Local First Arizona Year in Review 2011

A Look Back at the Amazing Year 2011 Has Been

We are excited to share with you all of the amazing growth that's occurred over the past year within Local First Arizona and we want to thank you for your participation and support. We now have over 2,000 members across the state and continue to grow every day. Here are some of our accomplishments for 2011!

In the Media

Together, we've managed to capture the attention of the Arizona media in a profound and meaningful way. The "Buy Local" movement has been featured:

  • Over 28 times on TV! Members AZ-TV and Channel 8 continue to graciously support us, as well as Channel 3 Phoenix, Channel 13 Tucson and Channel 15 Phoenix. Sonoran Living and Your Life A to Z have invited us back again and again to tell the local story! Thanks for all of the coverage and support and thanks to all of our members who helped us put the segments together!
  • Over 22 times on the radio! We've been featured on the Steve Henry show, several times on Rosie on the House, The McMahon Group, All Things Considered, and more. Thanks to the support of KJZZ, KTAR and others who continue to champion local causes
  • Articles in Arizona Highways, Phoenix New Times, Arizona Republic, Arcadia News, Desert Living Today, The Business Journal, East Valley Tribune, Arizona Daily Sun, The Camp Verde/Cottonwood Journal, Payson Roundup, Sierra Vista Herald, Williams News, The State Press, The College Times, The Downtown Devil, frontdoors, Raising Arizona Kids, Downtown Phoenix Journal, Your West Valley, Tucson Weekly, Inside Tucson Business, Tucson Citizen, Sonoran News, Phoenix Magazine, Green Living Magazine, Discover the Region and lots more!

This year, LFA Executive Director Kimber Lanning, spoke at literally hundreds of events (The Governor's Rural Economic Development Conference, The AAED conference, Friends of Transit annual conference and gatherings in places like Orlando and Dallas, where she shared the great strengths coming out of Arizona); meetings (community and business associations, rotary clubs, etc.) and conventions throughout the state, encouraging Arizonans to support locally owned businesses and visit the Local First Arizona website to find businesses like yours.

Big thanks to all of our members and local business fans who mention Local First campaigns in their newsletters and social media!

National Independents Week

The Independents Week celebration in July brought over 9,200 visitors to our Golden Coupon page on the Local First website, and we got over 620 BUY LOCAL mentions on NPR radio in one week!

Buy Local Week

We continued the tradition of Buy Local Week for the fifth year, which encourages shoppers to spend their holiday dollars at locally owned stores and businesses. Thanks to the 60+ members who offered special discounts and promotions during Buy Local Week. Tucson hit it out of the park this year- thanks to Council Member Karin Uhlich for spearheading the Buy Local Month frenzy!

7th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival

This year's Certified Local Fall Festival at the Duck and Decanter attracted over 6,000 people, 65+ vendors and 40+ volunteers. Thanks to the huge number of participants this year- it's such a great day to celebrate Arizona!

We were thrilled to be awarded "Best Free Festival" in the New Times Best Of Phoenix awards!

Small Wonders maps

Local First launched our first Verde Valley Small Wonders map featuring retail and dining destinations in Jerome and Cottonwood. You can find one at any of our LFA booths, at the Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, or on our homepage you'll find a pdf. Visit the Verde Valley soon- it's a fantastic day trip or weekend getaway! Vacation locally- it's good for the economy!

The second editions of the popular Tempe and Scottsdale Small Wonders map were also released and we are currently working on the 2012 version of the Phoenix map as well as our first Chandler map!

As membership numbers continue to increase, new maps for other cities across Arizona will be created and distributed to tourists and locals.

Shift Arizona

We have had over 40 million dollars "pledged" to go local on our Shift Arizona website and calculator! We created bookmarks, coffee sleeves, canvas bags, t-shirts and more to help promote the Shift campaign.

We were very excited to be able to 'wrap' a light rail car with the Shift Arizona information during the holiday shopping season. A mobile site is also available that helps folks find local businesses along the light rail.

Thanks to everyone who submitted their stories about how they Shifted their Spending to local businesses. Thanks for telling your family and friends to SHIFT!  And a special thank you to Shift Arizona sponsors Jaburg and Wilk, Hickman's Family Farms, APS, SCF Arizona, EB Lane and Hensley Beverage Distributing. We could not have done this without your support!

Social Media & Newsletter Statistics

We have built up quite a following on our Twitter and Facebook accounts! Currently we have over 18,500 social media followers! Are you one of them?

The weekly Local First newsletter also has grown to over 8,100 subscribers!

Events & Volunteers

The Local First staff worked hard last year to be everywhere at once! We attended many events to spread the word about the local movement and build awareness about Local First businesses. Events we attended included Glendale's Baby & Mom Expo, Taste Glendale, Melrose Street Fair, Martinis & Masterpieces, Devoured, Arizona Taco Festival, Boo at the Zoo, Mesa Wellness Fair, Glendale Glitters, Phoestivus, Prescott's Aprilfoolishness, Tucson Meet Yourself, Royal Palm Neighborhood Market, Arizona Wine Growers Festival at the Farm, Earth Day events, YMCA events, concierge mixers, open houses, farmer's markets and networking mixers. Whew!

We are thrilled to build up a fantastic group of volunteers who help us at these events and with projects in the organization. We look forward to sending more Local First representatives out to events in the coming year.

Devour Phoenix

Local First helped to form a coalition called Devour Phoenix, a group of 25+ restaurateurs in and around the Phoenix area that have banded together to promote the city as a premier dining destination. We hosted a chef series at the Phoenix Public Market where chefs shared kitchen tricks and secret favorites. The bartending Competition held in March at the Vig Uptown featured locally distilled Arroyo Vodka.  Devour member restaurants helped raise nearly $20,000 for causes close to their hearts this year. For the first annual National Food Day event, member restaurants teamed up with Roosevelt growhouse community garden to promote sustainable local food systems in Phoenix.  Keep in touch with the Devour coaltion by subscribing to their newsletter at www.devourphoenix.com.

The second annual Devoured Culinary Classic at the Phoenix Art Museum won best Southwestern Culinary Festival from the New York Times and received other amazing accolades across the country. The event sold out and local chefs reported they had an amazing experience. Next year's Culinary Classic will be March 10th and 11th, and you can get your tickets now at www.devouredphoenix.com.

Rural Business Outreach

Local First Arizona won a grant from the ACA to expand programs into rural communities across Arizona, and boy have we expanded!  Our team went to Cottonwood, Bisbee, Sonoita, Prescott and Kingman to share tools and resources to help strengthen the main streets in each of these communities.  We now have over 35 business members in each of these communities and are working closely with them to increase in-state travel. Look for additional expanded programs next year and watch for our WeekendZona video series that will help you plan your next staycation!

In addition, we launched our Regional Directory which you can find by clicking on the state of Arizona on our home page. This makes it easier for our rural folks around the state to find a local alternative near them!

Google Rankings

As a Local First member, your business will rank higher on any Google search, worldwide!

Local First Arizona ranks in the top ten every time with search terms like "locally, local first, shop locally, support local."

Mixer / Meetings

We would like to thank those of you come out to our mixers and make them fun!  Mixer turnout continues to increase so be sure to join us in 2012.

Many of you are now doing business with each other and that's how this whole things works.  If you don't show up, you'll never know the true value!

Educational Seminars

We continued our monthly Educational Seminars in 2011 with topics including Social Media, Marketing & PR, Branding, Website & SEO Marketing, Mobile Technology and Internet Law.

We are proud to have had some of the finest minds in our community donate their time to lead these classes and look forward to continuing them into the new year.  You won't find this kind of technical support and innovation for $5 anywhere else!

We look forward to a new year and the next chapter with you all, filled with more exciting times ahead and tremendous growth and prosperity for our amazing local businesses in 2012!


Kimber, Linda, Russ, Lisette, Helene, Deanna, Margaree, Chrisal & Erica