  • Devour Phoenix Gift Card Sales $14,750 
  • Passport Sales from Retailers $30,000 


Encouraging environmental sustainability is important to Local First Arizona’s mission to create resilient communities. This year, LFA took a larger step towards embracing environmental sustainability throughout all major events as well as creating resources and providing information to business coalition members who were interested in implementing sustainability practices. 

Business Sustainability

Every year, Americans create 251 million tons of trash, and 164 million tons ends up in landfills. To encourage sustainable behavior throughout LFA's business coalition, Local First Arizona worked closely with several local businesses to decrease their waste and help them incorporate sustainability initiatives, including Short Leash Hot Dogs, Amici Catering, and Historic Brewing. LFA found that recycling is an easy first step for businesses to increase their sustainability impact, as recycling reduces the amount of waste in landfills, saves energy, reduces pollution, conserves natural resources and helps create new jobs. To encourage business coalition members to recycle, LFA held an informational session regarding “recycling in the workplace” in partnership with Keep Phoenix Beautiful, as well as created an extensive resource list for recycling by city across the state of Arizona. 

Influencing Policy 

Local First Arizona attended the American Sustainable Business Council's conference in Washington, D.C. which gathers business and policy leaders from across the country to discuss how legislation is affecting businesses. A major takeaway from this conference was that local businesses have an important voice and elected officials must hear from them. LFA also went to Congress’ Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship with a group of leaders interested in advancing policies, where LFA relayed the stories of business coalition members who are making a positive impact in their community by local sourcing, giving back, creating quality jobs and incorporating environmentally sustainable behavior. 

Sustainability At Local First Arizona

In the last year, Local First Arizona diverted over 9,000 pounds from the landfill for several of LFA's major events including the BALLE Conference, Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition, Arizona Rural Policy Forum, and Certified Local Fall Festival. The LFA office recycles, has installed a refillable water station and started composting. We donate reusable goods to thrift stores and resource centers.

2015 Highlights

  • Meetings with Infusionsoft, Joe’s Real BBQ, Short Leash, Tucson Clean & Beautiful, Cortez Coffee, Phoenix Public Market, Upward Projects, Technicians for Sustainability, Accurate Signs
  • Guided tour of City of Phoenix Materials Recovery Facility
  • Tabling & outreach at Sustival, Earth Day at the DBG, Earth Day at Glendale Community College, Earth Day at Estrella Mountain Community College, Earth Day at Phoenix Renews
  • Guided tour of Orchard Learning Center & Recycled City’s compost facility
  • Held a summer Recycling Info session with Keep Phoenix Beautiful
  • Can collection with Short LeashCork collection with Upward Projects (over 20 pounds in 1 month)
  • Implemented ‘Towards Zero Waste’ plan at BALLE 2015 Conference diverting 1,320 pounds of compostable waste from landfill
  • Managed four Sustainability Interns (two per semester) who assisted in research and implementation of special projects