Keeping it Local for the Holidays

This blog is guest written by Nicole Randock

As the holidays draw near, the anxiety of buying gifts, selecting delicious food items to serve at family and friend gatherings and finding just the right decorations can be an overwhelming task. Have no fear – local Arizona businesses have you covered!


Locally owned and operated, these businesses offer food, clothing, art, jewelry and many other unique gifts that will check all the boxes on your holiday shopping list. While providing one-of-a-kind goods, many with a Southwestern flair, the purchase of these products also helps to support the local economy, which makes all of Arizona thrive. 


Local First Arizona, a non-profit organization, is celebrating Buy Local Month from Nov. 25 – Jan. 1, offering Arizonans a list of places they can visit to satisfy all of their holiday shopping needs. One of the organization’s top “gift picks” is the Devour Phoenix Gift Card which will delight any foodie this holiday season. The gift card is redeemable at over 30 highly acclaimed local restaurants including Beckett’s Table, Postino, St. Francis and The Clever Koi. This gift will give food lovers an opportunity to try new cuisine while learning more about local eateries. 


The Devour Phoenix Gift Card is one of many gift ideas curated by Local First Arizona which advocates locally owned businesses and educates the public on how local businesses benefit the economy and culture of Arizona.


Another option to satisfy the palette could be a visit to the Artisan Food Guild located at 2325 N. Seventh St. in Phoenix.  The Artisan Food Guild is a community gathering spot that promotes local foods and facilitates a place to make new connections with neighbors. Everything from salsa to gourmet chocolates to all natural seasonings and vegan snacks are sold here.

Featured: Xocolatl Jason Wasser Confections courtesy of Artisan Food Guild

Featured: Xocolatl Jason Wasser Confections courtesy of Artisan Food Guild

The community market offers gifts that are, “like a little bit of Arizona and are something you can’t find anywhere else, they are unique and that’s what makes them special,” said Bill Kline, the special food coordinator for Artisan Food Guild.


If searching for creative gifts check out MADE Art Boutique. Located at 922 N. Fifth Street in Phoenix, this boutique sells an ever-evolving inventory of items created by more than 100 artists, the majority of which are local. The items include jewelry, clothing, pottery, books and other original gifts. The boutique, which opened in 2005, hosts special events such as art exhibitions and markets. The next art exhibition opens Friday, Dec. 16. 

Photo courtesy of MADE art boutique

Photo courtesy of MADE art boutique

The co-owner of MADE art boutique, Cindy Dach, said when talking about purchasing local products, “It’s so much more meaningful… when someone touches something and they put care into it and they think about what they’re doing and that transfers to you, it just matters. It makes you appreciate why you work hard knowing someone else is working hard to make something beautiful.”


Lastly, looking for an online gift to send to family and friends? Consider scrumptious delights and treats from Kettle Heroes. Their popcorn and kettle corn features a Southwestern flair and will satisfy anyone’s snack cravings. The Sinykin brothers, who own and operate the local company, offer the classics along with unique popcorn flavors with a Southwestern flair such as ghost chili cheddar and hatch green chili cheddar. The company also has seasonal kettle corn flavors such as candy cane and cinnamon sugar, which can be packaged in holiday themed tins. Customers can also find the products sold at retailers such as AJ’s Fine Foods, Botanica, Duck and Decanter, Sprouts Farmers Market and others.


The brother duo opted to leave the corporate world to pursue a more personal and fulfilling mission by creating a company that would benefit the community while offering tasty treats made with care. As a way of accomplishing their mission, the brothers donate 20 percent of all profits to the Pat Tillman Foundation. Also, the company strives for excellence by using all natural, gluten free, nut free and kosher ingredients. The brothers live their lives following the “Kettle Heroes’ Creed”: Be Humble. Be Honest. Be a Hero. 

Photo courtesy of Kettle Heroes

Photo courtesy of Kettle Heroes

Kettle Heroes first storefront opening will be in early December located at 1705 West Ruby Drive Suite 107 in Tempe. The store will feature a viewing window where customers can watch the fresh kernels pop and sample the different varieties. 


 “I used to work for Rubbermaid in my past life and I dealt a lot with national chains and manufacturing being shipped overseas so I definitely have experienced how that can destroy local economies,” said Rudi Sinykin, chief operating officer of Kettle Heroes.
These businesses not only provide one-of-a-kind gifts but buying from them decreases the ecological footprint created by suppliers that transport food and other goods worldwide.

Purchases made at local businesses facilitate making personal connections within the community as well as creating jobs that keeps money flowing within the Arizona economy. When two jobs are created at chain stores, three jobs are lost in the local community, said Kimber Lanning, the founder and executive director of Local First Arizona. And every time $100 is spent at a local business, $73 remains in the local economy whereas every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, $43 remains in the local economy, according to Artisan Food Guild. 
This holiday season make a difference by buying local.

The above is just a sample of local businesses offering gift giving ideas. For a complete list click HERE.  
Upcoming Holiday Shopping Events Include:
•    Ornament Marketplace at The Heard Museum:  Nov. 25 – Nov. 27
•    Vintage Roadshow in Queen Creek:  Nov. 25 – Nov. 27
•    Small Shopping Saturday statewide:  Nov. 26
•    First Friday in Downtown Phoenix:  Dec. 2
•    World Bazaar & Phoenix Community Market:  Dec. 3
•    MADE Art Boutique exhibition:  Dec. 16


This article was written by Nicole Randock. Nicole is a junior at Arizona State University studying broadcast journalism and sustainability. It is her goal, as a broadcast journalist/meteorologist, to use her position to increase awareness regarding climate change.