Local First Arizona is building prosperous local economies within vibrant and sustainable communities that we're all proud to call home. We do this through supporting, promoting and advocating for a strong local business community and by raising public awareness of the economic and cultural benefits provided by strong local economies. 


Together with our Foundation, we are working to build a diversified Arizona economy that is inclusive, resilient and celebratory of diverse cultures. 


Every program, initiative, and project from Local First Arizona is working towards a resilient Arizona economy that is rich in opportunities for all types of businesses, enterprises, and individuals. Here's how we do it:

Buy Local

We help consumers and businesses keep dollars circulating in the local economy to build community wealth.

Eat Local

We all have to eat, and when we support local restaurants, agriculture, and food production, our economy is better for it.

Bank Local

Investing in local banks and credit unions means there is more local control of financing options for individuals and businesses.

Build Local

The built environment plays a critical role in the local economy, and we're making sure it is sustainable and inclusive for all.

Policy & Advocacy

We continuously advocate for policies that level the playing field for local businesses and spur local economic opportunity.

Community & Economic Development

Our many events and programs bring the community together and build connections among local enterprises. 

Business Training & Entrepreneurship 

We provide training and consulting to local businesses to give them the tools they need to succeed, create jobs, and grow the economy.

A Look Back at 2016: By the Numbers

2016 was a year of growth and progress as we established ourselves as Arizona's leading advocate for local and independent businesses. Take a glance at some of the highlights from this past year.

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Our Local Business Coalition

Giving local businesses a powerful voice

At Local First Arizona, our primary goal is to make Arizona a better place by supporting locally owned businesses and building vibrant communities that residents are proud to call home. One of the main ways we work to achieve this goal is direct support of local businesses through our local business coalition.

Now 3,000 members strong, the coalition offers members a forum to come together to collaborate on common goals, as well as a platform to promote themselves to a wider audience, and a variety of opportunities and programs to gain important skills and resources to better operate their businesses. 



Total statewide membership of the Local First Arizona business coalition, making us the largest local business coalition in the country.



Total number of employees that Local First Arizona members employ and represent. 



Local First Arizona hosted more than 60 networking events and mixers across the state this past year, connecting local business owners and representatives in meaningful ways. 

I realized that I have been really denying myself of great opportunities by not attending Local First AZ events in the past. From the other business owners that really love being part of Local First AZ, to your staff that are really friendly and are genuine and want to know about my business and who I am.
— Shon Quannie, 4X Studio LLC


Additional revenue spent in businesses participating in this year’s Independents Week campaign, our weeklong summer campaign to spread the Buy Local message and lend support to local, independent businesses across the state. 



Rate of growth for our Fuerza Local membership in 2016, the Spanish-speaking arm of our business coalition. 


Harnessing the power of individual Arizonans to create change

The Localist program is Local First Arizona’s individual membership program, a way for individuals to hold a stake in the Buy Local movement and have fun while supporting local businesses. By connecting Localist members to other individuals and local businesses in their communities, they will experience a more defined sense of place.

The Localist program works to create prosperity throughout Arizona by inspiring individuals to be proud to call Arizona home, to put down roots here, and to increase their civic engagement in building their community. Great places are built by people who love their place.



Total number of Localist members in Tucson, Flagstaff, and the Phoenix Metro. 



Localists across Arizona were treated to more than 20 specially curated and exclusive events throughout the year. 

My favorite Localist event this year was the Build a Gin event because it not only had us supporting AZ businesses, but it was also educational about both distilling and regional botanicals like Mt. Lemmon’s Alligator Juniper. I texted my sister right away to recommend Three Wells Distillery and the Localist program!
— Jazmine Woodberry, Localist


Of the 2016 Localist events that had capped attendance, 91% of them were sold out events.

Economic and Business Development

Giving businesses the resources they need to succeed

Encouraging consumers to frequent local businesses is not enough to build strong local economies. We must ensure that local businesses themselves have the tools and resources they need to operate sustainable and prosperous businesses. Local First Arizona hosts events, conferences, and webinars, and consults individually with local businesses to do just that. 



Local First Arizona hosted nearly a dozen seminars, webinars, and educational opportunities for business members throughout the state.



Number panelists and speakers at the first annual SOCENT (Social Entrepreneurship) Summit, highlighting businesses committed to social entrepreneurship.



Number of people who attended the inaugural Arizona Living Economies Forum in Tucson that brought over 100 individuals together to discuss Tucson’s local economy and how to take action to create prosperity for all. 



We partnered with 17 community banks and credit unions to promote the importance of community banking.



Attendees at the 6 panel discussions held in 2016 for the newly launched For(u)m program advocating for thoughtful, sustainable, and walkable urban development.

As developers, the benefits of ‘going local’ are ever present. John [Graham, Sunbelt Holdings] and I pride ourselves on building more than just structures. We’re striving to build communities, engaging in a process of creative placemaking with people we know and respect.
— Tim Sprague, Habitat Metro


Total pounds of recyclable and organic materials that we diverted from landfills through direct efforts at our events and offices. We also worked with five local businesses to advice them on implementing sustainable practices. 

Our Work in the Community

Bringing people together to celebrate Arizona

Local First Arizona hosts many key events and campaigns throughout the year to engage the public by showcasing Arizona’s local businesses. These events are designed to make connections and build meaningful relationships, as well as redirect dollars into the local community through strategic campaigning. 

Studies show that when citizens feel more connected to their community, home, and place, those communities see higher incidents of civic engagement and social philanthropy. Our events are one way Local First Arizona is helping Arizonans feel more connected to this state and inspiring them to be proud to call Arizona home.



Attendance at the 12th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival, held this year at Hance Park in Phoenix with more than 200 local business participants. 



Number of immigrant and refugee vendors Local First Arizona hosted at the two World Bazaar and Phoenix Community Market events with the International Rescue Committee in 2016. The event was inspired to bring together Phoenix’s immigrant and refugee communities and showcase the rich culture that is abundant in Phoenix.



Total number of Arizona businesses who participated in Buy Local Month, offering discounts and specials to Localists. 



Number of new Small Wonders maps that were printed and distributed into the hands of locals and visitors throughout Arizona to direct them to nearby local businesses and experiences.

Local First Arizona is an organization that does exactly what it’s name says, puts small, hardworking, community based local businesses first. We are honored to be a part of the Small Wonders map, where it is clear the Valley if the Sun is an amazing destination!
— Jonathan Buford, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company

Eat Local

Connecting People to Community Through Food

Every time that we eat is an opportunity to invest in our local economy. We work to encourage individuals to choose local at the farmers market and grocery store, and in turn help restaurants and businesses find local food and beverage sources. 



Number of guests at this year’s sold out Savor Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival, Tucson’s preeminent food event.

In addition to 30 restaurants, a dozen wineries and breweries, three distilleries and several other food and beverage vendors, [Savor Southern Arizona] will be featuring some of the many elements that won Tucson its 2015 UNESCO designation as a Creative City of Gastronomy.
— Tucson Weekly


Number of restaurant members of the Devour Phoenix Restaurant Coalition, an elite group of restaurants committed to the community and to sourcing locally. 



Total 2016 sales for the Devour Phoenix eGift Card, redeemable at 30+ of the best restaurants around the Valley.



Number of years in a row that the Devour Culinary Classic, the region’s premier culinary event showcasing the best food and beverage that Phoenix has to offer, has sold out. 



Number of partnerships Local First Arizona has formed with like-minded organizations to advocate for local foods, including Flagstaff Food Link, City of Tucson Commission for Food Security, Heritage and Economics, Maricopa County Food System Coalition, and others. 


Our sister organization, the Local First Arizona Foundation, is focused on community and economic development throughout the state in order to build self-sufficient, healthy and prosperous communities.

The LFA Foundation's work is specifically centered on empowering and creating opportunities for rural communities, increasing access to healthy local foods, and giving underserved micro-entrepreneurs the resources they need to build successful businesses. 


Click here for 10 easy ways to support Local First Arizona.

Thanks to our Sustaining Members

Our Sustaining Members go above and beyond to support our important work in creating a prosperous Arizona that we're all proud to call home. 




3monkeys print & design | A & E Recycled Granite, L.L.C. | Accurate Signs & Engraving | All City Towing 

AJ'S Fine Foods | AmeriSource HR Consulting Group | Arizona Central Credit Union | Arizona Highways Magazine

Arizona Home Care | Arizona Sunrays Gymnastics & Dance Center | AZ-TV7/Cable 13 (KAZT)

Bar and Restaurant Insurance | Bashas' Markets | Bed DRS | Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Brian Flatgard Design | Captains Restaurant Supply | CASCO Financial Group | Community Tire Pro's & Auto Repair

Courier Graphics | Courtesy Chevrolet | Credit Union West | D'Elia Photographic | Discount Cab | DMB Associates

DocuPrint Solutions | Duck and Decanter | Edible Phoenix | Felice+Whitney Agency | Flores Concepts | Gateway Bank

Good News Radio Broadcasting | Goodfellas Merch | Goodmans Interior Structures | Greater Phoenix Leadership

Harkins Theatres | Hickman's Family Farms | Horizon Community Bank | Hotel Congress

Hubbard Family Swim School | Ideas Collide | Impact Printing Services | InTown.TV | KJZZ - 91.5 / KBAQ - 89.5 FM

KRIM 96.3 FM | KXCI 91.3FM Community Radio | LocalWork.com | Lovitt & Touche. Inc.

MariSol Federal Credit Union | Mark Taylor Residential | Maynards Market + Kitchen

MERCURY Promotional Products & Services, LLC | Organic Sleep Systems | OPACS Inc.

O'Rielly Commercial and Fleet Truck Center

Phoenix Zoo Arizona Center for Nature Conservation | Pikfly | Pinnacle Bank | Postino Winecafe | Pride Group, LLC

Pulse Radio FM | RED Development | Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. | The Downtown Clifton

The Industrial Development Authority of the City of Phoenix | The Social Television Network

Think Graphic and Printing Solutions | Trainual | Tucson Originals | United Cerebral Palsy of Central AZ

Valley Metro |  Vantage West Credit Union | VIP Taxi | VisitPhoenix.com

Special thanks to our volunteers, interns, and board of directors for helping us to achieve all that we did in 2016.

Thank you to our photography partners for producing the beautiful images used in this report: D'Elia Photographic, Harrison Lai Photography, and Michael Moriarty Photography.