Think Urban, Think Cambridge!

Posts tagged “Phoenix Style Collective

Friday Fun Fact: Architecture used to be an Olympic sport! (the most boring sport ever We’re sure)

Not just architecture but also Architectural design as well as Town Planning… We can only imagine that tickets for these high energy event went fast. We can almost smell the drafting tables and pencil shavings, head over to wikipedia to see who holds the medals in each category.

If Architecture were an olympic sport today who would win? What country would take home the prize for most architecturally significant structures?


July 25, 2012


by: Taz Loomans

Recently, I found myself talking to a few friends on separate occasions about how many cool new things are happening in Downtown Phoenix right now. We talked about how all these things are having a collective impact and gathering momentum for our Downtown. My friend Philip Beere today remarked on how Downtown has changed immensely in 10 years, going from almost no restaurants or places to hang out to all the places we see today. I’ve seen drastic changes even in the past five years, with a lot of mom and pop small businesses and community efforts taking hold. Plus I would say in the past year or so, things are picking up speed and the winds are definitely changing for the better in Downtown Phoenix.

Below are 6 cool new Downtown happenings that have been popping up a lot in conversations around me…


Moving and installing this great public art piece to Mike Davis’s Ro2 Lot was a gynormous community effort in the middle of the summer. But now it’s become a welcome addition to the Roosevelt Art’s District, right next door to the next cool thing people have been buzzing about….

Songbird Coffee and Tea House

Songbird just opened yesterday, but people have been talking about it for quite a while. APlaces, Spaces and Faces Community Dinner was held there just this weekend. It is a very cute little coffee shop inside monOrchid, a gallery and co-working space in the Roosevelt Arts District – a great example of mixed-use!

Lawn Gnome Bookstore

Every time I visit another city, I make it a point to go to a bookstore in their Downtown. I’ve visited some great ones in Seattle, Milwaukee, London, and Chicago. I’ve been DYING for a 2nd hand bookstore to come to Downtown Phoenix and now we have one! Enter the Lawn Gnome 2nd hand bookstore. Welcome to the neighborhood friends!

Pedal Craft at the City

Pedal Craft at Kitchen Sink Studios earlier this year was one of the most exciting and successful events Downtown Phoenix has ever seen. It was all about bikes and art. The huge turn out at this event showed the growing presence of a bicycle culture in Phoenix. Now we have Pedal Craft take II at City Hall, very aptly showing the people in power this growing presence – wink, wink, hint, hint. More bicycle lanes please!

Murals All Over the Place!

There are murals everywhere in the Roosevelt Arts District, I mean EVERYWHERE. And it’s wonderful. These murals, more and more popping up all the time, give the place, well, a sense of place. These murals are becoming such a phenomenon that Roosevelt Arts District is quickly becoming a destination for visitors from all over the Valley. By the way, there’s nothing like a mural to make back alleys and parking lots actual places of interest for people to enjoy instead of forgotten, dark places where questionable things occur.

Bodega 420

Holy cow what a cute little market! I love cute little markets like this and was remarking on one I saw in Bisbee just recently and on another I saw near Downtown Tempe. But, look, Downtown Phoenix has one too! This market was set up as a compliment to the now defunct Urban Grocery, and has become quite a community hot spot in the area. My friend Bob Diehl tells me the ice-cream here is to die for.

So there you go, Downtown Phoenix is finally getting a personality and becoming an interesting place! And I have a feeling that this is only the beginning…

Arizona Originals: Steve Vizzerra, The Blue Jean Buyer

In the late 1980’s when Levi’s were still made here in the USA, some young Arizonan entrepreneurs saw a business opportunity. like most twenty year olds Steve Vizzerra was just working a regular job when he heard about an opportunity that would change his life.

“Some friends of mine started a company buying vintage jeans and selling them overseas”, Vizzerra said from behind the counter of his Tempe shop. “We would buy jeans from all the old ranchers in Avondale, fill our backpacks, and travel across Europe all summer selling jeans.”

This is not a terrible way to spend your life right out of college and so in 1987 Steve joined the business full time. They had a strong buyer in Switzerland and before they knew it they had two storefronts there selling old Levi’s. In 1994 Vizzerra bought the business and ran with it. At its height, The Blue Jean Buyer had 13 locations across the world and Vizzerra was regularly scheduling buying trips across the southwest United States.

“We would advertise in an old mining town for weeks before we would show up. We’d rent a motel room on the ground floor, and in the morning we’d just setup a table right infront of our room. After spending all day buying we would have enough inventory for the next couple months. The best part was hearing the stories behind some of those old jeans, it was a lot of fun!”

Vizzerra was flying high, he’d taken the business from a fun hobby to being a real player in the industry. His industry though, was about to be shaken to it’s core. Levi’s jeanswere so desirable outside the U.S. because they were American made. “The second Levi’s moved their manufacturing overseas, our orders dried up.” Vizzerra recalls with an obvious tone of sadness. “We went from shipping thousands of pairs a month to 500 pairs every couple of months.

Today, Vizzerra’s shop in south Tempe is sustained through repeat business, word of mouth, and the almost constant stream of repair and custom business. Vizzerra has earned the title “Denim Doctor of Arizona” and should you ever decide to own a pair of his custom jeans you’ll understand why.

The Blue Jean Buyer has made a quiet but strong impact on the world’s fashion in a very real way. What’s just as significant is the impact Steve’s outlook should have on young entrepreneurs across Arizona. When I walked in to talk to Steve I thought I was going to get a cool story about a vintage store that loves it’s Levi’s. What I got was an insight into how to be more like an Arizona original “It’s like I say to my kids, if you’re going to do something make sure you love it otherwise you’re wasting you’re time.”

Looking to find where the style focused Phoenicians mingle? Look no further!

We’ve told you before about the Phoenix Style Collective, no is your chance to meet them yourself! Join us in attending their Tastemakers event at Hanny’s downtown on July 26th!

Here is the announcement from the PSC website:


Mark your calendars for an upcoming networking event: Tastemakers Night at Hanny’s! When: Thursday, July 26 from 7-9 pm (but feel free to stay later and enjoy the restaurant/bar!)
Where: Hanny’s, 40 North 1st Street Phoenix, AZ 85004
Hey, Tastemakers, you need to come see this awesome historic place and mingle with likeminded stylish people. Come and go as you please – stop in for a drink or sit and have dinner – and participate in a laid back networking event designed to give you access to the coolest local business owners, artists and bloggers. The converted department store boasts tons and tons of photo opportunities! Bring business cards and an outgoing attitude! You’ll need them for a fun activity 🙂

(Hanny’s is located very close to the light rail and there is also metered parking and several paid parking lots downtown.)

A unique spot unlike any other restaurant you’ve been to? A gaggle of fabulous creatives to mingle with? There’s no way you can miss this!

Learn more about Hanny’s history here. See a map of Hanny’s here.

What is the Phoenix Style Collective?


Started by a small but potent community of bloggers and local fashionistas, the Phoenix Style Collective is shining a spotlight on the Phoenix style scene.  Back in February our own Graham McBain went to the PSC launch event to see what these high fashion pioneers have in store for the valley.  Here is what Graham had to say about the event:

I was invited to the PSC launch event in February and immediately after hearing what it was all about I knew I had to attend. Upon arrival I was greeted by one of my favorite sites, the Luncha Libre Food truck, which is known as one of the best food trucks in the valley.

After meeting the organizers immediately it became apparent that these people have something Phoenix is in desperate need of; style. The people behind the Phoenix Style collective are an eclectic mix of artist, entrepreneur’s and journalists all with the singular goal of putting Phoenix culture on the map.

The conference was held at GrowOp downtown which describes itself as, “Specializing in handcrafted, hand-selected vintage, found, and artisan made goods.” Their mission too, is a sentiment often lacking among new businesses, “GROWop is a creative community of artists and entrepreneurs in Downtown Phoenix. The boutique is designed as an incubator for these individuals to develop and grow their small businesses.”

Spending the evening with a group of such young and talented Phoenicians re-ignited my passion for all things Phoenix. I joined Cambridge Properties because much like the Phoenix Style Collective, Cambridge Properties is committed to re-defining what it means to live in Phoenix.


Web based Phoenix clothing business takes the high price out of high fashion.

Web based Phoenix clothing business take the high price out of high fashion.

Not everybody can afford to re-stock their closet every couple of months, even in Arizona where we only have two seasons. That’s why Phoenix based entrepreneur Mandy Russell started an online fashion exchange.

Russell has carved a unique niche for herself through her online store, she also offers an interesting service she calls a “closet sweep”. What is a closet sweep? We’ll let Mandy tell you, “In the Phoenix area we have also launched a Closet Sweep service for fashionistas with 10+ designer items. We come to their home and help weed through their closet for things to resell for them or donate to local charities.”

At Cambridge we love to see young Arizonan’s getting out there and starting businesses, it’s people like Mandy Russell who are helping to turn Phoenix into the Modern Urban metropolis we all envision.

Interested in having your closet swept? Head over to and check them out!