Community of Sahuarita, Arizona
Eller College of Management
University of Arizona
Background & Introduction
The Town of Sahuarita commissioned the Economic and Business Research Center (EBR) of
College, University of Arizona to carry out two workforce studies, which were completed in
2008. Maile Nadelhoffer was the principal investigator. These studies found that overall the
is much more highly educated and younger
than Pima County as a
many workers commute to the southern Tucson area to work for the tech and
aerospace firms there,
there is likely a significant number of home
among the workforce.
The Town of Sahuarita’s Economic Dev
elopment Director, Kathy Ward, wanted to look at “grow
your own” economic development strategies
such as economic gardening
that would work in
to help grow the business base and strengthen the local economy
Maile and the EBR to h
elp guide her in this effort.
Kathy obtained funding from
McMoRan Copper and Gold
’s Green Valley /
Sahuarita Community Investment Fund
to support this planning effort
and secured the
services of C
ng Local Economies, Inc. and
he RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
to assist them. Christine and Don’s
conduct an assessment
review resources in the region,
characteristics of the economy and economic
development opportunities in the Town of
might pursue to deve
lop their locally
based entrepreneurship efforts.
Don and Christine conducted a site visit to the Town of Sahuarita and its environs
Tucson, in early April 2012
, to carry out their assessment review.
This draft assessment report
presents their preliminary findings. A second site
will take place in May
the findings to key stakeholders and local entrepreneur
s, and to gather additional information
that will be incorporated into the final assessment report in early June.
Roadmap to the Opportunity Assessment Report
This report represents our preliminary
for the community of
Our analysis and this report will be
refined throughout the assessment process. We
recommend that it not be distributed widely until it is
The draft of the assessment report
is based on
three key r
esearch activities: (1) secondary data
analysis; (2) the site visit conducted on April 2
and the associated interviews; and (3)
selected remote interviews of key stakeholders.
This draft of our assessment report is organized into
Sahuarita’s Development Preferences
Macro Development Environment
Relevant Development Resources
The Role of Market Intelligence Services
Preliminary Insights and Considerations
Midland Crowd Demographic Profile
Associated with this Project our
team has prepared a web site
accessible Electronic Library that
contains all the research and
analysis we have collected and
employed in our assessment of
Sahuarita’s Development Preferences
Based on our research
and analysis to date, we have inventoried the following
for the Community of Sahuarita. This
summary of preferences is
should be verified through the larger research project and by more stakeholders in the
community than those we interviewed as part of our site visit on April 2
More than a
The communi ty has experi ence
l osi ve growth i n recent decades,
pri mari l y driven by pl anned resi denti al communi ty devel opment.
Sahuari ta i s a desi rable communi ty for worki ng fami l i es
l ocati on rel ati ve to technol ogy i ndustry empl oyers i n south Tucson, the
cost and qual i ty
of housi ng, strong school s and a favorable envi ronment
for fami l i es. Sahuarita has evol ved i nto a suburban bedroom communi ty
wi thi n the Tucson footpri nt.
From our interviews it is clear that the
community wishes to have a domestic economy and be more th
Key to growi ng a domesti c economy, the communi ty needs to evol ve
pri mary empl oyers (those who sel l outsi de of the communi ty and bri ng
external i ncome i nto the communi ty).
A key devel opment focus i s
a pri mary economy wi th basi c sector empl oyment.
Research provi ded to us by the Uni versi ty of Ari zona suggests that up to
63% of worki ng resi dents i n the communi ty commute outsi de of the
communi ty for empl oyment. Thi s same survey research i ndi cates a strong
desi re on the part of some of these
to rel ocate work wi thi n
the communi ty i f sui tabl e jobs and careers were avai l able.
The thi rd
devel opment preference i s i ncreasing suitable l ocal empl oyment for those
resi dents now commuti ng outsi de of the communi ty for work.
Sahuari ta and Green Val l ey to the south ha
si gni ficant trade l eakages.
Sal es taxes are a pri mary source of revenue for the Ci ty of Sahuari ta and
i ncreasi ng trade capture woul d not onl y create more l ocal empl oyment
and busi ness opportuni ti es, but strengt
hen the Ci ty’s tax base.
devel opment objecti ve i s to i ncrease trade spendi ng capture and i ncrease
muni ci pal sales tax revenues.
Develop the Emerging
Micro Tech Cluster
A number of i nteresti ng factors have merged to create a potenti al mi cro
technol ogy cl uster i n the Sahuari ta area. Thi s cl uster i f further devel oped
coul d serve as an anchor i n growi ng a pri mary economy wi thi n the
communi ty, but al so i ncreasing empl oyment/career opportuni ti es for
resi dents who are currentl y commuti ng outsi de o
f the communi ty for
Macro Development Environment
In order to stimulate and grow a more dynamic, diversified, resilient and prosperous economy
in Sahuarita it is essential to better understand the larger regional economy and how this
community is connected. Presently Sahuarita is a suburban neighborhood
within the larger
south Tucson regional economy.
The success or failure of the community is largely tied to
development in the Tucson regional economy as influenced by the slow national economic
recovery following the Great Recession. The following table
summarizes the key
building blocks within the Sahuarita economy:
Accordi ng to the 2000 Census, the popul ati on of Sahuari ta was 4,590
resi dents i n 2000. By 2010 the popul ati on was esti mated at
wi th an annual i zed growth rate of nearl y 19% per year! By any
standard thi s i s expl osive devel opment.
The pri mary economi c shapi ng
force for the communi ty has been and wi l l l i kel y be real estate (housi ng,
then commerci al ) devel opment an
d rel ated constructi on acti vi ti es.
Ari zona has been a growth state wi th heavy net i n
mi grati on over the past
40 years. Accordi ng to ESRI, 63% of the resi dents i n Sahuari ta are defi ned
as Tapestry Segment 26 or “Mi dl and Crowd.
See more detail on the
Midland Crowd Demographic in Attachment A
One i n three
resi dents can be cl assified as “earl y career” (ages 25
househol ds are typi cal l y wel l
educated, worki ng i n the Tucson tech sector,
have ki ds an
may have a spouse who i s home
. Today, the
communi ty can best be descri bed by i ts commuters and bedroom
communi ty characteri sti cs.
The Pecan Ranch
Before the real estate and constructi on boom, there exi sted two hi stori c
the ol dest Pecan ranch i n Ameri ca (about 9,000 acres) and
the extensi ve mi ni ng operati ons associated wi th
Copper & Gol d Inc.
both of these busi ness
es (whi ch combi ned
empl oy between 1,000 and 2,000 workers dependi ng upon busi ness
cycl es) pre
exi sted the housi ng boom,
these workers l i ve throughout the
l arger regi on and are not concentrated i n Sahuari ta.
The housi ng boom comes fi rst and then retai l and servi ces (commerci al
acti vi ti es) tend to fol l ow as spendi ng threshol ds are met. Consequentl y
wi th an area popul ati on of nearl y 50,000 resi dents there i s an emergi ng
trade sector wi th i ncreasi ng commerci al ac
ti viti es (both retai l trade &
Thi s trade sector i s l i kel y to expand rapi dl y as the
recovery i mproves and new housi ng acti vi ty i ncreases.
Because of t
population of elders and youth
(50% of the population in
ta alone) there is significant demand for health care and
youth/elder care services.
There is an emerging North America mega
urban area extending from
Phoenix in the north to Nogales in the South. Sahuarita is part of the
Tucson to Nogales I
. Continued development is expected in
this corridor and
the potential for increased trade wi
The foundation of
is the entrepreneurial talent
available within a community.
This is the starting point for building a more robust and impactful
strategy. As part of our preliminary assessment we have begun to profile the entrepreneurial
talent likely present in Sah
as summarized in the following table.
Whi l e the busi ness communi ty i n Sah
ri ta i s under
represented gi ven the
si ze of the popul ati on, there i s neverthel ess a substanti al and growi ng
col l ecti on of pri mari ly retai l and servi ce busi nesses that are owned and
operated by area resi dents.
Consi derati on shoul d be gi ven to a targeted
outreach and assi stance strategy to hel p these entrepreneurs “grow out”
the communi ty’s capaci ty to capture l ocal spendi ng.
There i s an emergi ng, but promi si ng mi cro
cl uster of technol ogy ventures
that hol d the potenti al to
create a pri mary i ndustry group wi thi n the
i mmedi ate area. Ri ght now these ventures are very dependent upon a
handful of entrepreneurs seeki ng to opti mi ze the workforce pool
empl oyed i n the southern Tucson technol ogy corporati ons.
development of this micro
cluster should be explored by
facilitating both space and workforce connections.
survey data and analysis by the University of Arizona
strongly suggests there are a significant number of home
in the community. We theorize that these home
based entrepreneurs are
tied to two key demographic groups
spouses of commuting
Consideration should be given to actively reaching out to
based entrepreneurs and creating assistance pathways.
Primary local development consideration should be given to those with
Nearly 37% of Sahuarita’s residents are retirees and nearly 100% of Green
Valley’s residents are senior citizens. We expect that most of these elders
are fully retired,
there is evidence that some are still active
ti me and
bas ed ventures rel ated to thei r experti s e
acqui red duri ng thei r ful l
ti me worki ng careers. I t i s mos t l i kel y that
thes e ventures are s uppl emental and have l i mi ted growth potenti al.
However, thi s entrepreneuri al group may repres ent
deep experti s e, retai n
s trong networked connecti ons and acces s to angel capi tal. Engagi ng thi s
group may create s ome bus i nes s devel opment whi l e enabl i ng a potenti al l y
powerful devel opment res ource for other area entrepreneurs.
Real es tate devel opment and cons tructi on has been the pri mary economi c
dri vi ng force i n Sahuari ta and wi l l l i kel y remai n the l arges t s ource of
economi c growth i n the comi ng decades.
Aggres s i vel y engagi ng wi th
thes e devel opers to evol ve wel l
des i gned
res i denti al, commerci al and l i ght
i ndus tri al s paces i s cri ti cal l y i mportant to the communi ty’s abi l i ty to
achi eve des i red devel opment outcomes.
Mai ntai ni ng a pos i ti ve and fai r
bus i nes s cl i mate for devel oper s i s foundati onal.
esigning an optimal entrepreneur
development game plan in 2012 for Sahuarita is rooted
in triangulating the assessment elements addr
this report. The first consideration should be to more
fully appreciate the larger or
in which economic development might be possible in
a. The second
focus should be on the kinds of
entrepreneurial talent that are present and their
potential for development given various
commitments. Third, at this stage of deve
makes practical sense to
readily available and
appropriate resources into a system of support and an
. In time the community and its
development partners can evolve a more complete
entrepreneurial development system s
uitable to the
entrepreneurial opportunities within the community.
Finally, before a strategy is adopted it should be cross
walked with the development preferences and priorities
of the community. Thoughtfully working through this
process will enable
to arrive at its logical and
optimal strategy for entrepreneur
As part of our preliminary assessment we have mapped
the development resources that currently exist
likely to be
capable of supporting targeted
The building blocks of a
entrepreneurial development system (EDS)
include the following
The Local Team.
The Town of Sahuarita’s Economic
Development program (specifically Kathy Ward) is the
of a community
focused EDS. Kathy is
central to targeted entrepreneur outreach, intake, local
screening, referral and progress tracking. This role is
and active consideration should be given to both (1) strategic partnerships
additional staffing options to accommodate the likely volume of work. Strategic
partnerships might include the following: Green Valley/Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce,
commercial district(s) merchant associations (these will need to be organized), residen
development home owners associations (to reach home
based entrepreneurs) and the
emerging Business Network International group.
With Kathy’s guidance and overall
Trade Business Expertise
Growing the community’s locally
owned retail and service
businesses is a likely high
priority. Enabling growth among
this sector of the economy holds
the potential to capture more
attract Mexican visit spending
term. Such a strategy can
not only strengthen the domestic
economy, but provide a more
robust tax base for the
stronger services and better
Health Care Gap
he combined communities of
Sahuarita and Green Valley have
two of the most intensive
health care groups in American
elders and children.
Based on our site visit and data
review, we were struck by the
lack of advanced in
table a proposed hospital in
Sahuarita is a setback. Medium
term, the community should
actively explore how to build out
community health care
services as an anchor to the area’s
management of the local game plan, a network of volunteers and potential part
be recruited, mobilized, trained and engaged in the all import tasks of outreach, intake,
screening, referral and progress tracking.
The second piece in
a possible community
the resources of
the Microbusiness Advancement Center (home to Tucson’s SBDC or Small Business
Development Center). Compared to similar centers
around the country we are very impressed with MAC’s
range of busines
s assistance capabilities, the experience
of its staff and its attitude regarding partnering with
Sahaurita. There is a remarkable opportunity to create
and grow an intentional, strategic and robust
partnership between MAC and the community. If
generates entrepreneurial clients, there
appears to be a strong commitment from MAC to deliver
services to these clients
of selected services. Fully understanding and
should be a
high priority. The inclusion of Accion’s micro
capabilities into this mix would begin to address gap
financing needs and
unique strategy to attract
entrepreneurs to the community’s EDS.
Area Business Assistance Network.
combined communities of Sahuarita and Green Valley
there likely is significant business expertise and
connections within the retiree communities. The area
Chamber of Commerce already provides a special
membership for retirees who were members in
hometown chambers. Building out this network of expertise (and particularly focusing on those
still active with part
time and home
based businesses) could enable the
community to create what we call an
area resource network
An ART could provide a
framework and process for engaging this expertise as mentors, voluntary boards of directors,
local angel investors and business coaches.
Creating and managing an ART takes a strong game
plan, sophistication and active management.
Making sure these three elements are in place is
recommended before acting on the ART option.
The Space Challenge
It is clear from our site visit that a
major restriction in developing a
community rooted economy is
access to affordable commercial
and light industrial space. The
Town of Sahuarita is focused on
this issue and actively seeking
Creating a reasonable
supply of appropriate space to
enable business development a
growth will be foundational to
the success of this strategy.
A potential use of the proposed
Entrepreneurship Fund could be
to help home
based and new
entrepreneurs transition into
commercial and light industrial
Within Arizona and the Tucson area
an impressive collection of
resources including the following that we identified and explo
red during our assessment:
University of Arizona
Eller College of Business and Public Administration
Economic and Business Research Center*
Arizona Center for Innovation
The McGuire Entrepreneurship Center*
*Part of the Eller College
As growth entrepreneurs (particularly those with technology orientations) are identified by the
local game plan, the community
through Kathy Ward’s office
can serve as a “concierge”
entrepreneurs into this world of advanced resources. Most of the
entrepreneurs the community will come into contact with and work with will not qualify for
The Role of Market Intelligence Services
section will be completed after the second site visit.
ary Insights and Considerations
Note: This section will be completed after the second site visit.
26 Midland Crowd
LifeMode Summary Group..........L12
Urbanization Summary Group.....U10
The growing population of 12 million, approximately 4 percent of the US population, identifies
as Tapestry Segmentation’s largest segment. Since 2000, the population has
grown by 2.18 percent annually. The median age of 37.2 years parallels t
hat of the US median.
two percent of the households are married couple families; half of them have children.
Twenty percent of the households are singles who live alone.
Median household income is $50,096, slightly lower than the US median. Most income is earned
from wages and salaries; however, self
employment ventures are slightly higher for this segment
than the national average. The median net worth is $88,854. Unemplo
yment is below average.
Half of the residents who work hold white collar jobs. More than 45 percent of the residents aged
25 years and older have attended college; 16 percent have earned a bachelor’s or graduate
s live in housing developments in rural villages and towns throughout
the United States, mainly in the South. Three
fourths of the housing was built after 1969. The
home ownership rate is 81 percent, higher than the national rate of 66 percent. The median
value is $121,782. Two
thirds of the housing is single
family houses; 28 percent are mobile
These politically active, conservative residents vote, work for their candidates, and serve on local
committees. Their rural location and
traditional lifestyle dictate their product preferences. A
fourth of the households own three or more vehicles; they typically own or lease a truck, and
many own a motorcycle. Proficient do
yourselfers, they work on their vehicles, homes, and
d keep everything in tip
top shape. They hunt, fish, and do woodworking. Dogs are
their favorite pets. They patronize local stores or shop by mail order. They have recently bought
radial tires. They often go to the drive
through at a fast
Many households own a satellite dish so they can watch CMT, the Speed Channel, Home &
Garden Television, NASCAR racing, rodeo/bull riding, truck and tractor pulls, fishing programs,
and a variety of news programs. They listen to country music on the radio
and read fishing and
The mission of Growing Local Economies, Inc. (GLE) is to help communities become more prosperous by
leveraging their assets to support local entrepreneurs.
Founded in 2007, GLE is located in Denver,
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ompetitive intelligence programs for
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The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship is the focal point for energizing entrepreneurial communities
where entrepreneurs can flourish. Created in 2001 with founding support from the Kauffman Foundation
and the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), the Ce
nter is located jointly in Nebraska, North Carolina,
and Missouri. The Center’s work to date has been to develop the knowledge base of effective practices
and to share that knowledge through training and strategic engagement across rural America. Working
ith economic development practitioners and researchers, the Center conducts practice
and evaluation that serves as the basis for developing insights into model practices and other learning.
The Center is committed to connecting economic dev
elopment practitioners and policy makers to the
resources needed to energize entrepreneurs and implement entrepreneurship as a core economic
development strategy. To learn more about the Center, visit
The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) functions as a national scientific research center, identifying
and mobilizing teams of researchers and practitioners across the nation and internationally to
investigate complex and emerging issues in rural a
nd regional development.
Since its founding in 1990,
RUPRI's mission has been to provide independent analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and
opportunities facing rural places and people.
Its activities include research, policy analysis, ou
the development of decision support tools.
These are conducted through a small core team in Missouri
and Washington DC, and through three centers,
including the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
, and a
number of joint initiatives and panels lo
cated across the United States.
RUPRI was created as a joint
program of Iowa State University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Nebraska, and is now
housed at the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri.
learn more about