Organization promotes shopping locally

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Local First AZ is an organization that promotes local businesses and the importance of shopping local. Kimber Lanning, founder and CEO, discusses why it’s important to shop local for the holidays. She also explains what shopping local means for the community in terms of finances and support.

What does Local First Arizona do?

“We are a statewide non-profit organization that’s working to strengthen Arizona’s economy. We do that through investing, and entrepreneurship, and small business development. We have a network of local businesses across the state,” said Lanning.

“It’s very timely right now, as we are facing these massive mergers, monopolistic mergers. Our strategy is to build a diverse economy by supporting all types of small, locally owned businesses,” said Lanning.

What does local business mean?

“We define it as family-owned and operated, in other words, privately held, not publicly trade. The family needs to live Arizona at least nine months out of the year. We are really pushing back on this notion that big has to mean that you go into the stock market,” explained Lanning.

“Many very big companies, like Sam Adams beer for example, still family owned and operated. There is no reason that big is necessarily the challenge. I think the challenge is when you become a corporate structure, you go into the stock market, your ownership is veiled and is less accountable to the communities they serve,” she said.

Are you seeing more local businesses in Arizona?

“Absolutely, there were tons of new businesses that launched during COVID ironically. A lot of change out there, but there is plenty of new and there is a lot of enthusiasm right now for supporting locally owned businesses,” said Lanning.

“You have an opportunity to create jobs and opportunities for Arizonans when you choose to spend your money with a local company,” said Lanning.

Kimber Lanning, founder and CEO of Local First Arizona

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