By Nicole McTheny

Small businesses are the backbone of the economy. Stroll through Escena, and this tiny slice of WestWing Mountain’s 85383 boasts an irregularly large concentration of entrepreneurs, some of their businesses are anything but small.

“We relocated from California to Arizona.” Barron and Stacy Barler own and operate Commercial Case and Panel, Inc. Shop any refrigerated item at any Costco, among others, and you’re benefitting from their hard work.

“For years we worked for someone else. We eventually decided it was time to double down on our capabilities and connections and venture out on our own. We turned our skillsets and passions into a little business. Now, our not-so-small company does work across the country, impacting millions of consumers,” Barron says.

The Barlers’ secret to success: believe in your capabilities and follow your passion.

“We absolutely love the Arizona outdoors.” Samantha and Travis Heitz’s passion is recreation. They recently opened State 48 Powersport Rentals, renting ATVs to avid adventurers. Social distancing, coupled with their desire to help others experience Arizona’s beauty, inspired their idea. Travis adds, “Fresh air can certainly feed the soul. Enjoying the outdoors has been a much-needed respite for our family, so we want to offer others the same sense of freedom at a time when life can feel anything but free.”

“People are searching for natural ways to be healthier.” Drs. Chris and Diane Koch, husband and wife chiropractors who live a few doors down, own Arizona Chiropractic Center. They’ve been helping community members find individualized health solutions for 25 years, but never quite like this. “Patient care couldn’t stop just because the pandemic started,” Dr. Chris adds. “People want real solutions in making their own bodies stronger and healthier. Being truly healthy and feeling great is more vital now than ever.”

“In times like these, the key to small business sustainability is flexibility,” Dr. Diane says. “Remaining innovative with procedures and technology has always been our passion, and now it helps us better serve our patients.”

And business is flourishing for Melanie and Kyle Kropf, neighbors just two houses away. A while ago Melanie started a little side hustle, capitalizing on her creativity. Her Etsy store is now also an Instagram phenom: HandcraftedBrunette. She creates hand-lettered signs, 3D word cutouts and wooden banners. “We’ve become so busy, we transformed our garage into a dedicated woodworking shop,” Kyle adds.

Any given day, Kyle will be cutting what Melanie envisions. Together, they’re creating custom treasures for creatives all across the country, brightening homes and hearts.

Melanie says, “With so many of us working on home improvements and enhancements, we’ve experienced a demand resulting in a significant boost in business. And it feels great knowing we’re brightening homes and lives during such tough times.”

“It’s inspiring to live and work around such an incredible concentration of innovation,” Stacy says. “We have a front-row seat to both the creation and sustainment of small businesses.”

Samantha adds, “We also have an extreme sense of pride knowing, as neighbors and friends, we’re doing all we can to support the small business economic backbone at a time when so many have taken a hit.”

To learn more, visit, on the web or on Facebook, on the web or
@handcraftedbrunette on Etsy and Instagram.

Nicole McTheny specializes in public relations, content creation and storytelling. A former journalist, she recently launched her firm, McTheny PR & Communications, and is also among the entrepreneurs of Escena.