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Scottsdale Historically Supports Small Business & Entrepreneurs By Joan Fudala


or over 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has celebrated Small Business Week in May (this year, May 5 to May 11). Scottsdale, however, has celebrated and supported its small businesses continuously since the 1890s. As we take a moment to salute new and long-time entrepreneurs, Scottsdale is also bidding a fond farewell to one of its most treasured small businesses, Saba’s Department Stores. From SkySong, to downtown Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Airpark and the Pinnacle Peak and East Shea areas, Scottsdale thrives as a result of thousands of business owners and their entrepreneurial spirit. Consider these historic small business highlights: Although J.L. Davis was the first to open a free-standing small business here—the General Store on the southwest corner of what is now Brown Avenue and Main Street in 1897—the town’s founder/namesake Win-

Mahoney’s was one of several general stores in the “H-shaped” business district of 1920s Scottsdale. (Scottsdale Historical Society photo)

field Scott could be considered Scottsdale’s first entrepreneur. The Baptist minister and retired U.S. Army chaplain “re-careered” as a farmer, co-founded the area’s citrus industry (W.J. Murphy was the other citrus entrepreneur) and marketed the new town of Scottsdale as an ideal agricultural center. He ran ads in The Arizona Republican newspaper in the 1890s offering orange trees for sale, and penned articles for Arizona — the State Magazine highlighting the variety of food crops he had grown and sold on his property. Sarah Coldwell Thomas became the first female business owner in Scottsdale when she took over the General Store from her boss Davis, circa 1902. She set a pattern for countless women-owned and -operated businesses throughout Scottsdale—including pioneer businesses such as Graves Guest Ranch, the water company, Lottie Sidell’s cottages, Mildred Barthalow’s

Adobe House guest ranch, the Kiami Lodge (Muriel Oxenhandler) and many more. From the 1890s through World War II, Scottsdale’s primary small businesses were farms, ranches or agricultural-related

Most small businesses in early Scottsdale were farms, ranches or agricultural-related. (Scottsdale Historical Society photo)


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Scottsdale Airpark News - May 2019  

Scottsdale Airpark News - May 2019  

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