Tag Archives: shopping

New boutique brings boho-chic to Scottsdale

5 two 3 opened its doors in November to its first-ever retail store in the heart of bustling Old Town Scottsdale, Ariz. Located at the southwest corner of Goldwater Boulevard and Fifth Avenue.  The boho inspired boutique offers handmade, free-spirited women’s clothing and yoga headbands in a myriad of vibrant prints and comfortable fabrics.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the buzzing Scottsdale shopping and fashion scene,” said 5 two 3 co-founder Brittany Garcia. “We believe our clothing and accessory line brings something fun and totally different to the community.”

5 two 3 offers everything from stylish sweatpants, faux fur vests and groovy bell bottoms dubbed “peace pants,” to rompers, vintage t-shirts and yoga headbands. Shoppers can expect to see patterns and fabrics change seasonally. “Our brand is unlike anything you’ll see at the mall. You won’t find the girl next to you in yoga wearing anything like it.”

All items are handcrafted in Phoenix using American made fabric sourced from California. In addition, patrons can feel good about their purchase because the local business donates 5.23 percent of proceeds from each item sold to organizations benefiting women entrepreneurs in developing companies who have their own apparel companies.

Garcia and co-founder Karah Eaton founded 5 two 3, named after the May 23 birthday they share, in January 2013 while working together at a yoga studio in Phoenix. The duo launched the brand modestly with a simple line of yoga headbands they sewed by hand with a thread and needle in their apartments. Today, in addition to the newly opened brick and mortar locale, limited quantities of 5 two 3 apparel and yoga headbands can be found at all Kaleidoscope Juice, Madison Improvement Club and True Hot Yoga locations, and at Pepper Boutique.

5 two 3 is located at 6957 E. Fifth Ave. in Scottsdale. The boutique is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call (480) 946-0856 or visit www.5two3.com.

Sundance Lots_LGI Homes, Cassidy Turley, WEB

LGI Homes Arizona buys 151 lots in Buckeye

Cassidy Turley announced the sale of 40 finished and 111 platted lots in the master-planned subdivision of Sundance, located in Buckeye, AZ. LGI Homes Arizona, LLC (NASDAQ: LGIH) purchased the lots for $3.9 million. The seller was Kaufman Capital Sundance, LLC.

Cassidy Turley Vice Presidents Brian Rosella and Will French negotiated the transaction on behalf of the seller.

The Sundance master-planned community, located just south of Interstate 10 at Watson Road, includes an 18-hole championship golf course, outdoor swimming pools and a 15,000 square foot community recreation center. Located just west of Downtown Phoenix, Sundance residents have panoramic views of the White Tank and Estrella Mountains and easy access to a variety of amenities including shopping, restaurants, medical facilities and Estrella Community College.

winter wardrobe

Survival Tips for Black Friday Shopping

It’s natural to want to get our holiday shopping done early. Black Friday, traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, begins America’s holiday season shopping frenzy. It is safe to say Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the years.

That being said, Black Friday is also the craziest shopping day of the year. Women are fighting over the last bag their daughter needs, the aisles are crowded, and you’ll see a whole new meaning to “busy parking lot.” We all understand why people do it, but how do they do it?

Early bird advantage. So, you’re finally at the mall and have been waiting for this day since Halloween. Make sure you do it right. Get there early so you don’t have to brave the parking lot right before the doors fly open. Leave your jacket in the car; If you are at a mall you wont need it. The Black Friday deals may cause a bit of sleep deprivation and leg soreness, but you’ll spend the rest of Christmas free of shopping — like a champion.

Keep calm. Keep calm and Black Friday on. Remember, the sales will continue throughout the holiday season. Black Friday can get very stressful, but it really does not need to be. Start with some research. Find exactly what you want and know where to get it at the best prices. Quite a few retailers will tease deals before Friday. Keep in mind that higher-end shops probably won’t have the best deals but may have the best atmosphere.

Dress for the occasion. Before you leave your house at the crack of dawn, make sure you are dressed appropriately. Comfy shoes are a must as you fly down the aisles of your favorite department store.

Make a plan. Double-check your purse to make sure you have your coupons or a list of items you need to get and which store has the deal you want. There is nothing more depressing than thinking you are getting 40 percent off and realizing you left your discounts on your counter.

Stay hydrated, fed. Don’t let dehydration slow you down. People forget that shopping really is a form a cardio. Therefore, it is in your best interest to eat before you go. If possible, eat with the people you are shopping with to ensure that your stomachs are on the same schedule. There is always someone in my family who needs to leave the mall an hour after we get there because they decided to skip lunch. There has never been a better time to put those Thanksgiving leftovers to use.

Get in the spirit. While shopping, remember what time of year it is. That’s right — the happy time of year.  Regardless of the holiday you celebrate this season, it is not only about shopping but having fun with friends and family. Stay jolly.

New piece from Modern Treasure collection

Kendra Scott Unveils New Jewelry Collection

Pack your bags for an exotic adventure with Kendra Scott as she unveils her Fall 2013 Collection, Modern Treasures. The collection is complete with gems inspired by the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.


New Pieces from Modern Treasures

New Pieces from Modern Treasures

Depart from traditional jewelry collections and experience wanderlust, with a wealth of crown jewels Helen of Troy would proudly display. Paying tribute to the Fall 2013 Collections of Balmain, Lanvin and Peter Som, Kendra’s latest line combines 1970s vintage flair and timeless heirlooms to create ornate, stately pieces for the modern globetrotter.


New pieces from the Modern Treasure Collection

New pieces from the Modern Treasure Collection

Like a 21st century Cleopatra, journey to the Sahara desert on a Red Chariot and sail the Blue Nile with angular pyramid gems incased in filigree patterns in majestic jewel tones. The collection is reminiscent of trinkets hidden in a treasure trove.


New Pieces from the Modern Treasure collection

New Pieces from the Modern Treasure collection

Modern Treasures is filled with rich hues like dark red onyx and azure onyx. Even cobalt Cats Eye comes roaring into view in this distinguished collection. Evocative of the fierce Black Jaguar worshiped in ancient Egyptian culture, you will be a marvel in the Kendra Scott Fall 2013 Collection.


New pieces from the Modern Treasure Collections

New pieces from the Modern Treasure Collections

Embark on your journey today at Scottsdale Quarter Boutique, who is carrying Scott’s new collection. 


Josh Welp

Josh Welp Joins Kitchell as Safety Director

Josh Welp has been appointed Kitchell’s new Safety Director.

Welp has more than 15 years of safety engineering experience, including six years as Safety Manager and then Site Safety and Health Officer at Sundt Construction.

Recent projects include safety oversight of a new $21M hangar and aircraft wash facility for B-52 aircraft at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and construction of a $20M dormitory renovation project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lackland AFB in Texas.

Welp received a B.S. in Safety Engineering from Kennedy Western University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in International Business from the University of Iowa.

Currently working on a M.S. in Safety and Environmental Management at Columbia Southern University, Welp holds various safety and risk certifications. He has received numerous awards including Projects of the Year from the American Public Works Association APWA (safety in the environmental category (Gilbert Water Treatment Plant), safety in the transportation category and safety in structures, among others).

In addition he was given the Project Safety Manager award of the year by Valley Metro Rail in Phoenix.

Welp will oversee safety programs for all Kitchell construction projects, bringing his extensive experience refined working on safety initiatives for highly regimented Federal projects to Kitchell’s diverse portfolio of projects.



Reader’s Digest cites Scottsdale’s ‘sharpness’

Whether you get bogged down by brain fog or remain as smart as a whip until your ninth decade has a lot to do with the healthiness of your community. That’s because “sharpness” — present-day smarts as well as maintaining a healthy mind at low risk for dementia — depends on education level, eating and exercise habits, health conditions, and sociability, according to the latest brain-health studies.

Leading experts on cognition developed a formula to determine a city’s sharpness, and then Reader’s Digest analyzed the traits of 120 large cities. Here are the cities topped the list and the traits they exhibit that earned them the honor:

1. San Francisco, CA – Sharp trait: Farmer’s markets, which help ensure that residents fill up on plenty of brain-healthy foods.
2. Arlington, VA – Sharp trait: Education. Seven in 10 residents hold at least a bachelors degree, far above the national average.
3. Fremont, CA – Sharp traits: Low smoking rate and high creativity levels.
4. Seattle, WA – Sharp trait: Exercise, which increases blood flow to the brain.
5. Madison, WI – Sharp trait: Diabetes prevention.
6. Portland, OR – Sharp traits: Biking and seasonal eating.
7. Salt Lake City, UT – Sharp traits: Libraries with circulation rates nearly double the national average.
8. Scottsdale, AZ – Sharp trait: Parks, which increase good moods.
9. St. Paul, MN – Sharp trait: Community that foster stimulating conversations that fire up the brain’s frontal lobe.
10.  Asheville, NC – Sharp trait: Spirituality and volunteerism.

Scottsdale Quarter Phtography

Making the Retail Experience, Well, An Experience

Shoppers can buy just about anything they’d like or need on the Web. What they can’t do online, however, is make a craft, have their hair done by a blow-dryer-wielding stylist or munch on gourmet snacks delivered to their reserved seats as they’re watching a movie. Call it the retail experience.

It’s non-Web entertainment options such as these that mall developers are banking on to help them compete against online shopping, which over the next four years is expected to reach $327 billion in sales in the U.S. alone, according to Forrester Research Inc. Experience retail represents the future of the mall.

“Experience retail refers to how people enjoy the mall,” said Michael Glimcher, CEO of Glimcher Realty Trust, developer of Scottsdale Quarter, an open-air shopping district located near Scottsdale and Greenway roads. “Today, shopping isn’t about selecting a color and size. You can do that online. You can’t have a salad and glass of wine with girlfriends online. Going to the mall today is about entertainment, brand engagement and socializing with friends and family.”

Scottsdale Quarter has pioneered the concept of experience retail for Glimcher. Since early 2011, the shopping destination has integrated experience-based merchants into its tenant mix, including the addition of several stores and restaurants that shoppers won’t find anywhere else in Arizona. While there are still clothing-only retailers there, more than two thirds of Scottsdale Quarter’s 58 tenants offer shopping experiences and in-person-only opportunities – such as the rear-viewing booty cam at Industrie Denim – that can’t be replicated online.

At Make Meaning, for example, shoppers paint pottery, make soap and decorate picture frames. Nearby at Drybar, salon clients can have their hair straightened or curled by stylists using nothing but a brush and a blow dryer. Fitness enthusiasts tap into their inner peace at Blissful Yoga, where traditional or hot yoga classes, and the gravity-defying Yoga Wall, offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of life.

The experience retail concept exists at other Glimcher properties nationwide including Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, Ohio; The Outlet Collection | Jersey Gardens outside New York City; the Mall at Johnson City in Tennessee; and River Valley Mall in Lancaster, Ohio. Other national retailers experimenting with the concept include the Shadow Lake Town Center in Omaha, Nebraska, and The Shoppes at Chino Hills in California.

According to Glimcher officials, experience retail benefits all of a mall’s tenants by keeping shoppers at the center for longer periods of time, and by offering people a reason to return. Activities at Make Meaning often have wait lists, so shoppers spend time by eating at the mall’s restaurants or buying merchandise at nearby stores. Crafters must return to pick up their creations also, which means an extra visit and perhaps another stop at a neighboring merchant.

Scottsdale Quarter’s upscale food establishments seem to be doing extraordinarily well with the leasing strategy. Restaurant sales have grown substantially over the last few years, despite the soft economy.

“Experience retail gets people off the computer and into the store,” said Richard Hunt, general manager of Scottsdale Quarter. “It makes shopping fun and interactive, and — as the other developers who have toured Scottsdale Quarter to see what we’re doing can attest — it’s working.”







Biltmore makes room for small, local retailers

When shoppers think of Biltmore Fashion Park, they most likely think of luxury department stores, such as the state’s only Saks Fifth Avenue, or high-end national chains, such as Williams Sonoma.

But the center’s owner has launched an effort to put more focus on small, local retailers and offer customers a unique boutique experience.

Owner Macerich will open the Union at the Biltmore, near 24th Street and Camelback Road, in November. Project managers have worked on the concept — which provides smaller spaces for these businesses — for nearly a year.

Four locally owned independent boutiques — Whoopie Baking Company,Citrine Natural Beauty Bar, Paris Envy and Frances — recently announced they will open locations at the Biltmore.

“We have about 18 (retail) spaces total, and we have 11 of the leases signed and the rest are in negotiation,” said Karen Litton,Biltmore senior property manager. “We’re in really good shape,”

Union will have space for a dozen 200- to 500-square-foot shops. The project also will house six smaller kiosks with one small restaurant and a coffee shop.

The stores will be on the east end of the shopping center between Stingray Sushi and restaurant Season 52.

Litton says local small businesses have responded well to the opportunity to be a part of the project.

“One of Biltmore’s competitive advantages is its mix of national, regional and local retailers, and so we thought, ‘How can we do more of the one-of-a-kind shops?’ and this is what they came up with,” she said.

While Litton said several businesses moving to Union already have stores in Phoenix, many of them likely would not have been able to afford the rent at the Biltmore apart from this project.

“If they’re renting 200 square feet, it’s certainly going to be less than making a commitment to a 10-year lease that is 1,000 to 2,000 square feet or larger. It gives them an opportunity to be in a great location and to start a business or to continue their business,” she said.

The Biltmore has expanded during the economic downturn because the recession did not hit its client base as hard, Litton said.

“Biltmore Fashion Park is strong, and we’ve been one of the original luxury centers for some time, and we have some very strong players here, so even though the economy is challenging right now, we certainly are doing very well in the center,” she said.

Frances owner Georganne Bryant hopes to benefit from the Biltmore name, but mainly wants to reach a customer who wouldn’t usually have wandered into her shop on Central Avenue and Camelback Road. Frances sells gifts and clothing for men, women and children.

“I was looking to expand, and I really love Phoenix, and they approached me with the project and it just seemed like a perfect fit,” she said. “It’s just kind of a different traffic area and a different location.”

She plans to use her Union location to draw customers to her larger shop, which will carry items not found at the Biltmore location.

“It’ll be like, ‘If you like this (the 500-square-feet shop), you’ll love this (the 2,000-square-feet shop),” she said.

Another attractive part of the move: The Union entrepreneurs will mix with larger, more well-known retailers.

“That will be great energy,” she said. “… Being in a mall like the Biltmore that is centrally located and has a lot of traffic, that’s really exciting and will bring more exposure for our businesses.”

Arizona’s small-business community leaders said the Union project could encourage other malls to increase their relationships with small businesses.

“I think it’s just an absolute fantastic idea to carve out a large space for several smaller businesses,” said Kimber Lanning, executive director of Local First Arizona, a Phoenix-based nonprofit representing small businesses.

“We’re starting to see these types of projects in adaptive re-use situations, meaning what are we going to do when big boxes fail and how are we going to fill them?”

Because Union isn’t filling an open space, and the Biltmore is a desirable location, the project does not have the sense of desperation to find tenants that some other projects seem to, she said.

“This is the first time I’ve seen (adaptive re-use) in a vibrant setting where there are already tons of businesses and customers introducing them to independent-concept stores they can’t see anywhere else,” said Lanning, who was a consultant for the project.

Valley residents will respond well to Union as long as developers listen to what the buyers want, Lanning said.

“I think all the national polls are showing that more and more people are thinking about shopping locally,” she said.

“I think people are looking for a unique experience. There’s a lot of people out there that are tired of the same old, same old.”

CityScape Plaza - Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

CityScape At The Center Of It All

CityScape revitalizing downtown Phoenix with its myriad dining, shopping and entertainment choices.

The arrival of CityScape has done more than change the business and entertainment landscape of Downtown Phoenix.

“CityScape has been a boon for booking meetings and conventions because of the dining, shopping and entertainment options it provides right at the doorstep of the convention center and downtown hotels,” says Scott Dunn, associate director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s not like downtown has a dearth of restaurants or nightlife; but what it largely lacked before CityScape was a sort of concentrated, recognizable ‘bug light’ zone that attracts pedestrian visitors. With CityScape and the nearby Legends Entertainment District, downtown now has that, and meeting planners the CVB brings to town take notice.”

Since CityScape opened in 2010, the $500 million, mixed-use urban development has become Downtown Phoenix’s destination for business, nightlife, shopping, entertainment, and special events. CityScape has capitalized on being bordered on three sides by the city’s new light rail transit system, and the fact that its neighbors include US Airways Center, Chase Field, the Phoenix Convention Center, Arizona State University’s 8,000-student downtown Phoenix campus, City Hall and the Maricopa County administrative and court complex.

“CityScape has become an authentic urban space for residents and tourists to organically gather and interact in a way that has never existed in Downtown Phoenix,” says Jeff Moloznik, general manager of CityScape.

Because of that, CityScape has come to define the resurgence of Downtown Phoenix.

“Probably the biggest indication that the perception of Downtown Phoenix has changed is the NFL’s decision to bring the Super Bowl back to Arizona in 2015,” Dunn says. “The transformation of downtown was a major part of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee’s pitch to the NFL, and the NFL obviously liked what it saw. Remember: The last time the Super Bowl was here, there was no CityScape, there was no light rail, there was no new Sheraton or Westin. Downtown was pretty much a construction zone. CityScape embodies the renaissance of the city’s urban core — and in 2015, when the world is watching, it will be even better.”

CityScape, like downtown, continues to evolve. It added three new restaurants in late 2011 — The Breakfast Club, The Strand and Chipotle — and will continue add to its dynamic roster in 2012.

“Starbucks and Chloe’s Corner opened earlier this year and Palomar Phoenix at CityScape, a 242-room luxury boutique hotel operated by Kimpton Hotels, will open later this spring,” Moloznik says. “Silk Sushi is also a new local spot that will join our diverse restaurant offering this summer.”

CityScape has started to drive more traffic downtown through special events and activities, including an ice skating rink over the winter and a well-received Saint Patrick’s Day party.

“No matter the time or day, something is always happening at CityScape,” Moloznik says. “We’ve introduced a community-focused lineup of unique, interactive outdoor events at Patriots Square, which is located in the heart of CityScape. Just one example is our weekday ‘Pop Up Park,’ where lunch-goers can soak up the sunshine and socialize with fun, free activities from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. At no cost, you can play Scrabble, Jenga, corn hole, get books and magazines from a free loaner library, use lawn chairs and blankets, Frisbees and a basketball hoop. A DJ spins live music and you can have a picnic in the park by grabbing a quick lunch at Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, Five Guys, Vitamin T or Chloe’s Corner.”

Beyond the delicious food from The Arrogant Butcher and the fun of Stand Up Live, Copper Blues, and Lucky Strike, CityScape has become an epicenter for the Phoenix business community. The office tower at CityScape is at nearly full with major employers, including UnitedHealthcare, Alliance Bank and several of the Valley’s most powerful law firms.

“CityScape is a collection of the best of businesses and individuals in the Valley,” Moloznik says. “From (restaurateur) Sam Fox’s Arrogant Butcher to (Phoenix Suns owner) Robert Sarver’s Western Alliance Bank, the most progressive and entrepreneurial talent in the Valley have convened at CityScape. The impact our tenants’ businesses have brought to Downtown Phoenix is noticeable and significant. In an area that once lacked a central core, there is now energy, creativity, enterprise and excitement all day, every day in once central location.”

Calling CityScape Home

Alliance Bank  *  Alvarez and Marsal  *  Ballard Spahrz  *  Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck  *  Buzz Mouth  *  Cantor Law Group  *  Charming Charlie  *  Chipotle  *  Chloe’s Corner  *  Copper Blues Rock Pub and Kitchen  *  Corporate Office Centers  *  CVS Pharmacy  *  Fidelity Title  *  Five Guys Burgers and Fries  *  Gold’s Gym  *  Gordon Silver  *  Gust Rosenfeld  *  Jennings, Strouss and Salmon, PLC  *  Jimmy John’s  *  Kimpton Palomar (opens in June)  *  Lucky Strike  *  Mybullfrog.com Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer  *  Par Exsalonce  *  Polsinelli Shughart  *  Raza Development Fund  *  RED CityScape Management Office  *  RED Development  *  Republic of Couture  *  Silk Sushi  *  Squire Sanders (US) LLP  *  Stand Up Live  *  Starbucks  *  The Arrogant Butcher  *  The Breakfast Club  *  The Strand  *  Tilted Kilt  *  UnitedHealthcare  *  Urban Outfitters  *  Vitamin T  *  West of SoHo  *  Yogurtini

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Online browsing

Websites That Keep Track Of Some Of Your Information Aren’t All Bad

This weekend my wife and I went shopping for lighting — fixtures and lamps for some redecorating we’re doing. There’s a particular style we like and we found some things in different stores in town, but not a huge selection in that style. So, of course, the next thing I did was go online to see what else is available. I found options at quite a number of online sites and “stores.”

The next day I was online doing research at various sites, many of which are ad-supported. While browsing about I noticed an ad in the banner at the right of the page. It was for a terrific table lamp in just exactly the style we’re looking for. It was even at a good price!

I think most of us are at least vaguely aware of that type of thing. On at least some level we recognize that when we’re browsing online we’re constantly being shown products and services that our past browsing behavior indicates might interest us. And I’m guessing that most of us view that as a real service. After all, if we’re going to be marketed to — and by browsing ad-supported content we’ve “opted in” to being marketed to — it’s a whole lot better if it’s something we might be interested in than if it’s just more commercial noise, isn’t it?

It’s called “behavioral marketing” and I can remember when it was a scary concept. The idea that our browsing behavior might be tracked and the information collected might be somehow used without our knowledge was chilling. It sounded vaguely Big Brother-ish. We had to keep those “cookies” off our computer!

But over time our attitudes changed. Browsers have settings that allow us to control cookies, or even keep them off our computer altogether, but most of us don’t use those settings. Perhaps for some that’s because they don’t even know they can, but I think most people wouldn’t regardless. And I think that’s because we recognize the value we receive in return.

It happens in varying degrees. The example above is pretty innocuous. Consider what happens when you log onto a site? Now the connection becomes even more intimate and the information shown even more targeted. For example, as soon as I log onto Amazon, I see any number of “Recommendations for You.” These recommendations are based on my previous buying and browsing behavior, and how it compares to others with similar tastes and behaviors. Another example is when you see things like “People who bought this also bought …” Or music services that suggest things I might like based upon what I already listen to. All these are examples of things that are only possible because the computer collected some information about myself and millions of others, and then drew inferences.

And do you know what? I think this is great! I find it very valuable. I think it improves my life in subtle but significant ways.

How about you?

Photo Credit: Sweet Evie

Glendale Glitters and Glow Block Party

During the holiday season, one area of Arizona outshines all others. The small, historic town of Glendale is lit up by more than one million Christmas lights that are strung throughout the trees and shine brightly on the small, antique homes and shops that compose the 12-blocks from Old Towne and Catlin Court Districts.

Photo Credit: Sweet Evie

However, one of the more popular events of the Glendale Glitter festivities takes place on Jan. 8, when the city hosts their traditional Glendale Glitters and Glow Block Party to finish their annual celebrations. From 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. friends and families will make up an attendance of more than 75,000 people who stroll the sidewalks of the district for one last chance to witness the twinkling, colorful lights.

Adults have the chance to enjoy looking through each of the antique shops, which are decorated for the holidays, for fine crafts and historic relics. The kids will be entertained by large, tethered hot air balloons as they are blown up to reveal fantastic designs and patterns from the glow of their flame. Together, families can feel the festive spirit from the multiple live bands and performers throughout the evening. Other kid-friendly and family-fun activities will be available, as well as an assortment of food vendors.

Photo Credit: Sweet Evie

Parking for the event is limited but if you can find a spot in the neighborhood, it is free. Otherwise, you can use the Glendale Community College parking lot where a free shuttle, which runs all night from 3:30 until 11:30 p.m., will take you to-and-from the night’s event. This event, like all of Glendale Glitters festivities, has no admission charge.


John F. Long Didn’t Just Build Houses In The West Valley, He Also Built A Community

About the only person who would disagree about calling the late John F. Long the father of the West Valley would be John F. Long. For more than 60 years, the man described by friends and colleagues as quiet and unassuming, held the vision that transformed the West Valley from fields to thousands of homes for soldiers returning from World War II to emerging cities.

The legacy of John F. Long will live forever,” says Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC. “Unlike footprints in the beach sand, which are eventually washed away, John’s are cast in concrete. And that doesn’t just mean buildings. He left us foresight and philanthropy, all with humility and without fanfare, simply because he loved the area, he loved people, and he wanted to make the West Valley a great place for families to live.”

Long died in February at the age of 87, but his legacy in the West Valley — indeed the entire Valley — will live on, not just in the communities he built, but also in the people whose lives he touched.

“His vision and reality of building a master-planned community is certainly important,” says his son, Jacob Long, who is chief operating officer for the company his father founded, John F. Long Properties. “Not only was he providing an affordable place to live for so many, he was also providing jobs for so many people. A lot of those people not only stayed here, but they are an integral part of helping the West Valley grow as business and community leaders. At least once a week I meet someone who says, ‘Because of your father, my family or I was able to buy a solid home at a great price. It helped me build equity.’ ”

A Phoenix native, John Long got his start in the building industry with a G.I. loan, his own hammer and other tools he borrowed from his stepfather. He first set out to build a home for his new wife, Mary. Instead, he ended up selling the home for twice what it cost to build.

By 1954, John Long was thinking big. He set out not only to build a collection of tract homes in one area, but also to create a community with schools, churches, hospitals, shopping centers and parks. Long created the state’s first master-planned community and named it Maryvale, after his wife.

By applying mass production techniques to homebuilding, Long was able to offer a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a swimming pool for less than $10,000. Houses began selling at a rate of 100 per week, and John F. Long Properties was born.

Despite his success, Long never forgot who he was building the homes for, says Diane McCarthy, director of business partnerships and legislative affairs for West-MEC. For example, when Long first began constructing homes, he realized the VA loans didn’t cover such essentials as refrigerators and stoves. So Long trekked to Washington, D.C., and went before Congress to change the scope of the VA loans.

“He didn’t do it to make money. Making money was a sidebar to what he was doing,” McCarthy says. “He wanted to build communities. He knew with all those returning servicemen after World War II who had served out here either at Williams or Luke, he knew they were going to come West and he wanted an affordable place for them to live.”

Already hailed as an innovator for his assembly line methods of homebuilding, Long adopted sustainable methods years before it became popular. In 1988, John F. Long Homes was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop, construct and test a demonstration model home featuring roof-mounted photovoltaic solar cells. His Solar One became the world’s first solar subdivision. The 24-home subdivision in Glendale has almost all of its power needs met by ground-mounted photovoltaic cells.

“I think John was probably one of the greatest entrepreneurs and innovators, at least in the housing end, in water conservation, in just general development,” says Rep. John Nelson, (R-Phoenix). “He was a step ahead of everybody in those areas.”

John F. LongFor Long, finding new ways to build homes was just one part of his vision. He was interested in building a community; more specifically, he wanted the West Valley to be a place where people lived and worked. Rather than resent the fact that the West Valley was perpetually in the East Valley’s shadow, Long took the East Valley model and used it to reshape the West Valley. To that end, WESTMARC was born

“WESTMARC wouldn’t have happened without him. It’s just that simple,” says McCarthy, who first met Long in 1992, when she became the first director of WESTMARC. “He provided a lot of the seed money for us to get started, and in addition to the money, he talked to a lot of people. When you’re starting up an organization like that, you don’t have a lot of credibility because you don’t have a track record. He was willing to talk to other people and say, ‘Look, I really believe in what this organization can do and we have to give it a chance. And we all have to be willing to roll up our sleeves and get involved and help make a lot of these things happen.’ ”

Making things happen was a John Long specialty. He was always quick to donate money, land or services to make sure his beloved West Valley would continue to grow and be a place where people could raise families and build communities. A very small portion of what he gave includes the labor and material to fill potholes on 550 miles of West Phoenix streets; building and donating 21 townhouses to the city’s Affordable Housing Program; and when the Milwaukee Brewers were looking for a new Spring Training home, donating 60 acres of land for the Maryvale Baseball Park – as well as lending the city $10 million for construction.

Besides giving out of his own pocket, Long made sure others with the wherewithal gave as well.

“Dad was born and raised in Phoenix,” Jacob Long says. “This makes a huge difference. You have that sense of ownership and pride. He always was looking for ways to help others help themselves, who in turn might have the same feelings and be inspired. That is how true communities flourish.”

John Long had a standing challenge to other developers who built in the West Valley, Nelson says.

“He’d say, ‘I’ll do this if you do that,’ ” Nelson adds. “If you took a look at the developers who took a project on the West Side, they always had that challenge with John to put a project in pace that had benefits for those who lived there.”

McCarthy recalls a time when the library and senior center just north of Indian School Road and 51st Avenue badly needed repairs. Long made sure money for the upgrades was included in a bond measure. The measure succeeded, but when he found out the renovations weren’t scheduled until years later, Long took matters into his own hands.

“He went to the city and said, ‘Here’s the check for $10 million. Get it done sooner and pay me when the bond proceeds come in,’ ” McCarthy says. “So that beautiful, beautiful library and senior center he lived to see done.”

Exactly how much Long gave to the community is not exactly known, as most of his work was done behind the scenes and with no fanfare.

“Both parents instilled in us the need to be aware of someone who truly needs help and is experiencing a tough time through no fault of their own,” Jacob Long says. “One such person, a teenager, experienced a very bad athletic accident. He was confined to a wheelchair and his parents didn’t have the resources to modify their home. Dad read about this in the newspaper and he contacted the family and offered to remodel their home to accommodate the son’s special needs. This way he could be with his family. No one asked (my Dad) to do this.”

His philanthropy was not a recent development. In fact, he established the John F. Long Foundation, a nonprofit group supporting local charities, schools, education events and general community needs, in 1959. Long was generous in the extreme, but he was still a businessman and he would fight to protect his interests and those of the community he loved.

“He had a heart of gold and was tough as nails when he had to be,” Nelson says. “John sued the living daylights out of the city of Phoenix (in 1986) because they sold water to Palo Verde (Nuclear Generating Station). That was another side of John; he was not afraid to fight. If he felt he was right, he’d drag you to court. He didn’t care who you were.”

In 2000, WESTMARC created a lifetime achievement award and named it after Long. Despite all of his years working for the West Valley, the honor came as a surprise to him, McCarthy says.

“We told him we named it after him and I had never seen him speechless up to that point,” she says. “He was so thrilled at that. And then every year, I would take a couple of names to him and ask him, ‘Who do you think should get it?’ And he’d pick out the one and say, ‘That’s the one.’

“He never, ever flaunted anything. He was the most humble person. He would walk into a room and quietly sit down and unless you knew John Long, you wouldn’t know it was him,” McCarthy says. “I miss him. He was always somebody to call if you had an idea and he was willing to call you if he had an idea. And that’s how things get done.”


Attention Cyber Shoppers: Do Your Homework Before Entering The E-commerce Arena

Here’s advice for any business giving serious consideration to selling goods and services online: Before diving into electronic commerce, make sure to get your feet wet in such critical areas as marketing, networking, branding, fulfillment and customer service.

Novices can hone these skills by selling on eBay or placing products on Amazon Marketplace. But even well-established businesses must realize that an online presence involves venturing into such new territories as the blogosphere and social media.

None of this is any reason to shy away. The upside is too great. In March, Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger said his company is on track to generate $1 billion in online revenue this year. Those expectations are too lofty for most, but consider recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau: Total e-commerce sales for 2007 reached about $136.4 billion, a 19 percent increase from the year before.

Amanda Vega is a former AOL employee who now operates Amanda Vega Consulting, an integrated marketing firm currently headquartered in Phoenix. A big part of her business is Web site development and related services. She sees e-commerce as a viable option for two kinds of entrepreneurs.

“People should consider it if they think that there’s a place in the market that isn’t being serviced by someone else or isn’t being serviced adequately,” she says. “Or (it offers) a natural extension to their brick-and-mortar store to help give them a national or international presence instead of just going the traditional route and building store No. 2 and store No. 3, which can cost a lot more than doing it online.”

The nice part about operating an effective e-commerce Web site is there are more ways to make money than just selling your own products or services. One method, according to Vega, is through affiliate deals with complementary companies.

“Even if it’s, let’s say, $300 a month that you’re making somehow behind the scenes for referring to other products or vendors, it’s still more income than the business owner had coming in through the traditional door,” she says.

Mark Sharkey, the owner of Mesa-based PrecisionPros.com Network and such related companies as DynamicPros.com, which provides Web programming services, says there are a variety of opportunities for those with content-rich sites that generate frequent repeat visits.

“If there’s a reason for people to keep coming back all the time,” Sharkey says, “then those types of sites will easily generate money from selling banner advertisements or doing a link-exchange kind of setup where they get paid based on the number of people that see an advertisement on the Web site, click through and go to another Web site.

“The great thing about an e-commerce Web site is that it can make money for you 24 hours a day,” he continues. “You don’t have to be in your office for it to make money for you. You don’t have to restrict your business to the local market. You have a worldwide market that’s available to you now.”

Deciding whether to enter the e-commerce arena won’t be your biggest decision. Deciding how to go about it the right way will be. More times than not, this means involving people like Vega or Sharkey to help with such things as research, development, design and marketing.

There are many crucial elements that contribute to a successful site, and not just from a visual standpoint.

Create a user-friendly site that enhances the customer’s shopping experience. Provide good information and make it easy to navigate. Make sure the customer feels safe when placing an order and providing personal information.

“The Internet is an open forum and if we don’t encrypt that data, it’s easy to see and steal that information,” Sharkey says. “You want to make sure the Web site itself is set up or the Web server is set up to handle secure transactions.”

There’s also the issue of real-time credit card processing. If you go this route, make sure you have a reputable company processing transactions.

You need to be on a server with a fast response time or risk losing impatient visitors. And don’t forget product availability and production times. This is not the old mail-order business. No one’s willing to wait six to eight weeks. Customers expect prompt delivery. If you promise to ship within 24 hours, Vega says, customers start counting from the time of purchase, not from the time you arrive at your office the next day.

“Those are the questions that I think people don’t think about,” she says. It may be less expensive to operate an online business than a brick-and-mortar store, “but there are extra costs associated with the fact that now your business is 24/7.”

Vega points out that if you mess up, online shoppers can quickly spread the word through blogs, forums, message boards and other social-media means.

Also, there are numerous marketing considerations, some costly and others that require hard work and smart decisions. This includes optimizing your Web site for search engines through the proper use of keywords and by generating inbound links from relevant sites. It may mean creating a blog and establishing yourself as an industry expert to help drive customers to your site. You might experiment with online advertising in some of its various forms. There’s also traditional advertising and public relations.

As Vega says, “You can’t just throw the store online and say, ‘OK, go.’ ”