Founded in 2003 by Director Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona (LFA) is the largest alliance of independent businesses in North America, working to strengthen communities and local economies through supporting, maintaining, and celebrating locally-owned businesses throughout the state of Arizona. With over 2,100 members, LFA educates citizens, stakeholders, business leaders, and public officials about the significant environmental, economic, and cultural benefits of strong local economies.
Local First Arizona works in a number of ways to promote the “Buy Local” message. Our Shift Arizona campaign encourages consumers to shift just 10% of their spending to support local businesses. By shifting 10% of their spending, consumers can contribute to millions of dollars in new economic activity and creating thousands of new jobs in their community. Arizonans have already pledged to shift over $60 million at www.ShiftArizona.com! We even partnered with our local Valley Metro to wrap one of the Light Rail trains with our Shift Arizona campaign logos to spread more awareness for the campaign.
Other Local First Arizona initiatives include Independents Week in July, Buy Local Month in December, and the Certified Local Fall Festival. These annual events engage business owners and consumers in the “Buy Local” dialogue, and raise awareness for the importance of supporting independent businesses in our communities. Our eighth annual Certified Local Fall Festival drew a record 8,000 people to Downtown Phoenix to celebrate everything Arizona. We also organize Devour Phoenix, Phoenix’s Independent Restaurant Coalition; Fuerza Local, the first Spanish-speaking chapter of local business owners in the nation, and WeekendZona, our campaign to encourage Arizonans to explore their home state and vacation in Arizona’s charming rural communities. LFA was recently awarded the Governor’s Tourism Award for our work in directing local tourism to the Verde Valley region in Northern Arizona.
Those who are not very familiar with Arizona may not recognize that we have already achieved so much for the independent business community, but LFA has become one of the nation’s leaders in setting the agenda for directing consumers to independent businesses and connecting local businesses to one another. We are looking forward to another year of forward momentum for our organization and for Arizona’s many independent businesses.