Local vendors recently convened at Trail Dust Town to kickstart the holiday season by encouraging community members to support their businesses. KGUN 9’s Bri Pacelli takes us through the inaugural event organized by Local First Arizona, known as the Merry Mercado.

A total of 35 vendors gathered to promote their small businesses at Local First Arizona’s first-ever event.

Tony Grenat, the CEO of Cactus Jack Lemonade, emphasized the significance of such gatherings, saying, “That’s the best thing about these markets: everyone here is local; everyone here is trying to do their own thing; everyone is creating something on their own.”

Grenat shared his own journey of leaving his full-time job nearly two years ago to run his business full-time, aiming to have complete control over his entrepreneurial pursuits. He stated, “To get something I could do myself, to do whenever I wanted to, however I wanted to, and just have complete control over it.”

While Grenat is a familiar face at such events, for some vendors, it was their first experience, sparking a range of emotions.

Raleigh Chase, an artist and CEO of Tucson Boutique, said, “It makes me feel incredibly proud, incredibly nervous, and incredibly vulnerable.”

Chase’s offerings include holiday cards, journals, and planners, which he hopes will bring organization and peace of mind to others.

Julie Bonner, artist and CEO of Julie Originals, highlighted the seasonality of her art gifts, mentioning, “I think what I offer, my art gifts, are perfect gifts for this season, and that’s why you’ll see me out and about even more at markets, just like this one at Local First.”

Local First Arizona has plans to continue hosting events like the Merry Mercado quarterly, starting next year.

The Merry Mercado served as a reminder of the vital role local businesses play in shaping the community, offering unique products, and fostering a sense of togetherness as the holiday season approaches.