Jon Johnson File Photo: Gila Valley Made is being honored for its transformation from this into the store it is today.
By Jon Johnson
TEMPE – Safford’s own Gila Valley Made will be one of 28 Arizona small businesses to receive an America’s SBDC Arizona Success Award at this year’s 2022 Success Awards on April 14 in Tempe, Arizona.
Nearly 300 legislators, business, and community leaders are expected to attend the event.
Gila Valley Made opened its Downtown Safford location at 526 W. Main Street at the intersection of Main Street and 6th Avenue in May 2021. Owned and operated by Tricia Garret of Prickly Pear Blossoms and Taylor Ludwig of Lynn Meadows Home, the store holds a cooperative of numerous small businesses. The pair originally started the idea with Torey Cranford of Cakes with TLC in 2020 after the pandemic caused their regular retail routes to dry.
After the successful pop-up backyard sale, the women started to have sales events on their Facebook page. After the summer, the group then got together to open Gila Valley Made at its ordinal Thatcher location in September 2020 with the thought of keeping it open through the holidays. Businesses continued, however, and the cooperative remained open until their building was sold, prompting the move to Downtown Safford and the transformation of a 3,000-square-foot building.
Now, the store gets new inventory nearly every Tuesday and, thanks to local artist Brandt Woods, sports an Instagram-worthy, eye-catching mural wall along the building’s west side that attracts highway visitors to the Downtown area.