Sip & stroll with your favorite adult beverage when shopping

Who doesn’t need to sip on a cocktail, beer or glass of wine when shopping, even more at this time of year. Soon you will be able to at certain outdoor shopping centers including Desert Ridge Marketplace and Tempe Marketplace thanks to Governor Ducey signing A.R.S. 4-215 into law. Vestar, the owner of both properties and others in Arizona lobbied to test the program in 2019 but much of the 3 year test was hampered by the pandemic.

“You can get a drink at a movie theater and walk around resorts and golf courses with a cocktail, so why not retail centers?” asked Pat McGinley, President of Management Services for Vestar.

The company did their homework working with the state legislature and the Department of Liquor to deal with the liquor laws. The new law allows retail properties of over 400,000 square feet with large pedestrian areas to allow one or more of its existing bars and restaurants to allow customers to sip and stroll with beverages in hand.

“We are proud that in 2019, Desert Ridge Marketplace was the first and only shopping center to take advantage of the ground-breaking legislation,” stated McGinley. “The program was met with strong support from our tenants and the community at large.”

The new law also includes security and must be reviewed by the city in which the shopping center lies before being approved by the Director of the Department of Liquor. Vestar recently submitted applications to both Phoenix and Tempe to get approval from the state. “As a local restaurant owner, I appreciate the importance of providing fresh and interesting experiences for the consumer,” said State Representative Jeff Weninger. “Making it possible for people to enjoy an alcoholic beverage as they go about their shopping elevates the customer experience in a fun, creative way and can help drive business to retailers.”

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Welcome to America Project’s “The Congo in Context” Dinner.

The Welcome to America project started in the days after the tragedy Sept. 11, 2001 and helps political refugees by delivering furniture and other household goods to homes they have relocated to in the Phoenix area. WTAP often does dinners with refugees in an effort to raise awareness and culture of there homeland(s) and use it as a fund raiser for expenses incurred running WTAP.

The most recent dinner was with refugees, culture and food from Congo or Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Congo was 1st settled by Belgian settlers and gained independence in 1960. It is the 2nd largest country in Africa and is rich in minerals such as gold and diamonds. Several languages are spoken in Congo with French and Swahili are the most spoken.

We dined on foods that are similar to those found here. Goat meat is eaten quite a bit in Congo and was served with vegetable and Basmati rice seasoned and mixed with raisins, along with chicken and vegetable stew. The goat meat was nice treat as I was not sure what to expect.

Dr. Joseph Kimbuende who left Congo over 20 years ago and now teaches at Phoenix College spoke about the current situation in Congo and about it’s rich history and culture. Recent refugee Dieudonne Mubalama spoke also. Music and dance was performed by Penuel Ministry Choir.

If you are interested in donating furniture and household goods or to make a monetary donation, or to partner with WTAP you can reach them at 602-490-0088 or

%d bloggers like this: