Haas named Gila County Small Business Woman of the Year
SAFFORD — Three counties came together Tuesday, October 24 to celebrate the best of the business world, as Eastern Arizona College’s Small Business Development Center presented the Small Business Woman of the Year for Graham, Greenlee and Gila Counties.
This was the first year Gila County was included in the awards, and Globe’s Amanda Haas was chosen as the first Gila County Small Business Woman of the Year.
Haas has owned Animal Magnetism, a dog-grooming and boarding business in Globe, for nearly 30 years. She is an AKC Star certified canine behavioral specialist and a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals. She also volunteers with the Globe Police, Gila County 4-H, Canines for Christ, Aviant Healthcare and Miami Library, and has served as a volunteer firefighter.
“I was blown away (at being nominated). I was not expecting this at all,” Haas said. She was “even more blown away” to receive the award. “I am so humbled. I just think it’s amazing, the number of women business owners we have. It’s amazing to be a part of that. I remember when my mom first started her business, BizTec, in Globe 30 years ago and it was a struggle for a woman to start up her own business.”
Haas started Animal Magnetism in 1996, grooming dogs out of her house at first. Her first business location was destroyed in the 2005 Pioneer Hotel fire “and we had to start over again.” After finding Animal Magnetism’s current location, Haas expanded the business to include boarding dogs as well as some training. “I was a reserve firefighter for 17 years, and I got to watch Joe Bracamonte work with (K9) Evo. That got me hooked into training, so I went to school for it.”
Following the death of her adult son, Jacob, in 2022, Haas’ family turned her son’s property into Jacob’s K9 Field of Dreams, a canine training facility for local 4-H youths in the canine program.
Haas also works with Canines for Christ, along with Charlotte Asrarynezami, using therapy dogs to bring healing to the community. One of those dogs, Bindi, is a therapy dog for the Globe Police Department.
“There’s not an aspect of my life that isn’t touched by dogs in one way or another,” Haas said.
She was among 15 Gila County nominees for the Small Business Woman of the Year Award. The nominees also included Irma Braham, Serendipity; Emily Brice, Lovern’s Bakery; Amanda Cooper, Shear Oasis Salon; Linda Corso, KRDE 94.1 FM; Erika Flores, Zona Ice and Pretty Kind Boutique; Cassie Hendricks, Forest Properties Inc.; Hannah Lusk, Hannah & Hooch; Rebecca Matthews, Land of Wild Designs; Amanda Moors, Moors Wildlife Management; Leigh Pendergraft, The Rusty Pine Cone; Alma Smith, Consign Your Design; Joanna Lee Twenty-Three, Miami Art Works; Deanna Viggiani, Arizona Wildflowers & Gifts; and Thea Wilshire, Acorn Consulting LLC.
Dr. Susan Jones, owner of Gila Valley Clinic in Safford, was named Graham County’s Small Business Woman of the Year, and Joann Hernandez, owner of Sunflower Environmental, won the 2023 award for Greenlee County.
Jones, who joined the practice in 1984 and became the clinic’s sole owner in 1995, has served as the local hospice director, director of physicians for local nursing homes and a member of the hospital board. She was also a driving force in the recent development of Samaritan Home, a respite and information center for the local homeless population.
Hernandez started her environmental consulting business in 2020, and despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, has grown it to list some of the largest companies in America. Her clients include Freeport-McMoRan, Raytheon, Tucson Electric Power and Arizona State University.
Each Business Woman of the Year received $1,000, a trophy donated by Trophies ‘N Tees of Safford, a gift bag and a certificate of recognition from U.S. Representative Juan Ciscomani.
Speakers for the evening included EAC SBDC Director Eric Bejarano, Graham County Supervisor John Howard, 2019 Graham County Small Business Woman of the Year Margo Henrie, Vicki Seppala of Freeport-McMoRan and Fiona DeYoung, representing Rep. Ciscomani.
Sponsors included, among others, Freeport-McMoRan, Zona Ice, Farmers Insurance Dallin Haws Agency of Payson, Bloom: An Asian Concept, National Bank of Arizona, Bruzzi Vineyard, Forest Properties Inc., Ginaveve’s Marketplace, Pretty Kind Boutique and Eastern Arizona College.