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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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Construction employment in Arizona was back on the map in November.

Doug Walls, research administrator for the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, said the increase of 1,000 jobs was “an atypical change for November.” Many of those new jobs, he said, were in specialty trades and heavy or civil engineering.

Over the year, construction employment has improved 6.2 percent, a gain of 8,300 jobs and the largest growth rate among all job sectors. In Pinal County, construction employment reached a new high point for 2017 in November.

Statewide, building permits for new single-family homes are back to pre-recession levels. Maricopa’s home-building permits for November totaled 98, the highest November total since the depths of the recession. In November 2014, the total was as low as six.

The construction employment numbers in Arizona also benefited from highway construction projects.

Overall, the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.5 percent in October to 4.3 percent in November. Pinal County’s unemployment went the opposite direction, increasing from 4.3 to 4.4 percent. Nationwide, the unemployment rate stayed at 4.1 percent.

Pinal’s workforce increased by 1,100 in November while the number of employed increased by just 993 people.

Service-providing industries continue to be the biggest employers in the state, employing 2.5 million. The state’s total labor force is 3.2 million.

Arizona netted 29,500 new jobs during the month. Most of the state’s job growth was in the Valley of the Sun. Tucson and Flagstaff, on the other hand, posted concerning numbers. Tucson had employment shrinking in seven of 10 sectors over the year. More immediately, over the month of November, Flagstaff saw all its sectors lose employment.

Walls said the state office is “not able to see the details” of the cause.

Employment in the sector of trade, transportation and utilities rose 2.9 percent during the month, the biggest percentage gain during the 30 days. The area with the next largest growth rate was professional and business services at 4.7 percent.

The information sector was flat during the month and saw a 12-month loss of 5.6 percent. Walls said the state was seeing job losses in data processing all year.



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Julia Perugini with husband Charlie and their daughter Sophia with holiday fare in their Maricopa kitchen. Photo by Mason Callejas

When it comes to following your dreams, one Maricopa resident knows sometimes you have to take a chance, and that sometimes, that risk yields great rewards.

Check out Julia Perugini’s recipe for Brazilian carrot cake below.

This month, 34-year-old Julia Perugini will be featured on Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge. As part of the challenge, she will face off with three other cookie makers from across the country, to compete for a $10,000 cash prize.

Online, she has developed a sizable amount of fanfare and demand for her cookies and cakes, shipping most of her stock out of state. Thanks to social media, she has been able to market and sell her tasty treats, and she has caught the eye of several major players in the baking world, including producers at the Food Network.

The Food Network describes the series: “Host Eddie Jackson welcomes five fabulously festive cookie makers into Santa’s workshop. Judges Kimberly Bailey, Damiano Carrara and Ree Drummond are on hand to taste the creations and decide who will leave the North Pole $10,000 richer.”

Perugini’s professional life began far from the kitchen.

“Some people believe you have to pursue a job as a doctor or lawyer, or something professional,” Julia said. “So, that’s what I did.”

A native of Brazil, Julia actually holds a degree in engineering and spent several years working for mineral exploration companies in her home country, including at sites deep inside the Amazon rainforest.

Julia as a young girl in Brazil. Submitted photo

Like the United States, Brazil was hit by the economic recession of 2008, so she took a chance. Using her savings, she decided to emigrate to the United States via New York, where she hoped to learn more English.

Despite her degree, she found it hard to find work in the Big Apple, something she blamed on her not-so-refined ability to speak the language. So, she took on jobs as a nanny before embracing the skills she had honed growing up in Brazilian kitchens around her home town of Belo Horizonte.

“Originally when she started, it was because she was helping her friend plan a party,” her husband Charlie said. “And then she started doing a little bit here and there and it just kind of picked up.”

Julia and Charlie met shortly after she arrived in New York, and they were married about a year later.

Over the next six years she worked in kitchens throughout the New York area, working in all positions from a short order cook all the way up to private gigs cooking for ritzy families in the Hamptons.

Though her skills cover both the sweet and savory sides of the pallet, her true passion is sweets: “I can cook everything. There is just something about it [cookies and cupcakes] I really love.”

Julia in New York City. Submitted photo

Perugini eventually decided to go into business for herself, baking cookies and cakes. However, with such tight regulations on homebased businesses, she quickly realized New York was not the best launching pad for her dreams.

Pregnant with their daughter Sophia in 2016, Julie and Charlie decided to move someplace easier to pursue her dreams and better suited for their expanding family.

“My husband always liked Arizona and convinced me that here was the best place to live,” she said.

After briefly living in Ahwatukee, the family found the right house in Maricopa and built the business.

Photo by Mason Callejas

“I’m really proud of her,” Charlie said. “She’s basically started from nothing and its almost doubled each year [since].”

Customer Annie Smith said Julia’s Cookies were perfect for her son’s second birthday. “These were adorable and delicious. They were flawless, individually wrapped and arrived right on time. I couldn’t be happier.”

Reviewers also have noted her attention to detail, taste and professionalism.

Not long after settling into their new home, she got word she had been selected for the Christmas Cookie Challenge on the Food Network.

Several years earlier, while living in New York, she had signed up for a similar Food Network competition but never heard anything back. Then in early 2017 she got a call asking if she was interested.

Perugini’s episode will air Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Arizona time.

 

Instagram: at juliascookiesnyc; Etsy: JuliasCookies



Julia’s Brazilian Carrot Cake

“This is the most traditional Brazilian cake,” Julia said, “it’s very soft, fluffy and delicious!”

Cake:

  • 3 carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 oz vegetable oil
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 9 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

Add all wet ingredients plus sugar to blender or mixer until creamy.

Add the flour and blend a little more.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in baking powder gently with a whisk.

Place in a round baking pan, or any baking pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 F

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoon honey

Place in a medium sized pan over medium heat mixing until all ingredients combine and are a caramel-like consistency.

Pour over the cake.

Enjoy!


This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Maricopa Subway received a technical knock from the health department last month.

Of the 15 Maricopa-area eateries inspected by Pinal County health department Oct. 16-Nov. 15, all but received top grades of “excellent.” Subway received a technical tick as the inspector had to provide hand-washing stickers and a fecal/vomit cleanup policy.

Excellent [No violations found]
Barro’s Pizza
Bashas’ – Bakery
Bashas’ – Deli
Bashas’ – Starbucks
The Duke at Rancho El Dorado
Helen’s Kitchen
Honeycutt Coffee
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Raceway Bar & Grill
Rob’s Convenience
Shamrock Farms
Sonic Drive-In
Taco Bell
Water and Ice

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Subway

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]
None

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]
None


This item appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Submitted photos

The Ak-Chin Industrial Park Board and Nice Creative have won a Golden Prospector Award and the City of Maricopa has earned a Golden Prospector Award of Merit from the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED), recognizing excellence, innovation and creativity in economic development.

The Ak-Chin/Nice Creative collaborative was honored for its “Santa Cruz Commerce Center Website.”

The LeaseAkChin.com website was created to encourage inward economic development investment in its industrial park, Santa Cruz Commerce Center, and to promote lease opportunities in other Ak-Chin-owned commercial buildings. The website builds its business case with a featured video, an impressive list of benefits, articles, testimonials, maps, research and more.

“We want to thank Nice Creative for their continued hard work and dedication in communicating the Community’s economic development opportunities,” Ak-Chin Industrial Park Board Chairman Charles Carlyle said. “Because of its diligence, Ak-Chin is attracting more inward investment interests that will help diversify our industry and promote our self-sufficiency.”

Nice Creative President Robin Reynolds was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the IPB and Nice Creative. “It is my great honor to help elevate prospects for the Ak-Chin Indian Community,”  Reynolds said. “I have a passion for bringing greater economic opportunity to tribal communities.”

The city of Maricopa was cited for its multimedia promotion, “Shop Local – Copa Bingo.”

Copa Bingo is an annual component of the city’s Shop Local Program. Played like traditional bingo, consumers visit local businesses and receive stamps on the appropriate business category. Once a row or column is complete, players can enter to win weekly prizes. Players learn about the variety of goods and services available in their community.

Overall, 10 Golden Prospector Awards and seven awards of merit were presented at AAED’s fall forum in Prescott Oct. 27.

John Turcott installing residential glass in Rancho El Dorado. He and hi wife Julie have owned Lizard Heights Glass for 12 years. Photo by Mason Callejas

A Glassy Outfit

A military background and a glass background brought John and Julie Turcott together. The two veterans have owned Lizard Heights Glass for a dozen years. John came up through the ranks in installing home and auto glass for other companies before striking out on his own. Julie managed maintenance at a glass-tempering facility.

Julie Turcott in the Navy and John Turcott in the Marines. Submitted photo

John & Julie Turcott (spouses)

Business: Lizard Heights Glass, LLC

Military background:

John: U.S. Marine Corps, platoon sergeant, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, Desert Storm vet, combat engineer, bulk fuel specialist

Julie: U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class electronics technician (some sea duty, some shore duty)

Years in business: 12

Nature of the business: Auto glass and licensed glazing contractor (glass installation for home and business)

Family: Two awesome kids, Jaylie and JJ

Hometown:

John: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Julie: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Residence: Thunderbird Farms, aka rural Maricopa

Why did you join the military?

John: Freedom is not free. I won the lottery by being born in the greatest country in human history. I joined the Marines to defend all this country has to offer.

Julie: Ditto – but I was a little less “defend the country” and a lot more, “hey, travelling to foreign countries and experiencing different cultures sounds amazing!” (Just being honest!)

How has your military service impacted the way you run your business?

John: Honor, integrity, completing the task at hand and doing it with the utmost of your ability.

Julie: Life in the military is a lot easier if you exceed expectations, and that holds true with “real” life and business.

What advice would you give other veterans seeking to open a business in Maricopa?

John: Be honest, do the right thing for your customers, NEVER walk past a mistake and be prepared for long hours. To be successful you must be all in.


The Mechanics

The military was a family tradition for Raymond and AJ Serrao. It also developed their skills in automotive and aviation repair. They started Lugnut Auto Repair this year, though they have not yet completely removed themselves from aviation work because it has been lucrative and a critical source of income as they launch their mobile business.

Raymond Serrao works on a customer’s vehicle at his home in Glennwilde. Though Lugnut Auto Repair is mobile, he lets customers come to him, too. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Raymond Serrao and Alton (AJ) Serrao (brothers)

From their military years, the Serrao family: (front row, from left) AJ Serrao, Julie Ann Lo (Mom) and Aurora Serrao; (back row) Raymond Serrao, Abijah Serrao, Mathew Stack and Denver Stack. (submitted photo)

Business: Lugnut Auto Repair

Hometown: Mililani, Hawaii

Family:

Raymond: My wife Jennifer is the manager of Lugnut and we have two kids, Alina, 9, and Xalin, 8, who attend Legacy Traditional School here in Maricopa. I have five siblings, four of them were in the military along with both my parents. One of our siblings also works as a technician for Lugnut.

Residence: Glennwilde

Military background:

Raymond: I spent six years active Army 67T UH60 Blackhawk crew chief/repairer, with multiple deployments overseas.

AJ: I spent 9.5 years active Army Chinook mechanic/flight engineer, with multiple deployments overseas.

Years in business: We’ve been fixing cars and aircraft for decades. We have been in the auto repair business for less than a year, though.

Nature of the business: Mobile auto repair and maintenance

Why did you join the military?

Raymond: My family served in the military since my grandpa, for three generations; part of it was patriotism. The military provided me the opportunity to gain valuable life skills, discipline and experiences not provided anywhere else.

AJ: I joined for the challenge along with the opportunity to take care of my family and travel.

How has your military service impacted the way you run your business?

Raymond: Attention to detail, staying on task, setting objectives, goals and plans to accomplish them are all done the way military aviation taught me to.

AJ: The military aviation community is very strict with the highest standard and that is how we do everything.

What advice would you give other veterans seeking to open a business in Maricopa?

Raymond: Take all that non-combat training that the military drills in your head and use it. It’s more valuable than you think.
AJ: Maricopa is a fast-growing community and the support received for this city is far beyond any other city I have encountered. Arizona has a strong support system for veterans. I would highly suggest opening a business here. The city is growing quickly and the sooner you start the more imbedded you’ll be when Maricopa and Casa Grande are twice as big as they are now.


The Bug Killer

Raised on a dairy farm, Henry Weaver’s second favorite job ever is pest control. His favorite? The Marine Corps, which took him around the world, from Korea to Germany, from Japan to Iraq. When he started Semper Fi Pest Management this year, he was intent on instilling the values he learned in the Corps – thoroughness, integrity and straight-dealing.

Hank Weaver sprays for bugs as the owner of the new Maricopa company Semper Fi Pest Management. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Hank ‘Motivator’ Weaver
Business
: Semper Fi Pest Management

Hometown: Fort Plain, New York

Military background: I’ve served 25 years in the U.S. Marine Corps from January 1988 to January 2013, rising to the rank of master sergeant. My occupation was combat camera chief. I served two combat tours during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom

Years in business: 1

Nature of the business: Pest control

Family: Married to Marjorie Weaver for 10 years. We have seven kids (six boys and one girl) and four dogs.

Residence: The Villages

Why did you join the military? I grew up in a very small village in New York and wanted to see the world and serve our country.

Hank Weaver as a combat camera chief during his time as a U.S. Marine. Submitted photo

How has your military service impacted the way you run your business? Ensuring that Maricopa residents are receiving way above and beyond their expectations in pest control service. I believe providing great communication, looking professional at all times and going the extra mile even though it has nothing to do with pest service. Having motivated attitude and having honor courage and commitment in everyday life.

What advice would you give other veterans seeking to open a business in Maricopa? Use all the leadership traits that were given to you throughout your military career. Always remember to take care of our service members.

 

A Touchy-Feely Guy

After nearly a quarter-century in the service, Charlie Creely trained at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and is licensed and certified in multiple therapy/massage modalities including sports, deep tissue, cranial sacral, carpal tunnel, elder touch and more. Creely’s Healing Touch brings all the essentials for relaxation – music, special oils and a calm and friendly demeanor. And of course, his massage table.

Charlie Creely at work on a massage customer for his company, Creely’s Healing Touch.

Charles “Charlie” Creely

Business: Creely’s Healing Touch

Nature of business: Therapeutic massage for healing and deep relaxation uniquely offered as a service provided in your own home

Hometown: Beverly, New Jersey

Family: Two daughters, 18 and 16 years old

Community: Cobblestone

Years in business: 3

Military background: Served in the Army for 24 years. War veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. Sixteen years active duty and eight years in the Reserves, retiring in 2007. On duty worked as a diesel tech/mechanic. Off duty studied as a civilian and became licensed as an ER trauma technician.

After retirement, worked at the VA Hospital in Phoenix until 2016. Working with veterans brought me to the understanding that care, kind treatment and the capacity to listen was what made my friends, the veterans just like me, happy and open to communication. These people are close to me; I have given my best and they have brought out the best in me. I continue to serve my community with this experience and the ideal it represents in mind and heart, in my practice.

Why did you join the military? It offered me the opportunity for education; to grow and learn. That was exactly what I was looking for to begin my life and career.

How has your military service impacted the way you run your business? So many aspects of the military are about relationships. People form bonds for life. Maturing and recognizing that was a motivating factor to continue to serve people in my own way, with my personal talents, skills and passion for the healing arts.

What advice would you give other veterans seeking to open a business in Maricopa? I can suggest working as a private enterprise. Being your own boss has distinctive rewards. Also, be clear about your purpose and be passionate and dedicated to your work. Make it work for you and your client. Above all, relax!


This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Two out of 18 Maricopa eateries inspected Sept. 16-Oct. 17 by Pinal County health inspectors did not get excellent scores.

Cilantro’s had to review cooling methods, though all hot-holding and cold-holding units worked properly, and review a handout on fecal/vomit cleanup policy. That resulted in an S score for satisfactory.

The new diner Francisco’s also received an S after the inspector found the freezer holding food at 28 degrees instead of 0. Staff had to review proper thawing methods and cooling methods. They were required to obtain food manager cards within 30 days. According to the report, “when asked, staff member stated no one was in charge.”

Excellent [No violations found]
Aliberto’s
Brooklyn Boys Italian Restaurant
Butterfield Elementary School
Culver’s of Maricopa
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace – Bakery
Fry’s Marketplace – Deli
Fry’s Marketplace – Starbuck’s
Fry’s Marketplace – Sushi
Maricopa Elementary School
Maricopa Head Start
Maricopa High School
Maricopa Wells Middle School
Pima Butte Elementary
Plaza Bonita
Santa Rosa Elementary

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Cilantro’s Mexican Cocina
Francisco’s Mexican Food

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]
None

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]
None

The city has been looking at plans for a Circle K at Honeycutt and Porter roads.

A future Circle K property received a Design Review Permit Oct. 4. Plans are for a convenience store and seven fuel pumps on the southeast corner of Honeycutt and Porter roads. Developers have been working with the city on appropriate and safe access, as previously reported at InMaricopa.com.

Global Water – Santa Cruz Water Company was granted a commercial building permit Oct. 9 for a raw-water well. The site, 18303 N. Piccolo Drive, is in the Rancho Mirage subdivision on the east side of Maricopa. GWR also has a subdivision final plat amendment pending to combine two lots at the location. GWR purchased the property in May after drilling a pilot well last year to verify the aquifer. The well construction includes mechanical and electrical equipment.

EPS Group, Inc. had a pre-application conference in October on the Sandbox Development in Tortosa South. Sandbox is a Phoenix-based contractor for residential and commercial properties. The property at 18152 N. Toledo Ave. is vacant land.


This item appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

An economic development mechanism received an updated agreement with the city Tuesday.

During a regular meeting, City Council voted to approve the new $125,000 agreement with the non-profit Maricopa Economic Development Alliance for fiscal year 2017-18.

The agreement is contingent upon several metrics that include MEDA having to maintain its private funding to the tune of $83,000. They also must increase media value by 10 percent and increase online exposure throughout the region.

According to MEDA, the organization will also continue to use online television spots to promote the city and help bolster a positive image and ultimately growth for the city.

Per their mission statement, “The Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) organization champions strategies and solutions that foster economic growth and prosperity in the city of Maricopa by bringing together the businesses, government, education and civic sectors to identify and advance forward-looking policies that facilitate investment, growth and workforce development.”

Other goals stated in the agreement include tackling flood plain issues, championing public education, helping prepare “shovel-ready” commercial and industrial property and improving the overall business climate.

MEDA claims to do this in a number of ways, the largest being support for the City of Maricopa’s efforts to bring businesses to the city through “deal-generating.”

MEDA Board Officers:
Chairman – William H. Stacy –– Electric District 3 – general manager
Treasurer – John D. Schurz – Orbitel – president and general manager
Secretary – James F. Kenny – El Dorado Holdings – president

Board Members:
Denyse Airheart – City of Maricopa Economic Development – director
Christian Price – City of Maricopa – mayor
Marvin L. Brown – City of Maricopa – vice mayor
Gregory Rose – City of Maricopa – city manager
Steve Chestnut – Maricopa Unified School District – superintendent
Jennifer Alai – Great Western Bank – Southern Arizona president
Brian C. Bernardo – Banner Health – senior director
Ron Fleming – Global Water – president
Bryan M. Hartman – Santa Cruz Ranch – president
Adam Saks – Ak-Chin Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center – general manager and COO
Bud Walters – Southwest Gas – Supervisor

Advisory Board Member
Lyle Frederickson – Great Western Bank – vice president

By Adam Saks

Adam Saks

Why does a business that seems to be set for success fail?

The answer is people – the No. 1 undervalued asset that every business has. Today’s business environment is ever-changing. Millennials are the up-and-coming demographic that everyone is competing for. Millennials today are less concerned about your business plan and are more interested in your core values and mission statement. At the same time, when you look at some of the most successful companies of today, they share a common core – strong leaders with great vision who preach culture over economics.

So, how do you function as a great leader and grow any organization’s most precious asset? The human resources portion of running a business is always going to be the hardest thing. I would offer this as perhaps a basic lesson, a guiding principle, if you can hold yourself to, it will at least set the stage for success – make every decision what is best for the business.

When you’re the leader of an organization, large or small, you are going to have different people with ideas, needs and strategies. Truly making others feel like you will listen and evaluate can be a great force for good. But making the best decision for the business is not always that easy. It takes careful consideration and ensuring you have all the facts. Many times, leaders can let their own personal wants or those of particular people guide their decisions. Ensuring you’re not playing favorites and you are taking responsibility yourself are some of the strongest attributions of a leader.

At the same time you are trying to make the best decisions you can, you have to develop a strong set of core values to guide you. Mission statements, vision statements and core values allow you to focus on desired outcomes and hopefully guide those working with you. These values and expectations are what are going to create your culture.

People want to feel good about their jobs, they want to be appreciated and hopefully enjoy coming to work. You can only develop that through an environment of inclusion and teamwork where people feel valued and their ideas are appreciated. This may all sound routine as one reads, but I can tell you from seeing many different companies, it can be very difficult to achieve.

So. how to start. I believe it comes from an honest look in the mirror. Great leaders are not afraid of the tough questions and honest feedback. Meet with your team and ask open questions and then just listen. Not every idea will be great, not every request can be approved. But taking the time, looking at the strengths and opportunities you have, can help create that initial road map. From there, let a humble approach, a kind word and a strong presence guide your team.

Adam Saks is general manager of UltraStar Multi-tainment Center.


This column appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

Feliz Leyba (left) and Cassandra Brown.

Feliz Leyba has been promoted to manager of Convention Services for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino. In her new position, Leyba will be responsible for building the department from the ground up. This is a new position at Harrah’s Ak-Chin as a result of the casino’s multi-million-dollar expansion, which includes the new convention center with over 18,000 square feet of rentable space, an additional 230 guest rooms, a spa and fitness center, additional restaurants and a multi-level parking structure.

Cassandra Brown joined the City of Maricopa as the Grants and Accounting coordinator Brown comes from the San Juan County Government in Farmington, New Mexico, where she served as a grants accountant. She also has experience working with tribal governments and speaks fluent Navajo. Brown will be responsible for researching grant opportunities and working with various departments through the grant application, monitoring and reporting process.


This item appears in the October issue of InMaricopa. If you have new hires, promotions or employee awards, let us know at News@InMaricopa.com.

Work on the new Denny's site is among projects changing the profile of Maricopa.

A proposed Denny’s received a commercial permit Sept. 6 as Halabu Development prepares to construct a 4,041-square-foot diner. The property is at 21195 N. John Wayne Parkway, near the southeast corner of the Smith-Enke Road intersection. The project is valued at $532,644.

Permits continue to come in for the Edison Pointe development north of Fry’s Marketplace at 20595 N. John Wayne Parkway. Chasse Building Team received a commercial grant Aug. 23 for buildings A, B, C and D on the property for the project valued at $7.5 million. Chasse was also granted a commercial permit Sept. 18 for Pad B of the ongoing construction at Edison Pointe. The Vintage Partners project will house Ross Dress for Less, Goodwill, Brakes Plus, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and Planet Fitness among others.

DRH Construction is converting one sales office into a garage and converting another garage into a sales office. DR Horton had been using the garage space at 40733 W. Sanders Way as its sales office in Homestead North. As that returns to being a garage, the developers will create a sales office out of a garage at 18501 N. Crestview Lane in Glennwilde.

A new wireless communication facility is in the pre-application process on property at 19000 N. Porter Road. The project is listed as Coal Creek for T-Mobile.

Maricopa Lutheran Church, which currently has its services in Desert Wind Middle School, is in the pre-application stage of building on a parcel on the northwest corner of White and Parker Road and Santi Road (formerly Cowpath). Aug. 31, the property received a permit for a flow test for a fire line and hydrant.

Nearby, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church received a grading and drainage permit on its large property at 40929 Santi Road. The company in charge of the work, Ellison-Mills Contracting, received a delinquent notice on its out-of-town business license.


This item appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

An example of a house being used as a business and not necessarily a home.

City officials revealed a plan at Tuesday’s City Council meeting that could allow homes in the Heritage District to more freely be used as small businesses.

“What we’re trying to achieve here is that you don’t have to live in the home anymore to consider it to have a business in there.” — Rudy Lopez

The “Adaptive Reuse” Plan, Maricopa senior planner Rudy Lopez said, will allow for homes with fewer than 5,000 square-feet to operate “low-impact professional office or appointment base business [sic].”

Examples of potential “mixed-use” uses are insurances offices, accounting offices, hair salons, barber shops and coffee shops.

“A lot of cities across the metro Phoenix area, and even Pinal County as well, are using this type of tool to reinvest within older portions of town,” Lopez said.

As part of the Adaptive Reuse plan, the city will streamline the permitting process by modifying parking, landscaping and mechanical-screening standards allowing for minor developments to support the businesses.

The current city code, Lopez said, already makes room for “home occupation.”

“What we’re trying to achieve here is that you don’t have to live in the home anymore to consider it to have a business in there,” Lopez said.

This allows for the property to possibly even be leased to another small business without anyone living at the property.

“The biggest thing we are trying to get out is that business can now have signage,” He said. “They can expose their business.”

These types of businesses would still have to abide by nuisance regulations that prevent sight obstruction, loud noise and harsh smells.

Examples of other cities doing similar things are Phoenix, Chandler and Gilbert.

Council will likely vote on the matter in the coming weeks.

Heritage District map

Startup wins MCE Pitch competition

Jenny Zarogoza (far left) of Maricopa took home the top award from the MCE Pitch competition with her home-based business Mythical Garden, which creates outfits for cosplay, comicons and other costume events. (Images 1 & 4 by Anita McLeod, all other submitted.)

After Jenny Zarogoza’s mother passed away in 2015, she inherited a couple of sewing machines and leftover fabric.

The loss unexpectedly produced a new beginning for Zarogoza. The tools handed down from her late mother revived an old passion for design and an ambition to start her own business in Maricopa.

That same year, she opened Mythical Garden, an online store that sells fantastical “cosplay” (costume play) costumes handmade by Zarogoza herself.

Her experience creating costumes was first born during her 25 years as a professional dancer.

“My mom and I used to sew ballroom dance gowns together,” Zarogoza said.

Her interest in cosplay regalia is also a generational influence. It began when Zarogoza’s daughter and granddaughter invited her to a Comic-Con event a few years ago.

“I had never been to one, and we went out and had so much fun that I thought this would be fun to have a little shop and sell stuff here so that we could all come to the Comic-Con and make money at the same time,” she said.

Zarogoza and her family began selling ready-made costumes at Comic-Cons in Utah and Arizona, eventually creating a website where customers order and customize online.

The company has since grown to include Zarogoza’s sister Linda as partner. In August, the sibling-team placed first out of five competitors in Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship’s inaugural pitch competition.

After the experience, the sisters say they plan to expand their reach to include designing and creating Halloween specialty costumes at a temporary pop-up shop in Maricopa.

“We are thinking about setting up shop, bringing in all of our costumes, putting some outfits together, and getting the machines out,” Zarogoza said.

The Zarogozas are also in talks of designing costumes for customers who attend masquerade balls held in the Valley.

“We get the joy out of seeing the light come on in people’s eyes when they try on an outfit for the first time and they feel beautiful,” Zarogoza said.

Mythical Garden offers custom designs for men and women in “steampunk,” Victorian-era, Civil War-era and gothic styles. Some designs are customizable in plus sizes up to 6XL.

MythicalGarden.com, MythicalGarden@gmail.com 


This story appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

by -
The Maricopa Real Estate Company. Submitted photo

Whether husband-and-wife, parents-and-children, multi-generations or lots of cousins, family-owned businesses are a cornerstone of the economy in Maricopa. These are entrepreneurs with a unique atmosphere in the workplace of almost everyone “buying in” to the company goals. Here are some Maricopa business owners who shared the benefits and pitfalls they have found working with family.

 

Many Families in One

The Maricopa Real Estate Company

Owners: Steve Murray and Jay Shaver

Year established: 2008

Nature of the business: Residential and commercial real estate

Family members (all are Realtors): Jay Shaver and Eric Shaver (father/son); Steve Murray and Ryan Murray (father/son); Danielle Nichols and Cory Adams (sister/brother); Bryan and Coree Adams (husband/wife); Gene and Jan Roth (husband/wife); Kevin and Doris Lucas (husband/wife); Don and Leslie Gardner (husband/wife); Tony and Tina Schumacher (husband/wife); Van Talley and Andrea Mitchell (father/daughter); Mary Ann Toohey and Patty Johnson (sisters)

Why Maricopa? Steve moved to Maricopa in 1997 before the city incorporated, fell in love with the rural life and saw the tremendous promise of the area. Jay moved to Maricopa in 2006 to enjoy the quiet life that a small town offers and started working with Steve in 2007. When the housing market crashed, rather than moving away, as many others did, they decided to work with struggling homeowners to help them save their homes or their credit by doing short sales.

What do you like best about working with family? The ability to train and work with the next generation and, in the process, ensure the longevity of the business and the brand.

What is most challenging about working with family members? Critiquing family members in a positive manner can be a challenge and can create for very quiet and uncomfortable times around the dinner table.

 

Lizard Heights Glass, John Turcott. Photo by Jonathan Williams

Meet the Wizard

Lizard Heights Glass, LLC

Owners: John and Julie Turcott

Year established: 2006

Nature of the business: Glazing (glass) contractor, home, business and auto glass

What family members are involved in the operation, and what do they do? John is general manager and “Glass Wizard,” and Julie is office manager who does “everything John doesn’t do.”

Why Maricopa? Great community with great customers and the grocery stores carry Guinness.

What do you like best about working with family? Great communication which equates to better service to our customers; we’re in it together, and we can’t fire each other.

What is most challenging about working with family? We’re in it together, and we can’t fire each other.

 

Legacy Montessori, Joe and Carol Hoover, Mary Kimball. Photo by Jonathan Williams

All About the Kids

Legacy Montessori Preschool

Owners: Carol and Joe Hoover

Year established: 2003 as a licensed group home, 2005 as a licensed childcare center

Nature of the business: Montessori preschool for students age 1 through kindergarten.

What family members are involved in the operation, and what do they do? Carol and Joe Hoover, owners, and daughter Mary Kimball, teacher

Why Maricopa? Our daughter moved to Maricopa in 2002 expecting our first grandson. Grandmother Carol was concerned with childcare, so we started a group home to provide care for our first and then our second grandson.

What do you like best about working with family? Keeps the family close and they can continue the legacy if they wish. Can’t think of anyone else that I would rather work with.

What is most challenging about working with family? Having everyone off for family events; someone has to work!

 

Maricopa Appliance Repair, Gary Jamieson, Pam, Ronelle Jamieson. Photo by Jonathan Williams

A Piece of Inheritance

Maricopa Appliance Repair

Owner: Gary Jamieson

Year established: 2008 (formerly Appliance Works)

Nature of the business: Appliance service and repair

What family members are involved in the operation, and what do they do? Gary Jamieson, owner and technician, takes on service calls daily, manages hiring, marketing, customer acquisition and retention, as well as assisting Pam in the office with scheduling and inventory management. Pam Martin (Gary’s girlfriend) takes care of scheduling calls, marketing, back-end office tasks such as billing, accounting, reporting, accounts payable/receivable and inventory management. Founders Ronelle and Peter Jamieson, Gary’s parents, are currently in the process of a well-deserved retirement, but they still navigate into the day-to-day should we ever request their help.

Why Maricopa? When the founders moved here in 2009 they noticed a void in the area of appliance repair. They had to contact someone in Phoenix or Chandler who then proceeded to charge what we felt was too high of a price just to drive to Maricopa and put their foot in the door. Also, we were unable to get an appointment sooner than one to two weeks from scheduling. The owners wanted to fill that void and get to know the community through supplying a service they knew anyone could take advantage of.

What do you like best about working with family? All the time spent together. Having a family-owned business has been amazing because, as life gets in the way, we are always guaranteed to see each other and talk to each other daily. We are a close family, and I have cherished that for many years.

What is most challenging about working with family? All the time spent together. Just kidding, sort of. There are times when tension can run high, but as family we know we can have our moments and work through them. Maintaining communication and never losing sight of our goals has really improved our working (and personal) relationships.

 

Frank and Talisha Bradstream, Maricopa Bug Busters. Photo by Jonathan Williams

In This Together

Maricopa Bug Busters Pest Control

Owners: Frank and Talisha Bradstream

Year established: 2014

Nature of the business: Pest control service

What family members are involved in the operation, and what do they do? Talisha does the administration, scheduling, and customer service. Frank is the field technician.

Why Maricopa? Maricopa is our hometown. We want to offer our community a quality service.

What do you like best about working with family? We have the same goal. We trust and understand that we are in this together.

What is most challenging about working with family? The most challenging is when you must communicate negative feedback or disagree over an issue.

 

Hidden Valley Auto Parts, Jeff, Cheryl, Kyle, and Matt Hoctor. Photo by Jonathan Williams

Through the Generations

Hidden Valley Auto Parts

Owners: Don and Janet Hoctor (Hoctor Family)

Year established: 1961 – in Maricopa since 1973

Nature of the business: Automotive recycler

What family members are involved in the operation, and what do they do? Jeff Hoctor, manager; Cheryl Hoctor, office; Joe Hoctor, yard; Matt Hoctor, sales; and Kyle Hoctor, dismantler

Why Maricopa? Growing opportunities

What do you like best about working with family? You can count on them.

What is most challenging about working with family? Coordinating opinions

 

PostMaster Depot, Joe and Cindy Licata. Photo by Jonathan Williams

Investing Near Home

PostMaster Depot

Owners: Joe Licata and Cindy Licata

Year established: 2016

Nature of the business: Product manufacturing and retail sales

What family members are involved in the operation, and what do they do? Husband Joe is the chief executive officer and responsible for the overall strategic plan, new product development, distributor relationships and e-commerce operations. Wife Cindy, director of operations, is responsible for contracts, accounting, regulatory compliance and retail operations.

Why Maricopa? It really comes down to a choice about where we want to invest. Maricopa is more than where we have our business; it is where we have our home and where we plan to have and raise children. For us the decision was easy, we are all-in on Maricopa.

What do you like best about working with family? For Cindy and myself, family is everything. It means the world to us to have the opportunity to spend our most precious resource with each other – our time.

What is most challenging about working with family? There is added pressure to succeed. Simply put, when your family is fully invested in a single enterprise/business, failure is just not an option. There is a positive side to this, though. We tend to work harder and smarter because we know how important it is to get it right.

 

Premier Orthodontics, Tyler Coles. Photo by Jonathan Williams

Family of Smiles

Premier Orthodontics

Owners: Drs. Dustin and Tyler Coles

Year established: 2005

Nature of the business: We help others smile!

What family members are involved in the operation, and what do they do? Dustin and Tyler are owners of the practice and provide orthodontic care. Our father, Dan, also works with patients providing orthodontic services. Our oral surgeon brother, Nick, worked in the practice for a while as well.

Why Maricopa? During the housing boom of the mid-2000s, we noticed there was no orthodontist in Maricopa. We decided that it would be a great place to start a practice and grow with the town. We have treated over 10,000 patients between all of our practices, and it all began with Maricopa.

What do you like best about working with family? It is great to know that you can trust those with whom you are working. Tyler and I are not exactly alike, but we have similar business minds, and it works out great. I love that we can bounce ideas off each other, and cover for one another when the other is out of the office.

What is most challenging about working with family? When you have disagreements, or challenges. Sometimes the business spills over into other social activities, and it’s hard to turn it off. Luckily, we have great wives that help remind us to focus our out of the office time on the family.


This story appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

Jenny Zarogoza (in hat) of Mythical Garden accepts the first-place award at the inaugural Pitch Competition. With her (from left) are judges Mayor Christian Price, Paul Thomas, Kiersten Hathcock, Scott Hathcock, Brandon Ames and Kevin Fort. Photo by Anita McLeod

Five local business owners competed in the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship’s first “Pitch Competition” Saturday at Elements Event Center at Ak-Chin Circle.

Judges:
Christian Price – Mayor, City of Maricopa
Kevin Fort – Director, Central Arizona College Small Business Development Center
Scott Hathcock – CEO, Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology
Brandon Ames – CEO, AniCell BioTech
Paul Thomas – Executive in Residence, The W.A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University
Kiersten Hathcock— Participant on “Shark Tank” and founder of Mod Mom Furniture

The event allowed entrepreneurs to present their start-ups to a panel of judges for a grand prize of $500, professional branding and social marketing from MCE.

Local retailer, Mythical Garden, received the highest scores from judges and the most votes from the audience after a pitch-turned-fashion-show from co-owners Jenny and Linda Zarogoza and their team of models.

The sisters create and sell cosplay costumes at ComiCon events, as well as through their online store.

The pair said the win means “a new beginning” for the business.

Following suggestions from a few of the judges, the pair plans to open a temporary costume shop online in preparation for Halloween.

“Everybody has been so positive with all of the help that we’ve had,” Linda said.

Second place in the competition was Maricopa resident Derrick Turner’s Mesa-based business, HardCopy Fingerprinting Services.

Turner’s company offers background checks to employers of youth organizations.

“My next step is to, one, keep pitching the business, and two, definitely go after youth organizations and protect the kids basically,” Turner said.

Turner will receive similar services as the first prize winner, including data analytics from MCE.

During the event, participants received certificates for completing a 14-day boot camp challenge prior to the pitch competition.

“The job isn’t just what you performed on the stage, but what it took for you to get here,” said Quintin Baker, MCE director.

As part of the competition, all participants received free social media monitoring and data analytics from MCE for three months

Other competitors included Star Productions AZ, the Maricopa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Copa Shorts Film Fest.

Dance instructor Areece Howard owns Star Productions AZ, a home-based dance studio in Maricopa. She said the lessons learned during the two-week boot camp, although tough, were worth it.

“Setting the business owner aside and thinking of the consumer, that was difficult, but you get to see it from someone else’s eyes,” Howard said.

Frances Soto with the Maricopa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said learning to gain confidence to pitch on stage was one of the biggest takeaways from the experience.

“I’m going to continue learning about pitches and continue with the chamber, meeting with the board and connecting with other businesses in the city to get the word out that we’re here and not just for Hispanics, but for everyone,” Soto said.

Shelley Gillespie, executive director of Copa Shorts Film Fest, called the process “intensive.”

“I’ve learned I’ve got to get tighter on numbers, but for me it’s about the feeling because we are trying to change people’s lives,” Gillespie said.

The fest launched in February and gives exposure to independent filmmakers. In addition to an annual fest, Gillespie and her husband Roger plan to offer film workshops to keep the momentum going.

Baker said the inaugural pitch competition will most likely lead to more in the future, albeit with a few changes.

“Going forward, we are going to have (the competition) tailored toward not just being prepared for investors, but also being prepared to market yourself, present yourself and get to the meat faster and hopefully have more participants,” Baker said.

Kirk Shroyer

By Kirk Shroyer

Laughter and a healthy sense of humor are among the most overlooked and important tools at the entrepreneur’s disposal. Plenty of studies show stress is released and reduced during times of laughter. There are health and business benefits to laughter.

Laughter can ease tension on presentations and meetings, and make you and your company more approachable.

Laughter is essential. It helps create a healthy company culture, keep the team on the leader’s side, reduce the stress of the rough patches, open new ways of thinking, enable trust and open sharing.

Humor makes things more fluid and less rigid.

Humor lets those around you know you are normal, and sometimes we simply take things too seriously.

Humor is a universal language that everyone understands.

Appropriate humor does not come at the cost of individuals, it is not critical, it is not off-color, it does not embarrass, no slapping, no dirty words, and it should not encourage inappropriate communication or behavior. Avoid politics, special interests, polarized opinions, religion, sex or anything that would make your audience uncomfortable.

Humor causes the teller to seem more self-assured. As long as a joke is appropriate, do not be afraid of a flop – or that not everyone thinks it is funny.

For humor to be effective you must know your audience. Context is everything; the jokes you tell your audience are not the jokes you tell your best friend after having a couple drinks.

A minimal number of very short personal stories are fine. But only those stories with a point – specifically in context to your audience – or only those stories that make a humorous point should be shared.

Being an entrepreneur without really focusing on the fundamental things is like a day without sunshine – or in other words, you know, night (Steve Martin).

Behind every successful entrepreneur is someone rolling their eyes (Jim Carrey). Arrogance isn’t cool. Passion is good. Great work ethic is very needed. Puffed up, pride, ego, out-of-whack self-image are not OK.

Sometimes it is a fine line between confidence and conceit. Strong leaders know how to make the audience feel good about themselves. Strong leaders know it is about others’ growth and opportunity. Let your audience know you are normal with a couple very short examples of how you are human, make mistakes, have fears.

When you arrive at the top and you are CEO, remember no one is too good to take out the garbage.

Authentic leaders modify their behavior to respond to the needs of their audience and situation while remaining true to who they are. They produce results and meaning by helping others be comfortable, be open, and allow innovative and creative thinking. This enables the team to create and embrace new ideas and maybe – just maybe – the CEO is not the only smart person in the universe.

Kirk Shroyer is a business coach and owner of the Maricopa Business Center.

This column appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

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The building isn’t even up yet, but a Culver’s restaurant is gearing up to start the hiring process in Maricopa. Area Supervisor Joseph Wood  talks about the pending opening.

As reported last year, the fast-casual diner is slated to go up at the southwest corner of John Wayne Parkway and Edison Road. The company had expected to have a July groundbreaking and November opening, but plans are still in development.

“The earliest we would be open would be January 2017,” Wood said. “I would expect no later than March.”

Wood can be reached at 480-734-8956 or joe@greatcustard.com. Learn more at http://www.inmaricopa.com/business/jobs/