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Businesses in Phoenix and around Arizona are celebrating Independents Week. The annual campaign around the Fourth of July is designed to highlight the economic impact of locally-owned, independent businesses.
When Bill Sandweg and his wife opened Copper Star Coffee a decade ago, it was the only coffee shop along a stretch of 7th Avenue in central Phoenix.
“A lot of the major corporations were moving to the outskirts still,” Sandweg said.
Today, there are two Starbucks within a couple miles of his shop. And, while Copper Star’s annual sales can’t compare to the world’s largest coffee chain, Sandweg is pretty proud of his payroll.
“We’ve spent over $1.1 million in wages over the last 10 years,” he said. “We have contributed over a quarter million dollars to the state of Arizona for sales tax and I think it’s over $50-or-$60,000 for the city of Phoenix.”
Advocates for independent businesses often say that shopping locally keeps more money in the local economy. Studies and statistics can vary. Sandweg explains the multiplier effect this way: “I don’t lease from a national company. I lease from a guy whose family has been in Phoenix a hundred years. So my money goes to him and he spends it on other properties and other businesses and his employees.”
This is the first time Tim Bishop is participating in National Independents Week. He and his business partner opened Dig It Urban Gardens and Nursery near 16th Street and Thomas in Phoenix last fall.
Bishop says the 22,000 square foot nursery features a vast selection of cactus and succulents along with unique plants that typically aren’t found in big box stores.
“People want to go somewhere new and cool and interesting and I think the independent shops tend to have more to offer in terms of that vibe and that feeling,” he said.”
As part of National Independents Week, Local First Arizona is offering a ‘golden coupon’. Shoppers who use it can get 20 percent off at more than 400 businesses across the state through July 4.