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Rick Brower works with guayule at Beem Biologics as operations manager. Photo by Mason Callejas

By Fran Lyons

Guayule (gwa yoo lee). Not a well-known word. If you haven’t heard it before, you probably will, especially if you live in Maricopa.

Guayule is a silver-leaved shrub of the daisy family indigenous to the southwestern United States and Mexico. It grows locally.

It was cultivated in the early 20th century by industry and investment pioneers such as Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller for its promise to produce rubber. The sap of the plant yielded a high volume of latex that produced a rubber compound.

It served a multitude of applications including the World War II effort led by Dwight D. Eisenhower when he was a colonel in the Army in a study of guayule as an alternative to rubber.

Fast-forward to 2014. Lance Beem, a plant physiologist working at the University of California-Davis, conducted trials on the guayule plant for its potential to increase crop growth. He found he was really onto something significant and far-reaching.

He discovered he could extract from the guayule plant a property that would increase crop yield to growers. It is called ISO NPK. It’s a bio fertilizer. It is naturally sourced, non-toxic and certified organic.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Chief Operations Officer Ben Cloud said ISO NPK offers one of the most potent fertility products on the market. “We call it ‘giving your crops wings.’ Plants actually respond to an application with rising branches and leaves for a physically visible response.”

Events shaped rapidly from this discovery. Beem Biologics was established in 2014. Four founding members – CEO/Chairman Stephen Butler, PhD, COO Ben Cloud, Director Lance Beem and Director Rodolfo Manzone, PhD – came on board with experience and expert skills to develop a new product with great possibility.

Ben Cloud. Photo by Mason Callejas

Development continued with the founders opening a facility in Maricopa, a rich, agricultural resource area that has the guayule shrub growing in abundance. Research and development continues at UC-Davis.

The purpose became clear to the founders: “Develop and supply biological compounds that are naturally derived and sustainable for use in growing crops.”

Beem Biologics has entered a licensing agreement with one of the largest crop protection industries in the world – Arysta LifeScience – and has conducted successful, broad-spectrum field trials of ISO NPK.

“Our mission is to become a premium provider of breakthrough biological technologies throughout the world,” Cloud said. “The impetus for this shift is the awareness of the agriculture industry and communities at large, to see the opportunity and benefit of using naturally derived compounds. They are safe, economical and highly effective in increasing crop yield for growers.”

Biological compounds, or AG biologicals, provide many of the answers that face the chemical crop industry.

“At Beem Biologicals, we intend to advance ‘Healthy Soil, Healthy Food and a Healthy Planet, based on science,’” Cloud said.

Beem Biologics currently has an inventory that would provide product to 1 million acres. Beginning in 2019, marketing will expand and the projected growth will be 10 million acres of product coverage to meet market demands over the next five years, according to its business plan.

Rick Brower is the operations manager. He is an Arizona native who has lived in Maricopa since 1988.

“I have been working with the potential of the guayule shrub for 10 years, and I am really excited to be here in Maricopa at this amazing time to hit the ground running,” he said. “Our timing is right to move away from conventional chemical products that deplete the soil to a non-toxic, organic product that revitalizes and enhances crops.”

This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Rosati's Pizza

Rosati’s Pizza will be opening a 1,050-square-foot pizza restaurant in Maricopa Station in the space formerly occupied by Zoyo Yogurt.

Maricopa Station is located just north of the CVS on the NEC of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road. Rosati’s will be at 21423 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 102. It will be carry-out and delivery.

The first Rosati’s Pizza in the Chicago area opened in 1964, with the Rosati family picking up where their father Sam Rosati left off, with old-style Italian flavors.

Dena Zell of ZELL Commercial Real Estate Services represented the landlord on the lease.

Branch Manager Stacey Cyr and Business Development Marketing Representative Matthew Sheldon. Submitted photos


A company with roots deeply planted in the Arizona business community announced the grand opening of its Maricopa location.

: Pioneer Title Agency Grand Opening/Community Celebration
When: June 29, 3-6 p.m.
Where: 21596 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 101

Pioneer Title Agency has one other office in Pinal County and 70 branches across the state.

The Maricopa office, located in the Cobblestone Fiesta shopping center at 21596 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 101, will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 29 at 3 p.m.

Food and drink, a wine tasting, catering from Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and live entertainment will be free for the community at the event.

The public can also sign a “massive” ribbon that will be cut and then preserved for display in the office.

Branch Manager Stacey Cyr is a longtime Maricopa resident who most recently worked at Empire West Title Agency.

“We are focused on not only providing title insurance, escrow, trustee sales and builder-related trust services across Maricopa, but also being good community volunteers and a voice for both business and economic development for the county,” Cyr said in a press release.

Described as a real estate veteran and a local business advocate, Cyr plans to launch the county’s first Business Networking International chapter this year.

There, Cyr would volunteer as the organizations secretary-treasurer, according to the release.

Cyr also hopes to partner with local pet rescue Pet Social Worker to host fundraising events and “yappy hours.”

The community-spirited branch manager has also planned a series of activities in October with nonprofit organization Save the Ta-Ta’s.

The Pioneer Team also includes Business Development Marketing Representative Matthew Sheldon and Cyr’s son Damian who will serve the agency in an administrative role.


Photo by Michelle Chance

Smiley Dental, the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce and members of the public celebrated the grand opening of the new dentist office Thursday with a ribbon-cutting. Dentist Tin Nguyen and his staff offered free fillings, extractions and cleanings to the first 20 people in need of dental care. Smiley Dental is in the Fry’s Marketplace Plaza at 20917 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite A-105.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Maricopa dentist Tin Nguyen opened his practice last month and will celebrate the grand opening with a ceremony Thursday.

: Smiley Dental Ribbon Cutting
When: June 21, 9:30 a.m.
Where: 20917 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite A105

Smiley Dental, 20917 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite A105, is a family dentistry practice that provides adult and pediatric services like “crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, dentures, veneers and bleaching.”

Invisalign braces and dental implants could be offered in the future as well.

During the office’s ribbon cutting event June 21 at 9:30 a.m., Nguyen and his team will provide free extractions, fillings or cleanings to the first 20 people in line. Low-income patients and those without insurance coverage are eligible to choose one of the three services free of charge and will be scheduled an appointment for that day.

“I like to be involved with the community and also to give back,” Nguyen said.

The dentist’s giving spirit won’t end at the ribbon-cutting. Nguyen plans to have “community service days” where he offers certain services for free to those in need every year.

“I’m thinking about also bringing some (free) services to the veterans here on Veterans Day because I’m also a veteran myself,” he said.

A dentist for the past 15 years, Nguyen was previously a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He also performed dentistry services to the Colorado Indian Tribes in Parker.

Nguyen chose to open his practice in Maricopa because of the small-town feel – similar in size and population to where he used to live in Lake Havasu City.

Nguyen and wife TLan live in Maricopa with their children who attend a local school. Smiley Dental’s staff also lives in the city.

“There’s no traffic,” he said of his daily commute. “Did I say no traffic?”

In July, Smiley Dental will attend the Great American 4th celebration at Copper Sky where staff will handout “dental goodies” and provide free dental screenings.

For more information, call the office at 833-793-7773 or visit their website and social media.


Still in early stages, a proposal for a Dutch Bros. Coffee store, with drive thru, came before the Heritage District Committee on Thursday.

Dutch Bros. Coffee is proposing a store in Maricopa, and the Heritage District Citizen Advisory Committee received an early look at plans Thursday.

That’s because the committee gets an opinion on any development in the Heritage District. Dutch Bros. Coffee’s proposal is on the north side of Fast & Friendly Car Wash.

City planner Rudy Lopez said the project still has to go through site plan review and meet criteria currently under discussion. Developers are also seeking a variance.

The project uses an existing access from John Wayne Parkway, but Lopez said there is an easement on the frontage.

“It’s like a no-build zone,” Lopez said, “so they’re going for a variance.”

Project Manager Michael Oakleaf of Archicon Architecture & Interiors said the current plans make sacrifices to fit into the area. That included abandoning some elements and using a color scheme that would “blend in” with the neighboring car wash.

Oakleaf said those concessions are unusual.

“We’re giving up a lot,” he said.

In what Chairman Brian Foose called “a formality,” the committee unanimously voted its support for the project.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

While its neighbors work on getting store-ready, Dunkin’ Donuts opened in the Edison Pointe shopping plaza Friday morning with great fanfare.

Owner Alex Apodaca, who owns several stores, said he and his partners usually do not go “all out” for an opening in larger cities because the interest isn’t as keen as it is in a smaller suburb like Maricopa.

This time, “all out” meant band members from Maricopa High School, a radio remote, kids games and more, with activities continuing Saturday with a pinstriping demonstration. The official ribbon-cutting including Mayor Christian Price, city council members, Chamber of Commerce members and candidates running for assorted offices. Some proceeds from the grand opening weekend benefit three nonprofits.

WingStop is meant to go in two doors down and still has a lot of work to do. A city stop-work order was posted on the door of the store space in between, which is to be a nail salon.

Meanwhile, work continues steadily nearby on the new Burger King, which is expected to open this summer. In the anchor space in the plaza’s main building, Ross still has a projected open date of July 21.

Dunkin' Donuts is planning a grand opening Friday morning. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


Dunkin’ Donuts is planning its grand opening Friday morning.

The store will open at 4 a.m., but the ribbon-cutting with Mayor Christian Price, the city council and Maricopa Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. It will be the first Dunkin’ Donuts in the city.

Owner Alex Apodaca said he’s celebrating his 10th year of owning Dunkin’ stores in the Valley. He’s part of a group of partners that own 39, with 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and seven more in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Friday, from 7 to 10 a.m., there will be a variety of activities, and the weekend will also include a live remote with radio station KESZ. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank and two other Phoenix-based charities, Changing Lives Center for Women & Children and a teen suicide prevention organization.

There will also be face-painting, mascots and a bike-pinstriping demo.

Rather than selling a franchise at a time, Dunkin’ sells territories, which is how Apodaca and his partners spread so quickly. It came about, he said, when a friend called him a decade ago in California with an idea.

“He said, ‘I think I found a concept to drag you out of San Diego,’” Apodaca said.

At the time, he saw that Dunkin was “coming out West and coming out strong.” It was just before the Great Recession, he said, “and it turned out doughnuts and coffee were the right thing to be in when the recession hit.”

Apodaca said the partnership had been trying for years to come to Maricopa, struggling to find the right real estate. They wanted the property to be on “the morning side of the road” and in an area that was the middle of activity.

The Maricopa store is in the Edison Pointe shopping center on the east side of John Wayne Parkway. Edison Pointe has some stores open and others still under construction. Along with 1,800 square feet of store space it is a drive-thru. Apodaca said 95 percent of his stores have a drive-thru.

He said the store will have baking on site and will also have product brought in from the Valley when necessary volume dictates.

Apodaca said Maricopa is one of those “outlying” cities like Flagstaff that he and his partners enjoy so much. In the culture and in the community, it feels like family.

“They are so receptive to what we’re doing,” he said.

The last item going up for the Dunkin’ Donuts store is usually the first thing – its signage. The store currently has a banner but not its permanent sign. Apodaca said he hopes it is in place by the grand opening.

Other businesses soon to open in the same stand-alone building within the plaza are a nail salon and a Wingstop. The latter received its liquor license this week.


Angelina Martin among her creations in her home workspace. Photo by Mason Callejas


Angelina Martin calls her clothing designs “exotic and eclectic and also eco-friendly.”

“I’m Mexican American, and so I base a lot of Latin American designs and geometric silhouettes in wearable art.” — Angelina Martin

Martin has owned AnymMystik Art & Apparel, a home-based design studio in Maricopa, since 2016, but she has spent a lifetime creating.

“Some of it is ready-to-wear apparel where you can wear it all day and then take it home and wash it,” she said. “And then some of it is paint.”

Her garments are always colorful and often incorporate large bold images like a guitar or a cat’s face. She uses recycled material, cast-offs given to eco-fashion designers by fabric manufacturers. An instructor for eight years at The Art Institute, Mart employs techniques in quilting and layering for constructing garments and may combine that with painted textiles.

“The painting, the quilting, the layers, the various textures kind of sum up my whole wearable art in fashion,” Martin said.

Feedback from fashion shows indicates she should include more painting, and listening to potential customers can impact her direction.

She was one of seven designers participating in the first Arizona Eco Fashion Week in April at the Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC) in Tempe. That is the home of the Arizona Apparel Foundation and is built to foster and network local designers.

Its goal is “to be Arizona’s first and most comprehensive resource for independent fashion companies that connects them to each other, to the community and to all of the fashion-related services that they need to operate and grow their business.”

Angelina Martin (center) talks about her bright attire as it is modeled. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Martin raves about FABRIC.

“They manufacture small lots for people,” she said. “People go in there with their ideas and then they literally help you from the beginning doing the technical… from choosing patterns, to cutting it and making it for you.”

Earning her spot in fashion shows has also been a boon.

“I did Phoenix Fashion Week, and then after that opportunities kept coming,” she said. “People kept asking me to do their shows.”

The reasons go beyond the creative.

“I’m always on time and always organized. I have the tag with the model’s name, the order they’re walking in. And then I see the chaos of everyone else. You see the fashion sub-culture. You mix the hair, the models, the designers, the makeup, all those people, all those artists, and you see some craziness. I just stand there and don’t say a word and mind my own business. I think that’s why.”

She has exhibited her work at LabelHorde Fashion Show, Sacramento Fashion Week, Arizona State Fair (three blue ribbons), Costume Society of America and more.

Martin has two master’s degrees. She was working on her Master of Fine Art at University California-Davis when she had her son Collin.

“Everyone thought I was the Mexican nanny,” she said. “I would walk around campus with him, and they’d ask ‘Oh, who are you babysitting for?’ I’d say, ‘That’s my kid. Just because he has blond hair and green eyes, it doesn’t mean I can’t claim him.”

In his own way, her son has become part of the business. Collin and his friends have modeled Angelina’s clothes for her collections. He graduated from Maricopa High School in May.

Photo by Mason Callejas

And Martin’s heritage has informed her decisions as a designer and artist, notably creating a “coral creature” sculpture that was photographed and turned into a print.

“I’m Mexican American, and so I base a lot of Latin American designs and geometric silhouettes in wearable art,” Martin said. “And that’s where I got the coral creature. I was learning about Mayan rubber process and Mayan leather making. It’s reed and wire with fabric wrapped around it and rubberized with a Mayan latex rubberizing process.”

Two years after earning her first master’s degree, Martin became an instructor and director at The Art Institute. She first taught in Austin, Texas, then in Sacramento, California.

She earned a Master of Humanities in art and visual media at Tiffin University in 2015. “And that’s when I focused on digital prints. So, it’s been within the last two years that I’ve really pushed the boundaries and discovered who I wanted to be.”



This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Photo by Mason Callejas

Dollar Tree received its commercial tenant improvement permit May 10 for its newly opened store valued at $145,000. The store got its automatic fire sprinkling system permit April 30, and a fire alarm permit on May 9. The store also received an aluminum sign permit valued at $6,000 May 15. Dollar Tree is located at 20797 N. John Wayne Parkway.

Community of Hope Church is undergoing improvements inside and out. It received an automatic fire sprinkling system permit May 15 and a permit to begin moving electric wires underground April 19. The redirection of wires will benefit future community streetlights in the area. The church is also in the process of repairing damaged sidewalk on Honeycutt Avenue. Reconstruction for the sidewalk began May 14.

Businesses receiving fire sprinkler permits include Dunkin Donuts April 17 and Burger King on May 14. Smiley Dental received a sign permit April 18, valued at $2,000, and Verizon received a permit for a new sign April 19, valued at $4,500.

Pioneer Title, 21596 N. John Wayne Parkway, received a commercial tenant improvement permit valued at $80,000.

Maricopa Development Company received a permit for a sales/construction office valued at $3,000 on May 7 at 37346 W. Leonessa Ave. KB Home received the same permit May 10 at 18166 N. Christopher Drive valued at $4,000.

Police and fire stations received capital improvement project permits. Copper Sky Police Substation plans to progress to phase 2, including expanding the parking area. The project is valued at $500,000. Fire stations on Bowlin Road and Alterra Parkway will both be receiving new shade structures, valued at $11,920 and $18,375, respectively. Fire Station 575 on Edison Road will be getting a new fuel tank valued at $32,709 from a permit received May 7.

This item appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Dunkin Donuts is going conducting employee training in preparation for its June 8 opening date.

The following businesses received business licenses from the City of Maricopa between April 16 and May 15:

Commercial: Dunkin Donuts, Nessy’s Kustoms, Ross Dress for Less, True Hearts II

Home-based: Child Care, Equilass, Fashion and Beauty Guide, Ford’s Home Services, Forever Fiberworks, Four Directions, HealthyNow LLC, Hula Handyman, Hummingbird Lane, J. Walker Signs & Lighting, La Vie Group Home, Maricopa We Care, The Social Baboon, Society’s Air LLC, Specialized Pest Control

Out of town: Bark and Purr Pet Grooming, Bay Alarm Company, Carlos Landscaping, Core Valuation Group, Dame 1 Entertainment, Dutchmaster Electric, Elontec LLC, Garth Vacuum Truck Service, Holbrook Asphalt, Junior’s Landscaping, Newbridge Electrical, Pacific Aquascape International, Pedro Perez, Pop A Korn, Structural Steel, Venture West Construction, Zpotes Food Truck

Nonprofit: Hearts and Hooves of Arizona, Troop 943 Boy Scouts of America

Peddler/Solicitor: Arm Security

This item appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Businesses within the area affected by grade-separation construction apply for temporary sign permits. (City of Maricopa)


Maricopa City Council approved a temporary sign permit on May 10 for businesses impacted by the construction of the overpass in midtown Maricopa.

The permit applies to businesses and nonprofits within 300 feet of the affected roads – John Wayne Parkway between Hathaway Avenue and Desert Cedars, Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway between John Wayne Parkway and the Maricopa Unified School District office, and Honeycutt Road between John Wayne Parkway and the MUSD Transportation office.

The temporary signs include a 32-square-foot banner and a 32-square-foot ground sign. They cannot be placed within 40 feet of another sign and cannot interfere with pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

Applications are available at City Hall. The application packet includes examples of specifications. The application process takes up to five days.

Interim City Manager Trisha Sorensen said the program is similar to the temporary holiday sign program the city offers.

This item appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce will not renew its lease for office space on Honeycutt Road this September.

In a news release published Friday, Chamber Board President Chris Cahall said the organization that promotes small and medium-sized businesses in Maricopa will operate “virtually” after its lease expires Aug. 31.

Meetings are proposed to take place at member businesses and, possibly, the Central Arizona College campus in Maricopa.

“We’ve got to evolve in order to keep up with how the world is changing, and I think this is going to be an awesome change for the Chamber and the membership,” Cahall told InMaricopa.

Cahall would not confirm if the Board’s vote was unanimous, instead saying the decision was approved.

The chamber’s evolution outside the budget-binding confines of its $2,300 monthly rent payment will allow it to focus those funds on member services, Cahall added.

Currently, three-quarters of members’ dues are allocated to rent and the executive director’s salary.

A minority of in-office visits involve visitors inquiring about member business information. Cahall said 90 percent of Chamber foot traffic is to the visitors’ center – a local tourism effort defunded by the City of Maricopa.

“How are we able to provide optimal benefits if most of our membership monies are going to a facility and only 10 percent of the people walking through the door on an annual basis are looking for membership information?” Cahall asked.

The Board’s answer is to wave good bye to its brick-and-mortar, an idea first proposed in a meeting with members two weeks ago.

“We think (having meetings at members’ businesses) will allow our networking events to be more member-centric on their turf,” Cahall said.

In addition to its member services like the networking and ribbon-cutting events, Cahall said the Board has proposed implementing an annual business speaker, as well as educational opportunities for members.

The Chamber’s monthly breakfast will still be held at Elements Event Center.

Cahall said the Board has also discussed using a portion of member dues to revamp the Chamber’s website, and is open to hearing ideas from members.

While it prepares to spend its last few months in its office space, the Chamber is also hunting for its new leader.

The Board is accepting applications for the new executive director until June 1 at 5 p.m., according to the news release.

The person who fills that role will eventually work from a home office after the Chamber moves out. Cahall said a candidate living in Maricopa is preferred.

The board president said he’d like to see the new director establish a visible presence in the community.

“I really want that executive director to be out with the members and be out finding members, and spreading the message of our small and medium-sized business community through Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Chandler and attending networking events to assist and to continue to layer on member benefits showcasing the Maricopa chamber,” Cahall said.

Customers stand outside waiting for inspections to end at Dollar Tree. Photo by Michelle Chance

Maricopa’s second discount store held its grand opening and ribbon cutting Thursday morning.

However, Dollar Tree’s newest customers were ushered out of the 10,000-square-foot building soon after doors opened.

City building inspectors and the fire marshal temporarily closed Edison Pointe’s latest retail shop for a little more than an hour to perform final inspections. They did not explain the timing.

Deputy Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez with the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department said Dollar Tree received approval by both agencies.

“Everything is OK. They’re opened up again; business is going good as usual,” Rodriguez said.

The store is located at 20595 N. John Wayne Parkway south of Fry’s Marketplace.

The Ak-Chin Pedestrian Bridge opened March 28. The bridge links Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino with UltraStar Multi-tainment Center. Crossing over the roadway between the two properties, the bridge is 180 feet long and air conditioned. There are elevators at each end, directly linking the bowling alley with the new parking garage at the casino.

Maricopa’s newest athletic gym officially opened March 27. Planet Fitness, 20595 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 400, is staffed 24 hours a day. City leaders and Maricopa Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The planned Dunkin Donuts at Edison Pointe received a commercial tenant improvement permit for its 1,811-square-foot space in the western building. That is valued at $238,708. Its business license is pending.

Dollar Tree, moving into Edison Pointe adjoining Fry’s Marketplace, also received a tenant improvement permit for its 9,920-square-foot space. The project is valued at $145,000. Its opening is set for May 10.

True Hearts received final inspection April 10 at its location, 19428 N. John Wayne Parkway, the former business barn.

Legacy Charter received a permit April 10 to make on-site improvements for Sunrise Preschool at 19287 N. Porter Road, valued at $98,658.

Respados Locoz received a zoning permit for its mobile food vending at 44274 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Burger King, 20595 N. John Wayne Parkway, received permits for illuminated signage, logo and drive-thru menu boards as well as a monument sign. It is scheduled to open this spring.

This item appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.


The following businesses received businesses licenses from the City of Maricopa between May 16 and April 15.

Commercial: Creative Blessings, Dollar Tree, Winkley Law Firm

Home-based: Active & Pain Free, Bradley Goering Maintenance, Comfort Care Assisted Living Home, Erin Neidigh, LLC., Fernando Matus Janitorial Service, Fortified Collection, Gorilla Joe’s Pest Control, Jewelry by Jenn, KRM Enterprises, La Bella Casa, M&T Services, Marick Home Care, Maricopa Handyman, Salud Cocktail Club, Santa Cruz Creative, Violet’s Garden Assisted Living Home

Out of town: Acton Contracting, B&J Glass and Store Front, Biscuit Freaks, CLW Construction, Cordova Contracting & Development, Data Specialties, Diego’s Loco Dogs & Catering, Entrepreneurial Communities, Firehouse Concessions, Ironwood Cabinets, Khalymba Retail, Midway Chevrolet, Millie’s Catering, Murrieta Landscaping, Patrick Riley Cooling, Heating and Plumbing, Quality Awnings and Patios, Scape Tech, Sistahstoo, Southwest Blinds & Shutters, Stage Right Entertainment, Sun Pumps Inc., Sunharvest Solar, Technology Services, Vape Scottsdale, Window Coverings, Zayne’s Grill

This item appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Discount variety store Dollar Tree is planning a May 10 opening of its Maricopa store in the Edison Pointe plaza.

The business will employ 12-20 people. Those interested can apply online at DollarTree.com or in person at the store.

“Dollar Tree is pleased to invite customers to experience our great value and broad assortment of merchandise all priced at $1 or less,” said Dollar Tree spokesperson Kayleigh Painter said in a news release.

The store is 10,000 square feet and is located at 20595 N. John Wayne Parkway.

“Dollar Tree continues to grow, and we are proud to be part of the Maricopa community,” Painter said.

The HVS study found Hilton’s Homewood A photo from the study shows Suites in Chandler to be a primary competitor for hotel traffic in Maricopa.

When the City of Maricopa last completed a hotel feasibility study, it was 2014 and Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino had not announced its hotel expansion.

Maricopa Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart said while that expansion has no effect on whether Maricopa can sustain a hotel, “as we began to talk to hoteliers and developers, they wanted to know how it would affect the feasibility of the project.”

Those requests turned into a new feasibility study, released in March, by HVS Consulting & Valuation.

The study specifically looked at the viability of a hotel proposed somewhere along State Route 347. Possible sites include acreage at the Copper Sky complex, property that is owned by the city and intended for hotel and retail establishments.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin is adding more than 200 rooms during its casino remodeling. Within Maricopa, there are no other lodging accommodations. Aside from the casino, a new hotel’s main competitors would be in Chandler.

“The new report by HVS states the community can sustain a 100-room, extended-stay, upper midscale hotel,” Airheart said.

According to the report, “heavy consideration” was given to Home2 Suites by Hilton, Staybridge Suites and TownePlace Suites by Marriott brands, though “a specific franchise affiliation and/or brand has yet to be finalized.”

The study also had the caveat that if a hotel were built outside the SR 347 corridor, it could alter the feasibility of the project.

HVS used the model of a 70 percent occupancy level and a base-year rate of $103 in making comparisons with current hotels in the surrounding area.

“The conclusion of this analysis indicates that an equity investor contributing $3,471,000 (roughly 30 percent of the $11,600,000 development cost) could expect to receive a 20.3 percent internal rate of return over a 10-year holding period,” the report stated. That is considered an above-average return.

Major demand generators for a hotel are listed as the Volkswagen proving grounds, Nissan testing center, Apex Motor Club, U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center and Amtrak. Last year, VW alone needed an estimated 12,000 room nights, according to the report, accommodations that had to be made outside Maricopa.

This story appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Smiley Dental is among new businesses acquiring a new commercial license.

Of the many new business licenses applied for in Maricopa last month, the majority were for out-of-town companies and vendors.

Commercial: GoWireless Inc., H&R Block, Maricopa Family Psychiatry, My Maricopa Plumber, Planet Fitness, Smiley Dental, Treasured Smiles Children’s Dentistry, True Hearts II

Home-based: Ashley’s Parties, Bags and More by Julie, Charmed Bath & Body, Comfort Care Assisting Living Home, Crossland Training Connections, Desert Ice, JC & Laney, LenzKing, Ms. Sparkle, Nana’s House of Childcare, Origami Owl, PCs by D’vine, Positively Posh Events, Skurtsy/Peaches & Seams, Sonora Candle & Oils, Usborne Books & More, VanGo 4 Kids, VIPTV

Out of town: Arizona Correctional Industries, Arizona Foundation Solutions, Banner Casa Grande Medical Center, Cordova Contracting & Development, Different Smokes BBQ, Digital Video Networks, Flippin’ Rice Food Truck, Garth Vacuum Truck Service, Good Ruby Apple Christian Book & Gift, Guzman Fence Company, Horrocks Engineers, The Ice Tea Guy, Joseph’s Graneries, Liquid Habit, Lislie Heft Premier Designs Jewelry, Metro Traffic Control, MRC Construction & Electrical, Ms. C’s BBQ Chicken N Ribs, Pace Pacific Corporation, Phoenix Psychic, RT Underground, Seacret Direct, Soil Works, Sonya’s Feather Duster, Starlight Homes Construction, Tac-O-Bout It, Tribal Waters, Tupperware The Fanatics

Nonprofit: Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, Maricopa Pantry, Waypoint Church

This item appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Dirt is being moved on the lot of a future Burger King at Edison Pointe.

Hundreds of people lined the new sidewalks of Edison Pointe’s first retail grand opening last week as Goodwill opened its doors March 16. The event drew two Maricopa High School students who decided to spend one night of their spring break camping at the used-retail shop’s front doors. Other tenants slated to open this month include Planet Fitness and Ross Dress for Less. Project Manager John Scholl confirmed Monday Dollar Tree is one of Edison Pointe’s newest retail stores.

Dunkin Donuts, Wingstop, a nail salon and other tenants could open on the westside of the development in late spring. This summer, Burger King is projected to open by mid-June. A sit-down breakfast restaurant and an auto service center are currently finalizing contracts with Vintage Partners. Those establishments would be constructed on the southside of Edison Pointe.

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Goodwill, Ross and Planet Fitness are scheduled to open this month. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Businesses within the new Edison Pointe shopping plaza are beginning to open this month.

The first opening is the Goodwill store, which plans a grand opening March 16 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The thrift store is offering a $5 gift card to the first 150 people in line. They will have coffee and doughnuts.

Those who bring a bag of donations during the opening weekend, March 16-18, will receive a $5 coupon.

Planet Fitness is already taking memberships and has its grand opening planned for March 27 at 11 a.m. The 24-hour gym is offering pre-grand opening discounts.

Ross Dress for Less is also on track to open in late March, but date and time have not been set.

Other upcoming businesses include Dunkin Donuts and Wingstop. Construction of a Burger King has not yet begun.

The plaza is at 20595 N. John Wayne Parkway on the northeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Edison Road.

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Linda Hughes McCarthy and Daniel Pina have joined the leadership at Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino.

CPA Jim Chaston will be the guest speaker at the Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Mixer on March 8 at 7 a.m. at Elements Event Center. He will discuss the new tax law.

Chef Josh Sweat of South Carolina became the general manager of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in February. He is in charge of day-to-day operations.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino is busily hiring leadership for its hotel expansion. Linda Hughes McCarthy of Maricopa was named hotel operations manager. She will direct the day-to-day operations of the hotel. She has a has a certificate in hospitality management from Cornell University. Harrah’s Ak-Chin also hired an executive housekeeper. Daniel Piña will be responsible for managing costs and hiring and training staff. He was a manager at The Omni Scottsdale and The Phoenician and is currently attending Arizona State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in tourism development management.

Fry’s Marketplace, 20797 N. John Wayne Parkway, received a permit (as Smith’s Food &Drug Centers Inc.) to increase its fuel dispensers from five to seven for a 1,223-square-foot expansion of the fuel center canopy. The work, valued at $221,000, is being done by Sigma Contracting. The project also received a permit for an underground fireline and hydrant.

Denny’s, which open Feb. 26 at 21171 N. John Wayne Parkway, received a permit for an LED sign.

This item appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.

Workmen install new AC units at First Baptist Church. Photo by Michelle Chance

One of Maricopa’s oldest places of worship received an upgrade Thursday.

First Baptist Church replaced three ageing air conditioning units with help from a local business. The historic church was built in 1954 and has overcome many obstacles over the years.

First Baptist survived a fire in 2016. It also would have been demolished if early designs for the State Route 347 overpass had been approved.

The church was remodeled after the smoke and flames, and a new plan was drawn up for the bridge to bypass the church.

The most recent impediment facing the church now is the upcoming heat. First Baptist’s 17-year-old AC units that cool the congregation below were deteriorating.

“It was at a point where something needed to be done,” said Bruce McLaughlin

A crane and a crew of six uninstalled and replaced the old units March 1 at around half the cost of a typical installation.

Pastor Kevin Treacy met McLaughlin, owner of McLaughlin Air Conditioning and Heating Service, when he needed service to his personal AC unit at his home over the holidays.

That’s when McLaughlin said he volunteered to service the church’s units.

McLaughlin is not a member of the First Baptist congregation but said he wants to be “all about the community.”

The local business owner said he and his company are not seeking recognition for the help and said although they cannot assist everybody in need, “We do give a discount to some of those organizations that are very impactful,” McLaughlin said, adding, “We like to help out.”

Pastor Kevin Treacy said the high-efficient, electric units will save the church money and keep the congregation comfortable.

“We obviously have things that go on here due to the age of the building, but by God’s grace he continues to provide for us,” Treacy said.

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Development of Edison Pointe moves forward. The property at 20595 N. John Wayne Parkway, south of Fry’s, will be anchored by Ross Dress for Less.

The Goodwill store is set to open first, planning a grand-opening ribbon-cutting March 16. The store sells used clothing, furniture and household goods to provide free skills training and job placement.

Planet Fitness currently plans to have its ribbon cutting March 27. The populist gym franchise will be in Suite 400 with a corner entrance and will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays before the full opening when it becomes a 24-hour facility. The Maricopa location has web and Facebook pages in the early stages.

Other opening dates will be announced later. Despite leaving Vintage Partners for Pederson Inc., developer Casey Treadwell continues to lead the Edison Pointe project.

Meanwhile, on the far north end of Fry’s Marketplace, Denny’s moved grand opening plans due to permitting and other delays. It had tentatively set a date of Feb. 19. A grand opening has been delayed to Feb. 21 at the earliest, again tentatively.

UPDATE: A ribbon-cutting for Denny’s is planned for Monday morning, Feb. 26.

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Craig Jackson is CEO of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company.

Private Motorsports Group, the developer of Apex Motor Club in Maricopa, announced the addition of three big names in the automotive industry as a founding member and new advisers.

Craig Jackson, CEO of Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions and Valley resident, is a founding member of Private Motorsports Group.

“I am not only an avid collector of cars, but I love the opportunity to take my cars out to the track and really see what they can do,” Jackson said. “For many years, I’ve been watching its development and I’ve been in contact with the development team.  I love Apex’s close proximity to Phoenix and Scottsdale and the team’s vision for Apex. This is something that is definitely needed here in the Valley of the Sun, and on a personal level, I plan to be involved with its growth in the coming years.”

Apex is planned on a site north of State Route 238. The $30 million project was unanimously approved earlier this year by the Maricopa City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission.

Arie Luyendyk, two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 (1990 and 1997) and a Valley resident, is on board as an Apex adviser. So is Paul Tracy, CART/Champ Car Series Champion (2003).

“The Valley has been hungry for a facility like this,” Luyendyk said. “There are so many car collectors in Arizona and this is exactly what these collectors have been waiting for. It’s an opportunity to further cement the Phoenix area as an automotive destination, especially with all of the energy already provided by Barrett-Jackson, Phoenix International Raceway and other automotive draws to the Valley.”

When complete, Apex will include two racing circuits, numerous garage condominiums for car storage, a clubhouse, a multi-purpose building and all of the amenities of an exclusive country club in a setting like few others in the country. Memberships start at approximately $20,000.

“Bringing a first-of-its-kind project within such close proximity to the fifth-largest city in America isn’t just about being able to drive prized possessions around our tracks in a country club setting. It’s about the people, too,” said Apex President and co-founder Jason Plotke. “And what businesses, especially automotive ones, wouldn’t love to have hall of famers and car enthusiasts like these as part of it all.”

The approval of permits for Apex Motor Club led to controversial lawsuits against PMG and the city, suits that have failed in court up to this point and resulted in a formal complaint being filed with the city against the plaintiffs.

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Christian Price. Photo by Mason Callejas

By Christian Price

For those of you who know me, you know I can carry on a conversation with “the best of them.” I love being engaged in all types of conversations with friends and colleagues, business acquaintances and completely new people. And for as much as I love to talk, what I really love about these conversations is the age-old practice of listening.

In my opinion, listening isn’t just the act of not having something coming out of your mouth every other second; but rather engaging in the conversation with the intent to approach the ideas discussed with an educational bent and a concentration on possible implementation of those good ideas expressed. In short, it’s showing a genuine interest and concern in the person and the subject at hand.

Too often, those in positions of leadership, be they corporate, political, entrepreneurial or simply in our very own families, often forget that being “in charge” does not mean we know everything. While these leaders may have the broader vision and concern of the organization in the forefront of their minds, sometimes, it’s the little things that can help catapult both the individual and the group forward the most. Being open to these suggestions, opinions and ideas as they are presented may be the resulting difference between success and failure, growth or decline, or learning what you simply would never have known otherwise to advance the organization to greatness.

To this point, one of my favorite stories about the powerful and successful CEO listening to a frontline worker was told to me by my 11th grade history teacher. We were studying the Industrial Revolution and discussing the “American Dream” and how many of these now uber-wealthy individuals like John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie had risen from poverty to prosperity with hard work and business acumen. As my teacher was relating many fascinating stories about these larger-than-life personalities, one stood out to me and helps guide my perspective about leadership and listening to this day.

He said one day, Andrew Carnegie, who is perhaps best known for the fortune he built through his growth and sale of the Carnegie Steel Co. of Pittsburgh, instituted what we call today the suggestion box. While I can’t say if he actually invented the concept, he certainly understood its possible repercussions. To encourage and foster good ideas and their possible implementation, Carnegie offered a reward equivalent to a worker’s entire month’s wages if the suggestion favored the success and efficiency of the organization and was chosen to be enacted.

During this era, when newly fabricated steel came off the line, it was thinly layered into massive rolls, kind of like a roll of toilet paper. To keep the final top flap from coming loose and risk the roll unravelling during transport, they placed three drops of molten steel on the loose flap to seal it and keep it together. Upon arrival at the destination, the drops creating the seal were broken and the fresh steel utilized.

One day, the worker in charge of applying these “three drop seals” suggested applying only one drop would be equally sufficient in strength and in keeping the flap in place until delivered, thus saving two drops of steel per newly produced roll that left the company’s production line. Due to the colossal volume and quantity of steel the United States and world was using during this Gilded Age, this simple suggestion saved the Carnegie Steel Co. millions of dollars and led to greater profits. While Carnegie didn’t know exactly what this simple suggestion would ultimately lead to, he knew enough about listening to his “on-the-job experts,” and that at a very minimum, to give their suggestions credence for the benefit of the company.

I have referred to this story many times in my life, and it has provided me with the perspective that teamwork is best at helping any organization fire on all its cylinders, while maintaining and respecting an individual’s specific skillsets and talents. While most of us think the leadership position we hold brings a certain air of authority (and perhaps it does), what we cannot assume is we know the very best course of action in every given situation. I can personally attest those leaders who practice listening with an open mind to a subordinate’s comments and ideas, those who promote an open and conversational work environment with the intent to better the organization’s situation, foster and cultivate a positive culture of sharing, trust, confidence and earned loyalty that is second to none… and always pays dividends.

Christian Price is managing partner of Pantheon Investments and mayor of Maricopa.

This column appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

The following businesses applied for or received business licenses or renewals Nov. 16-Dec. 14.

Commercial: Amazing Flooring Solutions, Courtny Tyler State Farm, El Taco Santo, Gloria Smith Insurance and Consulting Services, J Warren Funeral Services, Sunstreet Mortgage, SV Gourmet Kitchen

Home-based: Accounting Advocate, Affordable Quality Child Care, Bougie Bags and Accessories, Chelsea Mendoza, Comfort Realty, Crazy Cranberry Salsa LLC, High-Dration, Power Networking Group, Rich for Maricopa, Sharpe Signature Holdings LLC, STAR Productions, Tim Stashin

Out of town: Arizona Seals Swimming Association, Craft Master Signs, DRH Electric Inc., Fire Catt LLC, High Power Electric, Pinal Transport & Storage, Scott Communities at Sorrento Park LLC

Peddler’s License: Arizona Environmental Process

This item appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

Edison Pointe has been granted several permits as construction of the shopping plaza continues. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The developer of a Jiffy Lube received a commercial permit to build at 42100 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy. The project on a 2,612-square-foot lot is valued at $182,000. Primary contractor is HRW Builders.

The Muslim Community Mosque at 44370 W. Arizona Ave. was granted a permit for grading and drainage by ABC Asphalt. The project is valued at $28,000.

Besides applying for a business license, SV Gourmet Kitchen Food Truck owner Miller Dao received a zoning permit to be a mobile vendor.

After a fire in September, Agnes Centers for Domestic Solutions received a remodel permit Nov. 17 for repair to the roof trusses, drywall and mechanical work, all worth $20,000.

Developers of Edison Pointe received a permit to use the right of way to remove curb, install driveway and patch asphalt. The work, valued at $46,000, was done by Pro Low Joint Venture as the new shopping center continued construction.

Also at Edison Pointe, Christy’s Signs received a sign permit for VP Edison, and Equity Sign Group received a sign permit for the Goodwill Store.

Getting underground fireline and hydrant permits for flow tests were Mt. Moriah Church on Gunsmoke Road and the new Denny’s lot on John Wayne Parkway.

Liberty Tax received a permit for an exterior wall mounted sign at 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 104. Desert Eyecare Center received a permit for an aluminum wall sign at 21300 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 2-105.

This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

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Photo credits: 1 David Durst; 2 Raquel Hendrickson; 3 Michelle Chance; 4 Vincent Manfredi; 5 submitted; 6 Jonathan Williams; 7 Raquel Hendrickson; 8 file; 9 file; 10 file.

Most-read stories related to business and economic development:

  1. Props 416/417 approved by county voters

Voters approved a countywide transportation project scheduled to begin next year. Unofficial results from November’s election showed Prop 416, Pinal County’s Regional Transportation Authority, passed with 57 percent approval. Prop 417, the half-cent sales tax that would support the transportation projects, also passed, albeit by a slim margin of less than 1 percent. Phase 1 of the RTA includes the widening of State Route 347 from four lanes to six lanes up to the county line as well as an east-west corridor.

  1. APEX and City Hall win in court, so far

Controversial legal battles brought forth by a political action committee and a Maricopa resident this summer challenged a conditional use permit approved by the city for the elite racetrack APEX Motor Club. The petitions aimed to stop construction of the track proposed on a parcel at the northwest corner of State Route 238 and Ralston Road. Courts threw out the resident’s suit for “lack of standing” and denied the PAC’s appeal in September.

  1. Maricopa job fair brings 45 employers to applicants

Hundreds of applicants arrived dressed for interviews this summer during a job fair hosted by Arizona@Work Pinal County. The event was held at the Maricopa Unified School District Administration Building and featured 45 employers.

  1. Firestone replacing Fletcher’s after acquisition

Fletcher’s Tire & Auto Service in Maricopa was one of 31 stores in Phoenix and Southern Arizona that became Firestone Complete Auto Care earlier this year. The local store moved into Maricopa Fiesta plaza in 2005 and began converting to Fletcher’s in April.

  1. Plans for Maricopa hospital on ice

Although Dignity Health announced it would build a hospital here in 2012, Maricopa is still without one five years later. The company bought nearly 19 acres on the northeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke roads with the intention of building a 34,800-square-foot emergency facility and hospital by 2016. The land has sat untouched since.

  1. Developer pitches apartments to council

Affordable, multifamily housing could solve Maricopa’s rental gap, according to apartment developer Englewood Group, which intends to develop apartments in the city. Construction of the proposed complex is still years out, however, as re-zoning could take until the summer of 2019. The city conducted a housing-needs assessment earlier this year, revealing a need for diverse housing options.

  1. Breakfast diner under construction, seeks employees

An opening date for the 4,041-square-foot Denny’s diner is still unknown, but as workers continue to construct the building, the company has advertised opportunities for job applicants. The restaurant is located near the southeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road. Construction began in September.

  1. Peñascos closes after 11 years

The quiet closure of a family-owned restaurant in Maricopa sparked surprise reactions among residents in September. The building’s landlord said the “tenants abandoned” the building, but Penascos owner Rosalinda O’Hare disputed that. O’Hare said a variety of factors contributed to her decision to close the doors to her business, which opened more than a decade earlier.

  1. First gas station not on John Wayne Parkway approved for development

What will be the third Circle K in Maricopa received recommendation for a development review permit from the Planning & Zoning Commission in September. The 5,881-square-foot convenience store and gas station is planned on 1.8 acres at the southeast corner of Honeycutt and Porter roads.

  1. Residents await Edison Pointe

The 130,000-square-foot retail development broke ground at the end of July along State Route 347 and Edison Road, shortly before losing one of its larger prospects, Petco. It’s estimated Edison Pointe will create at least 100 jobs for Maricopans with confirmed businesses Ross, Goodwill, WingStop, Planet Fitness, Brakes Plus, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and a nail salon. Stores are scheduled to open in early 2018.

This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

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Gyro Grill co-owner Dalal Pettroza welcomed guests to the opening. Photo by Michelle Chance

A new Greek restaurant opened in Maricopa Friday morning. Gyro Grill is co-owned by Dalal Pettroza, an 11-year resident in the city.

“I love Maricopa. We wanted to do something different in Maricopa,” Pettroza said.

Gyro Grill is one of Maricopa’s first Mediterranean restaurants featuring signature dishes in a casual setting. The eatery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Gyro Grill is located at 20987 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite B102, north of Fry’s Marketplace.

For more information call 520-815-2500 or visit their website.


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