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Ride the Rockies coming back to town

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Denver Post’s Ride the Rockies cycling tour will return to Pagosa after a four-year hiatus.

This group of more than 2,000 cyclists, friends, family and Ride the Rockies crew will be in Pagosa for one night, Thursday, June 17. This is an added bonus to the already burgeoning June business, as the Bike Tour of Colorado has also chosen Pagosa Springs to be a “stayover” community on June 23-24.

Ride the Rockies will receive even more exposure this year because of the anniversary of this organization’s cycling event. The 532-mile tour begins in Grand Junction, then continues to Delta, Ouray, Durango, Pagosa Springs and Alamosa, before it ends up in Salida.

Not only will our town swell with as many as 2,500 additional people, bringing economic benefits through lodging, restaurant and retail stimulus, but Ride the Rockies also leaves our community with a longer-term gift in the way of the Denver Post Community Grant program. Paperwork will arrive shortly and we will announce to qualifying non-profit organizations the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant. An organization must be a qualified 501(c)3 and its work must involve low-income children and youth in recreation, education and the arts, or be an agency that offers direct-service literacy programs. The Community Grant program has been in effect since 2001 and has given out over $380,000. The Education Center was the recipient the last time the tour was here.

While the route has been announced, the rider lottery will not take place until early next month. This year, Ride the Rockies has partnered with Alpine Cycle Connection to book lodging, as well as handle luggage transportation and community transportation.

Our community will also host a “Party in the Park” as requested by the tour. Non-profit groups will be able to provide vending stations. The Chamber will be taking sign-ups and will limit the number of vendors and the types of food, so as to avoid duplication. Ride the Rockies has not announced the beer sponsor yet; however, we will have live music in the park in the afternoon and evening to enhance our party — for which we have a great reputation. The community will be filled with visitors, so all restaurants should be prepared to serve the masses. There will be bus transportation to help move the riders around town so they can experience all that is planned.

The Chamber will take vendor sign-ups for either Ride the Rockies, Bike Tour of Colorado, or both. Please contact us at 264-2360 to reserve your spot and declare what you would like to serve. Sign-ups will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

June is busting out all over, and we are positioned to experience a burst of economic energy, thanks to these two cycling groups. And all this occurs just prior to our usually busy Fourth of July weekend.

For more information about these two tours, please contact me at the Chamber.

Multiply your business opportunities

The topic sounds kind of mundane and common sense, doesn’t it? But how many of our businesses actually utilize this practice?

Here are some recent examples: Pagosa Ice Cream using fudge made by the Made in Colorado store; Slices of Nature selling flowers arranged with a florist in Bayfield; various food establishments using Pagosa Brewing beer in their food products; Pagosa Baking Co. distributing spreads made by Enchanted Valley Farm; “Wheel of Opportunity,” created by Bull Chic, involving over 20 local businesses; Liberty Theatre making their theater available to groups on nights they are closed.

The list goes on and on, yet how many of us actually utilize this practice or know how to go about getting involved? Now is your opportunity to get involved and find out how partnering with other businesses can increase your revenue and business exposure. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, there will be two opportunities to get involved: 7:30 to 9 a.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m. The Chamber will host an informative session led by Rich Lindblad with the Lindblad Group. Rich will give you ideas on how you might be able to expand your business and work with others, as well as help you move forward with a niche idea you might have.

We will also be rolling out the Networking Group Initiative. These new multi-dimensional groups will consist of businesses in various stages of development, start-up companies, growth companies, mature companies, lone eagle/high flier companies, non-profit companies and any other types that might form. Like-minded groups will gather together on a regular basis and have one or several successful business mentors who have been through the stages assist them with ideas, financial challenges, marketing, or other projects. Through these various groups we hope to see businesses work through some tough times, find news ways to do business, work better together, share resources, and give the Chamber the opportunity to provide better services and amenities to our constituents.

If you have an interest in improving your business, finding new business resources, partnering with other local companies, or even bouncing some ideas off your peers — this is the opportunity for you. The “Multiplying Seminar” will be free to all businesses, not just Chamber members. Both sessions will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Light refreshments will be provided, as well as a wealth of information and the opportunity to make you “think outside your box and comfort zone.” Walk-ins are welcome; however, if you can R.S.V.P. to the Chamber, we will appreciate the effort. If you think you know it all when it comes to running your business, perhaps you can be a mentor. If you want to challenge your ability to improve your business, then attend this free seminar and join a business networking group. You have only increased business and revenue to gain.

WinterFest

Get ready for a very busy President’s Day and Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 11-14. Activities include Thursday evening’s Soup for the Soul and Friday evening’s American Red Cross Valentine’s Masquerade Dance. There will also be registration for the Nordic Races Friday evening at Nello’s Bistro. Also on Friday, registration for the new Slide and Soak Snowboarding Extravaganza, to be held on Saturday, will take place in The Springs parking lot. JJ’s will also host their City Lights Club Night with DJ Bobby Hart on Friday night — this time with a Mardi Gras theme.

Saturday, Feb. 13, is a busy day with the Nordic classic, skate ski and fun races. Cross Country activities kick off at 9 a.m. Also beginning at 9 a.m. are the Slide and Soak competitions. This is a great participant and spectator event. At 11 a.m., head over to Town Park where we turn the area into a garden of snow sculptures. Coloring, natural and made-made materials may be used to create your masterpiece. At 1 p.m., drive just a few short miles to the High Country Lodge east of town where the fast-paced Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race will take place. Only home-made sleds can be raced and there will be complimentary food and beverages for participants and spectators. On Saturday evening, enjoy Ballet Magnificat! as they perform “Hiding Place.” This professional dance troupe will perform at the Pagosa Springs High School beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Chamber for $17, not $15 as reported last week.

On Sunday, Valentine’s Day, enjoy another day of Nordic races with the ski relay beginning at 9 a.m. At 11 a.m., wander over to the River Walk where you can watch enthusiastic plungers as they jump into the icy San Juan River, raising money for the non-profit agencies of their choice at the first Pagosa Penguin Plunge.

Just because winter is here, there’s no reason that you cannot enjoy a game of disc golf. At 1 p.m. the Pagosa Nordic Club hosts a snowshoe/ski game of disc golf near Reservoir Hill.

It is a weekend with something for everyone in the family, from the extreme to the creative, to the classical.

Reminders

The new Hickory Ridge Apartments will hold an open house and ribbon cutting on Saturday, Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the ribbon cutting taking place at 10:30 a.m. You will be able to see the facilities and you can also enter to win a 32-inch LCD flat screen TV and enjoy refreshments. The apartments are located at 650 Florida St. which is off of North 7th Street. For more information, contact Robin Kundtz at 264-2050.

For all you sushi enthusiasts, join Tess Challis, author, wellness coach, and vegan caterer as she demonstrates both regular and “inside-out” sushi on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m.-noon at Joy’s Natural Foods over in the Silverado Shopping Center. This is a free event and it will be packed with all of Tess’ great food and preparation tips.

Membership

We have few new members to welcome to the Chamber this week.

Hickory Ridge Apartments, as mentioned earlier in the article, will host an open house and ribbon cutting on Saturday. Hickory Ridge Apartments have spacious apartments and beautiful views. They accept Housing Choice vouchers and Section 8 housing. Income restrictions do apply. Come out and see these affordable, beautiful apartments. For more information, call Robin Kundtz at 264-2050.

Also new this week is the already popular DJ’s Italian Grille. Rave reviews have been coming in about their pizza and the fun game space for the kids. DJ’s also has fresh salads, burgers and sandwiches, pasta dishes, and gourmet and soft-serve ice cream to round out your dinner, all at affordable prices. Beer and wine is also available at the restaurant and parties and meetings are welcome. DJ’s is located on the west side of town near Eagle Mountain Mercantile and the Buck Stops Here off of Talisman Drive. We are also pleased that we will be partnering with them for the 2010 San Juan River Rod Car Show when we will have a ’50s dance in the parking lot. Stop by and experience Pagosa’s newest restaurant!

Our renewals include Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant; Matt Yoksh and Pagosa Ski & Snowboard Rentals; Ken Harms with Harms Photographic and SelecPro Photography; Pagosa Vacation Rentals.com with Lisl Keuning; and the Flying Dutchman, with Jeff Bouwer.

We are looking forward to a great spring and summer season, especially with the addition of another bicycle tour. However, now it’s time to get ready for WinterFest weekend, as well as spring break in March.