Business entrepreneurs and third-generation North Central residents Jeff Malkoon and his sister, Denise, the team behind Peanut Butter Americano (PBA), recently were named Arizona’s grand-prize winner of FirstBank’s “$20K Good Business Giveaway” contest.

Joel Johnson, president-East Valley for FirstBank, congratulates North Central entrepreneurs Jeff and Denise Malkoon of Peanut Butter Americano for winning FirstBank’s $20K Good Business Giveaway (submitted photo).

Launched six years ago this month, PBA is a regular vendor at the Uptown Farmers Market, and is available at several local retail shops.

Through Peanut Butter Americano’s giving arm, Fund For the Americas, the company has been able to follow its mission of aiding community development, education, and poverty relief efforts across the Americas.

With FirstBank’s tagline of “banking for good” in mind, several hundred businesses submitted a video demonstrating how they “do good,” for their communities, customers, or employees. Five Arizona finalists were selected, and their videos were entered into a round of public voting. At the end of the voting period, PBA received the most votes of all the Arizona businesses and was declared the winner.

In addition to winning $20,000, FirstBank will work with PBA to promote and feature the business on a variety of online, e-mail, and social channels as part of a larger effort to bring awareness to their organization and help grow their customer-base.

The runner up in the Arizona contest was Practical Art, located at 5070 N. Central Ave., which received a $2,500 cash prize from FirstBank. Practical Art is a retail and gallery space featuring 100-percent, locally-made wares in wood, fiber, ceramic, glass, metal, and up-cycled materials.





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