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In Phoenix, an answer for chain stores and recessions

Gina Madrid, Drip Coffee Lounge

[Source: Tye Cameron, The Zonie Report] — A middle-aged man walked in just after Drip Coffee Lounge opened at 7:30 a.m.  His drink, a small double-shot café americano latte with organic low-fat milk, was already being made for him by the owner herself, Gina Madrid.  They chat briefly in a vernacular that exclusively exists between barista and regular before the local man pays in exact change and walks out.  It was just the beginning of another successful day for the Downtown Phoenix small business model.  “One of the reasons why I opened Drip was because […at chain eateries] you walk away and you feel… ill,” Madrid says as she adjusted the volume on the iPod speakers. Her independently owned cafe has a modern architectural design, and business cards of local artists and entrepreneurs line the front counter.  “When you are providing something good for yourself, that in turn spills over to the people next to you, and so on.”

Independently owned small businesses in the Downtown Phoenix historic districts have thrived in the face of an influx of corporate chains to the city because of their adaptability and willingness to work together. “When you drive down the street, you’re gonna see the Applebee’s, but you’re not gonna see the Stinkweeds right across the street, or know what it is,” says Kimber Lanning, owner of both Stinkweeds Records on Camelback Road at Central Avenue and Modified Arts, a popular music venue and art gallery on Fifth and Roosevelt streets.  Lacking the financial clout of a large corporation, local entrepreneurs say they rely on adaptable business models to contend in the Phoenix economy.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]