In 1998, a group of 7th Avenue Merchants decided to join together to improve their neighborhood. Challenged with crime and blight, the Melrose District was struggling to stay alive. Given the mission to facilitate safety, community, revitalization and beautification, its pioneering business owners, through the help of the City of Phoenix’s Fight Back Program, partnered with the School of Architecture at Arizona State University to develop a master plan to revitalize the Melrose Curve. Relying solely on funds generated by grants and the support of the surrounding neighborhoods, the Melrose District had slowly begun to rebuild itself. In 2001 these business owners officially banded together to form the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association, also known as SAMA.
Since its incorporation, SAMA has been noted worldwide and is a highly respected organization within the City of Phoenix, providing leadership and guidance to other associations looking to improve their neighborhoods. It serves as a model to City Leadership for the direction and focuses that the citizens of Phoenix desire. Its model is community involvement and cooperation to make our city a better place to live.
Through the work that SAMA has done, the Melrose District, which encompasses 7th Avenue from Camelback Road south to Indian School Road, has become a shining star in the Metro Phoenix area. From our lighted canopies with art panels that feature Local Artists to our annual M7 Street Fair that helps to show off the district as a safe place to live, work, shop and play.
The Seventh Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA), a 501(c)6 organization, was established in January,1998. It's mission is multi-faceted:
- Provide a voice to merchant members regarding issues that pertain to businesses in the SAMA zone of responsibility.
- Inform the community of events and news that pertains to both commercial entities and residents.
- Organize and host the 7th Avenue Street Fair and create an inclusive, fun-filled event for attendees.
Meet Your Board members
SAMA Board Members are elected via mail ballot by merchant members and serve a one year term. The 2018 Board Members are:
President: Mike Poulton
Business: Poulton & Noroian
- Undergraduate: University of Nebraska, Major in Construction Management, Minors in Business and Physics
- Post-Graduate: Arizona State University Sanda Day O’Connor School of Law
Background: Mike Poulton joined SAMA in 2014, the same year he moved his law firm from its Central Avenue location by Hula’s to its current home on 7th Avenue. He joined SAMA because he believed that as a local business, it was important to do his part for the community and to be heard. He and and his wife and fellow SAMA Board member Rochelle have been residents of Woodlea since 2012. His desire to be in the Melrose District comes from a love of the neighborhood, and how accepting and interested the neighborhood was when he was making the decision to purchase the property.
Fun facts: Mike is not only a lawyer, but a professional pyrotechnician, who participates in local events such as the Tempe Town Lake July 4th fireworks. He is inventing a new method of creating neon lights that is safer and more affordable. And in his spare time, Mike also is building a world speed record hovercraft while listening to industrial music.
Vice President and Membership Director: Kenyatta Turner
Business: LegalShield Independent Associate
Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems
Masters in Management
Kenyatta joined SAMA in October 2014, taking on the role of Membership Director, subsequently became Vice President in 2016, and is also serving as the Communications Committee Chairperson. With her passion and enthusiasm for the Melrose District, Kenyatta has been key in increasing SAMA membership, and was instrumental in launching the present-day SAMA CRM website. Her goals are to increase membership, promote preferred merchants, and broaden the lines of communication between the merchants, residents, and the overall community. She is a self-employed LegalShield Business Solutions and Employee Benefits Specialist, Field Trainer, and Team Builder, since June 2014. Kenyatta loves to help small business owns to run, protect, and grow their businesses. She hosts a business coaching and networking event for small business owners and professionals called One More Customer.
Kenyatta has 21 years’ experience as an Executive Leader in post-secondary education, and currently teaches GED Success Class at Rio Salado College. Kenyatta has lived in the Melrose District since since 2007 and this will always be her hood where she works, shops, dines, and plays.
Fun Facts: Kenyatta has been a bass player and singer in a few local bands, and recently learned she digs karaoke. She won a 4th place trophy in a women’s skateboard contest, she loves hot rods and vintage things, and is a huge advocate for equality and justice!
Treasurer: Margot Magnum
Business: Phoenix Preparatory Preschool and Child Care
- AA, Liberal Arts
- BS, Elementary Education
- Masters in Accounting, Finance, and Management
Background: An eight-year member of SAMA, Margot Magnum is serving on the SAMA board for the third year as the treasurer, giving SAMA the benefit of her extensive accounting background. For 11 years, her preschool and child care center was located at 538 W. Highland, and in 2017 moved to its new location on 802 West Osborne. She originally joined SAMA to get to know other merchants, and to know what’s going on in the 7th Avenue area and Melrose District. Margot provides education to the children she is entrusted to take care of, and believes in giving her clients what she wanted for herself as a mother and educator. Margot is a strong advocate for changing the suicide lane traffic on 7th Avenue..
Fun facts: Margot is an avid line dancer and an extremely proud mother of a teenage kung fu prodigy, who has won numerous trophies for his excellence in kung fu. She also was nominated Teacher of the Year in 1998/1999.
Information Officer: Annie Cavannaugh
Board Member: Theresa Martin Snyder
Business: Kharma Life Center
- BA, Interior Design, Chaminade University of Hawaii
- Licensed massage therapist
- Certified yoga teacher, ERYT 200
- Certified life coach
Background: A two-year member of SAMA, Theresa Martin Snyder’s journey began as an interior designer in Hawaii. While working as an interior designer, she became a massage therapist for a second source of income. She moved to Arizona in 1997 to study homeopathic medicine, but became a mother in the midst of her education. Deciding to focus on raising her daughter, she never went back. Theresa has had several businesses in the holistic health industry, and eventually opened Kharma Life Center in with her business partner Jane Mayer in 2015. Theresa joined SAMA after Kenyatta Turner called her and asked her to join. She’d gone to the 7th Avenue Street Fair numerous times, and wanted to participate in the community. Her SAMA goals are to develop a better interface with merchants, bring allies, and identify what SAMA can do for the 7th Avenue merchants.
Fun facts: Theresa has completed two triathlons, and likes to hike and cook. She loves to innovate with food.
Associate Board Member: Rochelle Poulton
Business: AZ Credit Law Group, PLLC
- Undergraduate: University of New Mexico, Major in English, Minor in Psychology
- Post-Graduate: Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law
Background: Formerly from New Mexico, Rochelle's law firm specializes in consumer rights and credit repair in Tempe, following an extensive career as a real estate loan officer. Married to Mike Poulton, she joined SAMA to experience first-hand SAMA’s activities and achievements. She’s since taken on chairing the annual 7th Avenue Street Fair as well as becoming a board member. She loves the Melrose District for its historic feel, believing that it’s far different from other Phoenix historic neighborhoods.
Fun facts: Rochelle is an avid reader, reading 150-180 books a year. She’s a huge proponent of “kaizan,” a Lean Sigma Six ideology. Rochelle is a member of the SouthEast Valley Regional Association of REALTORS® (SEVRAR). She’s a huge networker, and on occasion still indulges in listening to goth music.
Advisory Board Member: Charley Jones