Tucson memberships

Dear Local First Member in Tucson: I’m writing you today to express my appreciation for your continued membership. Together we have grown the Tucson membership to over 350 members and have a newsletter reach of over 1200 just in the Tucson area.

Our organization is growing by leaps and bounds- we have over 2,000 statewide members and our social media fans and followers totals over 16,000. We are creating a movement and people are responding to it- more and more, customers are asking about LOCAL.

At the Capital, Local First is advocating on all our behalf. We are working in two distinct areas that we feel are critical to the success of independent businesses across the state. First, we are working to be sure more state contracts are awarded to Arizona businesses- if we are successful in this attempt, we already have support from Pima County and the City of Tucson, which are both working diligently to keep more money close to home. We would like to commend Tucson City staff for their incredible help in working on resident bidder awards.

In addition, we are working to require Amazon.com to collect the same sales tax for our state that every other business (on-line or bricks and mortar) is already collecting. We believe giving Amazon an exception to the law is not only unfair but it’s dangerous to the future health of the region. It’s been estimated that an average of half a billion dollars per year are not being collected, just here in Arizona. Other states have voted to require them to follow the sales tax laws, and we are working hard to be sure they will here in Arizona as well.

In other news, you may have noticed we launched the regional directory on our site, which makes your search for a Tucson businesses much easier. In this directory you will notice we have over 40 business members in Safford, Bisbee, and Cottonwood which reflects our work statewide this year. Now that we have some presence in the rural towns across AZ, we will be working on stay-cation videos to encourage in-state travel (and that includes Tucson as a destination, too!)

Look for the 3rd annual Buy Local Week celebration, which starts Friday November 25th and runs through December 2nd. We will be working with our media partners and members of the Tucson City Council to get shoppers into locally owned businesses.

Once again, please don’t forget to send Deanna Chevas any news or events you have going on for our newsletter. [email protected]. And if you have found a new way to Go Local at your business, please let us know how you made the shift. We would like to shout it from hilltops for you!

In light of all that has happened this year, we have now grown from a staff of 3 to a staff of 7! We have a development director, several membership coordinators, a communications person, and a local foods specialist. If you need help with studies or statistics, or help with your directory listing- we are here to help!

As many of you know, Tucson has enjoyed very low dues for our first 3 years in the region. This coming year we are hoping to make our Tucson office full time, and in order to do so, we are raising the Tucson membership dues to match those in Phoenix. The old rate will apply only to the rural towns and the new rate applies to the bigger city members. We feel this is fair based on our reach and work in Tucson, and we sincerely hope you agree. The dues are still incredibly low, starting at $49 for a year.

I am pleased to say that all members who renew before December 31st this year will enjoy the old dues rate for another full year.

Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions. I look forward to working with you to expand the local message in the Tucson area. Best wishes,

Kimber Lanning

Director, Local First Arizona

(602) 956-0909 x5

[email protected]