Local First: Stories from Arizona’s Small Business Community
Meet Eddie Hantas & Chef Kelton, Hummus Xpress

Meet Eddie Hantas & Chef Kelton, Hummus Xpress

October 30, 2019

Meet Eddie Hantas, owner & Chef Kelton of Hummus Xpress. Kelton may be new to the team, having joined the in May, but agrees with Eddie who says, "It's like a lab at Hummus Xpress. An abundant experience... It's a lot of fun to be around all of these fresh veggies!" Eddie hails from Lebanon and lived in Michigan before embarking on an adventure to the wild West of Arizona to escape the cold winters. In 2002, he honed his skills in the kitchen working at a local Tempe pizza spot, Gus' Pizza. Hummus Express blends traditional meals of Lebanon with a few twists (like Mexican peppers) to make it special. "It's a lot of family recipes - just like mom makes it - so it's really personal to me." 

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of Arizona Fall Fest, we're bringing you local stories from those who will be celebrating with us on Nov. 2nd! www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival

 

 

Meet Booker Chandler, Uncle Blues Gourmet Lemonade

Meet Booker Chandler, Uncle Blues Gourmet Lemonade

October 24, 2019

Meet Booker Chandler, owner of Uncle Blues Gourmet Lemonade. Booker and host, Thomas Barr, reminisce about their favorite lemonade memories from sports games to the early days when Booker built his own lemonade stand at age 8. From farmers markets to the Arizona Fall Fest, Uncle Blues brings unique, natural flavor mixes you won't find anywhere else. What's next for Uncle Blues? "World domination," Booker says with a chuckle.

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of Arizona Fall Fest, we're bringing you local stories from those who will be celebrating with us on Nov. 2nd! www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival

Meet Joe & Jana Matarazzo, Goodfellas Merch

Meet Joe & Jana Matarazzo, Goodfellas Merch

October 17, 2019

Meet Joe & Jana Matarazzo, owners of Goodfellas Merch in Glendale. Avid music fans of the Phoenix scene will enjoy the ode to great local bands, like: Black Carl, The Format, Jimmy Eat World, The Maine, and more as host Thomas Barr, Joe & Jana reminisce about growing up in the music scene in the community they love so much. 

Starting out in 2000, Joe had just graduated from high school, but already knew what he wanted to do - be an entrepreneur. He started his shop to accommodate the punk rock culture with piercings and expanded with tattooing and also carrying unique, independently made clothing, like Ed Hardy, before it was the Ed Hardy of today. Bands sought out Joe and Jana to create their t-shirts, which launched them into a whole new direction and led them to create Goodfellas Merch.

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of Arizona Fall Fest, we're bringing you local stories from those who will be celebrating with us on Nov. 2nd! www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival

Meet Lisa Olson, Practical Art

Meet Lisa Olson, Practical Art

October 10, 2019

Meet Lisa Olson, owner of Practical Art in Uptown, Phoenix. Lisa has been bringing artists and art-enthusiasts together for 11 years, working with just 8 artists in the beginning to over 165 today in her store. The idea is to showcase functional and practical art that people can love and use in their own home. Lisa inherited the store from family friend after she passed away from leukemia, Lisa reflects, "She was my mentor, just a phenomenal woman and essential in me having a voice in the community." Hear Lisa's story about being an artist in Phoenix, running a small business, and creating a place that brings together so many people... for Lisa, she just says, "I genuinely love it."

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of Arizona Fall Fest, we're bringing you local stories from those who will be celebrating with us on Nov. 2nd! www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival

Meet Alexis Carbajal, Phoenix Coqui

Meet Alexis Carbajal, Phoenix Coqui

October 4, 2019

Meet Alexis Carbajal, co-owner of Phoenix Coqui, the first (and only) Puerto Rican food truck. While in Puerto Rico, Alexis met his partner and co-owner, Juan, and fell in love with the country's cuisine. Based in veggies, herbs and garlic - sazon and sofrito - food is passion in Puerto Rican cuisine. When they decided to open their own food truck, Juan had the help of family, as Alexis recalls, "Literally on the phone with his dad, walking Juan through the recipes." Hear how Alexis and Juan have created a community through Phoenix Coqui from a passion to share Puerto Rico with Arizona.

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of Arizona Fall Fest, we're bringing you local stories from those who will be celebrating with us on Nov. 2nd! www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival

Meet Karen Mason & Randy Mettler, Duck & Decanter

Meet Karen Mason & Randy Mettler, Duck & Decanter

September 25, 2019

Meet Karen & Randy Mettler, Duck & Decanter. Randy's family has been in business for over 40 years and was the original location of the first Arizona Fall Fest 15 years ago! Randy and Karen reflect on the changes made at "the Duck", like going from imported products to supporting more local vendors, having a line around the corner in the late '70s, and the very first Arizona Fall Fest where Randy realized, "This is what community feels like."

Today, Randy and Karen continue to forge innovation on the breadboard and have found a community among Local First AZ members... as he puts it, "The best thing about running a local business is Local First."

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of Arizona Fall Fest, we're bringing you local stories from those who will be celebrating with us on Nov. 2nd! www.localfirstaz.com/fall-festival

 

Meet Corey Rankin, OneAZ Credit Union

Meet Corey Rankin, OneAZ Credit Union

September 16, 2019

Meet Corey Rankin with OneAZ Credit Union. For over 65 years, the nonprofit credit union has been serving Arizona through community giving and supporting local business growth which has strengthened our local economy and helped create more vibrant communities. Corey's love for the community has been the guiding light along the way, which started at the young age of 18. Find out more about OneAZ Credit Union here: https://www.oneazcu.com/

Meet Erik Verryden, NexGen Partner Strategies

Meet Erik Verryden, NexGen Partner Strategies

September 9, 2019

Meet Erik Verryden, Founder of NexGen Partner Strategies. On the surface Erik's day-to-day business is credit card processing, but he's found a way to use his business to give back to community. Take a trip to a rural town in Arizona, where one particular local business owner found a way to give back to her favorite nonprofit just down the street.

Meet Lisa Lamberson, Mountain Sports Flagstaff

Meet Lisa Lamberson, Mountain Sports Flagstaff

September 3, 2019

Meet Lisa Lamberson, owner of Mountain Sports Flagstaff & Bright Side Bookstore. In 1980, Lisa's father started Mountain Sports in Flagstaff well before this quaint little town was known for outdoor sports and has grown it to be a cornerstone of the area. Lisa's story brings us a bit of history about Flagstaff in the 'old days' to where it's headed next - hopefully to more snowy adventures...

 

Meet Michela Ricci, The Early Bird PHX

Meet Michela Ricci, The Early Bird PHX

August 26, 2019

Meet Michela Ricci, owner of The Early Bird PHX. Setting up a coffee shop was a slam dunk, but we hear about the real struggles entrepreneurs face when going after a big dream. Michela takes us on her journey to find community - from leaving the state, to discovering coffee culture, and then returning with a new found ambition to become a local business owner right here in Arizona.