Entry period for Small Business Spotlight contest now closed; last year’s winner shares story

Sponsored by Cox Business, National Bank of Arizona, and Local First Arizona

Note: The entry period for the contest has closed. Please check back to see which local businesses won.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Arizona’s Family is woven into the fabric of our Phoenix-area communities and dedicated to supporting local businesses whenever and however we can. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Cox Business, National Bank of Arizona, and Local First Arizona to give some of our Phoenix-area small-business owners a boost through the Small Business Spotlight Contest.

The past couple of years have been hard on everyone. We’re all still working our way back in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now we’re facing record inflation. The national average gas price recently hit an all-time high of more than $5 per gallon – and it’s even higher here in Arizona. We’re also looking at the very real possibility of a recession. Some financial experts say it’s a certainty. Regardless, Arizona families, like families throughout the country, are hunkering down. Because we all have to spend more money on life’s necessities, many people are being careful about what they spend and where they spend it. That is hard on small business owners. Like everyone else, their resources are stretched to the limit.

That’s where the Small Business Spotlight Contest comes in.

The grand prize winner will get a $10,000 media campaign plus a $5,000 cash grant. Two more small businesses will win a $5,000 customized digital campaign. All three will be featured on “Your Life Arizona.” The goal is to connect Phoenix-area small businesses with local customers. Arizonans are a tough bunch, and we look out for our own. That’s what Arizona’s Family is all about. We’re on your side; together, we can get through anything.

Small Business Spotlight
Small Business Spotlight(Arizona's Family)

Last year’s winners

Batch Cookie Shop in Gilbert won last year’s big prize.

“People said we were crazy to start a brand-new business during a pandemic, marketing manager Chelsea Warren wrote in Batch Cookie Shop’s entry. “Despite the doubters, our cookie shop evolved from a dream to a brick-and-mortar store in the course of a year.”

A business that started in a family’s kitchen selling sweet treats to friends and neighbors grew into a physical shop. Dedicated to connecting with customers, encouraging customers to connect with each other, and brightening people’s days, Batch Cookie Shop has become part of the community. Winning last year’s contest helped Batch connect with more people and do what it does best – spread happiness one delicious cookie at a time.

“We were super excited to win that and be able to get the kind of exposure that we did,” Brad Peterson, who is part of the family that owns the shop, told Arizona’s Family Tuesday.

The shop hadn’t been open very long, but the Petersons already had big goals. “It was a huge success for us and really helped validate the things that we’d been working toward. We were ecstatic. It really opened up some great additional doors that otherwise we wouldn’t have had access to.”

Like it does this year, last year’s grand prize had two components – a media campaign and a cash award. Peterson said the 30-second TV for Batch was amazing.

“We had so many people come up to us and tell us, ‘Oh my gosh! We saw Batch on TV!’” he said. The cash prize also went toward getting exposure for the shop.

In the year since winning the contest, Batch has seen a lot of growth and has even introduced 15 new cookie flavors to its offerings. “We rotate those on a weekly basis,” Peterson said.

The contest entry period is winding down, but Peterson said that should not deter small business owners. He said Batch actually learned about the last year’s contest late in the game, too.

“It’s absolutely worth the time investment to go through and enter the contest,” he said. “It really helped us solidify some of our thinking. These were all things we had talked about a lot, but to be able to put it concisely in the format that we needed to submit for the contest – that alone would have been worth the effort. The fact that we won on top of that was just icing on the cake.”

We think he meant “buttercream frosting on the cookie.” Or may it’s sprinkle.

Batch Cookie Shop's Sugar Cookie - Thick, buttery sugar cookie topped with rich buttercream...
Batch Cookie Shop's Sugar Cookie - Thick, buttery sugar cookie topped with rich buttercream frosting(Batch Cookie Shop)

From one local small business owner to another

Peterson has some advice for other small business owners as we get into the long, hot – and sometimes slow – summer.

“Get creative and trust your staff,” he suggested. “We slow down a little bit in the summer. People take vacations and get out of the heat, which means we’re not quite as busy in our store.” So, Batch has given its employees another job. Something perfectly suited to them.

“All of us owners, we’re in our late 30s, early 40s. We don’t do TikTok. But our workers do,” Peterson explained. “So, we said, ‘All right, guys. Create some TikToks for us.’ We’ve let them get involved in some of that process and they’re creating things that we wouldn’t have even thought of that have been fantastic.”

“Trust your staff to be able to utilize their own talents, their own interests, and their own skills to help you out in their business,” he continued.

As the Peterson family knows, owning a small business is not for the faint of heart. It takes hard work to thrive. And little help along the way never hurts.

“As a small business, there’s always going to be something, right?” he said. “Whether it is COVID, whether it is inflation, whether it is supply-chain challenges, what makes it great to be a small business is to be able to be nimble and be able to change directions quickly, change things fast. … We can adapt quickly. Now that’s not always easy and it’s not always comfortable, but that is an advantage that we have as a small business.”

It comes down to moving the needle.

“Winning this contest last year moved the needle for us quite a bit,” Peterson said. “For a small company, this was a big deal for us. Be open to new opportunities and new challenges that can help make a difference in your business.”

Batch, along with last year’s runners-up Songbird Coffee & Tea House in Phoenix and Accurate Air Conditioning Inc., and small local companies like them are the heart and soul of our Arizona communities, and it’s up to all of us to help them succeed. When small local businesses flourish, the neighborhoods they serve benefit.

Brought to you by:

Cox Business | National Bank of Arizona | Local First Arizona