Upper West Side PHX is a community movement that has been gaining attention in the last few months.
A grassroots effort, the group aims to encourage specialty shops and restaurants to come to the Northwest Valley areas of zip codes 85383, 85382, 85310, 85308, and 85083. As of late, founder Katie Roe has focused on the area along the southeast corner of 83rd Ave and Happy Valley, as it is currently under construction and will begin building more commercial properties within the calendar year.
We wanted to take a minute with Katie and find out why she started this movement—and how she’s done as a female entrepreneur in a field outside of her background.
Katie grew up in area that saw many specialty shops and businesses thrive; and after moving to Peoria in 2006, wanted “more than just the big box stores, national chains, and unhealthy fast food.” Katie said she jokingly started the movement because she wanted to be able to go a local Postino’s, and then just walk home. After she posted on a local website asking people what businesses they’d like to see in the area, she received over 440 responses and realized that residents in the NW Valley wanted more variety, too.
Roe knew she needed some help—and figured that this effort “would be about strength in numbers.”
Katie is joined in her work with Upper West Side PHX by Amy Sap, a retired teacher, who has lived in the Peoria area since 2005. These two women have taken a small idea and turned it into an influential voice for the community. As of mid-April, the Upper West Side PHX Facebook page had over 3,800 followers, and was increasing daily. Roe states that the main focus right now is to grow their social media presence, as well as to have supporters attend Phoenix, Glendale, and Peoria City council meetings. Each Wednesday, the group publishes a “We Want You Wednesday” post in which followers can simply click a link to fill out a form to encourage a particular business to come to the NW Valley. Some of the businesses featured on “We Want You Wednesday” include Portillo’s, Flower Child, Trader Joe’s, and Dutch Bros.
Although neither Sap nor Roe have a background in real estate or commercial properties, both of these women are doing a fantastic job raising awareness and promoting a community-wide effort from the ground up. The pair has continued to grow their project exponentially by having giveaways for locally-owned businesses such as Peoria Artisan Brewery, and by creating events such as its upcoming sweat, sip, and shop event with barre3 North Peoria this month. This is the first event put together by Upper West Side PHX, and tickets to the event sold out in less than fifteen minutes.
Upper West Side PHX has been a “passion project” for Roe—she and Sap have worked unpaid for months in their efforts. When asked about what she’s learned along the way and what advice she’d give other women endeavoring to bring awareness towards a cause, Katie suggests that people should just jump right in. She explains,
“Be genuine and be yourself. People will appreciate it. Do as much as you can every day…I’ve learned more than I imagined.”
To show your love for Upper West Side PHX and their efforts, please follow them on Facebook. Like, comment, and share their posts. This pushes them to the top of people’s feeds, and also keeps the buzz going about their efforts. Katie would also love to see community members follow the movement on Instagram @upperwestsidephx and Twitter @upperwestsidep1. We support Katie and Amy’s efforts to bring awareness to the desires of our local neighborhoods, and cannot wait to follow these incredible female leaders as they continue on their journey.