Gilbert Edition - August 2020

GILBERT EDITION

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 12  AUG. 26SEPT. 22, 2020

ONLINE AT

SIGNS OF THE TIMES While business in Gilbert was riding high early in the year, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, it took a sudden turn. Unemployment in the town spiked, and the number of new business licenses and renewals dipped in April and May.

BUSINESS LICENSES

2018 2019 2020

100

80

67

60

IMPACTS

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GILBERT UNEMPLOYMENT

11.4%

54

51

40

8%

38

7%

31

26

4.4%

20

3.3% 3.1%

0

2020

February March April

May

June

July

SOURCES: ARIZONA COMMERCE AUTHORITY, TOWN OF GILBERTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Gilbert’s small businessesmaking their way toward recovery

TRANSPORTATION

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BY TOM BLODGETT

owners say they are changing their business models and expectations to adapt to the situation. “What I’m hearing is dierent with each passing week,” Gilbert Cham- ber of Commerce President Sarah Watts said. “Several weeks ago, the sentiment was more along the lines of confusion and a need for funding and resources. Then it transitioned

into a need for guidance and answers to questions about reopening. Now for the most part, there is a sense of acceptance of the need for safety pre- cautions and an understanding that each business is going to respond dif- ferently—and that’s OK.” Many have found outside support at all levels of government—federal,

Beyond its substantial health tolls, the coronavirus pandemic has also brought on an economic toll that has been devastating for many. Small businesses in Gilbert, as else- where, have struggled to stay aoat amid the virus’s turmoil. Each makes its own journey with dierent COVID- 19-related obstacles to overcome, but

TOWN& EDUCATION

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CONTINUED ON 10

Town addressing tracwith investments in technology

TRAFFIC TECHNOLOGY TALLIES

Here are some numbers to know to about roads and trac in Gilbert.

947 miles of roadway miles of major and minor arterial roads 132

212 trac signals

BY TOM BLODGETT

MUESLIIKON GREEN CAFÉ 8

Trac consistently rates among Gilbert residents’ top con- cerns, but town ocials said they are ready to make import- ant forays into intelligent trac systems to address it. The town recently received a $2.35 million grant from the Maricopa Association of Governments, which serves as a regional planning body, to implement advanced trac detection systems, which will work in conjunction with two other projects to read and react to trac. Town Manager Patrick Banger said once new equipment CONTINUED ON 13

63 intersections

getting advanced detection systems

Value of Maricopa Association of Governments intelligent trac systems grant $2.35M

$2.19M Federal funding in grant

$162K

Town of Gilbert contribution

SALERNO'S RESTAURANT & PIZZERIA

SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS IMPACTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

4

Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATION Local road projects TOWN& EDUCATION Gilbert and local school district news

MARKET TEAM EDITOR Tom Blodgett GRAPHIC DESIGNER Isabella Short ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Michelle Gavagan

6

FROMAMY: As someone who lives just o Val Vista Road, I am highly aware of the amount of work being done on that roadway to increase trac ow. Traditional expansion projects are not the only solutions the town of Gilbert is implementing to address heavy trac throughout the community. In addition to more pavement and lanes, technology is being utilized to improve the driving experience and safety in Gilbert. Check out our front-page story to learn more about this multipronged approach to trac and transportation. Amy Ellsworth, PUBLISHER

7

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

FROMTOM: When Gilbert received its sales tax reports in July—money collected in June from sales in May—it was able to breathe a sigh of relief that it had met its projected sales tax revenue for the scal year with one month to go. But the reports also underscored that residents were supporting local businesses in the tough times of the pandemic. Make no mistake, many are hurting. But most are nding a way through, as our front-page story explores. Tom Blodgett, EDITOR

BUSINESS FEATURE Muesliikon Green Café DINING FEATURE Salerno’s Restaurant & Pizzeria REAL ESTATE

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CORRECTION: Volume 2, Issue 11 The Chandler USD secondary property tax rate is anticipated to be $6.422 per $100 assessed valuation, and Higley USD’s rate is $7.0302 per $100 assessed valuation. The numbers were transposed in a report on Page 7. CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE All content in this print publication, both editorial and advertisements, was up-to-date as of the press deadline. Due to the fast-changing nature of this event, editorial and advertising information may have changed. Please visit communityimpact.com and advertiser websites for more information.

stay informed and keep businesses thriving. COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMPATRON CONTACT US 610 N. Gilbert Road, Ste. 205, Gilbert, AZ 85234 • 4804824880 PRESS RELEASES gilnews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions © 2020 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

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GILBERT EDITION • AUGUST 2020

IMPACTS

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

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Extra Innings

Twisted Sugar

E. WARNER RD.

COURTESY EXTRA INNINGS

TOM BLODGETTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

202

for hitting; pitching and elding; strength and conditioning; professional instruc- tion; and group and private training for strength, speed, agility and injury prevention. 480-687-0145. www.extrainnings.us 4 Gilbert Family Birth Center is ac- cepting appointments now but has not scheduled a full opening. The center at 875 N. Greeneld Road, Ste. 101, Gilbert, oers midwifery care and maternity care outside the hospital setting. 480-664- 7463. www.gilbertfamilybirthcenter.com 5 Royal Coee Bar & Roasting Co. opened Aug. 1 in SanTan Village at 2200 E. Williams Field Road, Ste. 104, Gilbert. It is an independent, family-owned coee and espresso shop with other locations in Phoenix’s Heritage Square, Biltmore Fashion Park and downtown Tempe. 480- 608-7014. http://royalcoeebar.com 6 Tread Connection opened its mobile tire and wheel service July 1 from 522 N. Gilbert Road, Ste. 106, Gilbert. It sells tires and oers other services from vans that come to customers’ homes. 480- 878-6100. https://treadconnection.com 7 Twisted Sugar cookie bakery opened a location June 23 at 884 W. Warner Road, Gilbert. The Utah-based company also sells mixed sodas, smoothies and energy drinks. 623-250-6144. www.heytwistedsugar.com COMING SOON 8 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 rst two in Arizona for the Connecticut-based furniture retailer. 860-812-1111. www.mybobs.com 9 F45 Training Station will open a location at 2810 S. Market St., Ste. 101, Gilbert, in the SanTan Village Market- place soon after gyms are allowed to be open in the state. It is selling member- ships now during its preopening. The tness training studio combines elements of high-intensity interval training, circuit training and functional training. 480-666-5508. https://f45training.com/ santanvillage/home 10 Fry’s Food Stores anticipates opening a Fry’s Marketplace on Sept. 2 at 1455 N. Higley Road, Gilbert. Beyond the usual selection of groceries found at Fry’s, the marketplace store will have a Starbucks and Chompie’s Bagels, a pharmacy, a housewares department, an apparel department, a wine department, a cheese shop, a sushi station as well as a fuel center in the parking lot. 480-428-7180. www.frysfood.com I Heart Mac & Cheese announced Aug. 11 it will open three franchise loca- tions in Arizona, including one in Gilbert. It anticipates opening in spring 2021 at a site to be selected. The fast-casual restaurant specializes in build-your-own macaroni and cheese bowls and grilled cheese sandwiches. www.iheartmacandcheese.com 11 Lush anticipates opening in SanTan Village at 2218 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert, in September. The store oers homemade cosmetics, including bath, shower, hair, and body products and fragrances. www.lushusa.com

W. RAY RD.

E. WILLIAMS FIELD RD.

E. CHANDLER BLVD.

87

E. PECOS RD.

GILBERT

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202

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S. SANTAN VILLAGE PKWY.

202

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S. MARKET ST.

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MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

HUNT HWY.

NOWOPEN 1 Ally Pediatric Therapy opened a prac- tice June 15 at 1519 S. Higley Road, Bldg. 5, Gilbert. Its services include applied behavior analysis as well as speech-lan- guage and feeding therapy to address those symptoms that are common in children with autism and other childhood disorders. These symptoms include chal- lenging behaviors, diculties socializing and communicating, challenges with school and challenges with general life E. HUNT HWY.

skills. 480-297-0894. https://allypediatric.com 2 Desert Hand & Physical Therapy opened a clinic Aug. 10 at 1489 S. Higley Road, Bldg. 1, Ste. 103, Gilbert. The practice, rst founded in 1997, provides outpatient hand and physical therapy ser- vices throughout Phoenix. 480-750-1974. www.deserthandandpt.com 3 Extra Innings opened a franchise Aug. 1 at 2440 E. Germann Road, Chan- dler. The baseball and softball training facility features nine multi-use tunnels

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY TOM BLODGETT

12

15

Tacos Tijuana Taqueria

Flancer's

TOM BLODGETTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

CHANDLER FRANCECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

ANNIVERSARIES 15 Flancer’s had its 20th anniversary in April at 610 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert, but with the pandemic has been celebrating the occasion during the summer. The restaurant serves, pizza, burgers and sandwiches on homemade bread in a de- cor featuring album covers on the walls. 480-926-9077. https://ancers.com CLOSINGS 16 Johnny Rockets has closed its location at 2270 E. Williams Field Road, Ste. 101, Gilbert, in the SanTan Village shopping center. The 1950s retro-style diner oered burgers, shakes and fries. www.johnnyrockets.com

12 Tacos Tijuana Taqueria anticipates opening a location at 51 S. McQueen Road, Gilbert, in late August. The restau- rant serves street tacos on homemade tortillas. https://tacostijuanaaz.com RELOCATIONS 13 Barros Pizza moved its location at 1431 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert, to 2571 S. Market St., Gilbert, in the SanTan Village Marketplace on May 11. The fami- ly-owned pizza restaurant has more than 40 locations in the Valley. 480-917-0111. https://barrospizza.com 14 PurePak Technology Corp. moved from Chandler to 75 W. Baseline Road, Ste. 44, Gilbert, in late May. The compa- ny designs, manufactures and distributes plastic containers. 480-926-0022. https://purepaktechnology.com

Copper Springs East has a sister behavioral health services facility in Avondale.

TOM BLODGETTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN Copper Springs East anticipated opening Aug. 24 at 3755 S. Rome St., Gilbert. The behavioral health practice treats depression, anxiety, post- traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, drug addiction and alcohol addiction. It has inpatient, outpatient and online programs as well as specialized programs for veterans and seniors. Electroconvulsive therapy is available if

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needed. 480-667-5500. https://coppersprings.com/locations/ gilbert-az/

ARIZONA

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GILBERT EDITION • AUGUST 2020

60

E. BASELINE RD. TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY TOM BLODGETT

E. GUADALUPE RD.

ONGOING PROJECTS 1 Recker and Warner roads—reclaimed water control valve vault Gilbert is constructing a reclaimed water vault at the inter- section of Recker and Warner roads. This enhances safety and service to the public by eliminating the need for field operations staff to stop traffic to operate valves located in the roadway intersection several times a week. Status: Construction will start after Labor Day. Traffic will be one-way in each direction with reduced speeds. Timeline: September 2020-January 2021 Cost: $403,000 Funding source: town wastewater funds 2 Lindsay Road widening—Pecos Road to Loop 202; Lindsay/Loop 202 interchange construction Lindsay Road will be improved from Pecos Road, including the intersection, to the Loop 202 underpass to major arte- rial standards. The improvements include additional lanes, a raised median, sidewalks and streetlights. An interchange at Lindsay and Loop 202 will be built to provide access to State Route 202 and a frontage road system on the north side of State Route 202 between Lindsay and Gilbert roads. Status: Work on widening Lindsay is substantially completed. Construction of the interchange is being advertised for bid with construction anticipated to start in October or November. Timeline: May 2019-November 2021 Cost: $30.72 million Funding sources: town of Gilbert bonds and funds, regional funds, developer contributions

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF AUG. 17. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT GILNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. Status: The closure of Val Vista between Appleby and Chandler Heights roads has been extended through Sept. 20. There is no access to or through the Val Vista and Ocotillo Road intersection. Detour signs are in place to direct travelers. Timeline: March 2020-July 2021 Cost: $25.96 million Funding sources: bonds, town funds and Maricopa Asso- ciation of Governments funds 3 Recker Road—Ray Road to Loop 202 improvements The town will complete Recker Road improvements to minor arterial road standards, including four lanes, a raised median, landscaping, bike lanes, sidewalks and streetlights. The project includes the relocation of power lines and a raised, landscaped median from Ray Road to Loop 202-SanTan Freeway. Status: Construction is approximately 30% complete. Work is being done in the southbound lanes of Recker. Traffic is shifted to one lane in each direction on the east side of the street. Timeline: January 2020-February 2021 Cost: $3.03 million Funding sources: town of Gilbert bonds, funds; develop- er contributions 4 Val Vista Drive widening The town is widening Val Vista Drive from Appleby Road—about where Val Vista narrows to one lane in each direction—to Riggs Road.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TOWN&EDUCATION

COMPILED BY TOM BLODGETT

News from Gilbert, Gilbert Public Schools, Higley USD & Chandler USD

GILBERTPUBLICSCHOOLS The governing board approved a contract with Dignity Health on June 28 to provide athletic trainer services for district schools. The contract will cost the district $530,000 over ve years. SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS HIGLEYUSD The governing board approved on a 4-1 vote July 29 a policy change for expense authorization and reimbursement. The change modies the district’s travel policy to allow sta to be reimbursed in accordance with state-authorized per diem amounts rather than requiring sta to submit a meal receipt to be reimbursed. Vice President Kristina Reese dissented. CHANDLERUSD The district distributed devices to students for remote learning Aug. 1. The devices went to those families who indicated to the district their student would need to borrow a device from the district to complete online coursework. Gilbert Town Council Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m. 50 E. Civic Center Drive, Gilbert 480-503-6871 • www.gilbertaz.gov Gilbert Public Schools Board Sept. 1, 6 p.m. Sept. 22, 6 p.m. 140 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert 480-497-3300 www.gilbertschools.net Higley USD Board Aug. 26, 5 p.m. Sept. 9, 5 p.m. Sept. 23, 5 p.m. 2935 S. Recker Road, Gilbert 480-279-7000 • www.husd.org Chandler USD Board Aug. 26, 7 p.m. Sept. 9, 7 p.m. Sept. 23, 7 p.m. 1525 W. Frye Road, Chandler 480-812-7000 • www.cusd80.com Follow us on Twitter: @impactnews_gil MEETINGSWE COVER

JennDaniels says timingwas right to leavemayoral post

GILBERT Jenn Daniels announced her resignation as mayor at the con- clusion of the Aug. 11 town council meeting, later saying it was simply time to leave the post. “I am a woman of faith, and I just know that when you feel called to do something that you do it,” Daniels said Aug. 12. “That’s how I ended up as mayor, and that’s how I ended up leaving the position as well.” The announcement surprised at

least some council members, and Daniels admitted “there wasn’t a big behind-the-scenes, that’s for sure.” Daniels said it has been on her mind for a while, but the timing was right now. Daniels was elected to council in 2009. She became mayor in 2016 when council appointed her upon the resignation of John Lewis. A month later, she won the post by election. She announced in February she

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels announces her resignation as mayor at the Aug. 11 council meeting.

would not seek re-election. Town code requires the council to ll the vacancy by appointment for the remainder of Daniels’ term. The council can only consider residents of at least one year who are registered voters in town.

Brigette Peterson, Matt Nielsen head to runo formayoral spot GILBERT Former Gilbert Town Council Member

seat, lling the remainder of Eddie Cook’s term after he was appointed county assessor, had Laurin Hen- drix, a Maricopa County Community College board member, edging incumbent Bill Spence. In his bid to retain the assessor’s seat, Cook (52.1%) beat Rodney Glassman (47.5%) for the Republican nomination. Another former council member, Jordan Ray, won a four-person race for Justice of the Peace of the Highland Justice Court. Proposition 430, the town’s general plan, which is Gilbert’s 10-year manage- ment blueprint, achieved overwhelming support.

TOWN ELECTION RESULTS Here are the ocial election results in the town’s nonpartisan election.

Advancing to runo Won

R

Brigette Peterson and polit- ical newcomer Matt Nielsen are headed to a runo after the town’s Aug. 4 mayoral election. A candidate needed 50% plus one vote to avoid a Nov. 3 runo in the mayor’s elec- tion. The rst two nishers in the August election appear in the runo. In the four-year council term race, because two seats were available, candidates needed to clear 25%. Former Gilbert Chamber of Commerce President Kathy Tilque and Vice Mayor Scott Anderson stayed ahead of that pace. The race for the two-year

CANDIDATE MAYOR Matt Nielsen

VOTES

PERCENTAGE

18,757 18,591 16,579

34.7% 34.4%

R

Brigette Peterson Lynne King Smith

R

30.67%

4YEARCOUNCIL TERM TWO SEATS Scott Anderson 25,934

28.74% 28.68% 22.49% 19.91%

Kathy Tilque Tyler Hudgins Bus Obayomi

25,875 20,289 17,968

2YEAR COUNCIL TERM Laurin Hendrix

26,027 24,634

51.2%

Bill Spence

48.46%

PROP 430GILBERT GENERAL PLAN Yes 40,393

80.29% 19.71%

No

9,914

SOURCE: MARICOPA COUNTY ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Districts look at their options for reopening in-person instruction GILBERTPUBLIC SCHOOLS The district will resume in-person instruc- tion one week after the state clears the health metrics set by the Arizona Department of Health Services, the district’s governing board decided at its July 28 meeting.

HIGLEY USD The district will elevate its No. 2 administrator to superintendent upon Mike Thomason’s retirement in the spring. Dawn Foley, Higley USD’s educational services associate superintendent, received the appoint- Dawn Foley set tobecome next HUSDdistrict superintendent

HIGLEYUSD The governing board voted 3-2 in a special Aug. 8 meeting not to return in person until Oct. 12 “or ear- lier” if the county or local area reaches state benchmarks for a safe return to campuses. Board Member Jill Wilson and Vice President Kristina Reese voted in dissent. CHANDLERUSD The governing board voted unanimously Aug. 5 to continue with remote learning through the rst quarter of the school year. The board will evaluate again in September.

Dawn Foley

ment at a special governing board meeting July 21. A contract amend- ment for the current year and a two-year contract as superintendent starting July 1, 2021, were approved on 4-1 votes with Board Member Scott Glover dissenting. Thomason will retire at an unset date in spring.

7

GILBERT EDITION • AUGUST 2020

BUSINESS FEATURE

BY TOM BLODGETT

Muesliikon is Lelia Adams Essien’s brand name for her own mix of muesli.

The cafe uses muesli and natural ingredients without added sugar in its smoothies so that the blend is more healthful. (Photos by Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Adams Essien often compares muesli to granola with less sugar.

Smoothies, with muesli in the blend, are the draw to the cafe side of the business.

MuesliikonGreen Café 81 S. McQueen Road, Ste. 105, Gilbert 480-304-5558 www.smoothiecafeaz.com Hours: Tue., Thu.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; closed Sun.-Mon., Wed. WHAT ISMUESLI? Invented in Switzerland, muesli is a mix of oats and seeds, and owner Lelia Adams Essien sells it with nuts in the mix or without. It is a complex carbohydrate, high in ber with no cholesterol. It can be eaten hot or cold, as a snack or mixed in with smoothies or yogurt.

MuesliikonGreen Café Weight-loss discovery in Europe leads owner to a healthy side business L elia Adams Essien never had business ambitions as a stu- dent. Rather, she took a path mixture while a student at England’s Oxford University.

Muesliikon, took it to trade shows with good response and eventually got it into local upscale grocery chain AJ’s Fine Foods. Two years ago, she opened Muesliikon Green Café as a place to sell her muesli and smoothies. “The smoothies without muesli [in them] are not the same,” she said. “It’s just not.” The dierence has brought loyal customers who travel from Phoenix to get her smoothies. She added a few lunch items with muesli to satisfy the local business crowd, though many of them are working from home now. “The diehard fans—thank God for them, bless them all—they still come in,” she said.

“One of the things we ate every day was muesli,” she said. “It was just something that was oered every day. I used to be a little bit on the heavy side. I noticed I had lost weight, so I was like, ‘you know, whatever it is I was eating there. I want to keep eating it.’” However, Adams Essien found it hard to nd in the U.S., and what she found did not taste as good to her. “If you nd something that you like and you enjoy eating and you stick to it and it’s healthy, then the chance of losing weight is easier,” she said. Adams Essien came up with her own recipe, branded it as

toward the law and helping others like her, an immigrant from Nigeria but raised in Connecticut. While she never wavered from that path—Adams Essien practices immigration law in Phoenix—she discovered a health food along the way that turned into a side career. That food would be muesli, some- thing like granola with less sugar. Adams Essien would make batches of muesli on weekends. When she tried to stop doing that, a friend would call asking for some. “So every time I ran away, it just dragged me back in,” she said. Adams Essien discovered the

W. ELLIOT DR.

W. PALO VERDE ST.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DINING FEATURE

MORE THAN PIZZA Salerno’s menu includes pasta, seafood, veal and other specialties. Here are three of the more popular non-pizza items:

Chicken parmigiana ($16.95)

Baked mostaccioli ($14.25)

Ross Salerno brought his family’s pizza restaurants to Gilbert in 2004. (Photos by Amy Ellsworth/Community Impact Newspaper)

Salerno’s Restaurant &Pizzeria Family counts on building neighborhood connections for success R oss Salerno is far from home, but his busi- ness remains right in the neighborhood. Salerno is part of a Chicago tribe of piz- coronavirus pandemic. “Being home, being family in the neighborhood and homemade food is what’s made a dierence,” he said. “A family member is always here to work.” The food has the distinct family mark on it, too. Salerno, 58, said he started making pizza at age 8 and got in the family business at 18. BY TOM BLODGETT

Ravioli ($14.50)

za-making brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews who operate about 10 pizza restaurants carrying the family name in Chicagoland—and one in Gilbert. “Fifty years in business in Chicago—there’s still places family-owned,” he said. “We’re not there, but my cousins and uncles are still in business there.” The one in Gilbert would be Salerno’s restaurant. Salerno said he, like many Chicago expatriates, had vacationed in Arizona and was tired of the cold and snow. So he moved here 16 years ago and opened his own Salerno’s Restaurant & Pizzeria that he operates with his son. Salerno’s is not just family-operated; it also seeks to be a neighborhood restaurant. Salerno said getting involved with nearby Highland High School and having local police and re department mem- bers know the restaurant are important elements to its success—especially in tough times like the

The recipes for each of the Salerno’s are carried down from family. The dishes are nearly all made from scratch on-site as well as the sausage, Salerno said. The pizza—not pan, but available as thick or thin crust—is piled high with cheese and toppings. “I can’t skimp on stu just to make a couple extra dollars, you know?” Salerno said. “You have got to give the people quality.” Salerno said he has kept the restaurant’s dining room closed during the pandemic and concentrated on carryout and delivery, a strategy also employed during the Great Recession. “People said I was stupid, but I’m still here—and other people are closed,” Salerno said. “Eight years later, I’m still here. I’ll be here.”

Salerno’s Restaurant &Pizzeria 3921 E. Guadalupe Road, Gilbert 480-892-0040 http://salernosaz.com Hours: Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.- 9:30 p.m., Sun. noon-8 p.m., closed Mon.

E. GUADALUPE RD.

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GILBERT EDITION • AUGUST 2020

The Arizona Commerce Authority measures monthly employment in dierent industry sectors at various geographic levels. Although the numbers are not available at the town level, they are for the Phoenix-Mesa- Scottsdale metropolitan area. Here is a snapshot of how non-governmental sectors have fared during the pandemic.

SMALL-BUSINESS SECTORS

been open under the pandemic’s con- ditions, Rowe said. The owners hope they are better positioned once the pandemic eases. He said feedback on the food has been good, but the pandemic and Ducey’s orders limiting capacity has put a squeeze on revenues. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to make it through the rest of this thing,” Rowe said. “If it does last too long, not many of us are ever going to make it.” Help for small business Small businesses have not been left to fend for themselves. Aid has been available at all levels of govern- ment, much of it stemming from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act from the fed- eral government. For example, Gilbert had 445 businesses receive at least $150,000 from the CARES Act’s Pay- check Protection Program. Closer to home, Gilbert has been directing town businesses to the $23 million Maricopa County Cares pro- gram for small business and nonprot organization support funding. The town also is set to launch a $150,000 pilot program to partner with agencies for business technical assistance and jobs training for middle and low-income workers aected by the pandemic. The money could go to several rms. “We’re not looking for one-size-ts- all, but rather an array of services to be able to provide coaching, mento- ring, and technical assistance for our business community through this program,” Gilbert Economic Develop- ment Director Dan Henderson said. “This comes directly from our sur- veying of businesses, pre-COVID and during COVID, that this resource is necessary for them to recover.” The funds came to the town through its annual allotment for Community Development Block Grants from U.S.

June 2020 February 2020

300K

Accommodations and food services lost the most jobs at 29,100 , half of the county’s 58,200 losses in these sectors. Arts, entertainment and recreation had the largest loss by percentage at 38.14%.

250K

200K

150K

100K

50K

0

SOURCE: ARIZONA COMMERCE AUTHORITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Snobs, puts on tequila tastings for groups, but an executive order from Gov. Doug Ducey in March ground such group events to a stop. Those restrictions on group gatherings lasted past Cinco de Mayo. “It’s kind of like telling Santa Claus that he has to stay home between October and January,” she said. That got Lennox to thinking about what else she could do. She hit on the idea of hand delivering a bag with 10 cups of dierent tequila brands to each participant in local tasting par- ties. She would then host the tastings through Zoom. “People have great fun,” she said. “They communicate with me after and say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great. I want to do it again. I want to invite this other person.’” The parties are more expensive and more work than what she was doing in

person, but Lennox said it is helping her get through this time. Down in the Heritage District, the pandemic gave cover for the owners of The Brass Tap bar to rebrand as Da’Bayou Creole Kitchen, breaking away from the area’s crowded bar scene and oering a restaurant with a rarer cuisine to the area. Distinguishing themselves in such an area had been a challenge, co-owner Jesse Rowe said. “When this COVID-19 pandemic hit, this obviously shut down real quick,” he said. “We still had rent to pay. We still have a lot of things we had to do, and we worked with our land- lord to take the opportunity for this extremely slow time to go ahead and move forward [on rebranding].” The place was closed June 15-July 20, but the losses suered were not substantially more than if they had

CONTINUED FROM 1

state, county and town. What is uncertain for each of them, owners said, is what comes next. No one knows when the pandemic will subside or how their businesses will look on the other side. Adapting topandemic environment Unemployment in Gilbert in March, when the rst actions against the pandemic took place, climbed, then spiked in April, rebounded in May but climbed again in June, standing at 8%. Hardest hit in the Phoenix metropoli- tan area was the accommodations and food services sector with more than 29,000 fewer jobs in June than Feb- ruary as pandemic restrictions hin- dered travel, restaurants and group gatherings. Luann Lennox’s business, Tequila

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

RAYHONS FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS The company collaborated with SAVVI Financial to provide a COVID-19 Relief Planning Assistant. This assistant is a targeted experience for those nancially aected by the pandemic who need a short- term plan. ARIZONA WILDERNESS BREWING CO. It began providing delivery of its

THE MODERN BETTY Known for its cookies, the bakery began printing 3-D PLA masks that have been distributed across the Valley and also sold on request to customers. ARIZONA GOAT YOGA The business began oering virtual goat yoga, virtual tours, virtual eld trips for students, goat grams and Zoom calls.

GILBERT FARMERS MARKET The market implemented safety precautions for physical distancing, providing order-ahead services to get shoppers in and out more quickly, and moved vendor tents further away. SPACE BY ROCKET A business meeting space provider, it began training and supporting groups for Zoom calls.

beverages and later expanded delivery services to include Tucson and Flagsta on certain days. MADE WITH LOVE MARKET The market launched an online store for customers to still shop the market’s vendors. FUNKFIT It shifted to virtual workout classes and lent out its equipment to members.

STAYING AFLOAT The coronavirus pandemic has created a dicult environment for businesses. Here are the ways some businesses have navigated this period, including how some have helped other businesses.

Crystal and Brian Huggins, owners of The Modern Betty bakery, display their 3-D PLA masks. (Courtesy The Modern Betty)

SOURCES: TOWN OF GILBERT, RAYHONS FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS, MADE WITH LOVE MARKET, ARIZONA WILDERNESS BREWING CO., THE MODERN BETTY, ARIZONA GOAT YOGA, FUNKFIT, GILBERT FARMERS MARKET, ROCKETMEDIACOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Housing and Urban Development, which allocated additional money and loosened restrictions on its use for public services this year in light of COVID-19. “The focus is to try to see how can we best help [workers] transition or nd something new or how can we provide that assistance to either them or a business that had to gather, recruit and train them,” Community Resources Supervisor Melanie Dykstra said. The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce also jumped in with regular email, social media groups and webinars to get information to businesses about available resources. To Watts, it t with the organization’s mission.

free rent because she wanted to see him have a stronger opening than just oering takeout. RocketMedia, which normally focuses on digital marketing strategies for heating, cooling, plumbing, elec- trical and solar companies, assisted other companies with grant infor- mation and oering free consulting services to companies without a long- term marketing plan, CEO Ben Kalk- man said. Kalkman said he advises companies to start thinking about what to do after the pandemic is over and how to move from reactive to proactive strategies. “We focus a lot on that rather than survival of the ttest,” Kalkman said,

“For us, it’s about rapid evolution and continued service,” she said. “We are a membership-based organiza- tion, and our mission and priorities are driven by the needs of our mem- ber businesses. As an organization, it is our role to listen and adapt to these needs.” An uncertain future While no one can say when the pan- demic will subside, some businesses have taken a leap of faith by opening during the pandemic. Paul Figliomeni delayed opening his Surf City Sandwich artisan sandwich shop on Power Road from about April 20 until June 1. He got help from his landlord, who gave him two months’

“because once you’re in it, it’s kind of hard to undo what’s been done.” Kalkman has been encouraged by what he sees in the market. “It’s been really cool to see so many businesses not go out of business,” he said. “And I think it’s because how they have adapted.”

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GILBERT EDITION • AUGUST 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

LOADS ROAD

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CONTINUED FROM 1

W. BASELINE RD.

from the projects is installed over the next year, residents could soon see improvements in ow as they make their commutes in town. The projects are part of the town’s City of the Future initiative to avert problems with aging infrastructure as the town approaches build-out in about 2030. An intersection study for the town in 2018 showed trac grow- ing 1%-1.5% annually through 2040. “You get to a point where you can’t put more pavement down; you can’t add more lanes,” Public Works Director Jessica Marlow said. “The technology comes in to make the infrastructure that we do have more ecient.” The town is investing in technol- ogy because build-out is looming and trac is growing, ocials said. The National Citizen Survey revealed Gil- bert residents felt less positively about trac ow, falling from 71% in 2017 to 63% in 2019. “Trac congestion and trac issues are the single biggest issue where peo- ple want to see some sizeable invest- ments by the town,” Banger said. “People want to live here, and now they want to work here and eat here. And our transportation systems are Over the past two years, Gilbert has worked to dene City of the Future, which town ocials said aims to break the typical life cycle of a city to main- tain prosperity as the population and infrastructure age. Maintaining safe roads and transportation is a tenet of a focus area on having an exceptionally built environment. The town had 23 mile-long segments that had 30,000 or more vehicles trans- versing them on weekdays in 2019, up from 15 segments in 2014. “Trac congestion, it’s a quali- ty-of-life issue,” Banger said. “There’s a time value of money to it. It’s wasted time sitting at trac signals. ... There’s air pollution concerns with engines running longer than they need to.” To Banger, the three projects are rst stakes in the ground for City of the Future’s transportation components. He said the technology, along with the growth in autonomous vehicles, could one day bring about “frictionless travel” perhaps without trac signals. Threependingprojects shouldering that burden.” ACityof theFuture tenet With that overarching goal in mind, the push to improve trac ow comes in the three interconnected projects to

4

E. GUADALUPE RD.

Gilbert keeps track of weekday trac along mile-long segments of its arterial roads. Here is a breakdown of how heavy the trac is as judged by those counts from 2019.

LIOT

1

W. WARNER RD.

WARN

2

16,000-19,999 15,999 or less

30,000+ 25,000-29,999 20,000-24,999

202

AY

BUSIESTSTRETCHES

E. WILLIAMS FIELD RD.

IELD

FIE

3

Legend Streets Classification Here are the two busiest mile segments of trac in each direction throughout Gilbert, according to town counts. The numbers displayed represent the average volume of vehicles on weekdays in 2019 and the dierence from the totals in 2014. NORTHSOUTHBOUND

E. PECOS RD.

P

202

Ramp EASTWESTBOUND 3 Pecos Road from Greeneld to Higley roads: 34,926, up 4.19% Town Boundary Railroad Traffic Count from 33,523 in 2014 4 Guadalupe Road from Arizona Avenue to McQueen Road: 32,663, up 63.88% from 19,931 in 2014

E. GERMANN RD.

GERM

1 Val Vista Drive from Elliot to Warner roads: 37,847, down 4.56% from 39,657 in 2014 2 Higley Road from Warner Road to Loop 202: 37,806, up 44.31% from 26,198 in 2014

E. QUEEN CREEK RD.

E. OCOTILLO RD.

SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

E. CHANDLER HEIGHTS BLVD.

be put in place in the coming months. The $2.35 million advanced detec- tion systems project will be put in place at intersections where the systems could reduce crashes with injury or improve operations, according to town documents. The systems are an improvement from the trac cameras found at many intersections, which can read trac to know if, for example, a left-turn arrow is needed on a light change. The new systems give ner data in real time, such as lane-by-lane data at an inter- section or vehicle tracking that starts farther back from the intersection, potentially extending a green light, intelligent trac systems engineer Mike Sutton said. The second project—actually a series of projects over the next few years— involves ber-optic infrastructure installation and replacement along arterial roads in town. Some of it will be privately owned and operated but will expand the town’s ber network at no cost to the town. The rst 3 miles should be completed by summer 2021. The ber network has benets to the town beyond trac, but in the context of trac technology, it is the communi- cations piece, Marlow said. It will relay data from cameras and

pilot programs outside town. “The [adaptive] signal in essence makes its own decisions, but the ber will allow us to keep tabs on it and see what it’s doing,” trac engineer Aaron Pinkerton said. “Signals that have gone in test locations so far have not proved sucient to give us comfort to say, ‘here you go, signal, make your decisions.’” Gilbert benets The town uses some technology in trac control, starting with trac cameras at intersections. It also can get trac counts from cellphone devices that are connected to Wi-Fi or Blue- tooth as motorists pass an intersection, Town Engineer David Fabiano said. Those things have helped the town as it has made decisions on signal tim- ing or where road construction is nec- essary. The coming technology will build on that, Marlow said. Marlow said safety is always the priority in making mobility decisions. adaptations back to trac signals in real time, she said. Smart signal controls are the third project, coming at a cost of $5.66 million. But the installation timeline is uncertain as the town waits to see how they work in

E. RIGGS RD.

N

HUNT HWY.

She used the example of signal-light extension to avoid red-light running as a point where safety is improved. “[The driver] may be too far out to make it through before the light turns red, but we know they’re probably going to try to run through it anyways,” she said. “They extended the green, so that they don’t end up in that yellow trap.” Fabiano cautions it may take some time for Gilbert drivers to see the bene- ts, but they are coming. “Some things have been in place for a while,” he said. “Some of the more, I’m going to say Buck Rogers-sound- ing ones are things we’re now working to deploy hardware. And then once hardware is deployed, you have to start [calibrating] it ... so that you can make them more eective at taking care of trac.”

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

13

GILBERT EDITION • AUGUST 2020

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