Tag - Phoenix

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Social Spin Laundromat- Phoenix, AZ
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Redemption Market Fair Trade Boutique
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The Coronado PHX

Social Spin Laundromat- Phoenix, AZ

I’m no stranger to a laundromat. I’ve spent many mornings (and afternoons) in the dingy environments, getting overcharged per load, wondering just how clean the washers and dryers were, all while gazing endlessly at the dryer as it spun my tees and jeans over-and-over again.

But now, there is a (good) disruption in the industry, and its’ name is Social Spin Laundromat. I heard about them through Instagram, and immediately delved into their world of social impact within the Phoenix community and, not to mention, the raving reviews on Yelp.

It wasn’t until recently that I finally had the chance to stop by the establishment, and meet the owner- Christy Moore. Now, the space isn’t brand spanking new, however, it’s clean and safe; with an overall sense of a welcoming vibe. There’s seating, an area with a few book shelves full of donated books, a children’s play area with toys that were also donated, lockers for dropping off laundry for their wash n’ fold services, and a giant chalk board where customers are encouraged to start a conversation. The best part, in my opinion, is that it’s a $1 (per load) to wash, and 25-cent dryers (the dryers, I might add, run hotter than most in other laundromats, so you spend less when drying as well).

Christy and I sat down and chatted some about how the laundromat got its’ start, how they help the community, and plans for the future.

Years ago, Christy would go to the laundromat with her mother and sisters, and recalled that it was always a pleasant experience. However, fast-forward years later, when she and her husband moved into their house. The washer and dryer hadn’t been delivered yet, sending her into a panic, as there were loads of laundry to be done, and work the next day, so she had to utilize the neighborhood laundromat. After stepping into the laundromat, she felt disheartened at the state it was in: dirty, trash on the floor, dead cockroaches in the corner, hot, people weren’t talking or engaging with one-another. As a social worker, she felt that it was a missed opportunity for the community, that laundromats in their current state are often under-utilized community assets (and that their owners could care less about their customers as well). The gears were quickly turning, so when Christy got home, she flung open the door, and told her husband she was quitting her job and opening a laundromat. She mentioned that she wanted it to have a ‘social spin,’ so she christened the new venture Social Spin Laundromat.

Social Spin launched as a benefit corporation, (which means people over profit) in June 2017. They then launched their wash n’ fold service a few months later. They were using existing laundromats as they built their customer base. Their first location (at 2833 N. 24th St.) was purchased in May 2018.

They’ve been able to rally a lot of community support and $30,000 back in August 2017, and have had regular contributors who sponsor free washes. Christy goes on to explain that there’s always an opportunity to sponsor washes . It’s $2.50 a person, which provides two loads and fourteen minutes of dry time. They offer free laundry on Wednesdays, mainly for people experiencing homelessness. There are events that people can come to, or contribute to (such as a recent pizza party, where they had someone purchase the sodas on behalf of the customers. They have birthday parties once a month. They have cupcakes and balloons and people can sponsor the wash time for that). “We have a sharing environment here. What’s beautiful about Social Spin is that we’re still primarily unattended, which is this test that we’re proving to be true that when you respect your customers, they respect the space. The bathroom is open, there are carts that you can take out to your car…People respect those things, and even contribute to those things.” Folks have contributed toys, books, snacks, a brand-new industrial laundry cart. They’ve also had customers leave quarters for one another. Customers are also encouraged to take home (toys, books, stuffed animals) what they need. Also, feel free to drop off any unwanted clothing, as it helps turn into free laundry services for the customers and community.

They recognize that their customer base typically comes once a week and spends about two hours there. “Between the time you put in your wash to your dry time, there’s about 25 to 30 minutes of wait time. So that’s where we really see the opportunity to connect our customers with each other or resources. Our signature component is our chalkboard that says ‘We want to have a conversation about…’ That’s where our customers communicate with us regarding the types of services or programs they want introduced into the space. Since we opened, we’ve invited St. Joseph the Worker to help our job-seeking customers find jobs. We’ve had Aunt Rita’s Foundation on-site to pass out information about HIV/AIDS and hand out home kits for our customer base. Healthy Start from South Phoenix has stopped by to provide information. We’ve had people register our customers to vote in this space… Based on what they tell us on the chalkboard- if they’re having issues with immigration rights, housing, employment, affordable childcare- Social Spin is all about meeting people where they’re at…allowing them to do a weekly chore, and if we’re able to connect them with a service provider…during that time we’ve lightened their load.”

Turning back to the topic of ‘events’ for a moment, they usually have an in-house DJ in attendance – DJ Jack, who was a customer, who had come in when they were renovating the space, and asked if he could play his boombox…and the rest is history. “Impromptu dance parties, free laundry every Wednesday starting at 9am… so this recognition that everyone deserves clean clothes is core to who we are. So we usually make that a party as well, with food and snacks, music, and volunteers helping our customers wash and fold their clothes. {Social Spin is a}vibrant social hub that provides services to our customer base as well as events that they recommend. We’re a Workforce job-training program. We have crews that help process our wash n’ fold orders (mostly from our over 100 individual commercial customers). We call ourselves ‘laundry fairies.’ The work crews are either adults with disabilities, or youth transitioning out of foster care, or youth transitioning out of prison. They work depending on their needs – five weeks to three months. The job program allows them to not only gain tactical employable skills, but more importantly, to gain the confidence they need to go and find that job.”

Their Mesa location is scheduled to open this month. They have a ‘five locations in five years’ plan, with an exit strategy of shifting power of the laundromats to the customers and communities that they serve. I’m so glad that Christy is changing the laundry industry in the best way possible, at least in Phoenix, but hopefully I’ll see locations pop up throughout the entire state, because everyone deserves to be treated with respect, have clean clothes, and not be ripped off (such as charging $5 just to get a laundry card).

You can contribute to the cause by emailing Christy through the website. Be sure to also follow Social Spin on Facebook and Instagram for further updates.

Redemption Market Fair Trade Boutique

Redemption Market, fair trade, shopping

I met Redemption Market founder- Rhonda LaBatt and her three lovely daughters at another local event a few months ago. She told me that her company specialized in fair trade products from around the world. Fast forward a couple months later, I spotted her booth at Phoenix Public Market. It was then that I got to glimpse at the products she carried and was able to understand the concept behind the brand.

LAFS: Tell me a little about yourself?

Rhonda: I’m a wife, mom, and founder of Redemption Market, an ethical boutique based in Phoenix. We have three amazing teenage daughters who also help with the business. I love camping, gardening, and going on spontaneous adventures!

Redemption Market

LAFS: What inspired you to launch Redemption Market?

Rhonda: We had just adopted our youngest daughter from Peru, and she was 10 at the time. Previously I had been a middle school Spanish teacher, so I quit my job to stay home and teach her English and get her caught up in school. I saw an advertisement online from Sak Saum, an organization that was helping women rescued from trafficking. They were looking for ambassadors in the US to carry their products and share their message. I thought it would be a beautiful opportunity for me to be able to make a difference, while still being at home. So, it all started with one small box of purses and jewelry, and has now expanded to over 15 organizations!

Redemption Market

LAFS: Tell me what products / brands you sell, and why?

Rhonda: Every brand we carry supports a distinct cause, from building schools to clean water programs. The first priority is the cause behind the line, and then secondly whether or not the item fits with the vibe of our shop and is of excellent quality. Some of our primary lines are Sak Saum based in Cambodia, JOYN out of India, and the Tote Project which is here in the States.

Redemption Market

LAFS: What makes Redemption Market unique?

Rhonda: We have such a curated collection of items, and with everything being ethically made, it really sets us apart from other shops. I love owning my own shop because I can just pick out everything that I would like to purchase! It’s been working great so far, with my only challenge not keeping everything for myself!

Redemption Market

LAFS: Where can we find you (online and such)?

Rhonda: Our shop is always open at redemptionmarket.com, and we are downtown most Saturdays at the Phoenix Public Market. See what’s new online on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. We are very easy to find- “Redemption Market” on all social media.

 

Redemption Market

 

Redemption Market

Redemption Market

Redemption Market

Redemption Market

 

 

Redemption Market

Redemption Market

The Coronado PHX

The Coronado PHX / Phoenix restaurant review / vegetarian eatery

The Coronado PHX / Phoenix restaurant review / vegetarian eatery

Nestled in a charming bungalow-style converted home off of 7th Street, is the Coronado PHX- a vegetarian eatery that also offers coffee drinks and alcoholic beverages. I had driven by that place often, and it wasn’t until early this month, that I finally stopped in to satisfy my culinary curiosities. The interior was quaint, with multiple small dining rooms, an outdoor patio, and the ordering area (bar and bakery case included). During my first dining experience, I tried the Monte Vista Torta and fries, while washing it down with a chai latte. Ok guys, I hate to admit, but after the first bite of that torta, I literally had a “When Harry Met Sally” moment. The masa battered zucchini, mixed with fresh tomato, romaine lettuce and vegan mayo, was just BURSTING with flavor! The hand cut fries that came with the torta had just the right amount of crispiness. I dipped them in the housemade ketchup, that also had a joyous amount of zest. The chai, which is sourced from Maya Tea in Tucson, was also delicious (and even had a subtle spicy kick to it).

Monte Vista Torta / fries / food / The Coronado PHX / Phoenix restaurant

During my second visit (of many to come), I had the pleasure of meeting the owner- Liam and his wife, Emily. I was able to sample a few of the restaurant’s best-selling dishes and also chat about Liam’s history in the culinary industry and how that transitioned to his current project, that is- the Coronado PHX.

LAFS: Tell me about how you got started in the culinary industry, as well as the vegetarian side of it?

Liam: I’ve been in food service for most of my adult life. I was a barista at Jobot, when a friend of mine, Dom Fasano, who was the chef at the time, suggested that I look into it; so I attended Le Courdon Bleu in Scottsdale while working at Jobot. Going to culinary school actually helped make me a vegetarian. In French cooking, they teach you to use every bit of the product in front of you to show respect to the person who worked to bring it to you, and also to the product itself. So, you save you onion skins for making stock, but that’s also why they make things like liver pate, sweetbreads, and so on. Something about being vegetarian always seemed right to me, I had been vegetarian on and off my whole life, but I never really had an understanding as to why I felt that way. I realized that if I could not eat the liver pate and such because I thought it was gross, then clearly I wasn’t respecting the effort someone put in to it, or the animal themselves. Around the same time, my brother got sick with Lymphoma, so I started wanting to try and be more healthy, it was kind of a perfect storm, and I’ve been vegetarian since then. Very quickly my wife, Emily, and I realized there weren’t very many vegetarian options, and started planning a restaurant with a friend. We opened Bragg’s Factory Diner, a full vegan/vegetarian diner, we busted our butts and even racked up a few awards in the short 2 1/2 years it was open, but it was an uphill battle from day one, and I guess just wasn’t meant to be. Around the time that closed (last year), I opened the Coronado PHX, and it’s back to busting our butts and trying to push ourselves and what we can do.

LAFS: What inspired the name the “Coronado PHX?”

Liam: When I first moved to downtown, the Coronado Cafe was in the spot that we are in now, and they had been for years. Downtown was just starting to really blossom. There weren’t a ton of funky restaurants in old houses and stuff, Coronado Cafe kind of blazed that trail, and stuck their neck out before anyone else really was. So when the opportunity came up to move in to this location I thought it seemed only appropriate to name it the Coronado PHX as a kind of shout-out to the previous owners and the city.

LAFS: Where do you source your fresh ingredients?

Liam: We try to focus on local at the Coronado, we get our bread from MJ breads, our coffee from local roaster Xanadu Coffee, we get veggies for our FarmYard Scramble from a local CSA called FarmYard who literally farm in peoples yards and then bring us a basket or 2 every week, we get our goat cheese from Crow’s Dairy in Buckeye, and our milk from Danzeisen. The list goes on and on. We carry local wines, liquors and beers, but those are on rotation to try and give everyone some love.

LAFS: What inspired the restaurant’s decor?

Liam: The space when we got there had been painted kind of monochromatic in shades of greenish-brown, the house itself is so beautiful, so we wanted to try and perk it up a bit. My good friend Liz Tavarez, from Grey House Designs, was working on building her portfolio, so she helped us out. Initially when she said to go black and white, I was hesitant, like it would be too plain and too easy to get dirty and maybe I was just a ball of stress at the time, but I eventually relented and I’m glad I did. The place is so inviting and warm, people assume all the time that we’ve been open for years because it just feels great, and not too “new”.

LAFS: What do you think sets the Coronado PHX apart from other vegetarian restaurants?

Liam: I think what sets us apart, is that we try to make sure we are set apart. I’ve tried to focus on creating a menu that isn’t on someone else’s menu. I want to make food that is representative of the southwest, and that is approachable, but I’m also an artist and musician, so I want to be as creative as possible with it. I don’t do much in the way of veganizing, I try to let the vegetables, fruits, grains, spices and so on do the work. All the time I hear “I hate cauliflower, but I LOVE those cauliflower tacos.” I also have a family, and so it’s REALLY important to me that our menu be affordable. I can’t tell you how many times (especially when I was in school) we would be excited to try something, then go home and eat more because we couldn’t afford a big meal out on our budget. We’re never gonna be the cheapest thing in the world, we’re not Taco Bell, but just because we’re making healthy food with fresh ingredients in house, doesn’t mean it can’t be affordable too.

Speaking of the Cauliflower Tacos, that was one dish I tried. It was definitely a hit in my book. I loved the flavor of the masa based beer batter that the cauliflower were fried in. “The Cauliflower Tacos are, hands down, our number one seller. we get our fresh tortillas from Ranch Market everyday. We pick them up warm. We use a masa based beer batter and fry the cauliflower and that goes with guacamole, organic spinach, pepitas, our creamy Avocado dressing and limes on the side. It gets compared a lot to a fish taco, without all that fishiness.”

Cauliflower Tacos / Coronado PHX / vegetarian eatery

The next dish was the Jalapeño Marmalade and Goat Cheese Quesadilla. You guys….I’m still dreaming about this dish. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, like, were the jalapeños going to be super hot, etc. Completely the opposite. It almost tasted like a mild green chili paste that also had some sweetness to it. The flavor of the goat cheese with the jalapeño marmalade really mixed well, without being too overpowering. I’ve had many quesadillas in my life, but these have risen to number one for my taste buds. Be prepared to bring something to wipe your hands with, as the marmalade gets a little sticky. But otherwise, be prepared to be WOWED. “It’s definitely not a traditional quesadilla. I actually made this as a special at another restaurant I worked at, but the owner didn’t go for it, so it’s been sitting in my back pocket for years waiting to see the light of day. We used Crow’s Dairy Goat Cheese and house made jalapeño marmalade, then dust it with a little smoked paprika and cilantro.”

Jalapeño marmalade and Goatcheese Quesadilla / Coronado PHX / vegetarian eatery

The last dish on the list was the Street Corn. I’m not a huge fan of the traditional street corn that is normally found at flea markets and such, but this dish was different. The corn-on-the-cob was fresh, while the vegan mayo, cayenne, cilantro, Cotija cheese, and lime mix felt light, and looked (and tasted) healthier. “The Street Corn we do is just a classic street corn. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Fire roasted corn, coated with Just Mayo (a pea based Vegan Mayo instead of a soy base), Cotija cheese, cayenne, cilantro, and lime. Hold the cheese and it’s vegan!”

Street Corn / Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

I also had a Funfetti Scone, which was so tasty, that it didn’t need butter or other dipping sauces; just the chai to finish off the desert.

Funfetti Scone / Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Chai Latte / Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Check out more behind-the-scenes…

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

The Coronado PHX is open: Sunday – Thursday: 6am – 10pm, Friday & Saturday: 6am – 11pm,
Happy Hour: 4pm – 7pm.

LOCATION:
2201 N 7th St
Phoenix, AZ 85006

Be sure to check out their WEBSITE and FACEBOOK for local happenings and such.

Liam: We love hosting community based events. Craft and Charity nights every third Friday of the month, where we pair a local brewery with a local charity. The brewery takes over all our beer taps and then a portion of the sales from the night go to the charity. We host an event called Vinyl Voices, which is part story telling, part DJ night. Participants bring in a vinyl record, tell a story of that record and then we’ll play a track. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s intense, or sad or whatever. Being a musician myself, it’s so fun to hear people’s relation to music and how it shapes significant moments in their lives. We also host a Simpson Trivia Night, poetry readings, acoustic music, board game nights, and anything we can think of, really.

NOTE: I was given complimentary food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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