Local First Arizona comes to Tucson – Community Meeting

Old Pueblo merchants emulate Austin, Portland, Boulder “Buy Local” movements

Community Meeting: Friday, March 14 at 3 PM
Hosted by Councilwoman Karin Ulich

Ward III Office, 1510 East Grant Road(TUCSON, Ariz.) – Local First Arizona representatives travel to Tucson on Friday, March 14 to celebrate the grand opening of their new Tucson office. The nonprofit organization, which consists of more than 1,000 Arizona-based, independent businesses, comes to Southern Arizona at the request of merchants who seek to protect and preserve the attributes that make Tucson a unique and compelling place to live.

“This isn’t just another branch location for us: It’s our home,” explained Kimber Lanning, executive director for Local First Arizona. “Here in Arizona, our rich history is struggling under the weight of the massive influx of name-brand stores and homogenized strip malls that are now on nearly every corner. We must not forget that it is the local businesses that play a huge role in any city’s greatness.”

Tucson city councilwoman Karin Ulich had been working with the Phoenix-based nonprofit for the past six months to put together a Southern Arizona presence for the organization, which has members throughout the state. In fact, Tucson-based Bedmart, Arizona’s largest family owned and operated mattress dealer, is a Local First “sustaining member,” having recognized early on the power of promoting in-state ownership and close community ties.

Ulich will be hosting an information session for all interested Tucson businesses at her Ward III office at 3 PM on Friday, March 14. There, Lanning will unveil the new Tucson page on the popular www.localfirstaz.com web site, where consumers can search by name, business type or location for locally owned solutions to their needs.

Founded in 2003, Local First is the fastest growing independent business alliance in the United States. With more than 1,300 individual and business members, the nonprofit, grassroots organization is dedicated to building stronger communities throughout Arizona by strengthening the independent businesses that are the backbone of the state economy. Educating consumers about the benefits of shopping locally; working with lawmakers to promote “Arizona business-friendly” policies; and bringing together business-owners and entrepreneurs in mutually beneficial partnerships, Local First embraces the fact that local businesses have a natural interest a community’s long-term well-being.

All locally owned, independent businesses based in Tucson are invited to attend the open meeting on Friday. Lanning and Ulich are available for interview.

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