As the nation gets ready to celebrate Independence Day, Tucson's homegrown businesses are celebrating Independents Week.
Starting today, and through next Sunday, members of Local First Arizona are encouraging consumers to support as many locally owned businesses as possible.
"It's a great way to get word out about supporting local businesses," said Kate Randall, co-owner of Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave.
While creating awareness helps, it's sometimes hard for people to shop local, Randall said. "It's hard because people have to make a choice between things that are super cheap" and local products.
As incentive, Local First Arizona created a "Golden Coupon," which offers a 20 percent discount at participating stores during Independents Week.
The coupon can be downloaded and printed at localfirstaz.com. There is also a link for a smartphone version that comes with a map of participating merchants on the same website.
More than 50 Tucson businesses are participating, said Deanna Chavez, Tucson membership coordinator for Local First Arizona. "It's definitely getting bigger in Tucson," Chavez said.
Local First was able to advertise on the radio this year, which Chavez said allowed it to reach a different demographic than usual. "I'm really excited about that."
NoneSuch Home, 2801 E. Broadway, is a new business offering home furnishings, accessories, trinkets, jewelry and art.
Eliza Dray, co-owner of the store, said her business became a member of Local First Arizona to receive and to give support.
"Any time you can refer people to local businesses, it's great," Dray said. "If we can help refer people to other great spots in town, it's a service."
Antigone Books has participated in Independents Week since the annual campaign began 11 years ago. Randall said there seems to be more awareness of how much money goes back into the Tucson economy when consumers support locally owned businesses.
In fact, according to a Local First study, when a consumer spends $100 at a local business, $73 of that stays in the local economy, versus $43 from a nonlocal purchase of $100.
"I also think as people's consciousness grows about it, they realize that the uniqueness of a community is a wonderful thing," Randall said.
Local First Arizona has partnered with local businesses to create two Independents Week events.
The first is a film screening of "Growth Busters," a documentary film by Dave Gardner, Tuesday at The Loft Cinema. The film's promotional materials say it "examines the cultural barriers that prevent us from reacting rationally to evidence that current levels of population and consumption are unsustainable."
Since the Food Conspiracy Co-op's Eat Local Challenge falls during Independents Week this year, the co-op has teamed up with Dragoon Brewing to sponsor a local beer dinner.
The dinner event will include a tour of Dragoon Brewing Co. and a four-course meal featuring vegan and meat options catered by the Food Conspiracy Co-op. The meal will include beef from local ranches and vegetables from local farms, along with beer pairings chosen by Dragoon's head brewer.
If You Go
Here are details of the two Independents Week events:
• Independent film screening of "Growth Busters" at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway, 7 p.m. Tuesday. $9.25; $6.25 senior; $6.25 child. Discounts available. Event also features raffle of prizes donated by local businesses. 795-7777.
• Local Beer Dinner catered by the Food Conspiracy Co-op, Dragoon Brewing, 1859 W. Grant Road, 5 to 7 p.m. July 7. $45 tickets available at the Food Conspiracy Co-op, 412 N. Fourth Ave. 624-4821.
The Food Conspiracy Co-op is launching a campaign to encourage shoppers to eat locally sourced foods. The challenge runs from July 1 to 14. Local food will be on sale at the co-op each day of the challenge, and posted on its Facebook page, facebook.com/foodconspiracy
Contact reporter Angela Pittenger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4137.