Tucson Shops Tucson

Updated: May 13

A Digital Marketplace to Support Local Businesses Through the COVID19 Crisis

TUCSON, ARIZONA - April 2, 2020 -- Despite the fact that many Tucsonans would like to “shop local” in the weeks and possibly months of the COVID19 crisis, it is challenging without a single unified way to do so. Vantage West and Startup Tucson have teamed up to address this problem. Beginning on April 9th, Tucsonans will have a fun and easy way to support our local small business while shopping from home in a digital marketplace called “Tucson Shops Tucson”.

Tucson Helping Tucson is a digital platform that features products and services of local small businesses, makers, and artisans in a user-friendly gift-guide format. Similar to a traditional craft-market, users purchase and fulfill items directly from the small or micro business, but the format of the platform helps to draw attention and traffic to all. This marketplace will feature a collection of some of Tucson’s most beloved brands such as Why I Love Where I Live and Hotel McCoy as well as new startup companies, such a Bralessly and Page-A-Day-Math. Customers can shop through dozens of specials and deals to purchase all local gifts, experiences, and products.

“We selected the theme of gifts to “Buy now. Gift later. Shop Local” to remind the community that crisis or no crisis, beautiful human moments like birthdays, weddings, mother’s day, and graduations will come again. By shopping ahead early for these occasions you can not only spread joy to your loved ones, but also support our community shop owners who are really hurting right now.” -- Dre Thompson, Executive VP Startup Tucson

In addition to exposing companies and customers to new audiences and products, the Tucson Shops Tucson digital marketplace is also a teaching tool to help companies that have typically been brick-and-mortar convert to the new digital reality. Startup Tucson -- a nonprofit that works year round to educate small business owners-- is providing free coaching and mentoring new companies who are having to pivot. It is free to apply and free to participate in the marketplace.


"The work that [Startup Tucson] is doing with startups and microbusinesses is so important for innovation and growth." Dr. Karen Mossberger, Director for the Center on Technology, Data, and Society


Digital marketplaces have been studied and proven in similar communities to have a tremendous impact on local economies. Dr. Karen Mossberger argues in favor of digital infrastructure as a bridge for communities with less resources and greater needs. The impact of platforms like Tucson Shops Tucson can be more evidently seen and have broader implications for Tucson's economy.

We see the Tucson Shops Tucson marketplace as a sandbox of innovation. We have already spent hours helping companies brainstorm new and creative offerings they can provide while their live events and in-store purchases have evaporated.” Dre Thompson, Executive VP Startup Tucson

To purchase items from the Tucson Shop Tucson digital marketplace, head to tucsonshopstucson.com on April 9th. Browse through the options, and then you will be directed to the company’s website to complete the transaction.

Startup Tucson is 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to transform our region’s economy through entrepreneurship and education. Startup Tucson executes this mission by providing education and culture building programs and events to grow a high-impact entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem. You can find information about the organization and upcoming opportunities to engage at www.startuptucson.com. For questions or comments, please reach out to Dre Thompson directly at dre@startuptucson.com.

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