Tag Archives: Local First Arizona

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Lanning Receives Economic Development Leadership Award

Kimber Lanning, Executive Director of Local First Arizona, was awarded the Citizen Leadership Award by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for her extraordinary commitment in promoting economic development.  The honor was presented on Tuesday, October 21, during IEDC’s Annual Conference in Fort Worth, TX.

“The Citizen Leadership Award celebrates a community or business leader, or an individual who is not an economic development specialist, but who plays a major leadership role in economic development pursuits,” said William C. Sproull, IEDC chair. “Ms. Lanning is a fine example of such an individual.”

A longtime leader in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Kimber Lanning began her career as a successful entrepreneur and currently serves as Executive Director of Local First Arizona. Her enthusiasm in supporting local businesses and community culture has shaped her career and helped transform the city.

“This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local First initiatives as a viable part of economic development.” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Kimber can proudly accept this award on behalf of everyone working to create sustainable, resilient, diverse, and vibrant local economies in their own communities.”

Witnessing the adverse effects of local businesses departing from her community, Ms. Lanning took a different approach towards economic development when she opened an art gallery in a blighted area in central Phoenix. Her dedication to her business and neighborhood attracted other small business owners to the area and inspired a neighborhood transformation. Lanning’s willingness to contribute energy, creative event planning, and economic development strategies led to the reduction of crime in the area by 62 percent, created over 135 full time jobs, and provided immeasurable community pride.

In 2003, Ms. Lanning launched Local First Arizona in an effort to inspire others to stay in Phoenix to help build a world-class city.  She knew that in order to encourage residents to feel connected and rooted to the area, a climate needed to be cultivated so that local businesses could compete against chain stores and large companies. Ms. Lanning developed a specific strategy to gain the traction needed to move the needle on Arizona’s economy. She streamlined the City of Phoenix’s Adaptive Reuse program, which was so cumbersome that it was preventing small businesses from opening. Ms. Lanning’s pilot program was a success and is now encouraged citywide. Because of her persistence, Phoenix’s overall economic strategy now includes small businesses that have important connections to the community.

Ms. Lanning’s innovative small business and entrepreneurial programs have proven to be highly successful. She went to work on the state’s procurement procedures, transforming them from a “low-bid wins” policy to a focus on selecting local contracts. She also created a Spanish language initiative and the Fuerza Local Accelerator Program to assist and encourage low-income Latinos in entrepreneurial endeavors.

Because of Ms. Lanning’s leadership of Local First Arizona, the organization is now the largest locally owned business coalition in North America with over 2,600 business members large and small. Most importantly, the local business community reported sales were up 8.1% in 2013, almost twice the national average. In 2013, Ms. Lanning shared Local First Arizona’s success with rural communities surrounding Phoenix by incorporating the Arizona Rural Development Council and encouraging sustainable development in rural communities through an annual Rural Policy Forum.

Kimber Lanning is actively and enthusiastically involved in fostering cultural diversity, economic self-reliance, and responsible growth for the Phoenix metropolitan area. She has come to economic development via unconventional means but quickly demonstrated to her community that her ideas and programs work.

“The successes of Local First Arizona over the last decade have underscored the broad range of strategies that Arizona needs to pursue for sustainable economic development,” said Ms. Lanning. “Through supporting entrepreneurs and locally owned enterprises—both large and small—we are maximizing the ecosystem of a healthy economy that builds widespread prosperity and supports more jobs. Local First Arizona is creating healthy local economies across the state that will in turn draw further economic development opportunities.”

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Yelp Foundation Awards $1 Million in Grants

The Yelp Foundation announced plans today to give $1 million to charity, including four local nonprofits in the Phoenix area. In 2011, the Board of Directors of Yelp Inc. established the Yelp Foundation with one percent of company equity devoted to supporting community literacy and small business growth. These initiatives are imperative for local economies to thrive, and embodied by the four local nonprofits chosen to receive grants from the Yelp Foundation: Local First Arizona, Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County, Accion and Make Way for Books.

“The Yelp Foundation is thrilled to be able to support literacy and entrepreneurship in local Arizona communities through our grant program,” said Erica Galos Alioto, Yelp Foundation Board Member. “We hope that these grants will further local nonprofits’ efforts and bring awareness to the need for programs that cultivate reading and writing skills and provide opportunities for small business owners to succeed.”

In its first two years, the Foundation matched Yelp employee donations to give a combined total of more than $100,000 to nonprofits each year. The Foundation also created an annual grant program that awarded $400,000 to several charities in 2013. In 2014, the Foundation plans to give a total of $1 million to charity, through grants to nonprofits across the U.S., including up to $200,000 to the four Phoenix-area nonprofits, plus additional awards matching donations made to charities by Yelp employees of up to $1,000 per person.

“On behalf of Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County we would like to thank the Yelp Foundation for their generous donation. Their financial support helps us to continue in our mission to assist adults in learning how to read, communicate in English, and prepare for the GED,” said Arcelia Zamora, Acting Executive Director. “It is because of organizations like the Yelp Foundation that Literacy Volunteers is able to empower those in our community to achieve improved employment, participate in higher education or job training programs, and to create a sustainable quality of life.”

“Local First Arizona Foundation is a proud recipient of a 2014 Yelp Foundation grant, which is an absolutely amazing gift that will help us do extensive outreach and programming around our Be a Localist campaign,” said Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona Director. “Our Be a Localist campaign, which is less than a year old, includes exclusive events at locally owned businesses that are curated to create special experiences for both the business owners and customers. When you’re a Localist, you get to meet the chef, be the DJ, or tour the show behind the scenes. Localists support our mission, which is to celebrate and support entrepreneurship, which helps build prosperity for communities everywhere. The more local a place is, the more people love it! We are proud to partner with the Yelp Foundation to bring more people into a sustainable and Localist lifestyle.”

Fortunately, the impact of the Yelp Foundation’s endowment continues to multiply, thanks to Yelp’s decision to make philanthropy a priority early on by funding the Foundation through a gift of Yelp stock. While it started small, the Foundation currently has more than $30 million in assets, which allows it to make substantial grants each year.

For more information on the Yelp Foundation, go to the Yelp blog or email yf@yelp.com.

Ban Bossy1, WEB

Local business owners weigh in Ban Bossy campaign

The Ban Bossy campaign led by Facebook COO and Lean In founder, Sheryl Sandberg, and the Girl Scouts of USA works to help empower girls and women. The campaign partnered with celebrities and businesses to share quotes, stories and tips for girls, parents, troop leaders and managers to help women become leaders. The basis of the campaign comes from statistics that show that when boys assert themselves they are called leaders, but when girls assert themselves they are labeled as bossy.

The Ban Bossy websites shares leadership tips for girls, parents, teachers, managers and troop leaders that contain statistics and tips for difficult situations. Some examples include allowing boys and girls to work together in groups, pausing after questions so that all students have time to answer, asking questions without right answers so students can answer without the fear being wrong, reading books and watching movies with heroines and heroes, differentiating between competence and being well-liked in the workplace and eliminating language that contains gender bias.

The site also displays favorite stories and resources that “encourage girls to flex their leadership muscles.” These range from PDF activities for girls and parents to complete, to troop activities, to media choices and information, to stories of real girls breaking stereotypes and being leaders.

So how can we expand upon the Ban Bossy campaign? Two Arizona businesswomen speak up about what it means to be a woman in business and how to break the glass ceiling.

Lisa Pino, an ASU alumna and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at USDA, and Kimber Lanning, an Arizona business owner and founder of Local First Arizona, both talk about women needing to take the initiative and use their voice.

Pino explains that she first took the initiative when she worked at a small, private college. She pitched an idea about how to help women enter and stay in college through difficult socio-economic situations such as teenage motherhood, financial struggles and cultural differences. Through this idea, Pino implemented the first minority retention program at the college. “I was fortunate to have a woman boss, and this gave me the initiative to empower myself and do work other than what I was assigned,” Pino states. After this first critical step, Pino states that she later realized that she could be the leader because she learned how to exercise new muscles in creativity and leadership.

Lanning takes a similar position when she states, “Don’t use ‘I’m a girl’ for an excuse for anything – good or bad.” She continues to explain, “I don’t spend a whole lot of time dwelling on what I can or can’t do,” Lanning states, “I just leap. Fear of failure is not a reason to not try.”

Lanning took the initiative at a young age. She explains that she was passed over for a manager position at a record shop because “no one would listen to a 100-pound woman.” So, Lanning opened her own store, Stinkweeds, instead.

Both women also agree that women need to speak up for themselves in the workplace. Pino explains, “As a woman, it’s necessary to be able to exercise your voice.”

She continues to explain that there is a recent shift in the workplace. Previously, she says, women needed to act like men in the workplace, but now there is an appreciation for the qualities that women tend to have and how those can be regarded as strengths.

“Women tend to have the likelihood of listening, negotiating and handling situations. They work on challenges with a longer view, and are not just forced by the short-term pressure,” Pino explains, “Women tend to be more ambidextrous because they are used to doing it all – work and family. Juggling many things is part of the norm.”

Lanning agrees that women need to show what they can offer in the workplace. She states, “I try to take the time to be conscientious about what I can offer to other people, but if I need to, I have a big toolbox and boxing gloves if needed.” However, Lanning also points out “if women come to work with their boxing gloves every day that is not helpful either.” She suggests that women find ways to collaborate and show their worth.

Pino also speaks directly about Ban Bossy, Lean In and other women’s campaigns. She explains that, even with some of the criticism, all of these campaigns are successful because they start the dialogue. She claims, “It is not as simple as identifying one word – it is a much more complex subject – but, nevertheless, we are talking about it.” She explains that through the extensive coverage from mass media, social media and other women that now people who are not women have to talk about it as well. “Let’s continue the dialogue, let’s see what measurable actions we can take together, let’s create some sort of coalition of support and collaboration,” Pino states.

Finally, Pino states that she is excited and proud of the millennial generation. “It is so exciting for younger women today. It is fantastic that they are growing up in a culture where they won’t tolerate challenges that women had in the past. Also, male millenials are much more progressive in believing in equity for women. I am inspired by younger women and their courage in speaking out about these issues. The culture is changing.”

As women are still underrepresented in board rooms, in business, in the STEM fields and in politics, the discussion needs to continue about equality in the workplace. Ban Bossy attempts to confront the stereotypes and double standards that women face and show girls and women how to lean in. As Beyoncé states, “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.

Check out part 2 of this article discussing the Paycheck Fairness Act and President Barack Obama’s Executive Order.

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ACAA honors Hildebrand, Schmaltz, Grijalva, Torres

Ginny Hildebrand, who is retiring this year as President and CEO of the Arizona Association of Food Banks, and Tim Schmaltz, Executive Director of the Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition, have been named the 2013 Margie Frost Champions Against Poverty by the Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA).

This is the first time that two recipients will share the award named for Margie Frost, the longtime community activist and creator and former director of the East Valley Men’s Center, a facility for homeless men re-entering society.  Frost, the 1990 Mesa Woman of the Year and recipient of the 1995 Alma Blew Award for Most Outstanding Service to Humanity, died in 2006.

Hildebrand and Schmaltz, consistent and powerful advocates in the effort to reduce or eliminate poverty in Arizona, will receive their awards at the ACAA Statewide Conference (Strengthening Communities through Innovation, Investment, Inclusion) on Friday, May 10 at 11:15 a.m. at the Carefree Resort and Conference Center, 37220 Mule Train Road in Carefree.

The ACAA Leadership Award selection committee also will recognize:

• U.S. Representative Raul M. Grijalva with the 2013 Legislative Leadership Award for “his representation of the people of Arizona in helping to make a difference in the lives of those impacted by poverty,” according to ACAA Executive Director Cynthia Zwick.

• Pastor John Torres (JT) with the 2013 Beating the Odds Award for his “personal accomplishments and in beating the odds to overcome many challenges and obstacles to improve his life and give back to the community,” Zwick said.  Pastor JT overcame drugs, alcohol, gangs and prison to serve local social service and faith-based organizations in the West Valley.

Heart in Hand Awards, annual recognition of the contributions of individuals across the state in the battle to end poverty, will be presented to:

• Jack Davis, by the City of Phoenix Human Services Department

• Alice Tipton, by the Community Action Human Resources Agency (CAHRA), Pinal County

• Amy Schwabenlender, Valley of the Sun United Way, by Maricopa County Human Services Department

• Ana Robles, City of Somerton, Desert Valley Senior Center, by Western Arizona Council of Governments

• Reverend Rula Colvin, by Gila County Community Action Program

• Scott Coverdale, Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona, by Pima County Community Action Agency

• Harvey Grady, by Northern Arizona Council of Governments

• Elizabeth Archuleta, Chair, Coconino County Board of Supervisors, by Coconino County Community Services.

The two-day ACAA Statewide Conference features keynote addresses by Elizabeth Archuleta, Chair, Coconino County Board of Supervisors; Jennifer Brooks, State & Local Policy Director, Corporation for Enterprise Development; and Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona.

Break-out sessions include key principles of Motivational Interviewing (Denise Beagley, Magellan Health Services of Arizona), Asset Building Strategy (Luis and Francisco Cervera, eMoneyPool), Moving Toward Evidence-Based Practice and Intro to the ROMA Next Generation Center of Excellence (Kelly McGowan, ACAA, and Sandra Mendez, National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), Building Healthy Client/Customer Relationships (Moe Gallegos, City of Phoenix Human Services Department), Mental Health 101 for Caseworkers (Denise Beagley), Create a Social Media Plan You Can Manager (Elise Peterson, Meridian Designs & Creations), Creating Hunger Free Communities (Amy Schwabenlender, Vice President Community Impact, Valley of the Sun United Way), Building an Effective Issue Campaign (Serena Unrein, Arizona PIRG), A Place at the Table Screening and Discussion (Ellen Teller, Food Research & Action Center); Becoming an Excelling Community Action Agency (Russ Spain, Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, Idaho Falls, ID); Viewing of “The Line” and Discussion (Laura Penny, Director, Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona); Affordable Care Act (Matt Jewitt, Children’s Action Alliance); and Save Our Home Arizona (Mickey Breen, Arizona Department of Housing, Save our Home Arizona).

For information or to register, visit www.azcaa.org or call (602) 604-0640.

Infusionsoft

Wist signs contract with Infusionsoft

Wist Office Products, the longtime Tempe-based office supplier ranked “Best Office Supply Company” in the state for seven years and counting, today announced yet another victory in a year that’s already proven to be a standout for the locally-owned and operated retailer.

Infusionsoft, designer of the only all-in-one sales and marketing software for small businesses and a six-time Inc. 500/5000 company, has signed on with Wist Office Products, Arizona’s largest independent business product supplier, to exclusively provide all of the company’s office supply and business product needs. The announcement was made shortly after Wist Office Products secured a prestigious ILoA Award from AZ Business Magazine, recognizing local businesses for their contributions in five key industries – alternative energy, distribution and logistics, healthcare, hospitality, and retail.

“We’re thrilled to make Infusionsoft an integral part of the Wist Office Products team,” said Ian Wist, co-owner and general manager at Wist Office Products. “We’re longtime admirers of how they operate their business, and their passion and dedication to aiding small business growth. All you need to do is look at their own history and growth to see why an Infusionsoft/Wist partnership is an ideal fit for both sides.”

“The real winners in this deal are the people of Arizona,” explains Kimber Lanning, executive director of Local First Arizona. “Most folks don’t realize that having business to business support between Arizona companies keeps up to four times more money recirculating in the local economy, and that means more tax revenue for parks, libraries and fire departments.”

Headquartered in Chandler, Infusionsoft’s contract with Wist indicates yet another way the company helps further the goals and objectives of small businesses, opting to sign on with their Tempe neighbor as opposed to forging a contract with a larger, national conglomerate.

“We love Arizona and the many businesses headquartered here,” said Eric Keosky-Smith, Infusionsoft regional development director for Arizona. “A partnership with a local company like Wist makes clear sense to us because it keeps more money in Arizona, which ultimately contributes to our company’s purpose – to help small businesses succeed. We hope to lead by example and show others that partnering locally can be an excellent option that isn’t just self-fulfilling but also beneficial to everyone in the local community.”

With a catalog of more than 50,000 office supply products and nearly 60 successful years in the industry, Wist Office Products has managed to successfully avoid the economic collapse that so many local companies have fallen prey to since the Recession began.

“It’s partnerships like this one that have kept business thriving over the years,” Wist said. “We’ve had a stellar almost-sixty years in business, and with the continued support of great companies like Infusionsoft, we look ahead to another sixty more.”

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Phoenix Looks to Award Contracts to Local Businesses

Local First Arizona believes the leadership at Phoenix City Hall is moving in the right direction with respect to the inclusion of Arizona owned companies bidding for new contracts for the city’s towing.  A new towing contract proposes that Phoenix be divided into four zones, with local companies All City Towing and DV Towing being recommended for three of the four zones. The fourth zone is expected to go to an out of state company, Western Towing. The Phoenix City Council is reviewing staff’s recommendation that supports local businesses and will ultimately vote on the matter. Previously, the towing contract went to United Towing, a company based in Chicago that had a monopoly for many years.

The city’s actions will keep far more dollars, more jobs and more economic impact in the community due in large part to the fact that the locally owned towing companies being considered are rooted in Arizona. They utilize local accountants, payroll service providers, web developers, attorneys and more local businesses. Those dollars stay here and recirculate, retaining jobs and creating additional tax revenue for other city services. A procurement study done by Local First Arizona focusing on Arizona based office supply company Wist showed that locally owned companies keep three times of their total revenue in Arizona than an out of state company.  Another study shows that for every $100 spent with a locally owned business, roughly $45 remains right here in Arizona. When the same $100 is spent in a national business, only $13 remains here.

Phoenix is making a concerted effort to make sure more tax dollars spent on city contracts go to Arizona based companies. Recently Mayor Greg Stanton implemented a policy to encourage more contracts valued at $50,000 or less to local companies. This new policy shift is expected to generate an estimated $18-$20 million in new business in the local community each year.

Local First Founder and President Kimber Lanning said, “We are now seeing large and small City of Phoenix contracts go to local companies and the positive impact will be measurable and significant.  While I hope I am never in the unfortunate situation to have my car towed by the City, it’s encouraging to know that predominately local companies are on the job in three-fourths of the city of Phoenix.”

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Metrocenter Looks Local, Partners With Kimber Lanning

A new partnership between Metrocenter and local business advocate Kimber Lanning marks the latest step by mall owner Carlyle Development Group to strengthen the connection between the retail landmark and its Phoenix community.

“We’ve spent more than a year listening, building relationships and creating a plan to meet the needs of our almost half-a-million nearby residents,” said CDG’s COO Warren Fink. “Kimber is part of our next great phase, which is to turn that plan into results.”

Lanning is an Arizona native and the founder of Local First Arizona, a nonprofit coalition of more than 2,100 Arizona-based companies working together to strengthen the local economy through the support of local businesses.

“I was raised in Glendale so I have a soft spot for this mall,” Lanning said of the 1.3 MSF property at Interstate 17, between Peoria and Dunlap roads in Phoenix.

“Thanks to Carlyle, Metrocenter looks great and is ripe to leap back into the spotlight with the right blend of national and local businesses.”

According to Lanning, local businesses provide unique experiences and one-of-a-kind products that set a mall apart from the status quo. They also keep three times more money in the local economy over national chains. This is because local business owners tend to hire other local service providers, such as accountants, graphic designers and web developers, which creates jobs and keeps more money re-circulating in Phoenix.

“Metrocenter has many locally owned, one-of-a-kind stores that respond to the needs of this area’s shopper and are thriving because of it,” said mall General Manager Brent Meszaros. “Kimber will help to increase that percentage of local representation.”

Lanning suggests options such as a furniture store, men’s clothier and hand-crafted gifts, and additional services near the mall entrances such as a musical instrument retail and repair shop.

Longtime Local First Arizona member, the Phoenix Conservatory of Music, recently relocated to the mall.

“This is one of the best schools in the country for learning about music — how to play it, how to write it and how to perform it,” Lanning says. “The school and its client list are stellar. They continually bring people through the doors.”

For Metrocenter, Lanning will actively seek out other local businesses to blend into the already diverse mall mix.

Built in 1973, Metrocenter is home to more than 125 retailers and department stores, including Dillard’s, Macy’s, Sears and a 12-screen Harkins Theatres. Other popular tenants include the Phoenix Conservatory of Music and in-line retailers such as Aéropostale, Bath & Body Works, The Children’s Place, Victoria’s Secret, Journey’s, Charlotte Ruse, Sports Chalet and Finish Line.

 

Certified Local Fall Festival

Local First Arizona Hosts Certified Local Fall Festival

Bring your family and friends to Portland Parkway on Nov. 10 for Local First Arizona’s 8th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival.

Voted “Best Free Festival” in 2011’s New Times Best Of Phoenix awards, the Certified Local Fall Festival is free to attend, and the first 500 attendees will receive gift bags. The event aims to bring attention to and celebrate Phoenix’s many esteemed, locally owned businesses and everything that Downtown Phoenix has to offer. Last year, more than 6,000 people attended this popular local event.

Participating vendors include:

  • Practical Art
  • Community Tire
  • Zia Records
  • Frances Boutique
  • Kidstop Toys
  • Across Arizona Tours
  • Pink House Boutique
  • Desert Song Yoga
  • Noble Beast Pet Boutique
  • Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center
  • Samurai Comics, and more.

In addition to having the opportunity to explore Downtown Phoenix, the festival is also the perfect opportunity to get an early start on holiday shopping. Various booths will be set up throughout the festival and there will even be a Kids Craft Booth.

Looking for some live entertainment? Some of Arizona’s best musicians and local favorites will also be in attendance and will perform on the Music Stage, sponsored by Bookmans.

And for the foodies out there, the Certified Local Fall Festival will also give attendees a chance to sample local cuisine and food-truck grub, including:

  • Postino
  • Bruce Brown Catering
  • Urban Cookies
  • America’s Taco Shop
  • green/nami
  • Belinda’s Pickles
  • Short Leash Hot Dogs
  • Carte Blanche Gourmet Tacos
  • Sandra Dee’s Catering, and more.

But that’s not it. Roosevelt Row, a popular downtown area filled with local businesses, is just within walking distance from Portland Parkway. Attendees can visit the Irish Cultural Center and the Japanese Friendship Garden or even get a bite to eat.

Attendees can purchase a $10 ticket for admittance to the Beer and Wine Garden to sample an array of Arizona beers and wines. Tickets for food samples and select activities are just $1 dollar.

For more information about the Certified Local Fall Festival, visit localfirstaz.com/fall-festival.

 

If You Go: Certified Local Fall Festival

10 W. Portland St. (btw Third & Central avenues),
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Saturday, Nov. 10th
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.