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Local Love: Make the Pledge to Go Local

Shop local. Spend local. Eat local. Enjoy local. Have you made the pledge yet to go local? Small businesses are burgeoning as the heartbeat of communities, and they need our support to continue thriving. As a local organization, we want to give some local love and share why experiences with Phoenix businesses are so rewarding, for both the business and the customer.

On the Corner of Connection

In central Phoenix, where 16th Street and Bethany Home Road intersect, you’ll find Luci’s Marketplace. After strolling in to shop for a couple of greeting cards, we met with the manager to talk about what makes this neighborhood restaurant such a popular local hangout.

We’re a family business that began as a local marketplace to offer more natural and sustainable foods and products. We partner with food vendors in the neighborhood, who become a part of our family. It’s a place that connects everyone. You get to know people. Our partners donate items, and it’s our way of supporting others and giving back. Supporting local is all about personal connection. You help people, and we care about what we do.
- Connor Dolan

Luci’s, with its two Phoenix locations, represents what community connection means — from posting what’s going on around town on its community board to its partnership with the bakery across the street.

Ingredients for Success

The Valley is home to a steadily growing food scene that has regularly captured the attention of critics from across the country, all while doing well here at home. One standout example is Pizzeria Bianco.

Bianco has been serving arguably the best pizza in America, which has put Pizzeria Bianco on the map (have you seen their Netflix special yet?). This Phoenix restaurant focuses on sourcing high-quality ingredients, most often from local artisans and farmers. Bianco is filled with wisdom and knows a thing or two about quality ingredients. In an azcentral article, Bianco was quoted saying,

People always thought, 'The wood-burning oven, that's the secret.' I don't know. (Stuff) goes in, (stuff) comes out. It's a tool. Without the rest of it, without the greatest of ingredients and the care you put into it, it's a light in the window.
- Chris Bianco

Unique and Quality Gifts

Unlike most big-box retailers, local businesses like Phoenix’s boutique Frances offer unique, specially curated clothing, jewelry, home essentials and more. These products, provided by local artists, artisans, crafters and small businesses, reflect the owner’s commitment to collaboration and deeper community connections.

Scott Goodson, the owner of Citizen Home Décor, regularly sets up shop at Frances to sell his handmade wooden décor pieces. His stickers, wall art, coasters, keychains, postcards, luggage tags and more are truly one-of-a-kind. As an Arizona native, he also designs pieces with state pride, like the AZ wooden pennant sign and cactus birch coaster. It’s local family businesses like his that bring unique charm to the Phoenix community.

More Than a Regular, a Friend

Customers who visit Kaleidoscope Juice in Old Town Scottsdale regularly get to know the owners and employees and develop friendships. We sat down with the manager, Cory Tejada, to chat about why this juice bar and coffee café loves being local.

We have great regulars who are so dedicated. We love to make their day better and brighten their day. It’s so rewarding. Our customers will bring in gifts for us, like avocados and oranges, and we’ll give out free drinks and coffee because we love them. Phoenix is so spread out that we have to come together more. When I go anywhere local, it’s like visiting a friend. They remember you, and that is a relationship. When you get to interact on such a personal level, the customer service is just better.
- Cory Tejada

Other Valley cafés that are creating community and delicious drinks are Colados Coffee & Crepes, Berdena's and Peixoto. Skip the national coffee chain store and opt for a cup from spots that support sustainable business practices, source quality ingredients and open their spaces for their communities to use.

A Community Gathering Place

Where else can you experience the best local shopping and eating than at your local farmers market? Farmers markets have rapidly grown in popularity as social, shopping and eating hubs for the community to experience over the last 20 years.

In downtown Phoenix, locals flock to the Open Air Market at the Phoenix Public Market on Saturday mornings. Food trucks, coffee stands, farmers, vendors and even a yoga studio from down the street meet to not only offer their goods but also create an outdoor gathering place that people have come to love.

Over in Gilbert, over 60 vendors during the summer season and 100 vendors during the fall/spring season can be found just west of the picturesque water tower. The Gilbert farmers market is usually open every Saturday and also features some amazing food trucks and entertainment.

On the west side of the Valley, the Arrowhead farmers market offers fun for the whole family on Saturdays. The market offers fresh, in-season produce, artisan baked goods, cheese and meats in addition to various kids' activities.

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Pro tip: To find a farmers market near you, check out Arizona Community Farmers Markets

Live and Love Local

Small businesses are increasingly sprouting up throughout the Valley. These places — where you can find personal connections and diverse goods — also help produce new jobs, grow entrepreneurship and boost the local economy. So when you spot a new coffee shop or restaurant opening up in town, stop by! You’re doing good by going local.

The businesses and organizations mentioned within the above article are non-affiliated third parties of Desert Financial Credit Union. Desert Financial makes no warranties or representations about the goods or services offered.

The material presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.