David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
When the New York Times Great Homes and Destinations section noted, “What You Get for… $900,000,” guess what popped up first? Why this little gem in our very own Willo Historic District. This is a reminder that downtown Phoenix is not only home to a growing number of condos and apartments filling in vacant lots, but established single family neighborhoods (and neighbors).
Meet the New City Manager
Congratulations are in order for Phoenix’s new City Manager and DPI Board member Ed Zuercher. After a six-month national search, Ed was selected to replace David Cavazos. Ed is a 20-year city employee and had been acting manager since Cavazos left in October.
At a press conference on February 18, Mayor Greg Stanton announced that Phoenix is among a select few U.S. cities that will work with Google to deliver the company’s ultra high-speed Google Fiber network to local residents, businesses, and education centers. Greater Phoenix was one of only nine metropolitan areas chosen as potential sites for the network, and the City of Phoenix – along with Scottsdale and Tempe – will work with Google teams over the next several months to take the necessary steps to roll out this cutting-edge technology to the Valley.
Take an Art Detour
The 26th Annual Art Detour, March 8-9, 2014, will be an exceptional celebration of artists and their important contribution to the vibrancy of downtown Phoenix.
More than 100 spaces, including working artist studios, unique art spaces, galleries, cultural venues, restaurants and retailers will open their doors to make this the best two-day, all-access pass to the downtown arts scene in Detour’s 26-year history.
Celebrate the Art d’Core
To kick things off, join Mayor Greg Stanton on Saturday, March 1, at the Art d’Core Gala, a celebration of the significant role the arts have played in invigorating and adding color to our downtown. The event is sponsored by Downtown Phoenix, Inc., CityScape, Phoenix Convention Center, City of Phoenix Aviation Department, Support Sky Harbor Coalition and benefits Artlink Phoenix Inc.
Stay the Night
Also getting into the art spirit is the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, which now offers an Art Package so visitors and locals alike can experience the downtown’s growing art scene. Local DJs and visual artists are featured on a rotating basis, and guests upon check-in receive a complimentary Artlink Phoenix map of galleries, studios, and art-friendly businesses.
Check out the Fourth Annual Mardi Gras and Parade, which will headquarter at CityScape. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 1, revel with the help of a DJ curated soundtrack, creepy masks, vendors and, of course, beads.–UPDATE: THE PARADE IS CANCELLED; OTHER FESTIVITIES CONTINUE.
View the New Venue
The Pressroom, located at 441 W. Madison Street, opened this month. Built in the 1920′s, the 14,000 square foot, red brick building once housed the city’s most modern printing press. Now the site offers ample indoor and outdoor space for concerts, weddings, private parties, corporate meetings, performing and visual arts, and sporting events.
No Festival of Film
No Festival Required is organizing a Sunday matinee music-oriented documentary film series at the Phoenix Center for the Arts through the month of May. Local photographer and videographer Steve Weiss created No Festival Required in 2002 to help boost the art form of film in downtown Phoenix, first through short film screenings and now primarily documentaries.
The Taste of Phoenix
Six Arizonans have been named semifinalists for the 2014 James Beard Awards, the restaurant industry’s version of the Academy Awards. Three of the six have strong ties to downtown Phoenix: Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco (pictured right), Sam Fox of The Arrogant Butcher, and Silvana Salcido Esparza of The Barrio Cafe.
Sponsor Bike Share
Final negotiations are in process with several key sponsors for Grid Bike Share. These efforts will continue, with a focus on sponsorship collaboration opportunities for local retailers. A 200-bike Grid program rollout is slated to begin the week of April 21, with plans for a major intro event in coordination with the City of Phoenix and Valley Metro. Rollout will finish in May with a total of 500 Grid bikes at 50 stations.
When it comes to operating a coffee shop in Phoenix, Christiaan and Laryn Callaway-Blok, the owners of Shine Coffee, are creating a very special midtown caffeine community.
When the recession wreaked havoc on their previous careers, the Bloks had to think fast about how they would make a living. According to Laryn, the proliferation of coffee shops along Central Avenue signaled positive growth for Phoenix, and the opportunity for the couple to invest in their home.
“It’s a sign of a lot of urban renewal, it’s a sign of people moving to downtown,” she said of the multiplicity of businesses moving downtown.
Christiaan was born in the Netherlands and lived in Europe for the first 20 years of his life, where he experienced a coffee culture different than the more automatic, mechanized one in the United States.
“I create relationships, and people love that,” said Christiaan. “People tell their stories, and people tell me if they’re joyous or sad. And that is actually very much an element of the European café culture.”
Their current Vernon Avenue brick and mortar location opened in November 2012, and was an outgrowth of their experience running a mobile business.
“We started as a food truck, and we really saw a niche for kind of an upscale, mobile coffee bar, which is what we did for a couple of years,” according to Laryn. “The food truck situation is wonderful, but it’s far more manual labor than a regular restaurant.”
Once they established the physical location for Shine, the Bloks took some initiative with their surroundings. Most recently, they completed a $23,000 privately-funded Kickstarter campaign, transforming the vacant space outside the shop into a community gathering spot to benefit both the community and the economy. The Vernon Avenue Pocket Park officially opened to the public on January 18th.
Because Shine is located in an active, midtown, urban community, the park fit right into place.
“We felt, as a local business, that we could either do something that is just for us, or we could do something that creates beauty and shape for the entire neighborhood,” said Laryn.
When it was time to layout a design for the park, the Bloks approached Kirby Hoyt, landscape designer at Edge Industries, who wanted to utilize the outdoor space to encourage community involvement.
“I hope this is a catalyst for other things like this to take place,” said Hoyt. “As a city, we don’t have to wait for the government to come in and do things; we can do things on our own.”
“As we were working on the design, they [the Bloks] took over the front part of the adjacent building for their living room, and then we tweaked the design,” said Hoyt. “We probably just rotated it 90 degrees basically to fill out this area that now is in the front of the building. So now it ties to two spaces together.”
Although there have already been drastic improvements for the business, the customers, and the city, the Bloks will continue to enhance customer experience.
For now, they want to focus on expanding the menu and park amenities at this location.
Although the couple wants to share coffee culture with as many people possible, they do not rely heavily on advertising and social media, instead preferring word of mouth.
“I think that advertising for a coffee shop can be detrimental,” said Christiaan. “If it’s good, people are going to come anyways.”
Ultimately, Shine Coffee will continue to evolve in order to create a unique customer experience that also maintains the needs of both the business and Phoenix sustainability.
“We think it’s a good time to be exploring the different kinds of coffee bars that can exist in the city of Phoenix,” Laryn said.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
PHOENIX SUNS ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP WITH ARIZONA RATTLERS
Partnership to include the Gorilla and Friends Greenhouse and Lucky Row giveaway at Suns home games
The Phoenix Suns are proud to announce a marketing partnership with the Arena Football League’s (AFL) Arizona Rattlers. The new agreement is one of a limited number of partnerships between a professional sports franchise and an AFL team.
The two teams already share a unique relationship as the Rattlers were owned by the Suns organization from its inception in 1992 until 2005. Since separating, the two teams have continued to share US Airways Center as their home playing venue. Now nine years later, the teams have joined forces once again.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Phoenix Suns organization,” said Rattlers majority owner Ron Shurts. “It is an honor to support the longest-running professional sports franchise in the Valley and it is only natural that our two organizations come together again. We look forward to uniting our fans and connecting with the community in a new and exciting way.”
“The Suns are excited to be a part of this unique partnership with the four-time Arena Bowl Champion Arizona Rattlers,” said Suns President Jason Rowley. “Between our long-standing relationship and both teams’ dedication to providing fans with exceptional service and entertainment, this partnership is a natural fit.”
Highlighting the partnership is a redesign of the Phoenix Suns Gorilla Greenhouse to include “Gorilla and Friends” where the Rattlers’ mascot Stryker joins the Gorilla and Phoenix Mercury’s Scorch in the play area located in the upper concourse. The Rattlers branding includes an interactive football game to be projected on the floor for children to enjoy during both NBA and AFL games. It also features multiple video screens and a collage of photos showcasing the exciting atmosphere of Rattlers football.
In addition to the Gorilla Greenhouse re-design, Rattlers signage and promotions will air on the video screens during Suns games as well as a monthly Lucky Row contest where fans of one lucky row will win a Rattlers Fan Pack.
Tickets are still available for the Suns matchup against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, February 21 at US Airways Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Like the Suns on the court, good seats are going fast! Make sure to get yours today at Suns.com, before they’re gone.
When he came up with the idea for Lawless Denim & Co. about three years ago, CEO Roman Acevedo found it a daunting task to find people skilled in sewing and leather making. But with the store’s addition of the first draper loom west of the Mississippi, he can maintain the unique quality and authentic vintage essence of the jeans, while partnering with the Arizona Opportunities Industrialization Center to train people in the industry.
The 3,500-pound machine is a piece of history, originating from Pennsylvania during World War II. Bringing this sought-after, 80-year-old loom into the store on February 4th was not a small feat (it required a forklift), but there are a number of benefits it will bring for the business, its customers and the Phoenix economy.
“The loom that revolutionized the denim industry” will manufacture chambray, denim, canvas and more to speed up the production of jeans. Currently, Lawless sources its denim, which is made from pima cotton from Japan and North Carolina.
“My thought was, we’re an Arizona-based company creating our own jeans here, why not take it a step further and use the pima cotton that we grow in our own backyard and make our own denim?” said Acevedo.
In the next 30 to 45 days, he expects the loom to start producing denim, after having undergone extensive maintenance. Once it’s up and running, he will search for eight to 10 more vintage looms to place in the store, which only opened in October 2013.
“The only thing slowing us down is availability, said Acevedo. “They’re very hard to find.” This particular loom was the result of intense Internet research and making new contacts, which he hopes will prove valuable in his quest for more looms.
“It’s about creating that Arizona product with the very unique experience that every element done here is bespoke.”
“We could very easily charge four or five hundred dollars for a custom pair of jeans, but that’s not helping the economy. What helps the economy is people spending money, which in turn drives production, which in return creates jobs.”
In addition to the custom jeans ranging from $115 to $195, the store offers off-the-shelf jeans for $87, along with belts, denim shirts and a collection of leather products.
The store will offer customized dress shirts ranging from $85 to $145 with the option to choose the collar, cuff, fabric and monogram in the coming month.
The store’s next step in customization is nailing their own buttons made of Arizona copper and silver.
One of the most vital partnerships for Lawless has been with the Arizona OIC- a non-profit job-training program. Acevedo said he does not have the means to train people how to sew, while the OIC trains people in three-to-five month programs, teaching them the skills to work right away.
For Acevedo, creating jobs is his primary goal, and he said denim’s ageless quality couldn’t be a more fitting tool to achieve just that.
By maintaining valuable relationships with the city and the people within it, Lawless has seamlessly contributed to the growth, well-being, safety and style of people near and far with new additions and innovative ideas.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
TWO NEW BUSINESS ANNOUNCE GRAND OPENING IN MULTI-USE SPACE IN CENTRAL PHOENIX
Central Wine and Model Citizen Open Doors
Two new retail outlets, Central Wine Bar, a brand new wine bar and retail outlet and Model Citizen, a full-service Hair and Make-up Salon and latest member of the Leidan Mitchell Salon family officially opened for business on Tuesday, February 11th. The two business share a multi-use space located between George & Dragon and Clever Koi, in a space that formerly housed John McCain’s election office at 4236 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012.
Jenna Rousseau, the owner of Central Wine, spent many years in Italy learning about wine, and resided in the San Francisco area working at numerous wineries before moving back to the Valley. Because of her connections in California, she will be offering wines that otherwise have no distribution in the Arizona market. She will also be offering bottles of wine with a minimal corkage fee of $5.00 and even a delivery service. So if you find a bottle of wine you like, you can order it by the case and have it delivered free of charge. They will also have 6 wines and 4 beers on tap as well as cheese, sausage and fruit plates round out of offerings. Central Wine will feature Happy Hour specials and be open Tues-Thurs 12-9 Fri-Sat 12-11.
Jacki Tatman and Erin Essert, Co-Owners of Model Citizen, say that the salon is the latest in the Leidan Mitchell family of Salons, and will continue to house the most highly trained hair stylists and makeup artists, along with an eyelash extension specialist. Model Citizen will have 12 hair stations, a make-up area and numerous stylists available to meet any hair care need. They have highly trained Goldwell color specialists, and are proud to offer the full line of Bumble and Bumble retail products. Model Citizen will be open Monday through Saturday with evening appointments available. Please call ahead for your appointment at 602-296-0909.