Local First: Stories from Arizona’s Small Business Community
Meet Tony Ce and Adrian Gillette, Local Buzz

Meet Tony Ce and Adrian Gillette, Local Buzz

May 10, 2021

How do you connect with your community digitally? With the rise in social media and technology, it's easy to be disconnected rather than closer to others. Tony and Adrian launched Local Buzz to solve that problem. Hear their entrepreneurial journey, commitment to community, and work being done to shine a light on the diversity in Arizona.

Meet Brian Law, Motor Palace Mercantile

Meet Brian Law, Motor Palace Mercantile

May 3, 2021

Have you stood on a corner in Winslow Arizona? While The Eagles may have written a catchy phrase in a popular song that gave a small town worldwide recognition, it's the people within Winslow driving the uniqueness forward. Meet Brian Law from Motor Palace Mercantile - a storyteller, bike rider, and business owner who will invite you in and make you feel right at home in one of Arizona's smaller towns.

Meet Monica Merenda, Los Compadres

Meet Monica Merenda, Los Compadres

April 26, 2021

7th Ave or Northern Ave? For 60 years the Valdivia's restaurants, Los Compadres, delivered comfort Mexican food out of two well-known locations in The Valley. After venturing from Globe/Miami years ago, the family's recipes took many shapes and forms in different corners of the state. Monica Valdivia-Merenda has now taken the reigns of the Los Compadres legacy. From dining in to farmers markets, hear how she's adapted the business and continued carrying forward the food so many people have come to love.

Meet Kelly Aubey, FilmBar

Meet Kelly Aubey, FilmBar

April 19, 2021

As the Covid19 pandemic disrupted our everyday lives, small businesses that relied on foot traffic and visitors shuttered and were forced to adapt. A staple of downtown Phoenix, FilmBar was no outlier. Hear Kelly Aubey's journey experiencing the development of an ever-changing downtown, what his small theater's role in that may or may not have been, and how his business was forced to persevere through a year of incredible challenges.

Meet Drew Shaw, Voyce Threads

Meet Drew Shaw, Voyce Threads

April 12, 2021

Only 2% of the teaching population are Black men. When Drew Shaw got his start in education, he wasn't sure what it would lead to, but knew he had a responsibility to give back to the community. Little did he know that would lead to writing children's books and manufacturing socks. Learn how Drew took the leap from teaching to entrepreneurship, and how he continues to influence others to consider the social impact of their daily lives.

Meet Jacob Meltzer, Keep it Cut

Meet Jacob Meltzer, Keep it Cut

April 5, 2021

8 years ago, Jacob Meltzer and his business partner set out to disrupt the traditional model of how you get a haircut. Rather than a sterile environment and being rushed through, what if you looked forward to going back to getting trimmed? Keep it Cut has expanded to multiple locations throughout Greater Phoenix through a monthly membership format. Hear Jacob's journey, how they're committed to everyone who walks in the door and the community, and get a taste of the different environment they bring to Arizona - all through haircutting.

Meet Ashley La Russa, La Roux Events & Blax Friday

Meet Ashley La Russa, La Roux Events & Blax Friday

March 29, 2021

Ashley La Russa has been planning events for years in Tucson, Arizona. And as a Black Woman-Owned business, her call to provide a voice for others has developed into an inspiring venture. Blax Friday was launched in the summer of 2020 as the only directory of Black-owned businesses in Arizona and quickly grew to nearly 700 businesses across the state. Get introduced to Ashley's passion for courageous conversations, uplifting voices that have been suppressed, and bringing the community together to learn, grow and inspire each other.

Meet Ashely Harder, Harder Development

Meet Ashely Harder, Harder Development

March 22, 2021

Real Estate Development. Intimidated? Bored yet? Let's stop you right there. Ashely Harder launched her small-scale adaptive-reuse-focused development company 10 years ago with a focus on contributing to building a more vibrant and unique environment throughout Phoenix. Discover her commitment to redefining what development can actually be, the opportunity the city has to showcase any creative development projects that make us unique, and the need for more residents to activate in their neighborhoods to build the future of the community we want.

Meet Mahin Sciacca, One World Dance Studio

Meet Mahin Sciacca, One World Dance Studio

March 15, 2021

Middle Eastern Dance (commonly referred to as Belly Dancing) has a deep history in its development across the world. Did you know how diverse and active the community sharing this special form of artistic dance is in Greater Phoenix? Meet Mahin Sciacca, owner of One World Dance Studio, a life long dancer and career dance instructor as she paints the story of the Phoenix Middle Eastern Dance community, the welcoming environment she creates through her studio in Midtown Phoenix, and how she's committed to sharing what she loves with everyone in Arizona.

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

 

 

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