Vote with Your Dollar

June 23, 2013 |

Fed by Threads co-founder Alok Appadurai, standing outside of the clothing shop and next to the Local First Arizona sticker.
photo: Deanna Chevas

The only thing standing between a sweeping landscape of homogeneous corporate box stores versus original, fun, colorful, funky (or quite normal) local businesses (run by people, not boards of directors) are you and your daily, individual shopping choices.

There are countless stories across the nation of mom and pop shops crushed by Big Mart or Pasta Garden. What once was viewed as a great thing for a community’s job offerings has been discovered to be a horrible reality for local economies. There might be some jobs gained, but the majority of the money shoppers spend at Big Mart does not stay locally.

The fiscal implications of purchasing from local businesses are astounding. According to the Local First Arizona website (, for every $100 spent at local business, $73 stays in the community versus the $43 that remains locally when spent at chain stores.

While Tucsonans are pretty great about supporting their community businesses, it doesn’t hurt to remind our citizenry about the importance of conscientious shopping.  To that end, Local First Arizona (LFA) is celebrating Independents Week from June 30 to July 7.

Deanna Chevas, the non-profit’s Tucson Membership Coordinator, says that the organization is doing its version of the American Independent Business Alliance’s 11th annual national campaign by offering a “Golden Coupon” and hosting a couple of events.

On July 2, LFA partners with The Loft Cinema to screen “Growth Busters” and on July 7 a local food and beer dinner will be hosted by the Food Conspiracy Co-op and Dragoon Brewery. Chevas says the dinner is an “eat local challenge” and ties in directly with LFA goals. “It is sustainable economic development to eat food from local growers and producers.”

While those events bookend the week, consumers can enjoy 20% off from retailers accepting the “Golden Coupon,” which is available at to print or to use as a digital coupon on smartphones.

The complete list of participating retailers is available here (includes all business statewide, scroll down for Tucson locales).

As a business owner, joining Local First Arizona and participating in Independents Week is a no-brainer for Fed by Threads clothing store co-founder Alok Appadurai.

“It is important for us to join Local First because of our belief in the power of the consumer to improve local economies by supporting locally owned businesses. Our society has distanced itself from ideas about the values of locally-owned businesses and community: it is our belief that Local First represents a shift back to a time when such things mattered!

“We are thrilled to be part of Independents week! It’s a great way for folks in Tucson to learn more about locally-owned businesses and give us a shot to earn their business,” Appadurai enthuses.

Fed by Threads embraces community, country, and sustainable development by running a “clothing boutique where every piece is made in America, every piece uses sustainable fabrics, and every piece helps feed 12 emergency meals to hungry Americans via food banks. There is literally nothing else like Fed By Threads in the country. Our little shop on 9th Street at 3rd Ave. represents hope for the American Manufacturing Economy, hope for protecting the environment, and hope for the 50 million Americans who are facing food insecurity.”

For Tucson businesses facing summertime income insecurity, Chevas reiterates that people need to “remember to support your indie shops, especially since it is summer and half of the population has gone to California or the Midwest.

“It is more important than ever to vote with your dollar.”

Details on Independents Week is at


As stated on, “Local First Arizona (LFA) is a non-profit organization working to strengthen communities and local economies through supporting, maintaining, and celebrating locally owned businesses throughout the state of Arizona.” The organization has grown significantly since its early inception in 2003 as Arizona Chain Reaction. Last year alone, it added 900 new members. Tucson’s membership base increased by 100 new businesses, said Tucson Membership Coordinator Deanna Chevas.

Category: Business, Community