Adrienne’s Favorite – Posner’s
When I was an art student at the University of Arizona, Posner’s Art Store was my go-to spot for finding all the supplies I needed, whether I was drawing, painting, sculpting, or printmaking. They offer a huge range of products, and the friendly staff was always happy to help me mat and mount my work in time for critique. As I developed my skills and started to create a professional portfolio, they offered expertise to help make my work look polished, and helped frame my work for my first gallery shows.
This family-run business was founded in 1913 by Philip Solomon Posner and has now been operational for over 100 years. They moved from their Park Ave. location shortly after I graduated, but continue to support U of A students and serve the greater Tucson community from their new store on University Blvd. Posner’s exemplifies what people love about small businesses—stellar customer service, expert staff, and connection to the community.
Jessica’s Favorite – Baggin’s
We order a lot of Baggin’s Gourmet Sandwiches here at Pennington Creative. And I mean a LOT—like, almost an embarrassing amount. But I’m not really embarrassed, because I love Baggin’s! This eatery has been serving delicious foods since 1984 and now has 11 locations throughout Tucson, Oro Valley, and Marana. Whether you prefer sandwiches, salads, or soups, you’re sure to find something tasty at Baggin’s.
My personal favorites are the Chicken Rojo sandwich, which features almond chicken salad and cranberries on 12-grain bread, and the Chicken Caesar salad, an oldie-but-goodie served in a tasty bread bowl. And don’t forget the amazing chocolate chip cookies they include with every meal. That’s right, you don’t even have to order dessert—they’ll just include it for you! Though, they also have a number of other awesome desserts you’ll probably (definitely) want to try. No matter what part of town you’re in, consider stopping by a Baggin’s for lunch or a delicious midday treat. You can thank me later.
Justyn’s Favorite – Coffee Times
Every writer needs a go-to coffee destination, and Coffee Times Drive-Thru is mine. You’ll find Tucson’s most beloved drive-through espresso joint on Speedway, just a stone’s throw from The Loft Cinema. They’ve got all the usual coffee shop staples, but they’ve also got some quintessentially Tucson fare: smoothies, scones, wraps, and bagels with cream cheese or hummus. Drinks are made to order, and they never disappoint. I order an organic cold brew or an iced power coffee on days when I need a quick pick-me-up; for weekends, I usually go with one of their flavored frappes.
If you’re an early riser, Coffee Times is a dream come true—they open at 4:30 a.m. every morning except Sunday, when they push it back to 5:30 (hey, everybody needs to take it easy now and then). There are two drive-through windows and one walk-through window, so service is invariably quick. But the most remarkable thing about Coffee Times isn’t the food or the drinks—it’s that everybody who works there is always in a good mood. And that’s coming from someone who’s probably been there hundreds of times over the last decade. If you’ve always meant to try this place but haven’t gotten around to it, do yourself a favor and check it out.
Marissa’s Favorite – Eegee’s
If you ask a true Tucsonan where to get the best French fries in the city, you’ll hear about magically crispy crinkle cut fries and creamy ranch that’s sure to be the best you’ve ever had. And where can you acquire these salty treats? You’ll find them at my favorite small business in the Old Pueblo, Eegee’s. Of course, you cannot mention this beloved dining establishment without talking about the tasty confection for which the restaurant was named: The Eegee.
An Eegee is a frozen fruit treat reminiscent of an Italian ice, available in three standard flavors: Strawberry, Lemon, and Pina Colada, as well as a rotating flavor of the month. Every Tucson native has their favorite month, but for me, there’s no time like November when Cherry Cider makes its triumphant return. With a perfect balance of tart and sweet, Cherry Cider represents the quintessential fall treat, which I happily enjoy when I’m lucky enough to return to Tucson for a visit at the right time of year. Whenever I come to the city, Eegee’s is at the top of my list of places to eat, because I simply cannot miss out on a Turkey Grinder with a side of fries, extra ranch, and an iconic Styrofoam cup filled with my favorite frozen beverage.
Shannon’s Favorite – Rocks & Ropes
Gyms have always intimidated me—not knowing how to use each of the different machines, feeling bored once I was exercising, and a general feeling of awkwardness in the locker room. Rocks & Ropes is a different kind of gym—this rock climbing gym offers an introductory lesson to ensure every person there feels safe and confident while climbing. Since every climb is a mental and physical challenge, it’s never boring, and due to the calm, friendly atmosphere, a visit to Rocks & Ropes never makes you feel awkward or unwelcome.
I first started rock climbing here when I was in college. Over the years, I’ve been distracted by other sports and activities, but recently started visiting Rocks & Ropes’ downtown gym once again. Even several years later, Rocks & Ropes still feels welcoming and fun. There is always a new challenge to try with routes appropriate for all skill levels, and its downtown location is perfect for grabbing a post-workout beer. I can say with certainty that Rocks & Ropes is my favorite local small business.