In an effort to support small businesses and feed those in need, the Phoenix Suns donated $100,000 to restaurants and food vendors in downtown Phoenix the Phoenix Business Journal is reporting.
Suns Charities, the nonprofit arm of the National Basketball Association team, partnered with Local First Arizona to identify and distribute funds to restaurants so the businesses could provide meals to different community groups.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, confining people to their homes and closing restaurants for nearly two months, Local First estimated downtown Phoenix businesses, especially restaurants, have seen between an 80% and 100% decrease in profits during the past few months.
“The opportunity to support small, independent restaurants in our community, while also providing meals to those in need, is a huge win for everybody,” Suns All-Star Devin Booker said in a statement. “I’ve felt at home in Phoenix since day one and it means a lot to me to be able to assist our amazing downtown neighborhood.”
So far 15 restaurants and a handful of vendors from the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market have received funds from Suns Charities. The first grant was to the Duce for $25,000. The rest of the grants have been for $5,000 each.
“We will be working with at least two businesses a week to distribute the funds to so that they can make the meals and get them to the nonprofits,” said Thomas Barr, the executive director of Local First Arizona, in a statement.
Here are the downtown Phoenix restaurants that the Suns have worked with:
- Arizona Wilderness DTPHX
- Carly’s Bistro
- The Churchill (Freak Brothers Pizza and Foxy Fruit Bowls)
- Crescent Ballroom/Cocina 10 Lounge
- Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market (multiple vendors, including Mi Catering, Sonoran Pasta and Pachamama)
- The Duce
- Fair Trade Cafe
- Matt’s Big Breakfast
- Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe
- PAZ Cantina
- Pizzeria Bianco
- Rito’s Mexican Food
- Serafina Coffee Roasters
In just one month, Local First Arizona (LFA) was able to raise over one million dollars through the Small Business Relief Fund, providing immediate aid to 400 microenterprises thanks to the outpouring support from Arizona’s largest businesses and community nonprofits. LFA predicted federal help would be slow to trickle in and “unbankable” businesses would be left in the dust in the process. In an effort to better position Arizona’s local economy on a path to recovery, Local First Arizona focused on deploying funds to Arizona’s smallest businesses: those with 0-3 employees that generate less than $250,000 in annual revenue.
From food entrepreneurs in Navajo Nation to towing companies in west Phoenix to bed and breakfasts in Southeastern Arizona and everything in between, grants ranging from $1,500 - $2,500 have allowed business owners in a variety of industries to pay off pending bills and plan for the days ahead. One of those businesses is the Simpson Hotel in Duncan, Arizona.
With over 2,800 applications submitted, Local First Arizona has closed the portal to apply but continues to provide real-time updates and resources to businesses. LFA actively fundraising to be able to provide relief to even more Arizona small businesses.