Dollardays.com is now a Legacy Partner with Local First Arizona!

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We’ve got huge news: Dollardays.com has decided to join as a Legacy Partner with Local First Arizona. So what does that mean?

It means that they have chosen to take the next step in supporting the growth of a more vibrant Arizona economy! Best of all, they’ve chosen us as their teammates in that journey.

In brief, we are beyond excited for this partnership because Dollardays has achieved significant success throughout it’s seventeen-year history. The Phoenix-based company has become more established over the years, while keeping a strong start-up work-ethic. Their focus today is on building key accounts and being a partner to nonprofit organizations in fulfilling their mission. Why? Nonprofit clients love DollarDays’ large product assortment available in bulk quantities at wholesale prices. By working with DollarDays, a nonprofit can maximize their dollars and get the best brands and selection needed to fulfill their mission. To help find local organizations and businesses, Dollardays turned to Local First Arizona and found us to be the perfect partner.

Interested in learning more about this partnership in a unique way?

Take a look at our podcast conversation between Ryan O’Leary, Director of Sales at DollarDays, and Thomas Barr, Executive Director at Local First Arizona below. They both share a humorous ancedote of their first meeting together and then go on to discuss their shared vision of supporting the Arizona economy and building their communities.

 

PODCAST BETWEEN THOMAS BARR AND RYAN O’LEARY

Ryan/Dollardays.com: Ryan O'Leary, director of sales and business development with DollarDays International, a company locally founded, headquartered here in the Phoenix valley back in 2001. We're a proud partner of Local First Arizona and other nonprofit companies in the valley as well. We’re very excited to be a part of this business coalition and part of the working fabric of the community. 

Thomas/Local First: I'm Thomas Barr, the executive director at Local First Arizona. We are a statewide business coalition working to support and strengthen Arizona-based businesses.

We're the largest local business coalition in North America representing over 3300 small, medium and large companies within our state and we are working to celebrate local businesses, to strengthen them and to raise awareness about the importance of spending our money locally.

We are just incredibly happy to be a partner with DollarDays International as a growing strong Arizona-based company and I'm looking forward to continuing our partnership and helping strengthen the company and raise awareness about the resources offered.

Ryan: Great. As far as you and I, I think when we first met we had a good first coffee, right; our first interaction?

Thomas: Yes. Where was our coffee? Remind me.

Ryan: It was SIP, wasn't it?

Thomas: Yes, we had it at SIP; that was a while ago.

For those listening, SIP is this funky little coffee shop that is on 36th Street and it was built out of an old Jiffy Lube. So as you could imagine, like you walk in and it was an old mechanic shop, so you can kind of envision the big windows and like cars, paint doors and then downstairs, what a lot of people don't know is there is actually a tiki bar.

I should add it’s a combination kind of place so picture someplace where the guys would regularly work on cars underground, plus turn that into a tiki bar, plus it's pirate-themed. And, there's a great coffee shop there too. It's a completely different world.

Ryan: Shame on us for setting our first interview at 10 am and not 10 pm!

Thomas: Right but this wasn’t that kind of meeting.

Ryan: Right!This meeting was really because we at Dollardays were trying to get more closely aligned and partnered with our communities here in Arizona, throughout the community in valley, so it made sense for us.

Thomas: Yes, and it's been really great just learning more about your business and the culture inside and the growth that you guys are seeing. I mean what you do is so unique. A lot of the time, people hear local business and they think ‘mom and pop coffee shop’, or ‘a restaurant down the street’ which we have plenty of those but it's great to be able to showcase and partner with different types of growing companies that are larger than just a few people which we want to highlight and showcase too. So yes, it's been awesome.

Ryan: Dollardays is excited about gaining exposure in the valley, getting community engagement from other partners and nonprofits alike; meeting new partners at networking events and connecting with new types of businesses. I think for us it's an eye opener, at least for me it has been.There is an exciting amount of growth out there which has been fantastic to see. 

Thomas: I think one of the things that people don't think about when thinking locally is about all the nonprofits, which is one of the types of organizations your team works with the most.

Ryan: Yes, we work with the city of Phoenix, for example. And we've learnt that in the state of Arizona alone, there are over 4,400 nonprofits that operate within our state and that's a big number to think about.

Thomas: Yes, and of our 3300 businesses, I think about 10 percent of them are nonprofit. We provide lots of resources to nonprofits too which I think is a great way to bridge the gap between what you guys do and what other businesses do too.

Ryan: Yes, we agree. Do you want to share a story of a nonprofit relationship that has been a success for Local First Arizona?

Thomas: Yes. I think you met Andrew from Mountain Park Health Center?

Ryan: Yes, I did. We met at the Digital Wire 360 Networking Meeting.

Thomas: Right. So a few years ago, we partnered with a nonprofit called the International Rescue Committee of Phoenix.

Ryan: IRC

Thomas: Yes, they have a bunch of different branches around.

Ryan: Yes, and a big global organization.

Thomas: Yes, and they've got a Phoenix office. A lot of people actually don't know that Phoenix is one of the top five places for refugee resettlement in the country and a lot of these people that are being resettled, the I.R.C. assists getting them housing, getting them transportation etc. but one of the thing is a lot of people were business owners or had a craft or something that they did back where they came from.

We started a partnership with them where we do a bi-annual event called The World Bazaar and it showcases refugee and first generation immigrant-owned businesses. There are people making food, making hand baskets, selling all these different things that they create and it's just an opportunity for them to launch and start a business here.

Not only did we start there with the IRC, but Mount Part Health Center stood up and they came in as one of our first sponsors to help support the events. We do it every spring and every December right before the holidays as a push to show the diversity of the businesses in Phoenix and I think that's community support, community relationships that nonprofits like that to come together.

Ryan: Most nonprofits don’t walk alone. Every nonprofit as an affiliate or a partner or network of partners that support what they do; whether it be monetarily, whether it be from a volunteerism aspect or service aspect.

With our focus on national nonprofit partnerships, we learn a lot about value, about the network, about the members of the organization and about what it takes to actually operate and be successful as a nonprofit.

Thomas: I think that's one of the things we first talked about is we have a lot of growing companies and this is one of the things you identified when we first spoke was that not a lot people knew you guys were local in Phoenix.Be proud of being a local business; larger growing companies like yours can use that within the company culture.

Ryan: For Dollardays, what we’d like to do is reinforce that we are local company; that we'll leave a footprint here within our state, that we're going to invest into that footprint to make sure that we can help local organizations that are all around us being the fifth largest cities of the nation. To do this, it's pivotal for us to make sure that we get in front of those groups. To make this work, it’s relationships like the Local First AZ partnership and working with the city of Phoenix that helps us begin to get some exposure.

One thing we have done is gone from banking nationally to banking local with Alliance Bank. I'll give them a plug here because that relationship is also a Local First AZ one.

Thomas: That just makes so much sense. It's so great to walk in to Dollardays and to meet your team. They are really just a click right away. I think I told your team it's the first time I've walked into a room and just seen so many people on a leadership team. I'm motivated and excited about partnering with us.

Also, your associate was telling me that you guys are looking at switching to West Office Products, a local office supply company here; that's part of the relationship and it's so great.

I'm not going to come in and twist your arm until you go local but for you guys to do it yourselves, it's just huge and it makes a big deal not just to the relationship but to the community. I think that just really shows all those nonprofits that you work with that you are a true partner. That's awesome.

Ryan: It solidifies our footprint so to speak. It's why we're together. It gives me opportunities of learning more about why it's important for us to stay local and what it means for our local partners here in the valley to get access to that.

Now it's almost September 1st, 2018, what should we be thinking before the calendar is out?

Thomas: We definitely want to continue to have your team have a heavy presence at all of our member gatherings which we have every month, which you guys have been really active at.

The biggest exciting thing that we definitely want to involve you all with is our newest event that we just announced last month, it's the Arizona Good Business Summit and it's going to be January 30th, 2019.

This is where we are bringing together business leaders and people in the community to learn about the stories and the strategies behind Arizona companies that are using business as a force for good in the community.

This is not just having a tab on your website that says corporate social responsibility and then a dropped down of the charities that you've given to, this is your DNA as a business.

How do you interact in your community? How do you think about everyone that you touch as a business and how can you build a business and grow a business that isn't just focused on profits, but focused on enriching the community that you serve and that you are within?

We're bringing together a bunch of business leaders in the community and also some national speakers to talk through strategy stories. How do we build good businesses not just businesses that disrupt our communities for themselves?

We're really looking forward to getting you guys involved in that and I think it's an awesome opportunity to put a light on you guys too.

Ryan: I think you nailed it there; DNA. It's a perfect way to make an analogy. DNA has many parts to it like our partnership. And I think about what makes up the DNA of DollarDays and of our fabric and for us as a company. 

And, speaking of this, one thing we do here as well as a company, we talked a little about this before, is DonationDays; and this is really about practicing what you preach. We stand behind who we are as an organization, we stand behind what we're trying to do and we are really putting our foot out in the community to show that our sweat and equity is just as well earned as it is a product required for their services.

Our program DonationDays is where we provide 800 hours of our employees time every year annually to give back to the community. We pay our employees to take a day or two off work to volunteer at a nonprofit. Also, we are not as a company pointing to employees and saying go volunteer here, go volunteer there, but they each have the autonomy to choose.

So one thing I want to learn more is what are some of the opportunities we might have as far as volunteerism? Do you have a thought really on who we should be working with because they come to you and say hey, hands up, because we need some help here?

Thomas: Yes, there are so many organizations that are always reaching out for assistance.

There's a great nonprofit called Seeds for Autism and they have a whole warehouse set up for autistic adults to come in and creeks and things, so they have everything from a welding area to a wood shop to knitting to-- they have all these crafts and people that specialize in these different crafts come in and volunteer their time to help teach autistic adults or just guide autistic adults to create things and then they actually sell the items that are created to help fund the nonprofit.

I think it's a really cool way to give back because it's not just showing up for a day and just doing something that anybody might be able to do but maybe there're people on your team that have a special talent or expertise.

Ryan: Nice. That's something we really hope to make inroads with as well - volunteerism.

We talked about what's coming up in January, but what do you look for out of a partner? When you bring a new partner on, what is it from DollarDays or from a new partner that you hope to find, that you hope to get inspired from, that you hope to gain from that partnership?

Thomas: Really, it's to learn. We as Local First Arizona, we've been around for 15 years. We know that we have built the largest local business coalition in the country by being strong advocates for our businesses, but one of the things I think we do really well is to listen and to learn from our members and our partners when we start a relationship about what the greatest needs are.

We are totally and fully here to advocate for you and make relationships for you but maybe there's a need that you have and it's a problem that we can solve together.

For example, I know you called me up a while ago looking to see if there was a sock manufacturer in Phoenix. So that's a need that you have: finding the right vendor partners. It's a problem that we know if there's not clothing manufacturing in our city or in our state, then that's less jobs in our city and our state, for those types of things.

Ryan: And less funds staying in the state because they've to go elsewhere.

Thomas: So looking long term rather than short term, are there things like that that come up that you guys have a need for that you can't find locally, that we might have a relationship with, that we might be able to figure out a solution for looking long term; those are things that we want to think big picture; how do we transform our communities? How do we transform the Arizona economy to come up with creative solutions to problems or identify opportunities in the community to build jobs, to build relationships and collaborate with our partners in the best way that we can?

We don't view our partnerships as transactional. There are things that we definitely want to make sure that you're getting and it's happening but we want to bring you into our family of local businesses and partners and really make sure that we are solving problems together.

Ryan: What questions do you have for us? Do you have any question about us or things that we can answer?

Thomas: Where's DollarDays going? What are you guys looking at accomplishing in the next few years?

Ryan: We're a 17 year company that for the first 15 plus years has spent a lot of time working with a lot of markets and trying to appease a lot of customers. As the markets change online, we are refocusing our energies as a company to really realign ourselves with nonprofits and those businesses that support the communities that we're involved in.

Our growth strategy is really about looking at who is our core customer. Who do we want our core customer to be? What they're looking for from a supplier, from a partner that provides resources and goods?

What we can do for organizations with national partnerships like Salvation Army, Kiwanis, Rotary, United Way, Toys for Tots. What are the needs for our customers and how do we fill those better? What solutions can we provide for those needs and support and business plans alike.

Ultimately: how can we impact more lives, serve more people and doing the most good while in the process.We at DollarDays have a passion to fill a need; that's what we do here. If I can help get access to those goods for one more child to be helped, one more individual that may not be otherwise housed or homed it is really fulfilling. It’s a really powerful message to tell, resonates well and I’m proud to be a part of it. 

If you are interested in learning more about a Legacy partnership visit our website here.