The Scorching Summer and Arizona's Economy

Have you noticed that it has been a little hot this summer? We are apparently setting all sorts of heat records this year. It is during this time that Arizona usually loses some of our residents to cooler climates, which can be stressful for local businesses. With a smaller clientele, it has been common practice for many businesses to close up shop during the summer for a week or a month. However, things seem to be changing in a more positive direction for Arizona and the local business community.

Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona, appeared on KJZZ's program Here and Now yesterday to discuss how the long summer months are affecting our local businesses.

When asked about how the summer heat impact local businesses and what they plan for, Kimber replied that many businesses just work right through the summer, while others make smart transitions:

"I think that a lot of businesses just muster right through it. Restaurants will have less patio dining and accomodate more people inside. With my business [Stinkweeds, a record store], we plan to be busier at night. Once the sun goes down, we get really busy. We might even extend our hours into the evening."

Although some of these transitions may not even be necessary, as trends appear to be changing in the Valley:

"I'm hearing from business owners that this summer did not seem to slow down, and that is the first time they can say that in some time. This is an indicator that we are at the right density that we have some people leave and everyone else left over will keep business at the same level... I think it's crazy to shut down for the summer and lose customer loyalty, and I think there are a lot fewer businesses doing that now."

Kimber also mentioned that we don't have to leave Arizona to get away from the oppressive heat:

"Local First Arizona has been working really hard on a new video series called WeekendZona... it just explains to people that you can drive for 90 minutes and it will be 20 degrees cooler, and here's where you eat, sleep, shop, and all of the fun things to do. Arizonans spend $6.5 billion vacationing in California. If we can redirect just 10-20% of that into statewide destinations, that would have a great impact on our state."

This is great news for local businesses. Even as the summers get hotter, our local businesses are still going strong, and it's because of consumers like you. Make sure that you are supporting your local businesses throughout the summer!

You can catch the whole Here and Now segment here.  To hear Kimber's section, start listening at 2:05.