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Strengthening the Local Economy

Here's how we worked together to make Arizona a better place for local businesses in 2017.

Watch our 2017 recap video below, OR SCROLL DOWN TO read OUR YEAR IN REVIEW.


We’re raising awareness for shopping locally with our Certified Local members every day.

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Launched a brand new online directory that will make it easier for Arizonans to find local businesses in their communities.

 Drew 22,000 people to the Arizona Fall Festival to connect Arizonans to the new local businesses across the state.

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Grew to more than 3,000 local business members to retain our influence as the largest local business coalition in North America.

The majority of Arizona consumers (73%) shop small to support their local community. 
— 2017 Cox Consumer Pulse on Small Business survey

We’re building stronger businesses.

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Hosted 18 educational programs to help local businesses capture the competitive edge against national chains.


Organized more than 50 networking opportunities to connect local businesses to potential clients, customers, and partners.

We’re sharing your stories of success to illustrate Arizona’s great business climate.

What We Did in 2017:

We worked with Local First Arizona Legacy Partners to share their story with our dedicated Localist audience and to establish their longevity as beloved Arizona businesses who have a critical influence on our local economy and within communities across the state. 

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Data from the U.S. Bank Small Business Survey shows that small business owners are seeing Arizona’s growth in a more optimistic light than the rest of the country.

Our Programs:

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We’re feeding the hunger for local foods.

For the first time, independent mom-and-pop restaurants are experiencing faster revenue growth than national chain restaurants.
— Pentallect

What we did in 2017:


The ever popular Devour Culinary Classic moved to Desert Botanical Garden and continued to showcase the best independent restaurants and local culinary talent in Arizona, cementing Arizona's reputation as a food destination.


We hosted the once again sold-out Savor Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival at the Tucson Botanical Gardens to spotlight Tucson's unique and growing food culture.

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We brought dozens of food producers and food buyers together at the Farmer+Chef Connection to increase the supply of local foods in our stores and restaurants.

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Our Programs:



We’re making it easier for local businesses to get the credit and loans they need to grow and keep money invested here in Arizona.

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77% of survey respondents that had applied for financing said that they were successful, on par with national average.
— Small Business Credit Survey

What We Did in 2017:

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Helped increase the share of assets held by local banks in Arizona. Local banks saw a 13% growth in Arizona deposits in the last year, from 6.5% of total deposits in 2016 to 7% in 2017. 

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Connected 150 individuals and business owners to local banks and credit unions to move their savings, loans, and financial services to invest in Arizona.

Our Programs:

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We’re working to create more walkable environments further connecting people to place

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What We did in 2017:

Hosted 10 events reaching over 1,000 people centered on light rail-focused development, equitable housing, and adaptive reuse. 

Our first Subcontractor Expo connected dozens of folks in the development and construction industry to high-quality local vendors. 


We were involved with many organizations, committees, and municipalities to ensure equitable access to all modes of transport and that local businesses have a voice in the process of updating construction codes. 

For(u)m has been a great resource, specifically providing public support for our downtown multi-family development. The support from LFA and For(u)m was an important piece in us successfully gaining Council’s unanimous approval of our project.
— Danny Bockting, Pint Ventures

Our Programs:



We’re helping businesses save resources and save money.

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What We Did in 2017:


Worked one-on-one with local businesses across the state to identify best practices to easily incorporate into their businesses. 

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Partnered with Recyclebank to drive new customers to our members while making it fun for individuals to learn about sustainability habits.

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Partnered with Water Use It Wisely to share resources and information about conserving water to help businesses thrive and individuals save money on their water bill. 


Hosted the Arizona Living Economy Forum in Tucson to help business owners connect and advance their business and communities forward.

To be able to come together through something like Local First Arizona’s Living Economy Forum and be a one stop shop for people who are trying to figure out what organizations are out there was a big takeaway.
— Danielle Fidel, Technicians for Sustainability

Our Programs: 

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What's Next

We are planning so much more for 2018 and beyond.


Helping our members achieve their best through the new Local Learning Lab and bringing the ConnectED seminar series to Tucson.

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Forging new partnerships across the state including the Southern Arizona Localism and Sustainability Alliance, and Walkin’ On Main partnership in Cottonwood.

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New opportunities for members to promote their businesses through the online community calendar.


Continued advocacy for our members at the local, state, and federal levels. 

Plus much more!

Thank you to our legacy partners, sponsors, and members for all that they do to build a strong Arizona economy and create an Arizona we're all proud to call home.

Join or subscribe to updates to stay in the know about all that we're doing to strengthen Arizona's economy.