Chandler Edition - August 2020

CHANDLER EDITION

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 1  AUG. 27SEPT. 21, 2020

ONLINE AT

Chandler USD to remain online for rst quarter

IMPACTS

EDUCATION

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READYTO recover The city of Chandler saw record-high unemployment in April due to the eects of the coronavirus pandemic—18,247 applied for unemployment, a stark contrast to the city’s previously low unemployment rate. The last spike was due to the Great Recession with 10,985 unemployed in January 2010. Local ocials and experts are hopeful the city will recover quickly. 200,000 3.5% 3.3% 4.8% 11.9% 7.5% 8.7% Labor force Unemployment

Up to 80% more residents are requiring support for basic needs and services FILLING A NEED

$1.65M The amount of coronavirus relief funding allocated from the city to nonprots reduction in volunteers 70%

150,000

100,000

SOURCE: CITY OF CHANDLERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

COURTESY FANS ACROSS AMERICA

50,000

Nonprots seemore need, fewer resources in pandemic

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SOURCE: ARIZONA COMMERCE AUTHORITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

BY ALEXA D’ANGELO

Ocials hopeful for Chandler’s economic rebound Before the coronavirus pandemic forced thou- sands of Chandler residents out of work nearly instantly, the city of Chandler sawwhat experts call “functionally zero” unemployment with an unem- ployment rate of 3.3%. Jim Rounds, economist and owner of Rounds Consulting Group in Tempe, said he believes the city of Chandler is well-positioned for an economic rebound—and may be in a better position than other neighboring cities to recover from the cur- rent economic crisis. BY ALEXA D’ANGELO

Chandler residents who may never have sought out food boxes, rent assistance or a domestic shel- ter before are now relying on services from the city’s nonprots. Local nonprot organizations throughout Chan- dler reported up to 80% more residents requiring support for basic needs and an increase in services since the coronavirus gripped the city and the nation in March. The number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the city is predicted to increase by 40%. While servicing more individuals and families, nonprot organizations had to make changes to their day-to-day operations to accommodate for increased cleaning and personal protective equipment despite CONTINUED ON 14

April brought the highest unemployment rate on record in Chandler’s recent history with 11.9% of the city’s labor force unemployed—or 18,247 people. The unemployment rate dropped in May to 7.5% and ticked back up again in June to 8.7%, according to data from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

“Chandler was experiencing strong growth before the coronavirus,” Rounds said. “After we get through this crisis, I expect Chandler will con- tinue to grow. …Chandler has a stronger position as it’s related to higher-paying jobs. That means that the city, because of this appropriate focus, has not CONTINUED ON 12

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

MARKET TEAM EDITOR Alexa D’Angelo GRAPHIC DESIGNER Isabella Short ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Michelle Johnson

FROMAMY: A variety of business types are seen throughout Chandler, and that isn’t by mistake. According to city ocials, the diverse industry types, with an emphasis on tech, nance, health care and the like, was a strategic, long-term decision to help protect the local economy from being adversely aected by being too heavily reliant on one sector. In our front-page story, you can see the data for yourself to analyze the eorts that have been made by Chandler. Amy Ellsworth, PUBLISHER

METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Amy Ellsworth,

aellsworth@communityimpact.com MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Aubrey Galloway CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more

TRANSPORTATION 6 The latest transportation project updates EDUCATION 7 See the metrics for reopening schools CITY& COUNTY 8 Updates from the city of Chandler

FROMALEXA: Each time I speak with someone new in our community, I learn about an impact of the coronavirus pandemic that I had not previously thought of. Everyone has a unique story to tell, and this month I wanted to speak to our nonprot leaders who serve the Chandler community. The struggles they are facing are outlined in one of our front- page stories this month. I hope this story sheds a light on the important work our city’s nonprots do every day and that you learn something new. These are trying times for many of us, but how we come together as a community denes us in dicult times. Alexa D’Angelo, EDITOR

John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across ve metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON

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BUSINESS FEATURE Judy Wear Boutique DINING FEATURE Floridino’s Pizza & Pasta REAL ESTATE Residential market data IMPACT DEALS

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CHANDLER EDITION • AUGUST 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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ALEXA D'ANGELO/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

480-687-0145. www.extrainnings- chandler.com 5 MD Skin Lounge opened June 18 in Chandler. Located at 7131 W. Ray Road, Stes. 40-41, the business offers a variety of skin treatments including laser treat- ments and injectables. 480-696-6670. www.mdskinlounge.com 6 Toy Barn is in the selling phase, which is expected to be complete at the end of 2020. Toy Barn is a storage facility that offers customers the ability to cus- tomize their unit to meet their specific needs. The building is located between Douglas and Stearman drives just east of the Chandler Airport. 480-419-0101. https://toybarnstorage.com COMING SOON 7 Bob’s Discount Furniture is estimat- ing a September opening for a location at 2650 E. Germann Road, Chandler, in the Crossroads Towne Center. The store will be one of the first two in Arizona for the Connecticut-based furniture retailer, along with a location in Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix. 860-812-1111. www.mybobs.com 8 Pie Express is coming soon to Chan- dler. The restaurant allows customers to build their own 12-inch pizza with more than 40 toppings to choose from. The business is located at 1929 E. Ray Road, Ste. 7, in Chandler. A phone number and website were not available as of press time. 9 Steiner’s Amish Furniture is coming soon to Chandler, though it was not clear

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TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 The Barber’s MP is now open in Chandler. The barbershop opened Aug. 3 and offers haircuts, beard trims and more. The business is located at 2860 S. Alma School Road, Ste. 31. 480-857-3019. https://thebarbersmp.com 2 Founding Fathers Kitchen opened a new location in Chandler this sum- mer. The restaurant offers sandwiches, burgers, a variety of seafood and more.

The restaurant is located at 1050 W. Ray Road in Chandler. 480-590-2743. www.foundingfatherskitchenaz.com 3 Modern Allo opened July 27 in Chandler. The business is a coffee, self care and child care one-stop shop. With a work space, a conference room and a supervised area for child care, the busi- ness boasts a place for parents to have a chance to get work done while children are being cared for. The business is taking online registrations for child care, and

children’s temperatures are checked upon arrival due to the coronavirus at 5865 W. Ray Road, Ste. 7, Chandler. 480-687-0197. https://modernallo.com 4 Extra Innings opened Aug. 3 in Chandler. Extra Innings is an indoor base- ball and softball training facility outfitted with multiuse practice tunnels, batting cages, a training room, party areas and a pro shop. The business is located at 2440 E. Germann Road in Chandler.

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Mr Brews Taphouse

Farmboy Market, Meats, Sandwiches

ALEXA D'ANGELO/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

COURTESY MR BREWS TAPHOUSE

as of press time when the business would be opening. The store offers handmade hardwood furniture and has another location in Sun City. It will open at 4955 S. Alma School Road, Chandler. 623-974-1745. www.safaz.net/shop 10 Tacos Tijuana Taqueria anticipates opening a location in late August at 51 S. McQueen Road, Gilbert. The restaurant serves street tacos on homemade torti- llas. https://tacostijuanaaz.com ANNIVERSARIES 11 Mr Brews Taphouse is celebrat- ing one year in business in Chandler in September. The establishment opened its first Arizona location Sept. 12, 2019. The craft beer restaurant offers American

food and a selection of beers located at 2040 S. Alma School Road, Ste. 12, Chandler. 602-549-2002. www.mrbrewstaphouse.com CLOSINGS 12 Desert Smash AZ closed Aug. 16. The business allowed patrons to let off steam by smashing various objects and was located at 5865 W. Ray Road, Ste. 10, Chandler. The business had been open in Chandler for less than a year. 13 Farmboy Market, Meats, Sandwich- es has closed in Chandler. The restaurant, which served specialty sandwiches with a farm-to-table concept, was located at 1075 W. Queen Creek Road, Ste. 1. The business opened in 2018.

The Uncommon is expected to open this fall.

ALEXA D'ANGELO/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON The Uncommon , a brunch restaurant that combines breakfast and lunch meals with arcade games, is set to open this fall in Chandler. It was not clear as of press time Aug. 18 when exactly the business would open, but the website was updated to say it will open this fall in downtown Chandler. The Uncommon has one other location open in Phoenix. The Uncommon is set to open next to the Tipsy Egg, expected to open later

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this year. The brunch spot and arcade bar will be located at 1 E. Boston St. in Chandler. www.theuncommonaz.com

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CHANDLER EDITION • AUGUST 2020

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY ALEXA D'ANGELO

City Council approves program in eort to bolster transit options

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Chandler City Council approved a rst-mile, last-mile pilot program aimed at getting residents to and from bus stops easier and cheaper through a partnership with Lyft. The one-year pilot program is set to begin in September. Residents will get 50% o the cost of Lyft trips to and from bus stops in the service area. This partnership will provide an extension of the transit reach in south Chandler, where bus service is more limited, while avoiding the costs associated with creating new bus routes, accord- ing to the city. The total budget for the program is $49,000, according to documents from the city. The city will pay for the 50% discount on trips to and from bus stops south of Pecos Road, and the city’s expected average cost per trip will be about $5 or $6, according to the city. The cost to provide bus service to south Chandler, which is a lower-den- sity, higher-income area of the city,

would run the city between $3 million and $6 million annually. “Months ago, as part of our mobility and transportation sub-committee, I asked our city sta to help us nd innovative ways to increase usage for our multi-million dollar surface street bus lines,” Council Member Mark Stewart wrote in a Facebook post. “We spend millions on these bus routes and they are rarely used. We should be nding ways to improve the ridership experience, service our existing users, improve eciency and [save money]. ... This is innovation. This is Chandler.”

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McClintock and Kyrene roads bike lane addition The city of Chandler is planning to construct two new segments of bike lanes along McClintock Drive and Kyrene Road that will connect to the existing bike lane system at the Tempe city limits. Status: Crews began work on the project July 13 and started with tree removal, and utility potholing on the road, according to the city. The work is currently on both the north and south lanes on the road. Timeline: July 2020-March 2021 Cost: $4.04 million Funding sources: federal grant, local match

Loop 101 widening The Arizona Department of

Transportation is widening Loop 101 by adding a travel lane in each direction on a stretch of the freeway through Chandler, Mesa and Tempe. Status: Crews were working in mid- August on extending the diamond grinding of the freeway further south between Loop 202 and US 60. Diamond grinding is used to preserve and rehabilitate the concrete pavement surface of a highway. Timeline: May 2019-summer 2020 Cost: $76 million Funding sources: half-cent sales tax, federal highway funds

FIRSTMILE LASTMILE PROGRAM

50% Discount on trips paid for by the city

$49K Total budget

$5$6 Average cost of trip for the city

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPTODATE AS OF AUG. 18. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT CHNNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

SOURCE: CITY OF CHANDLER COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION Chandler USD to continue utilizing remote learning through rst quarter

BENCHMARKS FOR REOPENING SCHOOLS The Arizona Department of Health Services released a data dashboard that is updated weekly and designed to guide the reopening decisions of school leaders across the state. BENCHMARK 1: DECLINE IN CASES The rst benchmark the county must meet is a decline in cases of less than 100 cases per 100,000 individuals for two consecutive weeks. As of Aug. 18, Maricopa County was meeting this metric due to a decline in cases. 25,000 500

BY ALEXA D’ANGELO

Aug. 5 marked the rst day of vir- tual learning for CUSD. The district had allowed families to select either an in-person or online option for their students for the rst quarter. Those who opted for in-person learning began the year with virtual learning through Google Classroom. According to the resolution, the district will arrange for free on-site learning opportunities and support services for students who need a place to go during the school day beginning Aug. 17 and will develop procedures to “help ensure that

The Chandler USD governing board voted unanimously Aug. 5 to con- tinue with remote learning through the rst quarter of the school year and re-evaluate on Sept. 23 if the criteria for reopening schools has not yet been met as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow across Arizona. The decision came one day before the state released metrics for reopening schools for in-person learning. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Homan

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said Aug. 3 it was “unlikely” schools across Arizona would open for in-person learning on the target date of Aug. 17 set by Gov. Doug Ducey. “A couple of weeks ago I said our kids need to be back

social distancing and other mitiga- tion strategies are implemented for the free on-site programs.” Based on the metrics set by the Arizona Department of Health Services in conjunction with

BENCHMARKS 2, 3: PERCENT POSITIVITY, HOSPITAL VISITS The second and third benchmarks the county must meet are two consecutive weeks with percent positivity below 7% and two consecutive weeks with hospital visits for COVID-like illnesses in the region below 10%. 25%

“WEAREGIVINGSOME TYPE OF STABILITY TOALLOWSTUDENTS AND EDUCATORS TOPREPARE.” LARA BRUNER, CHANDLER USD BOARD MEMBER

Percent positivity below 7% Hospital visits for COVID- like illnesses

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in school .... but this is not the time to do that,” Board Member David Evans said during the meeting. “We are doing this for the welfare of our families, our sta and our students.” Board Member Lara Bruner said it was not an easy decision to make for any of the board members and that she had heard from parents, sta and students in “thousands” of emails for weeks—all with diering opinions. “We are giving some type of stabil- ity to allow students and educators to prepare,” Bruner said. “There is no good answer.”

the Arizona Department of Educa- tion, Maricopa County was meeting two of three metrics as of Aug. 18. All three must be met before schools can safely reopen. For the initial reopening of a model blending in-person instruction and online instruction, the state recom- mends that the three metrics show evidence of minimal community spread: a two-week decline in weekly average cases or two weeks below 100 cases per 100,000 population, two weeks with positivity below 7%, and two weeks with less than 10% of

5%

SOURCE: ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICESCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 0% April 26 May 10 May 24 June 7 June 21 July 5 July 19

hospital visits due to COVID-19-like illness. “Our focus is ensuring that Arizona students and teachers have a safe and successful academic year, even though it may look dierent because of the ongoing pandemic,” Ducey said in a news release. “We know

the critical services that in-person instruction provides for our children. These benchmarks use public health data guided by recommendations from county, state and federal experts to inform our schools on implementing a safe return to the classroom.”

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CHANDLER EDITION • AUGUST 2020

CITY&EDUCATION

News from Chandler & Chandler USD

COMPILED BY ALEXA D'ANGELO

NUMBER TOKNOW

Chandler to offer grants to businesses in need CHANDLER The city of Chandler will provide Chandler businesses grants as part of an allocation of the city’s coronavirus relief funding. The I Choose Chandler Business Hiring and Retention Program will provide qualifying businesses with $1,300 per employee retained or hired since Dec. 31, 2019, up to a maximum of $10,000. “We are excited to provide some financial relief to small businesses in need,” Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke said in a news release. “Chandler businesses are adapting and finding new ways to serve our community, but we know many of them are struggling. Our hope is that this grant program will help Chandler businesses as they navigate these challenging times.” The Arizona Community Foundation is administer- ing the program for the city of Chandler. Qualifying businesses will be able to submit applications online through ACF’s website, www.azfoundation.org/icc. Approximately $9.5 million is available for the program and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. For details on the application process and its requirements, visit www.azfoundation.org/icc or www.chandleraz.gov/icc.

Three poised to take seats on Chandler City Council CHANDLER Christine Ellis, OD Harris and Mark Stewart will take seats on Chandler City Council following the Aug. 4 election. The members will take their seats in January. Election results, though not yet certified, from the Maricopa County Recorder’s office show a voter turnout of 35.75%, or 55,615 voters. Incumbent Jeremy McClymonds lost his at-large seat on the council. He was appointed to the position, and this was his first election. McClymonds, Beth Brizel and Rick Heumann did not gather enough votes to send the election into a runoff in November. Ellis received 19% of the vote with 26,171 votes; OD Harris received 17% of the vote with 23,227 votes; and Stewart received 17% of the vote with 23,794 votes.

22%

According to the city of Chandler, the recycling

Chandler City Council Sept. 14, 17, 6 p.m. 88 E. Chicago St., Chandler 480-782-2181 • www.chandleraz.gov Chandler USD Board Sept. 9, 23, 7 p.m. 1525 W. Frye Road, Chandler 480-812-7000 • www.cusd80.gov MEETINGSWE COVER an agreement with the Maricopa Association of Governments on Aug. 13 to develop design concepts for the Wall Street pedestrian improvement project for $4,046.84. The city is looking to make the area around The Perch, The Local and The Sleepy Whale in downtown Chandler more pedestrian-friendly. It will include a continued pedestrian path and decorative features. CHANDLER Council approved Aug. 13 the purchase of an audio system upgrade for council chambers, where meetings are broadcast from, for $69,931. CHANDLER The city awarded Aug. 13 a contract to DNG contamination rate as of June was 22%, down from 29% in February. Contamination in recycling is the amount of trash—items that cannot be recycled—that go into residents’ blue bins. CITY HIGHLIGHTS CHANDLER Chandler City Council voted Aug. 13 to form a citizen bond exploratory committee and subcommittees to review and identify the needs of the city of Chandler and make recommendations to the council. The city is tentatively planning a bond election in November 2021. CHANDLER City Council approved Construction LLC for the East Mini Park Renovation in an amount not to exceed $421,608.13.

Christine Ellis

OD Harris

Mark Stewart

GRANT APPLICATION CRITERIA

City to give Chandler USD funds formobile hot spots

• Industries that can apply: – Accommodation and food services – Health care and social assistance – Retail trade

• Private, for-profit business located in the city • 100 full-time-equivalent employees or fewer, including all commonly owned/managed businesses • Business must agree to submit a copy of its December 2019 IRS Form 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) and the latest quarter’s Form 941 showing employee hiring and retention verification

CHANDLER Chandler City Council voted Aug. 13 to grant Chandler USD $250,000 of the city’s coronavirus relief dollars to purchase hot spots as the district continues online learning through the first quarter. The mobile hot spots will allow district

students without internet access to access the inter- net from their homes. On Aug. 5, the CUSD governing board voted to continue with remote learning through the end of the first quarter and plans to evaluate opening for second quarter in September.

– Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services – Manufacturing – Arts, entertainment and recreation

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BUSINESS FEATURE JudyWear Boutique Boutique prioritizes fashion, comfort and service W hen Judy Dragoo was a teacher in Sierra Vista, she made waves among her fully open for business, Judy still has masks and disinfectants on hand—but she takes it a step further and oers appointments on the

BY ALEXA D’ANGELO

fellow teachers each holiday season when she would create Christmas- themed sweaters. She eventually took to selling them to her colleagues, and when one of her colleagues would don a sweater, she would call it her “Judy wear.” Years later, Judy would take that name with her when she created her boutique in Chandler. “I’ve always loved to do fashion,” she said. “When I moved up here, it was just unbelievable how I found this location, which I love. ... The busi- nesses we are by are amazing, and our customers are just wonderful.” Dragoo runs the boutique with her daughter-in-law, Erin Dragoo, who runs the boutique’s social media, stocks the jewelry and serves as Judy’s right hand. Erin graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University but made the decision to stay with Judy instead of pursuing a job directly in her eld of study. “Judy and her customers just captured my heart, and I thought, ‘I cant leave here,’” Erin said. Judy and Erin work to make the boutique as welcoming to customers a possible, even during COVID-19, which forced the business to tempo- rarily close for around seven weeks. When they reopened for appoint- ments only, Judy said she wanted to make sure she had masks and hand sanitizer on hand to make everyone feel safe. Now that the boutique is

days the boutique is closed to those who are particularly nervous about heading out to businesses during the pandemic. “Customer service is our No. 1 thing,” Judy said. “When ladies get older, as we age, Mother Nature doesn’t do very nice things to our bod- ies. But we still like to look nice, and we don’t want to look like old women. So, when Erin and I are purchasing our items, we want it to be fun, but we don’t want it to look like something an 18-year-old would wear. We want it to be sophisticated and comfortable to meet our customers’ lifestyle. A lot of our ladies don’t work any more, but they still want to look nice when they go out to play cards or have lunch or dinner. Women of all ages still want to look good.” Judy said that to her, the boutique is about making women feel good in their own skin. She and Erin even go so far as to help women style existing items in their closet. They will have customers bring in a pair of pants or a top and help them create an outt around it. Judy said it is her mission to make sure all her customers leave the store happy. “I want people to know that in here it’s not just about the sales,” Judy said. “If I wanted to be a millionaire, I would not be doing this. ... I want to make the ladies that come in here feel their best.”

Erin (left) and Judy Dragoo are the women behind Judy Wear Boutique. (Photos by Alexa D’Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

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JudyWear Boutique 950 E. Riggs Road, Chandler 480-802-6757 www.judywearboutique.com Hours: Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.-Tue. The key to selecting items is to only bring in a few of them. Judy said sometimes she picks items she think will do well, and they sit on the racks for months. Other times she is unsure about an item, and it ies o the shelf. Erin Dragoo selects all the jewelry in Judy Wear. At 29, she had to change her mindset when buying the pieces to sell to t the more mature clientele who frequent the boutique. The key is to nd lightweight, chunky pieces of jewelry that oer a pop of color to an outt, she said. While Erin curates the jewelry, Judy Dragoo focuses on the clothes. Items are selected based on fashion and comfortability based on the season.

Accessories and clothing are hand-selected at Judy Wear by Erin and Judy Dragoo.

There is a station in the store where customers can build their own necklace.

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CHANDLER EDITION • AUGUST 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DINING FEATURE Floridino’s Pizza&Pasta Restaurant continues to be Chandler staple F loridino’s Pizza & Pasta started out as a chain restau- rant in 1996, but one would

BY ALEXA D'ANGELO

Gilliland said. “It meant so much that our customers still came out and support us.” Floridino’s pivoted to oering curbside pick-up and to-go orders and limited the dining room when the governor ordered dining rooms could not exceed half of their capacity. General Manager Jason Stephens said it was important to the sta that even with all the changes, the high level of service customers have come to expect did not change. “The dining room was taken away

not assume that walking in the front doors of the warm, friendly restaurant. The chain dissolved years later, but Floridino’s in Chandler remained. A kitchen with the ability to create authentic Italian dishes and a service sta who makes everyone feel like family have kept the restaurant a favorite among Chandler residents for over two decades, according to the restaurant’s managers. “Everyone is a family here,” treat it like family. We want to make sure everyone on sta, but every- one who comes in too, feels like they belong.” The restaurant had to quickly adapt due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Gilliland said the rela- tionship the restaurant has with the community has allowed Floridino’s to continue to serve it. “It really showcased our ability to work as a team and just really be there and support each other. We all had a common goal: We were going to continue to sell pizza muns, and we were going to continue to be one of the most beloved restaurants in Chandler, whether we were allowed to have customers inside or not,” manager Lindsay Gilliland said. “I treat this place like my house; I

Fettuccine Alfredo ($10.89) is a favorite among Floridino’s patrons.

PHOTOS BY ALEXA D’ANGELOCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

in pretty much one day, but our customers kept our to-go business going at pretty much the same level,” Stephens said. The dedicated

“WE’VE TRIED TO CREATE THIS FAMILY ATMOSPHERE SO EVEN THE CUSTOMERS FEEL AT HOMEWHEN THEY COME INHERE.” JASON STEPHENS, GENERAL MANAGER

The restaurant also has calzones including a Green Chile option ($13.29) .

Floridino’s baked spaghetti ($10.89) is something unique to the restaurant.

SPECIALTY PIZZAMUFFINS

The pizza muns come in a variety of dierent avors ranging in price from $6.19 to $12.99. Here are the current

kitchen sta and the atmosphere, both managers said, are what keep people coming back. “We’ve tried to create this family atmosphere so even the customers feel at home when they come in here,” Stephens said. “They get to know us; we get to know them. They treat us as part of their family. That’s why we have so many ongoing, lifelong customers.” Those lifelong customers are the base of Floridino’s business. “We get very excited when some- one tells us this is their rst time in; we’re like, ‘Where have you been?’” Gilliland said.

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CHANDLER EDITION • AUGUST 2020

Chandler is home to jobs in varying industries and does not lean too heavily on hospitality or retail, which is why experts say the city is well-positioned to recover from the COVID-19 aects on the economy. WORKFORCE a diverse

JOBS BY INDUSTRY IN CHANDLER Chandler has thousands of jobs in high-wage, high-skill industries. This data shows where Chandler had the most jobs in 2019.

22,170

High-tech manufacturing and development Business services Consumer services Retail Finance, insurance and real estate Education Health care Transportation and distribution Construction Government, social and advocacy services Hospitality, tourism and recreation Metal inputs and transportation-related manufacturing Nonmetallic manufacturing Telecommunications Consumer goods manufacturing Media, publishing and entertainment Resource-dependent activities

20,350

13,560

12,810

9,900

9,390 9,180

Key industries The city of Chandler identies these industries as key to Chandler’s continued success, according to the economic development department. The city works on attracting and retaining businesses in these sectors to maintain the city’s diverse economy.

8,420

6,260

CONTINUED FROM 1

4,110

3,280

been negatively impacted as much as some others that are more depen- dent on tourism, restaurants and bars and not as much as the higher-paying industries.” The city’s economic development department and the Chandler Cham- ber of Commerce have worked to attract companies from varied indus- tries to Chandler—especially paying attention to companies rooted in what the city has identied as key indus- tries. These include autonomous vehicle research and development, aviation and aerospace, business and nancial services, health care and bioscience, high-tech manufacturing and development, and information technology and software, according to the city. Rounds said that emphasis could help Chandler recover. “Chandler is one of the cities I am bullish about,” Rounds said. “Before this current situation, Arizona was a national leader in expansion and growth, and Chandler was leading the way in the state. If we manage this pandemic properly and we continue to invest in things that matter, I’m bullish on Chandler recovering. Chan- dler will continue to be one of the leaders in the state as we go forward in the next decade if the city keeps an intense focus on high-wage sector jobs.”

1,560

1,170 1,130

840

560

190

SOURCE: MARICOPA COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Chandler’s recovery Local experts are hopeful Chan- dler hitting its unemployment peak in April means the city will continue to see fewer unemployment claims as the weeks and months pass. “We’ve obviously experienced job- lessness and an increase in unemploy- ment,” said Micah Miranda, economic development director with the city of Chandler. But, Miranda said the city is “trending in the right direction.” Miranda said in Chandler he is see- ing higher reports of unemployment from people in the retail, hospitality, recreation and entertainment indus- tries. The city and Chandler Cham- ber of Commerce have both hosted job fairs to connect those out of work with employers hiring. Miranda said the unemployment rate across the city was “functionally zero” before the pandemic. “If you wanted to nd a job, regard- less of the type, there was opportu- nity for you,” Miranda said. “Now, our labor force still has opportunities for

employment. We just hosted a job fair to help those who are unemployed nd opportunities with 15 compa- nies who are hiring for more than 750 positions.” Before the Great Recession hit the nation between 2007 and 2009, Chan- dler saw an unemployment rate of 2.7%, according to data from the Ari- zona Commerce Authority. The city saw its unemployment rate climb at the end of 2008, hitting its highest point at 5.5% in December and con- tinuing to climb into 2009. The annual average unemployment rate in Chandler in 2009 was 7.1%, and the rate peaked in January 2010 at 8.2%. According to the Arizona Com- merce Authority, the unemployment rate began to return to near pre-reces- sion era in 2017 and 2018. Nationally, the industries hit hard- est by unemployment related to the COVID-19 pandemic were hospital- ity and retail—neither of which are among Chandler’s top employment industries, Miranda said.

According to data from the Mar- icopa Association of Governments, Chandler reported 12,810 jobs in retail in 2019 and 3,280 in hospitality, tour- ism and recreation. The city’s top industry in terms of number of jobs was high-tech manufacturing and development with 22,170 jobs in 2019, with business services just behind with 20,350 jobs. Miranda said high-tech manufac- turing is more concerted in Chandler than regionally or across the state. He said the economic development team focuses on this industry, among others, for business attraction and retention. “We have a well-rounded and diver- sied employment base, so if one area is suering there are others that can make up for it,” Miranda said. Looking to the future Rounds said he expects to see—both nationally and locally—things getting worse before they get better. “Any recovery is going to be

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now is weaken our strong economic foundation,” Rounds said. “Cities play a crucial role in that economic foun- dation that businesses rely on. It’s a state issue, but it’s more of a city issue than people think. People forget that cities have a major impact on what happens. Chandler’s is one of the best examples of a city focusing on the future.” Chandler City Council approved the city’s budget earlier this summer, which saw an overall 2.8% decrease from the previous scal year and rep- resented cost-saving measures the city took in the spring when it was clear the coronavirus would have an impact on the city. The city’s nal budget also included $29.98 million in state coronavirus relief aid. The aid will be spent on helping small businesses, struggling nonprof- its and improving technology infra- structure for the city, and a portion of the funding will be placed in the city’s reserve fund. Chandler Chamber of Commerce CEO Terri Kimble said Chandler’s diverse economy is the key to the city’s past success and future success. “A diversied economy is really important to point out because right now, because of our diverse economy,

we have companies that are hiring during the pandemic,” Kimble said. “And it’s not only high-tech jobs, but also those in entry-level factory and manufacturing jobs or call center jobs.” CVS Health announced June 23 it will take root in a new101,000-square- foot oce building in Chandler. The new location will employ about 500 workers, including health care advo- cates, caremanagement nurses, social workers, registered dietitians, behav- ioral health specialists and medical directors. Kimble said that is just one of many companies in Chandler hiring. She said companies from various indus- tries are looking for employees from all backgrounds and skill levels. “There is work out there for those people who want to work,” Kimble said. “There have been industries hit hard; I’mnot downplaying that by any means. Hospitality and retail were hit hard. … But there are some real pos- itives out there. We also have to take this day by day as we are returning to what we had before the coronavirus.”

UNEMPLOYMENT The city of Chandler has seen declining unemployment since the Great Recession. Economic Development Director Micah Miranda calls the rates prior to COVID-19 “functionally” zero unemployment, meaning that a person could likely get a job if they desired.

Number of people unemployed Unemployment rate

7.6%

8%

6.6%

6%

10,066

6%

5%

10,173

8,040

4%

4.1%

3.6%

6,987

4%

5,584

5,704

5,350

2%

0

2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020*

*Year to date average

SOURCE: ARIZONA COMMERCE AUTHORITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

gradual,” Rounds said. “We are going to see economic data get worse before it gets better. We had a lot of stimu- lus money propping up people and businesses. Going forward, we aren’t going to see as much of that. The posi- tive will give way to weaker numbers. In the rst half of 2021, we are likely to see much more improvement.”

This time has been challenging for local governments, Rounds said, but he thinks the next scal year will be strong. For a city like Chandler, Rounds said he hopes leaders con- tinue to invest to maintain quality infrastructure to retain what they have built. “The worst thing we can do right

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CHANDLER EDITION • AUGUST 2020

HELPING THE HELPERS Chandler City Council allocated a portion of its coronavirus relief funding to local nonprofits and community organizations to ease the burden placed on them due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

they were going to continue operations serving our most vulnerable populations. The most vulnerable are the last to get services; they have no safety nets.” But these organizations are volunteer-driven, Balch pointed out, and with orders from the governor’s office to stay home if one is more sus- ceptible to the virus—which includes people age 65 and older—the Chandler nonprof- its saw a 70% reduction in its volunteers. With that reduction in vol- unteers, and in some cases staff positions that the non- profits were no longer able to fund, the organizations are in tough positions. When the city asked for what they needed, nonprofit organiza- tions suggested funding for personal protective equip- ment, community outreach, food and clothing as well as homeless and housing help. Ann Marie McArthur, exec- utive director of About Care, said the nonprofit organi- zation that is dedicated to assisting homebound seniors with medical needs has seen a 30% increase in clients in Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek—clients for whom their only connection with the world outside their home may be About Care. Through spring and summer, About Care had a 40% increase in volunteers—something the executive director expects to change as young people head back to school. But McArthur worries she will lose some of those volun- teers when school resumes.

from their parents’ vehicles,” Baldinger said. “We need scrubs, masks, cleaning sup- plies, tons of hand sanitizer; we needed to hire a profes- sional cleaning company to sanitize everything before we opened back up. The cost was tremendous, but for us we never thought about the bud- get. We needed to be able to serve the community.” The East Valley Jewish Community Center is one of many nonprofits in Chandler that had to pivot quickly in March to recreate the way they deliver services to some of the city’s population with the highest needs. “Our parents didn’t pay tui- tion for a couple of months, and when we got funding from the city—that was amaz- ing for us,” Baldinger said. “That’s something we could only dream of. That helps us to have extra counselors, extra staff, extra supplies. It’s everything.” Recognizing the need Riann Balch, community resources manager at the city, said the city, nonprofits and faith-based organizations have a close working rela- tionship that became even closer during the pandemic as organizations reported increasedneed anddecreased resources. “Everything flipped on a switch, but Chandler is good for being creative and having everyone rally together and figure out how to get services to everyone,” Balch said. “The first thing for us was worrying about nonprofit staff and how

CONTINUED FROM 1

reduced funding and far fewer volunteers. However, the city of Chan- dler is stepping in to help by allocating additional funding to the city’s nonprofit and community service organiza- tions totaling some $1.65 mil- lion in addition to the funding the city grants the entities annually. “All of us are facing the same barriers,” said George Macedon, president and executive director of FANS Across America. “The lack of funding is important, and the lack of volunteers makes it difficult to be able to sustain and keep going forward and stay focused on helping fam- ilies most in need. The dollars we get go directly back into the community.” Hadassah Baldinger, the assistant executive direc- tor at the East Valley Jewish Community Center, said the nonprofit, which provides services to all residents regardless of faith, had to adapt to be able to provide a space and a safe haven for children like it does every summer. Now, the kids—some as young as a few months old— arrive at the community cen- ter in the morning to be cared for during the day, and their temperatures are taken by an employee donning a mask, gloves and scrubs to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “There were several chal- lenges, but the big challenge was that we needed more staff to bring the kids in

$1.65M total from the $29.98 million coronavirus relief funding went to nonprofits and community service organizations.

Community Support $550K • Identification and

Homeless and housing $661K • Community navigation services • Emergency shelter for homeless and domestic violence • Heat relief day center • Eviction prevention and rehousing • Transitional and employment services HEAT RELIEF DAY CENTER Riann Balch, community resources manager, said

solicitation of resources • Creation of partnerships • Constituent assistance • Facility improvements for constituents • Tenant retention • Landlord recruitment • Vulnerable, low-income population COVID-19 testing • Rental mitigation fund Senior and special populations $77K Food and basic needs $68K • Local food banks • Clothing banks • Diaper bank • Household essentials bank • Veterans transportation • Crisis, stabilization and medical services • Independent living support • Senior meals

the center, opened in August, was necessary to help those seeking shelter from the heat.

• Medical and dental clinic • Child care • Intersession and summer programs PPE and cleaning supplies $201K • PPE for staff and participants • Disinfecting of shelter and child care sites • Increase in cleaning supplies

Youth and after- school services $93.5K

SOURCE: CITY OF CHANDLER/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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