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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson themed shops: An artistic perspective

AJ Stash Castillo

Pop Cycle features all local products and many from only recycled material. 

The city of Tucson is known for its unique businesses, hot weather and multiple variations of cacti. But it’s also home to several local businesses that sell everything from handmade bags to giant art pieces. Pop Cycle is one of the many businesses located at 422 N. Fourth Ave.

When the shop first opened in 2008, owners Libby Tobey and Shannon Riggs knew their core values and what they were looking for in pieces.

“Tucson definitely has its own vibe […] Before we started this store, we had wholesale mostly in California, Colorado, back east and all over the country. As we focused more on the store, we stopped wholesale. We don’t do shows as much anymore. We still have a few stores that buy from us,” Riggs said.

For about twenty years, Riggs, as well as two other friends, have been making their own products from recycled materials. From old fabric scraps to Converse sneakers, the artists design their own line of reborn products.

They were both hardcore about most of the products being made from only recycled material, but now they both just stay local in order to keep the carbon footprint down. As they stay local, they open up to more artists and what their minds create.

“They [the artists] are influenced by the local flare using sometimes old postcards or cactus images or just cool iconic things from Tucson. Now having over 100 local Tucson artists doing that and building community with everyone in a different capacity has been huge,” Tobey said.

Tobey and Riggs also like to keep the designs “fresh” as the artists they work with often rotate what is sold. But besides local artists within Tucson, there’s also a certain appreciation for the city as well.

Just down the next few stops on the Sun Link Tucson Modern Streetcar, located in MSA Annex at 267 South Avenida del Convento building six , is Why I Love Where I Live. The owners, Kristin and Alex Tovar, wanted to celebrate the things about Tucson that are unique and beautiful.

“From how it began was somebody learning to love and celebrate Tucson, so the fact that’s how it started, that’s the core,” Alex said.

When Kristin first moved to Tucson, she had a hard time loving Tucson and decided to change the way she felt. She started an Instagram account taking photos of interesting or beautiful things around Tucson. That grew into a community and later the store.

Many of their products are designed by local Tucson artists. Some of their designs have made it outside of Tucson since they have an online store going as far as the East Coast.

“There’s something about some of our products that when you see someone out in the community wearing them, it’s become a Tucson thing. If you see a shirt from our store and someone else wearing it, it creates community inside Tucson as well,” Kristin said.

Why I Love Where I Live is also opening a second location in Gilbert, Arizona, in the near future.

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