Mike and Chris interview Thomas Barr of Local First Arizona to discover how principles of capitalism and buying local work together to build a stronger local economy and a stronger world.

Contact:  Thomas thomas@localfirstaz.com Mike mike@resoundcreative.com or Chris chris@resoundcreative.com

Discuss at https://www.facebook.com/azbrandcast/

AZ Brandcast is graciously sponsored by Conscious Capitalism Arizona – the global movement inspiring businesses to do good…because it’s just good business. Find out more about Conscious Capitalism and the many companies transforming our world for the better on their website: consciouscapitalismaz.com

And our show is produced by Phoenix Business RadioX and recorded at the enviable MAC6 coworking space in ever-sunny Tempe, Arizona (the 48th – and best state of them all). AZ Brandcast is a project of Resound – an Arizona brand agency.

Show Transcript

Chris Stadler: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s time for Phoenix Business Radio. Spotlighting the city’s best businesses and the people who lead them.

Mike Jones: All right. Now I get to talk. Got the music over with. Welcome to AZ Brandcast where we talk to all sorts of awesome Arizona people, about the power of brand and how to build great brands in our remarkable state of Arizona. Today I’m super excited to have Thomas Barr from Local First Arizona on the show today.

Thomas Barr: Thanks for having me, I’m stoked.

Mike Jones: Yeah, I’ve been waiting for this. I’m really glad that we’re finally making it happen. Quick intro about Thomas. He’s the executive director of Local First Arizona, which is the largest coalition of local businesses in North America.

Thomas Barr: True story.

Mike Jones: Whoa, that’s a big statement. We’ll have to get into that.

Thomas Barr: It’s a big continent.

Mike Jones: It is a big continent. And he advocates for a strong local business community and I can attest that he is an advocate for that. In the time that I’ve known him and seen him around and all the stuff that he’s doing with Local First, but advocate for local business community that contributes to building vibrancy, equity and prosperity across the state of Arizona. He’s a proud Arizona native.

Thomas Barr: Yes.

Mike Jones: There’s more than one of us.

Thomas Barr: One of the few.

Mike Jones: Yeah, there we go.

Thomas Barr: High fives.

Mike Jones: High fives. And a graduate of Arizona State University. And Thomas leads Local First Arizona by advocating for the economic and cultural benefits provided by building strong local economies. There’s so much there to unpack.

Thomas Barr: There’s a lot there.

Mike Jones: I’m really excited about that. But first, Chris, a word from our sponsor.

Chris Stadler: And I’m here too everybody, as usual. So our sponsor CCZ, so our fantastic, fantabulous, I feel like we need a new word for that there.

Mike Jones: Fantabulous is a good word.

Chris Stadler: Fantastic? Like come on, where’s the imagination. Friends at Conscious Capitalism Arizona, this local association is on a mission to share with the whole world how doing business for good is just good business. This local chapter of Conscious Capitalism Incorporated, hosts tons of local events and provides resources for business leaders to instill a higher purpose in their company and engage all their stakeholders. Be sure to check them out at consciouscapitalismaz.com. And aren’t we having a conference or something like that?

Mike Jones: Oh, yeah.

Chris Stadler: Pretty soon here.

Mike Jones: We got to talk about that for just a second. So Conscious Capitalism has their international conference this year in April. Dates are up on the website, consciouscapitalismaz.com. But what’s really cool is that conference is hosted this year in Phoenix.

Chris Stadler: That’s the state conference is in Phoenix, right?

Mike Jones: No, the international conference.

Chris Stadler: The national conference.

Mike Jones: No, the international conferences.

Chris Stadler: So people from where? People from where?

Mike Jones: From like Italy. Literally.

Thomas Barr: That’s when you know you’ve made it.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I was sitting at the conference last year in Dallas and the lady sitting next to me on one of the days was from Italy. And I was like, “This is awesome. This is an international movement. For sure.”

Chris Stadler: Did you ask her for any recipes? So you could appropriate her culture.

Mike Jones: No, we had a hard time just getting through, “Hello,” and “What do you do? And how did you end up here?” Right? So there was a little more than a cultural barrier, there was a language barrier too.

Chris Stadler: Right on.

Mike Jones: Which was awesome. I mean, she came out of her way to come to an event, you know, thousands, thousands of miles away across a very large ocean. A sea, called the Mediterranean. I mean that’s a big deal. That’s a long way.

Chris Stadler: That’s a lot of seas and oceans.

Mike Jones: Yeah. So it is literally an international conference. That’s not just a wish.

Chris Stadler: Mike, are you going?

Mike Jones: I’m definitely going. I just bought my ticket yesterday.

Chris Stadler: Thomas, are you going?

Thomas Barr: I’ll definitely be there.

Chris Stadler: Thomas will be there.

Thomas Barr: Definitely be there.

Chris Stadler: The sound engineer is just like, “I’ll be there.” And our producer will definitely be there. Great.

Mike Jones: I think there’s gonna be a lot of people from Arizona there too, which I’m really excited about.

Chris Stadler: It’s gonna be awesome. I cannot wait. And Mike will be giving autographs too. Will you?

Mike Jones: Autographs.

Chris Stadler: Will you deign to condescend to the-

Mike Jones: What are you talking about? We need to have a chat after the show.

Chris Stadler: It’s funny because Mike is one of the most approachable people I know. So that’s why it’s funny. So for those of you who don’t get it.

Thomas Barr: But his autographs are highly sought after.

Chris Stadler: They are. I don’t know.

Mike Jones: I have a rule though, I only give autographs on forearms. That’s my rule.

Chris Stadler: What about casts?

Mike Jones: Yeah, that counts.

Chris Stadler: Okay. You could start a tattoo parlor.

Mike Jones: Yeah, yeah. The Mike Jones Tattoo Parlor.

Chris Stadler: Next episode, Mike’s decision matrix on how he gives autographs.

Mike Jones: Will definitely be members of Local First Arizona.

Thomas Barr: There we go. There we go. Perfect plug.

Chris Stadler: Guys, icebreaker. Icebreaker question.

Mike Jones: Yeah, we got to get into this icebreaker here.

Chris Stadler: Icebreaker. This is a softball icebreaker question, man, super positive, not fun at all. So you guys are gonna have to do some work to make these good stories. Best experience buying locally. Or what’s your favorite story about buying locally?

Thomas Barr: It’s hard to pick just one, hard to pick just one. And I think I’m gonna pick one that’s not mine, but my wife’s.

Chris Stadler: Playing it safe.

Thomas Barr: And I can tell her to listen to this later.

Mike Jones: There you go.

Thomas Barr: My wife works a super early job at the Phoenix Zoo, also a member of Local First Arizona, actually one of the founding board members of Local First was the previous director of the Phoenix Zoo.

Mike Jones: Oh, wow.

Thomas Barr: Yeah.

Mike Jones: That’s cool.

Thomas Barr: But anyway, she works super early, has to get up early in the morning. And she has summer hours where they get up even earlier, literally we’re up at 4:30 in the morning.

Mike Jones: Wow.

Thomas Barr: And our favorite coffee/bagel shop, Back East Bagels, in Tempe actually. The owner, super, super nice guy. Every time we come in he’s taking us to the back, showing us all this stuff, we can barely even leave that place every time we go. But he opens up after she’s on her way to work. And she doesn’t have that much time in the morning, you know, if you get up at 4:30 you’re obviously in a rush.

Thomas Barr: And she’d go by every morning, pick up her chai latte, or whatever it was. But then when their hours got cut even earlier, you know, he wasn’t even open yet. So he actually started getting up earlier, getting to the shop, making her latte and then leaving it out on the table outside with her name on it, so that she could just swing by and pick it up on her way to work every morning.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Thomas Barr: I thought that was so freaking cool. And I mean, we always talk about how local businesses have the opportunity and they’re the only ones that can innovate like that and do super cool stuff and be super personal with their operations or their service. And that’s just the prime example. So my wife took a photo of it on her car and was like, “Local businesses rock,” or whatever. It got 100 likes or whatever. But I just think it’s really, really fun and cool when you see them do that kind of stuff. So yeah.

Mike Jones: That’s great.

Chris Stadler: We should have made him go last.

Mike Jones: I know.

Chris Stadler: That story-

Mike Jones: I know.

Chris Stadler: I’m not gonna beat that story.

Mike Jones: You set the bar.

Chris Stadler: The Barr, with two Rs. The Barr.

Mike Jones: Yes, the Barr.

Chris Stadler: Mike, you want to go first? Or you want me to tell my story?

Mike Jones: Oh, I need to stall longer. Why don’t you go ahead, Chris.

Chris Stadler: Mine’s not that great, but it’s just, so I moved to Arizona a few years ago and one of the biggest things that I looked forward to was being able to eat dinner at San Tan Flat. You guys know San Tan Flat? Yeah, the sound engineer, yes. Everybody, yeah?

Thomas Barr: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: So, I go there and they had, before I moved here, they actually had saddles at the bar as the bar stools. Right? So now imagine an international company being that locally, you know, kind of culture aware, right, to be able to make decisions at that level. And it’s kind of like what you were saying with the whole, you know, a local company can make decisions at that low level to really kind of interact with the people they’re around. Right?

Chris Stadler: So there’s much closer of a match. So, you know, it’s a cowboy bar. You go there, I’m just happy there. I never liked country music until I started going there and now it’s, you know, just happy. Just reminds me of a happy place. And of course, they have all these libertarian sayings from Thomas Jefferson all over the place. So I’m just, this is my element.

Mike Jones: You’re in heaven.

Chris Stadler: I’m in heaven.

Mike Jones: Chris is in libertarian heaven.

Chris Stadler: It’s not really an experience, it’s just kind of an experience they’ve created that just continues to repeat, you know, over and over again. I take my family there, I feel very safe there because of the people who go there. Not worried about my kids running around. I’m more worried about what’s gonna happen to the guy who tries to take a kid at San Tan Flat because of all the other people. It’s that kind of place. You know, it is. Mike, did I buy you enough time?

Mike Jones: Sure.

Chris Stadler: All right.

Mike Jones: I’m just gonna go with the same, I have to make an Arizona Wilderness plug in every episode.

Chris Stadler: Yes, you do.

Mike Jones: It’s my life goal. Not least because it’s literally an eight minute walk from my house. I don’t know. I’m with Thomas, there’s so many great experiences I’ve had here with local businesses that it’s hard to pick one. But they’ve been kind of the one that’s stood out over the last couple of years. Not least because they’re accessible for me, so.

Mike Jones: But yeah, I mean, just having kind of watched their business grow, but I love how they’ve integrated just the culture of Arizona and their love for hiking here in Arizona into every aspect of their business. And it’s not just a gimmick. It’s like, “Wow, their beers are really good.”

Thomas Barr: Yeah, super genuine.

Mike Jones: Very genuine.

Thomas Barr: And they’re moving, they’re opening a tap room in Downtown Phoenix.

Mike Jones: I’ve heard that, which I’m excited about.

Thomas Barr: So now more people will get introduced to them. Yeah, I mean, Gilbert is awesome. And they built such a culture and draw there. But it’s gonna be cool to see the people of Phoenix come together around them too.

Mike Jones: Yeah. And they’re kind of joining these awesome ranks of great local breweries, like San Tan and there’s others too.

Thomas Barr: Yeah, I was actually just having coffee with Rob, the CEO of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Thomas Barr: And he was telling me how 12 breweries just opened up in Arizona.

Mike Jones: Holy crap.

Thomas Barr: I don’t even know them all anymore.

Mike Jones: No, there’s so many now. There’s so many. And I feel like Arizona Wilderness kind of epitomizes what’s going on here from a kind of craft. Not just even craft breweries, but I feel like they’re, just across the board there’s this arts and crafts movement, obviously Internationally and nationally. But I feel like here in Arizona, there’s just a lot of really cool stuff going on.

Thomas Barr: It’s one of the few … so craft beer, now this whole show is gonna be about craft beer, but it very well could be.

Mike Jones: I’d be okay with that.

Thomas Barr: It’s 11 am.

Chris Stadler: But it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right? As the saying goes.

Thomas Barr: Craft beer, I feel, is one of the very few industries that big business cannot corrupt. They can try as hard as they possibly can. They can mass distribute, they can, I mean, we’ve seen some breweries get bought out by the big guys, all that stuff is happening. But you cannot replicate the craft of a small micro brewery making something really, really special and good in a mass produced way.

Thomas Barr: It’s just one of the industries that can’t be corrupted, I feel. And so that’s like the heart of America to me. It’s that entrepreneurship, that small business being able to not let the big guys touch you. I think it is so vibrant in the craft beer industry. So, yeah.

Chris Stadler: I love it. I’m glad I got to it.

Thomas Barr: Still 11 am.

Chris Stadler: I like that. I like that point of view.

Mike Jones: But soon enough it’ll be noon.

Thomas Barr: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Noon. Now we know Mike’s cut off. All right. So tell us about Local First Arizona.

Thomas Barr: Yeah, Local First, largest local business coalition in the country, in North America. We, put it simply, work to celebrate locally owned businesses. For a really long time in Arizona, as Mike and I just described being natives here, people weren’t proud of this place. I’d say even 10 years ago, people were not proud of living here. I was a kid growing up wearing Arizona T-shirts and proud of being a Diamondbacks fan and people would be like, “Huh?”

Mike Jones: You had a purple hat too?

Thomas Barr: Oh totally. Oh, yeah. Yeah, my brother actually just got me one of the class purple ones for Christmas.

Mike Jones: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Thomas Barr: But, I mean, people could not wait to leave, whether it was after high school, whether it was after college, regardless. And we’ve really seen a huge shift in hometown pride. And that’s what Local First Arizona has been doing over the past 16 years that we’ve been in existence is connecting people to place.

Thomas Barr: And we find, I mean, the reason our organization was started was to connect people to place. And the way you do that is connect them to locally owned businesses. That people know the owners of the pizza shop that they’re going to dinner at. If they know their barber. If you know the owner of the bank that you’re keeping your money, you’re naturally going to feel more connected to place.

Thomas Barr: And because of that, you’re gonna volunteer, you’re gonna vote, you’re gonna give back charitably, you’re gonna be involved in issues that are happening and opportunities. And developing your community into the place that you want it to be rather than feeling disconnected from it.

Thomas Barr: And so we work to bring together locally owned businesses. We have 3500 local businesses across the state of Arizona that we provide support to and resources for and a voice for in the very unbalanced markets that they compete in. And then we connect people to those businesses.

Thomas Barr: So we want people to be going to that local coffee shop. But also considering, “Hey, where are you getting your groceries? Where do you go to the movies on the weekends? How can you shift more of your spending to local businesses to have that positive impact in the community?”

Chris Stadler: So that’s interesting. So a lot of ways that we think about branding, right, and this is the AZ Brandcast. The question we’re always trying to get answered is what’s special about Arizona, is it a commodity? Because, you know, people are always like, “Well, it’s a cheap place to do business.” Right? But what you’re talking about sounds like de-commoditizing localness, de-commoditizing where you live. Right?

Thomas Barr: Totally.

Chris Stadler: Making, I mean, why do you think people don’t choose to connect more with their community?

Thomas Barr: I think over the years our economy has transformed in a way to make us think that the most convenience and the least expensive thing is the best for us, without really considering the big picture of that. We know that more dollars stay in the local economy when we spend them with local businesses. More jobs are supported. More taxes stay here that support our parks and our firefighters, police officers and libraries.

Thomas Barr: But when you’re making a very quick decision or you’ve got to make a decision on how to purchase something, we’re bombarded, even when we drive, with billboards and on television and in all these outlets of all of these companies with huge marketing budgets that feed to us all the time that that decision is the best.

Thomas Barr: So what Local First Arizona has come into play to do is, just to get people to think a little differently about how we spend our money. And to consider that if you seek out a local business, maybe if you drive another mile, you know, maybe if you do a little bit more research and you find that business in the community, whether it’s Arizona Wilderness or whoever.

Thomas Barr: Not only are you gonna keep more dollars here, but you’re gonna have better experience. You’re gonna get connected to place, you’re gonna find a really cool thing that’s right here. And it’s funny how you say, you know, when you talk about why people like this place. I think what people used to say is, “Oh, Arizona is great because the weather,” or “We live on a grid.” You know, just really, like really? That’s why you live here?

Chris Stadler: Basic things. That’s what I always look for wherever I live. Is it a grid? Is it a grid?

Thomas Barr: But, I mean, you’ve never gone on vacation to somewhere like Chicago or Los Angeles or wherever and been like, “Man, you got to go out there. They’ve got this awesome Starbucks and Kmart.”

Chris Stadler: Kmart.

Thomas Barr: “You’re never gonna find anywhere like it.” No, you talk about all the amazing it is. So why not live and appreciate those things locally where we are here all the time, right? And so you start to see that narrative about why people are proud of this place, change, I think, over the last 10/15 years, a lot.

Mike Jones: I’d agree with that. I mean, just from my own perspective, watching the state kind of evolve. And especially the Metro Phoenix area. And just seeing how, I think, that greater emphasis on the relationships and quality of experience over just convenience, you know. What’s the quickest, easiest, cheapest way to get what I want? And instead saying, “No, I want to actually have a better experience. I want to know the owner of the restaurant that I go to every Friday night.” Right?

Thomas Barr: Yeah, yeah.

Mike Jones: Which not only creates, okay, there’s a relational aspect to that, but also just when I’m invested, right, I know them, they know me, we’re each invested in what they’re doing and in the experience I’m about to have when I step in to that restaurant or when I buy that product. I mean, we’re big advocates of, you know, relationship first in all of business. And we work primarily with other businesses who are selling to businesses. And we see that happening on a B2B level. But I think that’s true also at B2C. We just have better experiences when we know that people were having a ‘transaction with.’

Thomas Barr: Yeah, and I think that B2B is the side that the consumer tends to not think about or see, because when we seek out, you know, the most convenient thing and not that local businesses are inconvenience, but we tend to think that they’re not.

Mike Jones: Sometimes they’re not.

Thomas Barr: It’s a misconception, I think, that they always are. But we forget that when we take our dollars and spend it with the local business that’s here, that business is gonna turn around and use it with another local businesses that’s here. You know, they’re gonna hire a web developer, they’re gonna hire a graphic designer, they’ve got a printing company locally, they’ve got an accountant here, got an insurance agent here.

Thomas Barr: I mean, you could go on all day about all these businesses that you never see on the 5 o’clock news and you never hear the business talk about. You know, you go to a local coffee shop, buy your $5 latte at a local place, that business can turn around and your dollars are gonna have a greater impact because of all the other businesses that business is supporting. So I think that’s where what you guys do is super important to bridge that relationship connection to what the consumer doesn’t usually see. So, yeah.

Chris Stadler: So, as much as we’re about relationship, right, I still, like my phone is a Samsung, and so you probably know what’s coming next, right? So what’s a good way to, you know, I’m not gonna buy probably, I live in Queen Creek. I’m not gonna buy a phone made in Queen Creek probably.

Thomas Barr: I don’t know that there is one. If you know one, please let me know.

Chris Stadler: If there was, I might not want to buy it though, right? Because I’m like was there a technological infrastructure or is it just being made out of Gangplank? By the way, I love those guys. Shout out to Gangplank, Queen Creek because they probably could make a phone. With their 3D printers and stuff.

Chris Stadler: Anyway, you know, what is a good … so probably no one’s gonna say, “Yeah, you want to buy a car made in your town,” always, right? What’s a good way for people to rationally just say, “Hey, I want to support my own community. I want to have these relationships.” At what point though do I, okay, so the car is easy, right? There’s no automotive manufacturer in Queen Creek.

Thomas Barr: Nope.

Chris Stadler: But a harder thing might be, all right, do I go to, you know, a local, go to Walmart. I’ll at least be supporting local employees. Or I can do one better than that and go to a local store, you know, for some things. But if I go into Walmart I might have to stop at five other stores to get what I could get a one stop at Walmart. What’s a good rational, kind of reasonable way to work through that? What’s the best way people can think about that?

Thomas Barr: Yeah, I think it’s two thoughts. First is just start with what’s realistic for you. Instead of going to think, “Man, how can I source my cell phone? Or my car?” Where can I eat this weekend? Where can I buy my groceries for my family, Bashes or a company that’s headquartered in Ohio. And what’s gonna have a greater impact. And maybe you live across the street from a place that’s not local, and you’ve got to go there sometimes.

Thomas Barr: The point is not to feel bad or feel guilty about not shopping locally. It’s about trying to be intentional with your dollars as often as you can, to have a greater impact. So your groceries, your movie theaters, where do you get your tires changed, or your oil changed? Can you go to a local auto shop rather than a national company? Taking those easy steps to get the practice down.

Chris Stadler: Discount Tires, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Thomas Barr: I mean, I think it’s just a habitual thing to do a little bit of research first and find those things. I won’t go off on a tangent about the cell phone industry, because that’s another show that we’ll do sometime. But two cents on that. I mean, do you really want less options? You know? Think about the options you have when you go to buy a cell phone. You almost have three or four places maybe that you can get it from or put a deal with.

Thomas Barr: We know that less options for consumers is not a good thing. The more options you have, the more competitive the marketplace is for the things that you’re purchasing the better it is for you. So we need to support more independent businesses to keep our options open as consumers, in order to have a competitive market for those places that we’re sourcing goods and services from.

Thomas Barr: And then the other thing is, I have a lot of people say, you know, there’s people that know my wife again, I’ll plug again, that say, “You know, I’m going to Walmart. Don’t tell Thomas.” Or people walk up to me at like a Local First mixer and they’re like, “So I was at Target last week, I’m so sorry.” And pat me on the back. And I’m like, “No, don’t feel guilty.” Because we’re not trying to point the finger at the consumer for the options that are presented in front of you. It’s not your fault that these businesses are in front of you.

Thomas Barr: But let’s say you don’t have any other options rather than to go to that store, why don’t you try to seek out local products that are in that store? Even if you went to a Walmart, you could buy Shamrock Farms products, you could buy local craft beers, you could find probably local peanut butter or local honey or local vegetables that come from local farms. And you can be as intentional as you possibly can as a consumer without thinking, “Oh man, I have to go here, and I feel really bad about myself.”

Thomas Barr: That’s not the point. The point is to be as intentional as you can, to find those realistic things that you can do as a consumer to support more businesses that are around you. And I think if you can do that, if you take that step, then you’re doing everything you can to be an active person in the community and support local businesses. That’s awesome.

Chris Stadler: What’s the one percent I can do this week that I didn’t do last week? kind of thing. What’s the minimum? You know, how do I make one different decision? Right?

Thomas Barr: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: And build on that, right?

Thomas Barr: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: And so it’s not a question of, “Let’s figure out where I should logically draw the line.” We don’t have to do that. All we have to do is just figure out what we can do the next week.

Thomas Barr: Totally. Totally. Yeah. And I mean, Queen Creek, you guys have awesome stuff out there.

Chris Stadler: I think so. People make fun of us.

Thomas Barr: Queen Creek Olive Mill. Queen Creek Olive Mill does all those awesome events, and they bring out all those local purveyors and do all that stuff. And, I mean, it’s not just the urban areas-

Mike Jones: Lot of agricultural products out there.

Thomas Barr: Yeah, that have everything.

Mike Jones: The Olive Mill.

Thomas Barr: There’s places all over this state that have cool stuff and are doing cool local things. So yeah, yeah.

Mike Jones: Can I kind of have a quick aside to make a shout out to all the local coffee shops to encourage them to do something. Because this is the argument that I continually have with our team for the last three years about my coffee purchasing habits. I typically buy local, whenever I can. Just because, there’s two reasons for that. One is, well, I know a lot of local coffee shop owners or roasters actually.

Thomas Barr: Cool.

Mike Jones: That’s kind of where I’m more plugged in. And so I want to support them. And some of them are good friends. And it’s easy to buy from people you know and that you trust and that you like. And you want to see them succeed.

Chris Stadler: Like who?

Mike Jones: Like say Fresh Coffee or Cartel.

Thomas Barr: Nice.

Mike Jones: Those would be the top two that I have good strong relationships with. But there’s one challenge. So I’m kind of giving a case example for people. So I keep running into the same issue. When I’m on my way to work, and I’m running late, I want to pick up a good cup of coffee, and a quick bite to eat. That’s usually where I run into an issue. There’s not a good local place on my way that will fulfill that need in a drive-thru. Right? Because I don’t have time to get out, and I come, we got to move here.

Mike Jones: And unfortunately, Starbucks is the only option on the market right now for that. And so that’s kind of where I’ve drawn my line of okay, when push comes to shove, and I’m running late, I got to grab, you know, a coffee and a bite to eat. I’m gonna hit the Starbucks that’s literally on the ramp. And so it’s the one time I’m like, “Okay, I’m gonna fudge a little bit here on my values.”

Chris Stadler: So Mike is requesting drive-thrus.

Mike Jones: I am. I’ve been calling for this for a year and a half.

Chris Stadler: Call to action.

Mike Jones: I know a couple places have thought through this, and it’s hard. Right? It’s not easy. And so, you know, I get it. But if someone wants to put one the school on the 60, on the south side of the 60, there’s a great opportunity to get at least one customer on almost a daily basis.

Thomas Barr: Okay. So I’m gonna try to solve this problem for you.

Mike Jones: I love this.

Thomas Barr: In real time, right now.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Thomas Barr: Where do you drive from and to?

Mike Jones: I drive basically from Elliott[inaudible 00:26:02] in Tempe. So I’m taking the 60 to the 10.

Thomas Barr: Okay, so you can hop off the 60 at McClintock.

Mike Jones: I know where you’re going with this.

Thomas Barr: And go to Xtreme Bean, they’re pretty quick.

Mike Jones: They’re pretty quick. What’s their food? This is always the challenge.

Thomas Barr: They’ve got bagels, they’ve got burritos. They’ve got a baked goods and super friendly staff. I live down the street from them.

Mike Jones: Yes, I’ve been there many times, but never through the drive-thru.

Thomas Barr: They’re pretty quick. I’ll give you that option. Because that’s the first one that comes to mind.

Mike Jones: I like it. Yeah.

Thomas Barr: You might try it out.

Mike Jones: I will.

Thomas Barr: Cool.

Mike Jones: I promise I will try it out, Thomas. And we’ll bring you back on, and we’ll do a little review.

Thomas Barr: Cool. Challenge accepted.

Mike Jones: It was a terrible experience. They ruined everything. No, I mean, how do you ruin a bagel and cup of coffee?

Thomas Barr: It’s pretty hard.

Mike Jones: It’s pretty hard.

Thomas Barr: It’s pretty hard.

Mike Jones: It’s pretty hard. So thanks for calling me out. I love it. Still want one [inaudible 00:26:50] school in the 60.

Thomas Barr: Now, I’m just thinking of every local coffee shop that actually does have a drive-thru.

Mike Jones: There’s not that many. Xtreme Bean is the one I know of. Most of the ones that I love, don’t. Like Cartels, Steve’s Espresso, SoZo. Those are all my typical stops.

Thomas Barr: Yeah, you’re right.

Mike Jones: And I love them all. If I could I would just go to all those. SoZo is probably the closest to my house. I mean that’s another one where they’ve created a great experience with their coffee shop.

Thomas Barr: That’s cool.

Mike Jones: Just making it really … just a great meeting space, that’s if we’re going to plug another local place, so.

Chris Stadler: SoZo.

Mike Jones: SoZo.

Chris Stadler: I’m writing down all these we’re gonna like ad mention all these people on Twitter.

Mike Jones: Yes. there we go.

Thomas Barr: Thanks.

Mike Jones: Anyway we got other questions we can do.

Chris Stadler: We do?

Mike Jones: I talk too much.

Chris Stadler: Do you want me to grab another one?

Mike Jones: Yeah, go for it.

Chris Stadler: I love asking questions. So on the easy rank as we talk a lot about … what we’re really trying to get out of is, what makes Arizona special besides just being cheap?

Thomas Barr: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: And you know, good weather like you mentioned, right? Okay. Good weather. That’s great. But what makes Arizona … is there a niche? Is there a point of view culturally or something that kind of grew, like is close to kind of … see, I have grown out of the ground here? Almost where we actually have an interesting … Oh, dude come on man? Citrus? I don’t know. Maybe look, hey, you know what? No wrong answers. Yes and-

Thomas Barr: It used to be one of the five C’s.

Chris Stadler: Yes. Wait, tell us the five C’s. Right. It’s gonna be like one of our first episodes. The last time we mention this.

Thomas Barr: Oh, come on. So climate, citrus, crap, why I’m I forgetting all of them now?

Mike Jones: Cotton.

Chris Stadler: Cotton?

Thomas Barr: Yeah.

Mike Jones: Cattle.

Chris Stadler: cattle?

Thomas Barr: Oh, there’s one more. Did I say climate? Climate, Cotton, Copper. That was it.

Chris Stadler: Copper. Okay. All right.

Thomas Barr: All which are a bit passe now.

Chris Stadler: Right. All right. So with that in mind, what are some ideas we can come up with, even no pressure on you. Let’s brainstorm. Let’s think of ways that Arizona has some kind of advantage you can offer the world. Some kind of leadership, some kind of point of view that helps it to offer real value to the rest of the world the products, services.

Thomas Barr: Sure. Tough one to answer. I think there’s a lot. First of all, I think that Arizona … So a lot of the time, I think in the past, we tend to land in the national news for negative things. Butt of the joke on a late night TV show for something happening in the legislature, doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. Like that’s just tends to be why we get national news.

Chris Stadler: I can’t think of an example share a few.

Mike Jones: Easy, easy one.

Thomas Barr: We tend to not get national coverage for things we do really, really well. Or things that we’re growing into. And what a lot of people don’t know is, I think we tend to, you know, land on the bottom of the list on education funding and things like that. And that’s a lot of people talk about, not that education is not important. It absolutely is.

Thomas Barr: But what a lot of people don’t know is that Fast Times magazine has ranked Arizona as the best place to start a business for like 10 years. The best place in the entire country to start your business.

Chris Stadler: You say Fast Times magazine?

Thomas Barr: Yeah, not maybe it’s not because … maybe it’s for a few of the things that you said before, you know, it’s inexpensive to move here, there’s resources, there’s spaces like Mac six that you can start a business in.

Mike Jones: Low cost to. I mean, just from a regulatory standpoint, you know, there’s not a ton of like hurdles you’ve got to jump to start a business here. Just from stories from friends and family who start businesses in California and there’s, you know, like starting a coffee shop. It took my cousin you know, 18 months to get his coffee shop open.

Mike Jones: Based purely on regulatory hurdles he had to jump through from the city of San Diego in the state of California. And not that there isn’t regulation here, right? It’s like you can’t just go down the street and open up a coffee shop in any old space.

Thomas Barr: No rules.

Mike Jones: No rules, but there’s a few. There’s a little bit more freedom, there’s a little bit more, I think … I mean, if you’re opening an LLC, and you’re just doing a service based business, that doesn’t require any licensing in your industry, for 20 bucks, you can have a business tomorrow. I mean, it’s literally a two page piece of paper and 25 bucks, I think, to file.

Thomas Barr: So I think with that the … I mean, you look at a place like Silicon Valley, and yeah, obviously, that’s a tech region. I think that Phoenix has such a diversification in the types of entrepreneurs that are launching. I mean, a lot of people like, when we think of going to get tacos, you know, there’s the obvious places that pop up. But I don’t think a lot of people actually realize like the plethora taquerias that actually exist in the metro Phoenix area.

Thomas Barr: If you Google it, or if like you look around there are hundreds, like literally hundreds of entrepreneurs that own taco shops in this area. And there’s people starting conscious businesses in Mexico, like how many businesses have been incubated other space, maybe 60 or so.

Chris Stadler: At least.

Thomas Barr: Something like that.

Chris Stadler: Probably more than that.

Thomas Barr: Yeah, like recycle glass and truce. And so you have this diversification in all the different regions that are here of entrepreneurs that aren’t just starting a tech company, but maybe starting a restaurant or a coffee shop or conscious minded product business. And the opportunity to do that, I think is incredibly niche for Arizona as far as what I’ve seen across the state.

Chris Stadler: So that sounds like there are that many different businesses working in the same kind of close area. That makes me think that maybe there’s collaboration waiting to happen, because collaboration is the next logical step, right for innovation with diverse business. So you collaborate and the collaboration could maybe yield something that’s really interesting. So that’s interesting.

Mike Jones: I’d argue that … I’ve had this argument or this kind of conversation, especially in the last kind of years, I’ve been working a lot with Phoenix startup where you can understand and kind of like the cultural identity of entrepreneurship in Arizona. And I think that’s the word that we keep coming back to. And a lot of our conversations is diversity of industry and experience all in one place. And I think you can get that in other places. Like, I don’t know that we could hang our hat on that quite yet.

Chris Stadler: Well, plus diversity by itself doesn’t mean anything.

Mike Jones: No, but it’s just like cross pollination of ideas.

Chris Stadler: It’s when that happens effectively, right?

Mike Jones: Yeah, so I don’t know. I’m brainstorming here.

Chris Stadler: Well, yeah, yeah-

Mike Jones: I don’t know if that’s-

Chris Stadler: Let me jump off that because we had Rod Reneger on before and he was talking using talent from, you know, the institutions that we have here. And it feels like ASU is kind of a big, I don’t know, if you call it an aggregator. I mean, but the seems like there’s a lot that happens around, you know, Arizona State University.

Chris Stadler: And it feels to me, like, if we’re talking about diversity, and we want to turn diversity into a strength, right? Then you you need to have a way for like a platform or a kind of a gathering place for businesses to do that effectively, right? Not just like, “Yeah, let’s get together and find out what we can do.” But is there a process for that?

Mike Jones: You would use the P word wouldn’t you Chris? Process.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, I mean, I cannot.

Mike Jones: He’s the process guy.

Chris Stadler: I have to use the word process like every hour or I just get backed up in my queue. And then I have bad dreams about process.

Mike Jones: But I think there’s … I think it’s like, we were talking about it’s some kind of combination of those ideas where like, diversity of businesses is really important I think. Especially a diversity of entrepreneurial ideas. And I think we’ve got that, hopefully in spades. I love that. I mean, you’re so close to a lot of these businesses and knowing kind of where each of them is focused and stuff into.

Mike Jones: So to hear that backed up, something I’ve been feeling for a long time, but I think it’s also cool because it’s fairly easy to get your idea off the ground here. There aren’t like a million hurdles to jump through. And it’s like, “Hey, I have an idea. There’s resources here. I can get that going pretty quickly and see if it’s gonna work.” And that’s pretty cool.

Thomas Barr: Yeah. Yeah. And I think there’s a lot of organizations like Local First and others that are trying to identify the hurdles that are in the way of small businesses growing, thriving starting in different communities. So I think when you talk about diversity of small Business or business in general, it’s not just small, it’s large, small medium, it’s industry, it’s ownership, it’s cultural, it’s regional, it’s ideas, it’s all the above.

Thomas Barr: And so finding the barriers to different communities to start businesses and thrive within them to create wealth for themselves, I think is incredibly attainable. But also something that a lot of different groups are looking at providing resources for here because of that, so.

Chris Stadler: I was thinking when we first started the Easy Brand Cast. One of the ideas it was in my mind is like, so I spent when I was kid, I spent some time at Fort Huachuca because my dad was military. And I was just thinking, what about a place like that? And what about like, Sierra Vista? And what about like sometimes, Wittenberg I don’t know. Like what makes all these places special, you know, be so cool just to be able to understand like, you were just talking about.

Chris Stadler: How do you take that local leadership and how did those places make sense of themselves? Like make really, which is what branding is. Right? But how those places make sense to themselves and then together, how do they make sense. Maybe bring them all together and they make a lot of sense as an Arizona brand, right? That’s kind of one of the questions that we always kind of … it’s always in the back of my mind anyway, right?

Mike Jones: Well, and you guys, I think you’ve done a really good job of certainly connect those dots. Right? Moving beyond just the Phoenix metro area and saying, like, “We are a community of communities and we have a lot of diversity across our state, not just in the metro area.” I’ve been watching kind of your rural initiatives and some of the other stuff that you guys are doing to reach outside of just the metro.

Thomas Barr: Yeah, I mean, there’s local businesses everywhere, and I think we forget about sometimes. Arizonans spend, and this is another one of those weird stats, it’s just the back of my mind, but Arizonans alone spend six and a half billion dollars a year vacation in California.

Chris Stadler: Holy crap.

Mike Jones: Every year?

Thomas Barr: Yeah. Crazy number.

Chris Stadler: Holy crap.

Thomas Barr: Could you imagine if we even just redirected 10% of that to rural Arizona and vacation to there instead sometimes. I mean, we can’t compete with beach. We can’t compete with Disney Land. I get it. But-

Mike Jones: Well, we put a lake in Tempe.

Thomas Barr: That’s true. No but I mean, surf, waves. But I mean-

Mike Jones: We’ve seen more water parks, that’s what we are really saying.

Thomas Barr: My friends and I actually make it intentional to do a rural Arizona trip once a year. So we do Prescott, Bisbee. Where are we going this year? We’re going to Page this year.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Thomas Barr: Actually. Yeah. So, not so much.

Mike Jones: There’s so many great places to check out in Arizona. I know, for my wife and I that’s one of our, like, anytime we’re like, “Hey, when are you seeing the weekend.” Right. And That’s like where are we going to go Prescott [inaudible 00:38:48], Sedona, Page, Bisbee, Drone. I mean there’s just … And every place kind of has its own unique little culture and restaurants and ambience and like there’s always cool history to find out.

Mike Jones: I think there’s so many opportunities for people dig in more here. And understand what’s here. And I think one of the coolest things I find about Arizona is when I talk to people who’ve either just don’t know it very well, and they come. And a lot of times, they’re more incentivized than we are as locals to actually get out and experience all of Arizona. And the feedback is always like, “Wow, this state is way more diverse than I thought it was.” Right. It’s more than just, you know, a bunch of swirl cactus in the middle desert.

Chris Stadler: The whole thing is not the Sonoran Desert.

Mike Jones: Yeah, and I’ll be at the Sonoran Desert is beautiful. There’s some really cool stuff you can do in the Sonoran Desert and there’s great places to go like Tucson and all of that.

Thomas Barr: And even I mean, in the urban cores, like there’s so many people come out here … There’s so any people here from the Midwest. To a point we’re, third time bring this up, about being natives. To those other people that live in Arizona are from another state. I mean, I feel like that number is decreasing and the native numbers continuing to grow. There’s so many people I’ve talked to that come out here and just like, “All you guys have are Supercuts.”

Thomas Barr: And I’m just like, “Man, I’ll find you 100 barbershops in five minutes.” And so there’s this like perception I think when people come from another place that the way we’re structured and built is just for like chains. But there are so many businesses out there you just find them. That’s what we do.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Chris Stadler: Can we switch gears?

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Are you guys good?

Mike Jones: I want to switch and talk about … So we’re sponsored by Conscious Capitalism. Local First Arizona has partnership with Conscious Capitalism. But the two organizations aren’t identical or would need you both probably, right. What’s the best way to describe that overlap? What are the two share in common?

Thomas Barr: Yeah, few things, several things. I think. So Conscious Capitalism from my perception is focused on working with any business that’s out there that either is consciously practicing and develop themselves in a conscious way to have community impact. Or to ensure internally as a company, they are thinking about how they impact society. And are taking steps or developing themselves in a way to have a positive impact, on the world rather than just focused on profits for themselves.

Thomas Barr: And there’s a lot of overlap between that and the very being of what Local First Arizona is, which is, be intentional about how you spend your money. Provide resources to local businesses, because that right there is a conscious step you can take as a consumer. And so we work with our business owners to get them to think innovatively and creatively about how they can remain competitive.

Thomas Barr: And I think at the forefront of that is being a good business and that’s how we really connected with the local folks at the Conscious Capitalism, Arizona chapter, because if you’re a local business and you’re being innovative about how you have customer service or treat your employees or the environments. And all those several things that you can be doing, then not only are you a local business, but you’re being a good local business. And so there’s overlap for I think both groups in that spectrum. Yeah.

Mike Jones: So it sounds like where Conscious Capitalism might be saying, “Hey, businesses, do what you kind of want to do, which is like, run your business in a way that’s conscious,” right? And I’m sure there are businesses that don’t want to do that. But well, they’re not involved in this. And so what you’re talking about is like Local First, you’re almost saying “Okay, now people you also have a role to play in this,” like consumers, you also have a role to play in this. And here’s almost kind of like making the connection between the two.

Thomas Barr: Yeah, and also giving a platform for the local businesses that and telling their story for how they’re doing great things. I mean, perfect example, you look at Adam Goodman, from Goodmans Interior and he was the first registered benefit corporation in the state that’s not just focused on profits, but focused on Community Impact.

Thomas Barr: Obviously a business has to make a profit to stay in business, but how they develop their internal team, how they interact with nonprofits in the community and not just giving a donation at the end of the line, at the end of the year. But how do they center community within their business in order to be of service to the community too.

Thomas Barr: And I think he’s just a shining example of you know, a great local company that’s been enabled to be successful and treat their employees really well and the community really well at the same time. So we come into play there by telling that story helping other businesses think creatively about how they can do some of those things similarly as well.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Chris Stadler: Do I get all the questions Mike?

Mike Jones: You’re on a roll man.

Chris Stadler: Are you backing me by allowing me to ask all the questions.

Mike Jones: You’re on a roll.

Chris Stadler: This is great. I’m loving the answers were getting. This is very interesting. I think we’re at the 15 minutes closer.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Perfect timing. So, as we’re kind of getting to a closing. So this Good Business Summit, this is in cooperation with Conscious Capitalism?

Thomas Barr: Yeah, they’re partners for the event.

Chris Stadler: They are partners for the event.

Thomas Barr: Collaborating on for sure.

Chris Stadler: Okay. So could you tell us a little bit about this good business summit, maybe first of all when it is, where it is, you know maybe how people sign up. And then maybe kind of some thoughts behind.

Thomas Barr: Yeah, Arizona good business summit, the inaugural, the first one ever, has ever existed happening January 30, 2019 at Phoenix Convention Center. It’s only $79 if you’re a member of Local First or Conscious Capitalism, Arizona. It’s only 20 bucks higher than that if you’re not a member of either group. Super affordable.

Thomas Barr: And we just have a rock star plethora of local speakers and actual a national speaker too. So the mindset behind this summit is to bring together people that are doing really great things in the community to ignite more passion behind trying to be better businesses for Arizona. I think when people say what is the word that you think of when you think of your state, I think of opportunity.

Thomas Barr: We have so much opportunity to show the rest of the country how the business is here are taking steps and strides to be better businesses. And to show how, yeah, you can treat your employees well and be profitable, you can have a collective impact in the community and be profitable to.

Thomas Barr: And so we’re bringing out Kim Jordan, the founder of New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado to be our keynote speaker. Kim Jordan grew up in a super active, socially active family that always centered things like environmental sustainability and activism and all those things. And then she started a brewery in a basements and they’re the largest benefit corporation that’s employee owned in the entire country today. So she’s going to come and share her story.

Thomas Barr: And then we just have a plethora of breakout sessions and panels of local experts talking about disrupting the broken systems within business that hinder us from being successful and conscious. Talking about how you can be environmentally sustainable and still be thinking about your bottom line. So there’s a plethora of awesome, awesome people coming together, first year we’re doing it we’re super excited about it, so yeah.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Chris Stadler: Mike are you going?

Mike Jones: I’m going. I think you are too.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, I’m going. Totally gonna be there too.

Mike Jones: I bought two tickets yesterday [crosstalk 00:46:51] two of us.

Chris Stadler: That was [crosstalk 00:46:51]. That was the kind of scaffold or something.

Mike Jones: It’s about a month ago.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. And I will be giving autographs.

Mike Jones: Okay. You’re going to be giving autographs. Okay. We could-

Chris Stadler: And I don’t have the stringent standards for autograph giving that you do. I’m much more accessible. I’m a man of the people.

Mike Jones: Yeah. You’re open like foreheads and necks and feet.

Chris Stadler: See you’re going into interesting territory there.

Mike Jones: No, no feet? Okay.

Chris Stadler: My standards aren’t as stringent.

Mike Jones: Maybe they can print out copies of our podcast and then you can sign those.

Chris Stadler: Print out, transcripts.

Mike Jones: Transcripts.

Thomas Barr: That would be very-

Chris Stadler: I will find some transcript, yes. Unless those transcripts are tattooed on unmentionable locations then I would forgo that.

Mike Jones: There’s the cut off.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: Okay. I’m glad we cleared that up. So in case any of you were thinking of getting Chris to sign your timestamps.

Chris Stadler: Mike. I asked for this. I know I did. I asked for it.

Mike Jones: You did, you open the door and I stepped right into it.

Thomas Barr: Wide door.

Chris Stadler: Pandora’s box. We got to close the Pandora’s box. Oh, and now we have like 10 minutes. Close the box.

Mike Jones: So I want to go back to something that we touched on earlier with Arizona. So we talked about kind of some of the distinctive that are positive. But I was curious you’d mentioned like working with local businesses to understand what their hurdles are, for both starting and growing here. What are some of those? What are some areas where there’s room for improvement for Arizona?

Thomas Barr: Yeah, I’d say the problems are different depending on the communities that we’re working in. So one of the things that … So Local First was founded and started by Kimber Lanning she is a small business owner too. She owns Think Weights Records in central Phoenix, open up an art gallery on Roosevelt road back in 1999 that’s still open today.

Thomas Barr: She started Local First to bring together all the local businesses in our state because there wasn’t a place for all them to come to you to network together and to collaborate together. And along the way realized you know, we can tell everybody to buy local, we can bring together all the locally owned businesses.

Thomas Barr: But if we are identifying different communities that may be having different barriers in front of them, in order for people to buy local from them or to start local businesses themselves that are successful. Then we’re leaving out different pieces of this puzzle. So she started in 2009, the Local First Arizona Foundation, which is what she runs today.

Thomas Barr: And it identifies and provides opportunities and solutions to some of these barriers that are out there. One of those barriers is in rural Arizona, which we were talking about before. Economic development in rural Arizona requires a completely different strategy than what you might bring to an urban core.

Thomas Barr: Rural communities throughout the country have been progressing more and more slowly economically than urban areas throughout the country for a lot of different reasons. But the Local First Arizona Foundation comes into those communities and access the Arizona Rural Development Council providing different solutions, bringing people together to think innovatively, how do we drive more tourism here, rather than just having people go to California?

Thomas Barr: How do we help the businesses that are here collaboratively work together in order to stimulate the local economies and all these different areas, because every rural town is going to have different issues and different things coming through. There’s a lot of areas that have had, you know, the 99 cent stores come in and drive off all the grocery stores in the area out of business.

Thomas Barr: So the residents that live in those communities now only have one place that they can go to get their groceries. So these are very specific issues that small businesses and rural towns are seeing. That the foundation side of Local First Arizona brings to the table. Another community is the local food community.

Thomas Barr: We could say eat local all day long, but if I mean there’s a gap between those that are procuring and producing local food in Arizona and getting that in the hands and the mouths of the people that live here. So helping small farmers and helping local food, procures with ideas and innovative strategies on how to build their companies and get their products in the hands of chefs and restaurants and people that will purchase them is something that the foundation looks at as well.

Thomas Barr: So we provide different events and opportunities to help those types of businesses do that, because our food industry has moved to a very big mass producing type of effort. So those are just a couple examples of some of the things that we’ve identified as an organization or some of those barriers to different people in different age industries and regions in order to build and grow their businesses.

Chris Stadler: So, does that tend to be more of an information problem or is it a cost problem?

Thomas Barr: I think it’s a systemic problem, how our economy has developed. So, I mean, just looking at rural we … I mean, the old problem that was for rural communities was big business coming in and shutting out all the mom-and-pop, so they don’t exist anymore, right? And then as those big businesses come in, and all of the people that live in that community spend their money with that business, dollars were extracted from that community.

Thomas Barr: Because we know more dollars stay in a small community, when it spent with the businesses that are developed there. What we’re starting to see now is that in rural areas, a lot of people are doing all their shopping on Amazon. So even more money, it’s just leaving the community. I mean, people are going to buy tools on Amazon when there’s a tool shop down the street and less and less and less money is staying in that community, which makes the community harder to thrive for everybody that lives there.

Thomas Barr: There’s less job opportunities for the youth that are growing up in those communities, because there’s no more accountants, because the accountants don’t have jobs because all the local businesses have closed, right? So there’s systemic issues I think in some of those problems that we’re looking at that need really creative, innovative looking at in order to solve.

Chris Stadler: Interesting. So everybody’s moving to the cities and so these small towns are just getting smaller and pretty much you only have like the farmers that pretty much work there, the ranchers or whatever. And then you don’t really have any additional like services or industries.

Thomas Barr: And those farmers and ranchers are getting older and older, there’s a need for incentivizing and making farming good and is profitable for young people. The average age of a farmer in Arizona I think it’s 52. So if you consider, I mean, as we continue to grow and go further if we’re not providing solutions to help more young people start getting to that industry, then there’s gonna be a big gap there too.

Mike Jones: That’s good.

Thomas Barr: Deep stuff.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Thomas Barr: Big stuff, hard to get into in 10 minutes left. That’s okay.

Mike Jones: We scratched the surface of it. Which means we probably have to have another conversation

Thomas Barr: Another time, another day, another beer.

Mike Jones: Or a beer. We’ll, skip the coffee go straight for the beer. We’ll, relocate to Arizona Wilderness.

Chris Stadler: Because it’s not 12 o’clock yet which is Mike’s apparent cut off time.

Mike Jones: I can be. I got some wiggle room on that.

Chris Stadler: We can move from coffee to alcohol.

Mike Jones: It really just depends on what the rest of the day holds.

Chris Stadler: It’s true. It’s true.

Mike Jones: And whether or not I have to face my trainer, so.

Chris Stadler: Oh, yes personal trainer.

Mike Jones: That’s always a factor.

Chris Stadler: He is a local personal trainer?

Mike Jones: Of course, I do, yeah. That’s our coffee conversation, you might be questioning all of my integrity.

Chris Stadler: All of your integrity. Max fit right?

Mike Jones: Yep, Max Fit.

Chris Stadler: Cool.

Mike Jones: Locally owned private gym. He actually owns the gym and then he does personal training out of there as well as a bunch of others local trainers.

Chris Stadler: Cool.

Mike Jones: Yeah, it’s really cool concept it’s basically an incubator for personal trainers. So he provides the space and the equipment and kind of finds flexible ways to get trainers up and running in the space, while they’re building their business and building their clientele. And kind of similar to co-working space, but really focused on personal trainers. And so all of them are independent you know, privately owned sole entrepreneurs.

Thomas Barr: That’s awesome.

Chris Stadler: Great.

Mike Jones: Working out of that space.

Chris Stadler: I use a local gym, it’s called downstairs and max six. And it’s like every like hour or two, if I’m like getting tired or whatever, I’ll just run down there and do a set of something and then run up the stairs. And then I use the local San Tan Valley sidewalk as well.

Mike Jones: There you go.

Thomas Barr: Great gym.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, very local.

Mike Jones: And if you buy your local beers it’s this great like circle of calorie burn intake.

Chris Stadler: The circle of calories, right?

Mike Jones: Circle of calories. I feel like that’s an infographic. Local calorie intake and burn.

Thomas Barr: I’m sure it exists somewhere.

Mike Jones: Indeed, [crosstalk 00:56:07].

Chris Stadler: Not the work. Just take the water cycle and just like replace it.

Mike Jones: Yes, exactly. Beer and gyms.

Chris Stadler: Right on.

Mike Jones: This been awesome thank you so much Thomas for coming on.

Thomas Barr: Totally, yeah. This is fun.

Mike Jones: Really appreciate it. So Local First Arizona, how would people find out more about Local First?

Thomas Barr: Localfirstaz.com. If you’re a small or locally owned business in Arizona, it’s super affordable to join our pride lots of resources to all types of businesses, whether you’re in Phoenix or Bisbee or Tucson-

Chris Stadler: Or Sierra Vista.

Thomas Barr: … or Sierra Vista, can’t forget that one.

Mike Jones: And then the Good Business Summit?

Thomas Barr: The Arizona Good Business summit, January 30, tickets still on sale but we’re going to sell out, so you better get them now.

Mike Jones: Yeah, get on that. Get on it.

Chris Stadler: Get on it.

Mike Jones: And the website for that is?

Thomas Barr: It’s, just go to localfirstaz.com.

Mike Jones: Localfirstaz.com.

Thomas Barr: … /good-businesses, where the business summit is.

Mike Jones: Perfect.

Thomas Barr: But there’s a pop up right now, you should be taken right to it, so.

Mike Jones: Perfect. Make it easy. Just pop it right on there for people. That’s great. Well, thank you all for joining us and all of our listeners for hanging out. I’m Mike Jones with AZ Brandcast,

Chris Stadler: Chris Stadler.

Mike Jones: Yeah. And if people are interested in finding out more about AZ Brandcast, check us out at azbrandcast.com. We’re on iTunes, Stitcher, anywhere that you listen to your podcast, be sure to subscribe there. Give us five stars, because we like those and they help us rank better.

Chris Stadler: And we deserve five stars. Come on.

Mike Jones: So that most people can find us and we think we’re five stars.

Chris Stadler: And we’re local podcast, if you’re in a-

Mike Jones: So support your local podcast and give us five stars.

Chris Stadler: If you want to contact Mike, mike@resoundcreative.com and I am chris@resoundcreative.com. Our guests you can contact Thomas Barr, at thomas@localfirstaz.com.

Mike Jones: Awesome. Thanks everybody.