Author Archives: Joel Miller

Joel Miller

About Joel Miller

Joel Miller is a student at Scottsdale Community College. Born in New Brunswick, Canada, he enjoys tennis, poetry and late-night talk shows. He has been living — and enjoying the absence of snow — in the Valley for the past three years.


Female-owned thrives in auto parts industry

In 1996, a Phoenix woman and her husband purchased an automotive parts wholesaler by the name of Autohaus Phoenix, Inc. During the 10 years that followed, the couple transformed the company from a local distributor into an entirely internet-based retailer and wholesaler, distributing automotive parts to more than 115 countries under the name

But the real growth story began when Carolyn Lefebvre, president and CEO of, purchased her husband’s 49 percent share of the business, claiming 100 percent ownership of the company.

“I bought him out when we got divorced in January of 2006,” Lefebvre says. “Since that time, we have grown by 317 percent (from $4.59 million in sales in 2006) to projected sales for 2012 of $17.0 million.”

Also, just two years after the buyout, the formerly highly-leveraged company had paid down every cent of debt on its books, internally financing all growth since that time.
And the company has experienced explosive growth. By 2011, AutohauAZ had outgrown its facilities and relocated to its current 51,000 square-foot home, nearly three times the size of the previous location.

In such a male-dominated industry, Lefebvre says that being a female-owned company has given AutohausAZ unique advantages that have aided its tremendous growth.

“I think more than anything, the woman ownership has helped build a corporate culture of people who care about one another and who want to help the company succeed — a close-knit group much like a family,” Lefebvre says. “It’s that close-knit team that’s really been the driving force behind our growth ever since we became 100 percent woman-owned.”

At AutohausAZ, there is a saying that “customer service is a company-wide commitment, not a department.” It is Lefebvre’s belief that while it is not easy to earn respect and trust from customers, it is much more difficult to get it back once you lose it. This commitment to the customer has helped the company far exceed industry standards for conversion and customer retention.

“We’re doing extremely well with our commitment,” Lefebvre says, “but we don’t rest on our laurels. We’re always striving to find areas in which we can improve.”

This caring attitude has also fostered incredible employee loyalty. The average tenure at the company is more than 12 years, a number which, Lefebvre notes, would be higher, were it not for the many positions added out of necessity during the past several years of growth. Lefebvre says she honestly does not remember the last time an employee left the company.

“In short, it’s our focus on quality and people at AutohausAZ that gives us our momentum,” Lefebvre says. “Truly caring about everyone on the AutohausAZ team builds employee loyalty which, in turn, helps us build customer loyalty and this is what ultimately fuels our success.”
2850 S. Roosevelt, #102
Tempe AZ, 85282

master bedroom remodeling

Master Bedroom Remodels Create Relaxing, Vacation-Like Sanctuaries

Home, Suite Home: Master bedroom remodels create relaxing, vacation-like sanctuaries at home.

With the prevalence of smartphones and tablet computers, it seems everyone is always on the go. People are “connected” at all times to work, family or any number of other responsibilities — making life quite hectic.

master bedroom remodeling“With such busy, plugged-in lives, people are looking for a space to retreat and relax,” says Janet B. Cook, president of Cook Remodeling in Phoenix. And this desire to escape everyday stress has resulted in a trend toward renovations aimed at creating a hotel-suite-like bedroom to serve as an isolated and peaceful space in the home.

“People who are remodeling continually reference a hotel they master bedroom remodelingrecently stayed at when describing what they want their master bedroom to ‘feel’ like,” says Jill Anderson Keig, an interior designer with Wiseman and Gale Interiors in Scottsdale. “They want a refuge that is more than just a place to sleep; it is a place to unwind and recharge. They want a comfortable and inviting space — just like the one they saw on vacation.”

Keeping with this vacation-at-home theme, master bathrooms are also increasingly emphasized, along with removing distractions, such master bedroom remodelingas dedicated office spaces, opting instead for comfortable seating areas and the relaxing ambiance offered by fireplaces.

“The bedroom sizes have scaled down a bit in new construction homes, and the master bathrooms sizes have increased for that spa feel,” says Kerri Foreman, senior designer with Vallone Design in Scottsdale. “Most of our recent clients are doing away with the separate sitting room and instead incorporating a small seating space back into their master bedroom.

master bedroom remodeling“Fireplaces are still very popular, as well as TVs; but the separate sitting and the trend towards an office right off the bedroom are no longer popular. We see it as people trying to bring back the sanctuary retreat and lessen the amount of distractions in their bedrooms.”

As with any renovation project, a clear plan should be laid out from the beginning when tackling a master bedroom redo. This will ensure a finished product in line with your tastes and tailored to your unique habits.

“Considerations to take into account should include determining the lifestyle and activities particular to that room,” Keig says. “The most common mistake in a master bedroom remodel is making the room too small; it doesn’t need to be enormous and wasteful, but it always needs a comfortable sitting area with a place to put your feet up.”

“How do you live?” Foreman asks. “Do you enjoy spending a lot of time in your bedroom? Do you watch TV in the morning or before bed? Do you read to unwind? Do you have pets or children that will use the room with you? Do you like to sleep in complete blackout or wake up with the sun?”

For any master bedroom remodel, Foreman adds, the No. 1 concern should be creating a space you’ll want to use.

“We have seen beautiful rooms with grand furnishing and details but find the client does not enjoy spending a lot of time in the space,” Foreman says. “They made the space so formal that they saw it as more of a showpiece and less of a sanctuary.”

Overall, the consensus among designers and homeowners alike is that the bedroom is an integral part of the home, and that its potential as an at-home sanctuary should not be overlooked.

“It seems everyone is finally considering their bedroom a priority, which makes complete sense when you calculate how much time you spend there,” Keig says.

Foreman agrees, “In the current economy, people are feeling stress in every facet of their lives, and coming home to a relaxing environment has become more and more essential.”

For more information about master bedroom remodeling, visit or contact the following:

Cook Remodeling & Custom Construction, Inc.
(480) 535-7099

Wiseman and Gale Interiors, LLC
(480) 945-8447

Vallone Design, Inc.
(480) 421-2799

Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2012

KOOZA Photos 2007 004

Glendale CVB Rising in the West

Game on!

Cities like Glendale, Peoria, Goodyear, Surprise, and the other 14 cities that make up the West Valley are capitalizing on the rapid expansion of tourism and hospitality amenities — particularly spring training baseball facilities and other sports-related events — to grab a bigger share of the $18 billion that Arizona’s 37 million annual visitors spend.

As tourism in the West Valley continues to grow, the Glendale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) is playing a bigger and more vital role to help drive visitors to West Valley hospitality businesses.

“The region provides the local and out-of-state traveler with an experience like no other,” says Lorraine Pino, Glendale CVB manager. “We are home to nine Cactus League spring training teams, the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes, Phoenix International Raceway, Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium, great outdoor festivals, historic districts in each of our cities, performing arts centers and unique shopping venues. And, of course, you can be an astronaut for the day at our Challenger Space Center.”

Despite this diverse range of attractions, tourism is a relatively new industry in the West Valley. As a result, not every community in the area is equipped to implement independent marketing and promotion initiatives. Glendale CVB organizes and facilitates these initiatives, partnering with more than 100 restaurants, shopping malls, sports facilities, resorts and hotels, and service organizations.

“We work closely with our hotels — such as the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa, Wigwam Resort, Hilton Garden Inn Avondale and many more — to provide lead generation and conference assistance,” Pino says.

Glendale CVB also serves as a liaison to large-scale entertainment such as Cirque du Soleil, which was held at University of Phoenix Stadium this summer, and mammoth events such as the Super Bowl, which will return to Glendale in 2015.

“When the Super Bowl was last held in Glendale in 2008, the Glendale CVB was not yet in existence,” Pino says. “But now that our bureau is in place for the 2015 game, the region will be in a better position to capture a greater share of visitor spending.”

Economists estimate that hosting a Super Bowl has an economic impact of $300 million-$500 million on the region.

“In addition, realizing that this mega event impacts the entire metro area and several destinations statewide, the Glendale CVB will be working with other tourism and hospitality organizations throughout the Valley to ensure that we provide the greatest fan experience possible, and to host the best Super Bowl possible,” Pino says.

By the end of 2012, Glendale will welcome yet another visitor destination when the Tanger Outlets Westgate is completed. The 328,000-square-foot retail development will feature 85 brand-name outlet stores and is expected to bring an additional 5 million-6 million annual visitors to the area.

With economic growth in the West Valley expected to continue its upward trend for years to come, Pino insists that communities must work together to realize the greatest benefit from an increasing number of visitors.

“It’s important that we all work together and pool our resources to achieve economies of scale,” Pino says. “This is the very reason the Glendale CVB came into existence: to serve as a regional organization to promote and showcase the 14 West Valley cities and to bring tourism business to the area. This regional approach is what will be needed for our hospitality businesses to continue to grow.”

Scottsdale Concierge Psychiatrist Provides At-Home Care

Scottsdale Concierge Psychiatrist Provides At-Home Care

Scottsdale concierge psychiatrist, Yasinski Psychiatry, takes a personal and convenient approach to patient care with in-home appointments.

Once upon a time, making house calls was standard practice for physicians. A doctor would treat an ailing patient from the comfort of the patient’s home. Over the past century, this personalized approach to patient care has become less and less common, forcing the sick to travel to wherever their doctors have set up shop, often resulting in long wait times, brief appointments and a generally stressful experience.

These unfortunate by-products of the now-typical doctor-patient relationship inspired Dr. Michael Yasinski M.D. to seek a different approach. This led to the creation of Yasinski Psychiatry, Scottsdale’s only concierge psychiatry practice.

“I offer a model of care that no other Scottsdale psychiatrist is currently providing,” Yasinski says. “My practice is a true ‘concierge’ or ‘boutique’ model, which is becoming very popular with primary care physicians but much less so with psychiatrists. As a concierge Scottsdale psychiatrist, I see fewer patients, offer much longer appointments (usually one full hour), and eliminate waiting for appointments.”

Yasinski adds that his practice is particularly beneficial for patients who are unable to leave their homes; these patients include geriatric patients, people with mobility problems or the severely depressed. He explains that his main desire is to provide a level of care was previously unavailable in the Valley.

“I also wanted to provide a new level of flexibility and convenience to help people with hectic lives,” Yasinski says. “Nobody else offers consistent evening, weekend and same-day appointments for their existing patients.”

When commencing treatment with a new patient, Yasinski will first talk with the patient over the phone to gather preliminary information. After this initial consultation, a full evaluation (typically lasting two hours), is completed in person. This time is spent gaining a thorough understanding of the patient’s situation, reviewing all available medical records and talking with available family members to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. After this first evaluation, Yasinski generally meets with his patients weekly, employing tailored combinations of psychotherapy and medication to maximize effectiveness of treatment and chances of full recovery.

Through this unique model of psychiatric care, Yasinski treats a full range of psychiatric disorders.

“I treat all psychiatric disorders in patients 18 and above,” Yasinski says. “Some of the most common diagnoses that I treat include depression, anxiety, panic disorder, alcohol or drug addiction, bipolar disorder, behavioral changes secondary to dementia and postpartum mood disorders. I also provide in-home detox from alcohol with proper medications and monitoring, which gives patients an option to avoid going to a hospital for detox.”

Yasinski believes his concierge model and personalized approach to psychiatry can be beneficial for all patients.

“All people benefit by the private, comfortable and relaxing environment of their home, especially during psychotherapy,” he says. “This provides for a more productive appointment time and a better chance of full recovery. Both patients and colleagues in all fields of medicine have embraced my practice model, and I continue to get an increasing number of referrals from both happy patients and physician colleagues.”

For more information about Scottsdale concierge psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Yasinski M.D., visit

Phoenix Sky Harbor, Photo: Flickr, flavouz

HMSHost Transforms Dining at Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4

HMSHost, a world leader in travel-venue food, beverage and retail experiences, is currently in the process of updating and renovating Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 4 — bringing more than 20 new restaurants to the terminal.

The transformation will include the addition of several popular local restaurants, including NYPD Pizza, Press Coffee, Modern Burger, Blanco Tacos + Tequila and four La Grande Orange brand restaurants.

“This is a busy and exciting time of year for vacations and summer travel, and we are very happy to be able to begin providing a new experience at Sky Harbor Airport that will truly showcase an authentic taste of Phoenix,” says Stephen Douglas, vice president of business development for HMSHost. “Terminal 4 is the busiest spot in one of America’s busiest airports, and we’re bringing out the best-of-the-best to showcase the great dining in the city of Phoenix.”

HMSHost was awarded its current 10-year food and beverage agreement after a 2011 competitive bidding process. The company is thrilled to continue its relationship with Sky Harbor and the City of Phoenix.

“HMSHost has had a presence at Sky Harbor International Airport for more than 40 years,” Douglas says. “We have watched with admiration the growth of the city of Phoenix, and we’ve shared in the expansion and development of Sky Harbor. Continuing our commitment to serve the city and Phoenix travelers was an easy decision, and we are thrilled to have been awarded the opportunity to continue a tradition of excellence at what has been recognized as the world’s friendliest airport.”

HMSHost carefully selected the chosen restaurants in order to best reflect the local flavor of Phoenix.

“We want to show everyone who travels through Terminal 4 the very best of Phoenix, so it’s our privilege to partner with some of the very best chefs and restaurateurs in the city,” Douglas says. “With local restaurants such as Barrio Café and Chelsea’s Kitchen, travelers will now experience a truly authentic taste of Phoenix.”

The Terminal 4 project offers a unique opportunity for the local businesses to offer travelers excellent dining options, increase brand visibility and act as representatives for the community.

“It’s our belief that just because you are traveling, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a great meal,” says Sam Fox, CEO and founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts. “We hope that locals will recognize their favorites, and travelers will enjoy a new experience comparable to as if they had stepped into one of our restaurants across the Valley.”

La Grande Orange Hospitality Partner and CFO, Jennifer E. Cole, says La Grande Orange is excited to continue investing in the Phoenix area.

“The airport venture lets us bring local flavors to customers that know us and to customers new to the Valley,” Cole says. “With [HMSHost], we will be able to take the quality of food and service to higher levels.”

NYPD Pizza CEO, Richard Stark, adds that being in such a high-traffic location will have a positive effect on the businesses’ locations outside the airport.

“We are very excited about the Sky Harbor restaurant’s opening as it will introduce the NYPD brand to Valley residents and visitors alike,” Stark says. “We foresee this location serving as a powerful ‘brand builder’ and reaffirming our standing as the Valley’s best, authentic New York pizzeria.”

Press Coffee Roasters’ owner/operator, Steve Kraus, sees the Terminal 4 project as an opportunity to spread his passion for great coffee.

“We are thrilled to be at Sky Harbor Airport, especially in Terminal 4,” Kraus says. “Being at Sky Harbor Airport gives us an opportunity to not only expand and share our love for coffee, but also showcase to the world how great coffee can taste. We are extremely proud of our product and to be representing the best coffee the Valley has to offer.”

Included in the renovations are certain technological advances to improve service, including a mobile app, which can be used to have food delivered to your gate, as well as a tabletop ordering device currently being tested.

Douglas adds that, when the project is completed in early October, Sky Harbor will feature more local restaurants in one terminal than any other airport in the country.

“When travelers come to visit Phoenix or pass through our airport, I want them to know what Phoenix is all about, and soon they’ll be able to taste it,” says Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “They’ll know that our city and our airport support our local businesses, and that Phoenix is an epicenter of high-quality, modern and authentic dining.”

For more information about HMSHost and/or Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4 transformation, including when the local restaurants are expected to open, visit or, respectively.

StarFest 2012

Mercedes-Benz Club Of America’s StarFest 2012 To Be Held In Phoenix

This fall, the Desert Stars section of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America (MBCA) will host StarFest 2012, the largest Mercedes-Benz enthusiast event in the country.

The event will take place in Phoenix September 28 through October 3, and is expected to draw upwards of 400 attendees, according to Bud Cloninger, president of the Desert Stars section of the MBCA.

“Currently we have members registered from as far away as Seattle, Florida, New York and Ontario, Canada,” Cloninger says. “Most of them will drive their cars to participate in StarFest events.”

Activities at StarFest 2012 will include banquets, ceremonies, technical sessions and seminars as well as a Sponsor Expo, all hosted at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. The StarFest Road Rallye through metro Phoenix will also start and end at the resort, and will highlight points of interest throughout the Valley.

Several of the scheduled events will be open to the public, such as three days of track sessions at Firebird International Raceway, and the Concurs d’Elegance showcase at the Biltmore, which, Cloninger says, will feature nearly 100 Mercedes-Benzes.

“We have cars from the 1930s all the way up to the latest supercars,” Cloninger says.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Desert Stars section, which last hosted StarFest in 1992. Mercedes-Benz is celebrating 125 years this year, the state of Arizona 100, creating what Cloninger calls “the perfect storm!”

This year, the Desert Stars section has partnered with the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center to provide the charity a venue to promote its work in the community.

“The Desert Stars section feels strongly about having a social and charitable commitment in our event,” Cloninger says. “We encourage the public to visit our event, so they can be more informed as to what MBCA is all about.”

For more information, visit

StarFest 2012
September 28th through October 3rd, 2012
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
2400 E. Missouri, Phoenix
(602) 955-6600

Track Activities will be held at the Firebird International Raceway
20000 S. Maricopa Rd., Chandler
(602) 323-2000

"Get Buzzed” At at Scottsdale Quarter offers excellent, affordable food, drink and barber services.

A Brazilian for your face. That’s how the barbers at in Scottsdale Quarter describe their “manzilian” straight razor shave. Having never experienced the traditional Brazilian, I can’t definitively say how similar the two are, but it’s my suspicion that my “manzilian” was far more relaxing and absent of tears than the alternative. And here they serve beer.

Upon entering the shop, I’m greeted by a friendly receptionist. I’m presented with a list of services including the “geraldo” mustache trim, the “zz top” beard trim and, of course, the “manzilian.”

minibar.ber.shopI decide on the straight shave and my barber, Darryl, leads me to a white leather chair, which sits in front of a massive full-length mirrored cabinet. Several of these cabinets divide the shop, with barber stations on either side. The black cabinets contrast the stark white of the chair, floor and ceiling, creating a minimalist, very masculine feel.

And, did I mention they serve beer? Darryl asks me if I would like a drink from the bar (more on that later), but I decline saying that it would probably get in the way of his razor. He laughs and says “yes,” reclining my seat. He explains that ordering a drink is more common when receiving a hair cut, or any other vertically-oriented service, I imagine.

What follows is 20 minutes that feels like two hours of hot towels and luxurious oils, creams and balms. Darryl opens the side of the cabinet, retrieving the first of countless hot towels. He places the towel over my beard and wraps the ends up over my face. After a couple of steamy minutes, he removes the towel and massages pre-shave oil into my beard. He places another hot towel on my face, allowing a few minutes for the oil to soften my beard.

Darryl removes the second towel and applies a warm lather of minty shaving cream. As he shaves me with an incredibly sharp straight razor, it is immediately clear that this isn’t anything like my practice of dragging a Mach 3 across my face for a few minutes. I am at the hands of a skilled artisan with 25 years of experience. Each stroke of the razor is precise, and it’s obvious that Darryl has developed a “feel” for how to carefully trim each section of a beard.

After the first pass, yet another hot towel is applied, followed by a second lather and shave against the grain. A final hot towel steams my bare face, after which an antiseptic/ingrown hair treatment is applied. This stings in a Macauley Culkin-esque way at first, but quickly becomes refreshing, and I know it will prevent any irritation. A soothing after-shave balm is rubbed onto my skin followed by a couple minutes of an ice-cold towel on my face to end the service.

I sit up from my reclined position refreshed, and with a face smoother than any part of any baby I know. The whole process takes only 20 minutes, but I feel as relaxed as if I’d taken an afternoon nap. Darryl explains that this is a new shave that he himself designed, and that while the regular price is $30, for the month of July they’re offering this brand new treatment for $15.

And, oh yeah, they serve beer. Attached to the barbershop is the place whence the hair-cut beers flow: a bar serving up an array of beers, wines, sakes and signature “saketinis.” But don’t worry, while the bar can stay open until 2:30 a.m., the barbershop closes at 9 o’clock. No drunken straight shaves or impromptu mohawks happening here.

I take a seat at the bar and bartender Cassouki gives me the rundown: $2 beers, all day, every day. Happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7p.m. every day, featuring half-price signature drinks and panini sandwiches. I ask what she likes, and she suggests the “yogatini,” a not-too-sweet combination of ginger, lemonade and sake, garnished with a stick of blue sugar crystals.

She whips up the drink while I look over the menu. I order a prosciutto and brie panini. Both are delicious, made more so to the frugal-minded as they are both half-price for happy hour.

minibar.ber.shopWe chat as I eat and drink, and I admit that a barbershop is not the first place I would think to stop and have a drink. She tells me that they’re actually quite busy most nights. Wednesday nights feature a new energy drink called Exhale. Thursday is “Quarter Night,” where first beers are 25 cents for employees of Scottsdale Quarter, which always draws a crowd. A DJ performs on these nights as well as on Saturdays.

And draw a crowd should. It is a very unique concept, providing upscale barber services as well as delicious, affordable food and drink. As far as I know, there’s nowhere else in town where you can leave with a fresh face, a full stomach and a snootful.

For more information about, visit
15037 N. Scottsdale Rd.
(480) 948-3900


Mastro’s Restaurants Celebrates 10 Years In Scottsdale

This falls marks the 10th anniversary of the three Mastro’s Restaurants here in the Valley. Mastro’s City Hall and Mastro’s Ocean Club opened in 2002 while the Original Mastro’s Steakhouse opened in 1999.

Mastro'sTo celebrate, all three locations will sell select signature cocktails at a discounted price of $10 starting in September. In addition, for one night only on Wednesday, October 10, the three restaurants will serve their Signature Warm Butter Cake dessert free of charge.

Senior Vice President of Operations for Mastro’s Restaurants, Jason Miranda, says that since the new ownership in 2007, focus has been on “creating a guest for life.”

“This means putting the guest first at all times and profit will follow,” Miranda says.Mastro's

Miranda contends that three main factors have contributed to the success of the Mastro’s brand over the past decade: quality of food, quality of service, and ambiance.

“We use only the finest ingredients for all of our dishes, and in 2010 we went through all of our recipes and remade them with an emphasis on healthier methods, which include items like less salt and spices, with the consultation of a James Beard award-winning chef,” Miranda says. “Employees are empowered to make decisions which ensure guest needs.

Mastro's“We reimburse all servers and managers who want to get become certified sommeliers and more. Live entertainment seven days a week gives a lively feel to our establishment. Many diners choose to stay after to enjoy the sounds and excitement in our lounge.”

As Mastro’s Restaurants continues to grow, Miranda assures that focus will remain on the three aforementioned core values.

“At Mastro’s Restaurants, we believe in genuine guest service and hospitality,” Miranda says. “We refuse to accept mediocrity or resting on our laurels when it comes to our guests expectations. You will be seeing us soon in major markets at our own pace.”

For more information about Mastro’s Restaurants, visit

Travis Brown

Travis Brown: From The NFL To The CCV

When former NFL quarterback Travis Brown sustained shoulder and elbow injuries early in his 2005 season, he fully expected to return to the game after a standard period of convalescence.

“When I was done playing, I didn’t know I was done playing,” Brown says.

His injuries, and the resulting surgeries, would mark the end of his NFL career, but the start of a whole new life.

Phoenix, Flagstaff, faith and pro football

Born and raised in Phoenix, Brown attended church services with his family every Sunday, but it wasn’t a priority.

“Church was something you checked off the list,” he says.

Throughout high school and college, church was pushed even further down that list, with football taking a front seat during his time at Northern Arizona University. Brown would go on to set career records and earn All-America honors as a quarterback at NAU.

After college, he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles but was cut from the team in training camp. He later signed with the Seattle Seahawks, with whom he would spend his rookie campaign during the 2000 season.

It was during his time in Seattle that he found his way back to a relationship with God. He was inspired by his teammates who he saw living their faith in their daily lives.

“This amazing group of guys – whatever they had, I didn’t have it,” Brown recalls.

In the fall of 2000, Brown and then-new wife, Cory, each made a personal commitment to Christ. This re-found faith grew and strengthened over the next five years as they moved around the country each time Brown was traded to another team.

Two shoulder surgeries, an elbow surgery, a knee surgery and two concussions later, Brown’s pro-football career was cut short in 2005 while playing for the Indianapolis Colts. Dreams of Super Bowl stardom would remain dreams as Brown retired from the NFL and returned to Arizona.

Home again, home again

With three kids now in tow, the Browns moved back to Flagstaff in 2007. Brown returned to his old stomping ground to work for the NAU Athletic Department and pursue an MBA.

When they learned they were expecting once again – twins, this time – the Browns packed up and headed south to be closer to family. On August 1, 2008 identical twin boys Justin and Wyatt were born – three months preterm.

At 1 pound 11 ounces and 2 pounds 2 ounces, Wyatt and Justin were dangerously premature. The months that followed were dramatic for the Brown family, to say the least.

With two newborns fighting for their lives in the hospital, and three more children at home, Brown started feeling the pressure of his hectic schedule. Between running a quarterback school for NFL hopefuls, to his duties as offensive coordinator for Peoria Sunrise Mountain High School’s football team, responsibility was mounting. It was time for Brown to prioritize.

“I just couldn’t do it,” he says. “I realized, ‘right now might not be the best time to be doing so much.’”

After just a few months at Sunrise Mountain, Brown left his coaching position behind. Justin and Wyatt were discharged from St. Joseph’s hospital on October 14, 2008. With their fourth birthday approaching the boys are happy and healthy. Brown says, as parents, he and Cory feel truly blessed.

“There were not nearly as many complications as there could have been,” Brown says.
With two girls and three boys, all 10 years old or younger, life in the Brown house can be chaotic.

“We’ve literally been in diapers for 10 years,” Brown chuckles.

Joining a new team

The following spring, Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) approached Brown to oversee its youth football program. Brown was attending a nearby church at the time but had a special place in his heart for CCV.

“I grew up going to CCV,” Brown says. “I was at the first service in a movie theatre at Metrocenter mall.”

CCV campusThirty years later, CCV has grown in size, both physically and in number of attendees. It currently operates a 100-acre campus in Peoria, and an additional campus in Surprise. More than 18,000 members attend 10 services every weekend.

In the years that followed, Brown became more involved in ministry at CCV, taking on additional leadership roles. When CCV opens its newest location in Scottsdale this August, Brown will lead the way as Scottsdale Campus Pastor.

“This is another opportunity for us,” he says.

The new campus will serve the 2,500 CCV members who currently commute from Scottsdale.

“If people have to drive 20 or 30 minutes to get to church, they’re less likely to get involved,” Brown says. “[With the new location], it will be easier to make an impact in the community.

“Statistics show that 87 percent of people in the Valley don’t go to church at all. Our goal is to reach as many people as we can.”

When asked about his hopes and goals for the future, Brown says that, through all the experiences that brought him here, he has learned to not put limits on God and to trust that He has a plan.

“God has used all that,” Brown says. “My NFL experience has given me platforms and opened doors that otherwise would have been unavailable.”

While he did not envision himself in this role when he started with CCV three years ago, Brown says he feels very grateful to be a part of the church and to be making a difference in people’s lives.

For more information about Christ’s Church of the Valley or how you can get involved with CCV as Travis Brown did, visit

Christ’s Church of the Valley
7007 W. Happy Valley Rd.
Peoria, AZ 85383
(623) 376-2444

Pinterest Copyright Issues

Pinterest For Business: Avoiding Copyright Issues

Pinterest copyright issues can prove problematic for business proprietors.

Since its inception in 2010, social networking website Pinterest has become the third most-popular social network in the U.S. Only social-media giants Facebook and Twitter surpass it in total monthly visits, according to Experian Hitwise.

With more than 100 million visits each month, Pinterest has created a massive opportunity for businesses to get their names and products in the public eye. From mega-retailers like The Gap and Nordstrom, to fast-food chains, local frozen yogurt shops and individual Etsy storefronts, countless companies are making use of the site’s potential for driving traffic to their own websites.

While the benefits of this kind of visibility can be invaluable, the very nature of how Pinterest is generally used can be problematic and could expose businesses to a litany of legal issues.

“The vast majority of images [posted to Pinterest] are copyrighted,” says Stephanie Fierro, an attorney with The Frutkin Law Firm, PLC, in Phoenix.

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, certain “Safe Harbor” provisions protect online service providers, such as Pinterest, from copyright infringement liability on material posted by the service’s users. The users themselves, however, are not protected.

According to Fierro, individual users are often protected by fair use copyright exceptions, but this generally doesn’t extend to moneymaking enterprises.

“ ‘Fair use’ allows for the use of copyrighted material for commentary, criticism or news reporting purposes,” Fierro says. The problem, she adds, is because companies are using Pinterest to market commercial products (i.e make money), the fair use exceptions do not apply.

“Imagine you’re a cake decorator,” Fierro says. “You post a picture of one of your cakes next to someone else’s picture of a beautiful wedding scene to say, ‘Look how great this cake would look in your wedding.’ This could leave you exposed as a business owner.” If the owner of the rights to the image of the wedding scene decides he or she wants a piece of your cake-selling action, you may end up in hot water.

Fierro believes that businesses are doubly vulnerable, compared to individual users, because companies are seen as having deep pockets and assets worth going after.
With all this to consider, the question becomes whether it is worth a business owner’s time and effort to market his or her products or services using Pinterest. Fierro believes the answer is clear: It depends.

“Are you OK with your images being used elsewhere? Is [marketing on Pinterest] going to drive good traffic to your website? Are you going to derive real financial benefit from this kind of marketing? In the case of the cake decorator, who makes money by selling cakes, the answer is probably ‘yes.’ If you want to make money from the use of your images by others, it probably isn’t for you,” she says.

If a business owner does decide that he or she wants to make use of Pinterest as a marketing tool, there are several precautions that can be taken to avoid any copyright or trademark violations.

“Ownership or permission is always best,” Fierro says. “Barring that, always make sure the material is properly credited. Link the photo back to where it came from. The goal is to always make sure proper credit is given to the original source.”

Fierro says you should never copy pictures you find on Pinterest for use on your own website. You don’t know where they’ve come from or to whom they belong. Just don’t do it.

As the website continues to grow, copyright issues on Pinterest may or may not grow along with it.

“All it would take is for one picture to be used in the wrong way,” Fierro says. “The issues with Pinterest have been talked about for a while. I’ve had to defend clients against similar claims of infringement, as well as made claims on clients’ behalves for infringement on their work. It’s necessary for people to make these types of claims so they don’t lose the rights [and the value of those rights] to their work.”

For more information about Pinterest’s copyright & trademark rules, visit

Central Arizona Supply

Early-1900’s Barn Wood Repurposed For Central Arizona Supply Showroom

Jeremy Smith mixes historic and modern elements for Central Arizona Supply’s The Studio Showroom.

Last month, Valley plumbing and heating supply company Central Arizona Supply unveiled its newest showroom The Studio, location in central Phoenix. The “Mad Men” inspired grand opening created buzz with its candy cigarette girl, Moscow Mule cocktails and spontaneous flash mob dance.

But the real star of the night was the 10,000-square-foot showroom itself, designed by Central Arizona Supply’s Jeremy Smith.

“[In] each of my showrooms, I have always tried to create a different feel for and reflect the type of customer or environment of a community that the showroom sits in,”Smith says. “So, with this showroom, I wanted something warmer, something that had a touch of history, but [that would be] clean and modern.”

Smith’s search for an historic design element led him far away from central Phoenix — to a century-old barn in western Illinois.

“The barn wood idea came about because I could use this old historic wood, repurpose it and make something fresh-looking,” Smith adds. “My family is from western Illinois and moved out here in 1968. When I grew up, we went back there to visit family every year. So, when I told my dad I wanted barn wood for this showroom, he called my uncle in Illinois, who called some friends, and a few weeks later, I was on a flight to Illinois to visit my grandmother and find a barn to tear down.”

Smith explains that their search took them literally over the river and through the woods to an abandoned barn, which sat on a farm owned by an old family friend.


 Central Arizona Supply


Central Arizona Supply

“I thought tearing the barn down was going to be a huge challenge,” Smith says. “My uncle and I went through town and got a couple of guys to help us. I rented a generator and had borrowed some tools. But as we got out there, the barn was so weathered that it was easy just to pull the boards off of the barn.”

Smith and his uncle then loaded the wood and a number of antiques to be used in the showroom onto a trailer and made the drive back to Arizona.

The wood was ultimately repurposed in two architectural elements in the showroom — one behind the reception desk and the other behind the showroom counter. Other than pulling some rusty nails out of the boards and peeling off the ivy, Smith wanted the wood to remain largely unaltered.

“You will notice on the architectural piece we created that the edges are rough,” Smith says. “These pieces were at the foundation of the barn and were more weathered than the rest. I didn’t want to make these perfect, clean cuts in the boards; I wanted you to see that this truly was reclaimed, old barn wood that had a rich history and will continue that history.”

For Smith, the trip to Illinois was bittersweet. His grandmother passed away shortly after he returned to Phoenix.

“I got back to Illinois at least one time a year my entire life to visit my grandma and family and to enjoy a life that is different from my everyday,” Smith says. “I played cards, I would work on the farm, I went mushrooming in the woods, and I learned to bake a pie from my grandma. So this barn wood is a very cool design element that blends historic elements into something modern; but when I look at it, it also reflects history and a time in my life that is filled with love and memories that I will cherish, which to me is really the best design of all — one that reflects who you are and where you still have left to go.”

For more information on Central Arizona Supply’s new showroom visit:

Central Arizona Supply
The Studio in Phoenix
4750 N. 16th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 943-3488

medical travel

Medical Travel Gains Popularity As Alternative To Local Medical Facilities

With medical travel gaining popularity as an alternative to local medical facilities, Well-Being Travel will host the Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012 later this month in Scottsdale.

More than ever before, patients are traveling outside their home cities for medical procedures. Venturing to another city — or another country — can offer reduced costs or facilities considered as good as, if not better than, those available in a patient’s backyard.

Executive Vice President of Well-Being Travel, Anne Marie Moebes, explains that patients travel not only for reasons of cost but also for quality of care.

For many Americans, medical travel can mean opportunities unmatched by what is available locally. Take, for instance, Kathy Marlowe of Euless, Texas.

When the condition of her knees began to worsen, Marlowe knew a replacement was inevitable. However, being only 64 at the time, her insurance would only have covered 80 percent of the cost of the procedure.

“It would have cost $65,000 per knee just for the hospital stay,” Marlowe says, adding that the figure did not include additional expenses such as anesthesia.

With the additional 20 percent not covered by Medicare until she reached age 65, this would have left Marlowe to foot a bill in excess of $30,000 for both procedures.

Worried she might end up in a wheelchair if she were to put off the procedure, Marlowe went in search of alternatives. This led her to a company called Well-Being Travel and its partner Companion Global Healthcare, Inc., who together will host the Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012 later this month in Scottsdale.

The two companies work together to make medical and travel arrangements for “patient travelers” who want to undergo procedures away from home. In Marlowe’s case, this meant arranging two trips, one in March of 2011, the other in September later that year, to the CIMA Hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica, to have both her knees replaced.

“Companion Global Healthcare took care of everything,” Marlowe adds.

Marlowe simply had to provide Companion Global Healthcare with medical records, and they took it from there, sending the records to San Jose, selecting a doctor to perform the procedures, and, with the help Well-Being Travel, making travel arrangements to and from Costa Rica.

The best part? When all was said and done, both knee replacements resulted in no out-of-pocket cost to Marlowe. Between her medical insurance, and her husband’s coverage as an employee of the city of Euless, Marlowe made both trips to Costa Rica without spending a dime on travel or either procedure.

“And, [the insurance company and the city] still saved money,” Marlowe says, explaining that the procedure cost far less in Costa Rica than it would have in Texas.

This is not to say that medical travelers are receiving inferior medical care. Marlowe explains that Companion Global and the insurance companies will not send patients to foreign facilities that have not met American accreditation standards.

Moebes says that while most patients travel for elective or therapeutic procedures, patients often have no other options due to lack of insurance or have explored all other options, such as women seeking alternative conception methods.

Patients have been traveling to foreign and domestic facilities for quite some time, Moebes adds. The trend is now coming to the forefront, and it is time for the travel industry to get more involved, she adds.

On June 20-21, the Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012 at The Phoenician resort in Scottsdale will bring together professionals from the travel and health and wellness industries to explore the growing trend of medical travel.

“The consumer needs to be aware of the options,” Moebes says. “The whole package needs to be seamless for the consumer.”

The two-day conference will provide in-depth education for travel sellers on all aspects of medical travel. Attendees will gain the tools, knowledge and contacts they need to profit in this emerging market.

There will also be an opportunity to be entered into a sweepstakes to win a wellness travel experience valued at $5,500. The package, sponsored by the acclaimed Anadolu Medical Center in Turkey, includes two days of premium examinations and tests, spa treatment, a tour of Istanbul, round-trip airfare and a five-night stay at the Titanic Hotel.

For more information on medical travel and the Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012:

Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012
The Phoenician Resort
6000 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale
June 20-21

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Things To Do In Arizona: McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Hiking Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve: Beauty in your own backyard

Looking to spend the day amid the desert beauty? Or simply for some fresh air and exercise without venturing too far? Look no further than the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale.

Stretching across 17,000 acres of the McDowell Mountains, the preserve offers miles of hiking trails to be explored on foot, bicycle or horseback. Trails range from easy to strenuous and with several trailheads scattered across the preserve, chances are, if you live in Scottsdale, an entrance is no more than a few minutes’ drive away.

As you arrive at the base of one of your trails, it is truly awe-inspiring to look up and have your entire range of view filled by the many peaks and valleys of the impressive mountain range. The experience becomes no less impressive as you make your way into the heart of the mountains.

Unique and picturesque geology and plant life abound on each trail, and you’re likely to encounter all sorts of wildlife on your hike. Bring the dog along and treat Fido to a walk full of all the sights (and smells!) of the Sonoran Desert.

The layout of the various interconnected trails makes it easy to plan a quick loop back to your car, or to extend your hike from trail to trail as far as your feet care to take you.

Reaching altitudes of over 4,000 feet, there will be no shortage of breathtaking, scenic views on your hike, so be sure to bring a camera! The Taliesin Overlook on Lost Dog Wash trail is the perfect place to snap a panoramic shot of the East Valley.

With summer very much upon us, plan to hit the trails early to avoid triple-digit temperatures. As with any outdoor activity here in the Valley of the Sun, remember to pack plenty of water and sunscreen, and wear appropriate clothing to protect from damaging solar rays.

Above all, to make the most of your experience, keep your eyes and ears open as you pass through. From flora, to fauna, to scenic photo-ops, there’s a lot to appreciate about the magnificent McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

For more information about the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, visit

Home Accents Today

Home Accents Today Honors Four Phoenix-Area “Retail Stars”

Four Phoenix-area retailers have been honored as four of Home Accents Today’s “50 Retail Stars” for 2012.

Scottsdale retailers Abode Fine Living, The Embellished House, and home-ology, and Phoenix-located In the Pink Boutique, were all named to the list by the editors of the market-leading, home accent industry trade magazine.

In an effort to promote and support local entrepreneurship, the editors focused on independently owned and operated businesses that have demonstrated strength in merchandising and marketing, as well as those that maintain a positive presence in their local communities.

“We’re a new store,” said Catherine Crandall, owner of Abode Fine Living, which opened last fall. “We don’t have the foot traffic of stores located in places like Kierland Commons. We hope being on the list will help our brand-name recognition.”

Each of the “Stars” is a first-time honoree, as a business may only be selected once for the list. Now in its eighth year, the list, sponsored by AmericasMart Atlanta, is compiled of retailers specifically considered specialty, home accent or home furnishing stores.

“We’re proud to be recognized by Home Accents Today,” said home-ology owner Ryan Pruett. Home-ology’s philosophy of a “greener way of living” helps them stand out from the competition by offering eco-friendly and stylish options for their customers.

The Embellished House is a self-described “workshop extraordinaire” and features unique items ranging from reclaimed architectural salvage, to vintage postcards and maps.

Interior designer Andrea Evans’s In the Pink Boutique is a treasure trove of collectibles, gifts, home furnishings and “Poo-Pourri,” a line of scented bathroom sprays.

“Those who are celebrated [on the list] have created businesses that embrace the powers of excitement, innovation, and creative ingenuity,” said Jeffrey Portman, Sr., president and COO, AmericasMart Atlanta. “They understand that excitement equals engagement. And engagement delivers sales.”

“There has never been a tougher time to be an independent retailer, with ongoing competition from chain stores, the increasingly significant role of online retail and the difficult economic climate,” said Jenny Heinzen York, editor in chief, Home Accents Today. “The 2012 Retail Stars have taken on these challenges with a combination of clever entrepreneurship, innovation, merchandising, customer service and marketing. We are delighted to recognize these talented merchants, and, as always, encourage everyone to support their own local businesses.”

The complete report is published in the May 2012 issue of Home Accents Today, and includes individual store descriptions, websites and sales estimates. It will soon be available for purchase and download from the publication’s online store.

For a copy of the report, visit Home Accents Today at For more information on the businesses mentioned, visit:

Abode Fine Living
15505 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
(480) 659-3646

The Embellished House
10802 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
(480) 991-2610

6137 N. Scottsdale Rd., B103, Scottsdale
(480) 488-0010

In the Pink Boutique

4422 E. Camelback Rd., Suite B, Phoenix
(602) 957-7270