Welcome home.

Have you ever visited your hometown after being gone for several years and felt like time never passed? The sounds, the smells, the familiar landmarks like your old high school or the local library trigger the memories. And yet, when you try to share those feelings with someone else, it’s almost indescribable. After more than 20 years away from my hometown, I can now truly appreciate what makes it so special.

This month we’re sharing all things that are homegrown. We spotlight local business owners like Cactus Flower Florists, who have been delivering beautiful flowers and gifts throughout the Valley since 1972. Cactus Flower grew from a small family business to one of the leading Arizona florists, helping customers express thoughts and feelings through the beauty of flowers.

We meet young entrepreneur Megan Maloy, co-owner of The Pampered Pinkie salon. Growing up in the East Valley, Megan and her mom, Debbi, introduced the organic-inspired shabby chic salon in 2009. Today the full-service salon offers modern nail, hair, skin and makeup services.

You’ll be inspired by the work behind Clothes Cabin and Friends Resale Boutique, a small yet impactful nonprofit that provides free clothes and household items to those who need it most. The organization is helping Chandler residents successfully prepare for a job, maintain health and hygiene, and become socially accepted.

Finally, the family behind this month’s Hot Spot is one that is proud of its strong Chandler roots. The Ivy Mediterranean Lounge is a new concept featuring fresh, authentic and delicious Mediterranean cuisine. Owners Christodoulos Komitis and Penelope Acosta-Komitis are committed to creating homemade recipes that feature only the highest quality ingredients.

It’s these passionate people who make Chandler a wonderful place to call home. I can’t wait until my children are old enough to appreciate all that their hometown has to offer.