In the market for a new stereo system? A piece of luggage? A skateboard? The folks at Local First Arizona/Arizona Chain Reaction — we call 'em "Yes in My Back Yardies" — are as passionate about your buying it from an indie AZ dealer as a NIMBY would be about a pile of radioactive sludge backing up in the kitchen sink. The group of like-minded businesses banded together in 2003 to combat the negative influence of chains and other insidious outsiders, both aesthetic and fiscal. (According to the Local First site, 45 cents of every dollar spent at an indie stays in Arizona; it's only 13 cents on the dollar at a national chain.) Local First fights the good fight on two fronts: localfirstaz.com, which is chock-full of groovy indie info and a virtual shopping mall, and the bi-annual festival named Certified Local!
These activist fairs are glorious mishmashes of mismatched products and services. At a representative version from 2007, some of the vendors who were on hand to sell you stuff and wheedle your future business included the restaurant named Green, Community Tire, Fairytale Brownies, and Hickman's Egg Ranch (which supplied a giant chicken man). There were also kids' activities, a beer and wine garden, a game station, and live music — local, of course. It was a modest, utterly charming affair. We're guessing you'll think so, too, and take a solemn oath to buy local. Then you'll get back in your SUV and . . .
Sigh. Guess that's why we have YIMBYs.