After the inspiring hospitality training sessions conducted by Jim and John Garcia of HospiTotally®, Pagosa Springs should be ready to take on the very busy summer that is ahead of us.
Many thanks to those business owners who took the time to attend or send their staff to the HospiTotally® classes. I hope the class challenges you to look at your business with a fresh eye. Thanks also goes to the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation, which co-sponsored the classes and realized that customer service enhances economic development!
Business owners must look “outside the box” and find new ways to market, work together, and stretch our creativity. Here are a few upcoming opportunities the Chamber is offering to businesses for low or no cost.
If you would like to know how you can utilize social marketing techniques in your business, this is a great Business Bites luncheon for you. Our guest speakers will be from Buzztown.com, a company that thrives almost completely on social marketing. They will talk about building distribution, contributing timely and relevant content, tracking successes and challenges, and continuing what works. They’ll also go over social etiquette, how to shift your communication style and how to pick the social networks that are right for you and your business. There are quite a few businesses in Pagosa that use social media such as Facebook and Twitter for promotion and are finding it successful. I am hoping several of these business owners will attend so they can add some personal experiences to our learning experience.
Business Bites will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center in the South Conference room on Tuesday, May 25, starting at noon. The cost is only $5 and a light lunch will be served. While walk-ins are always welcome, call the Chamber at 264-2360 just to reserve a slot and we can get an approximate head count.
And speaking of social marketing: Have you become a “fan” or “friend” of the Chamber? Go to our website, www.pagosachamber.com, and log on. It’s simple and informative!
Group Networking Initiative
Beginning in June, and definitely overdue, we will begin to host group networking initiatives for peer businesses.
Businesses that have been in existence for certain periods in time will be grouped together to collaborate, brainstorm, overcome similar obstacles and do anything else that might come up. Each group will set its own time to meet and set its own priorities. Each group will also have a business mentor — someone successful who can assist the group with various problem-solving or creative ideas.
The businesses will be grouped together mostly by their length of time in business: under one year, one to three years, three to five years, more mature businesses, Lone Eagles (under five employees), High Flyers (over five employees) and non-profit organizations.
If you are interested in joining one of our groups, please contact the Chamber at 264-2360. We will schedule the first class for each group. We will notify you by e-mail as well as send out notifications via Constant Contact. The classes will also be listed on our website, as well as our Facebook page. Please invite business friends, as the gatherings are free and tailored to your particular group’s needs. We look forward to great minds collaborating for the betterment of the whole business community.
Retail merchant meeting
There is a lot going on this summer and there are issues out there in our community. The Chamber will host a retail merchant meeting to listen to concerns, brainstorm how we can work better together as a merchant community and see if there are any ways to take business up a notch. Some topics at the meeting may cover just the downtown area or the west side, but we would like to hear from merchants from all around the community.
The gathering will be held at JJ’s Riverwalk Restaurant on Tuesday, June 8, at 6 p.m. There will be complimentary appetizers and lots of great and, no doubt, lively conversation. All merchants are invited, not just Chamber members. There will be a facilitator at the meeting to help gather our thoughts and set out priorities. This is a great opportunity to see some friends whom we don’t often see because we are so busy. Contact the Chamber if you would like to attend, so we can get an approximate head count. We appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to attend this retail merchant gathering.
Both Ride the Rockies (coming into Pagosa on Thursday, June 17) and Bicycle Tour of Colorado (Wednesday, June 23 through Friday, June 25) are just around the corner. We are tying up the loose ends on a few projects and need feedback from businesses. A while back, a questionnaire was sent out to restaurants and bars asking for any specials or discounts that might be offered during the tours’ stay in Pagosa. If you have lost your paperwork, contact the Chamber and tell me about what you would like to do.
We are putting together information books that we will handout to the riders at a booth at the high school the day each tour arrives. We will also market the information prior to each group’s arrival. While we do not ask that you give a discount or special to the riders, it would be a nice gesture and may attract some business. We will also be promoting the great food available in our community.
The due date for the information has been extended until Friday, May 28. If you have not responded, we cannot include you in the booklet, so please let us help you market what you will be offering to the cyclists.
The annual Hanging Basket/Pagosa Pride event is fast upon us! Baskets are going to be delivered at the end of May. We have two sizes to offer this year: 12-inch baskets filled with gorgeous color and a variety of green and flowering annuals ($27), and 16-inch baskets ($89). There is a limited number of each size basket available, so get your name on the list today. The baskets also come with fertilizer to help keep your flowers beautiful. The baskets are delivered to your door by a staff member or Chamber board member. Help us beautify the community and add some color to your home or business. Call us to reserve your flower basket; we accept credit cards for your basket purchase.
We welcome five new members to the chamber family this week starting off with The Artist Within. Owned by artist Carol Schneider, president of the PSAC, the Artist Within is primarily a bead and jewelry making supply shop. It offers a unique selection of beads, as well as metal and polymer clay. It also offers a selection of fibers for knitters, quilters, and jewelry artists. The Artists Within is located on 190 Talisman Drive, Suite C-5. Don’t miss the ribbon cutting celebration at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 29. For more information, call Carol at 731-2252.
We are also pleased to welcome Handcrafted Interiors with Cappy White and Monica Green, offering unusual home furnishings and accessories, local art and antiques. Cappy is nationally known for his outstanding quality custom furniture, while Monica is known for her whimsical creations. There is something for every home in Handcrafted Interiors. Located at 251 Pagosa St., stop in to see their new items or furniture or accessories.
Natalie Carpenter with Red Humpy Design also joins this week. Website design, social media planning, networking and implementation, blogs and SEO services are just a few of the things Red Humpy offers. Natalie can also design unique print ads, business cards and brochures. Have her create some advertising for your business that will help it stand out. Give Natalie a call at 946-4050.
Pagosa Animal Advocates is the newest animal rescue and advocacy organization in Pagosa working to improve the lives of companion animals. They are a 501(c)3 organization and focus on pet retention, foster/adoption of homeless dogs and cats, and advocating for permanently chained and penned dogs, as well as advocating for spay-neuter programs. You can get more information about this organization through Jackie Denton at 903-2500.
Rounding out the new members is one of our neighbors to the south, Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center. Ghost Ranch offers over 300 workshops in the arts, sciences, and outdoor adventures, spirituality and environmental sustainability. Ghost Ranch offers a range of accommodations and meeting space for groups or overnight visitors. The views are stellar outside, but don’t forget to view the Georgia O’Keeffe paintings inside. We like to let our visitors know about our regional sites as well. On your next trip down to Albuquerque or Santa Fe, take a little time to visit this unique center. For more information about their programs, go online to www.ghostranch.org. Welcome to all our new members.
Our renewals include RE/MAX Eagle’s Nest Realtors; Fulbright Construction; Abba Eye Care; H&R Block, with new owner Bard Heroy; Southwest Wilderness Outfitters; Tri-County Head Start; Alpine Accents Vacation Chalets and Cabins, in South Fork; Winslow on the Shire; Sunetha Property Management; United Mini Storage; The Lindblad Group; True West magazine and Tree Top Adventures, in Durango; and the Archuleta County Democratic Party.
I want to send my heartfelt thanks to our new events coordinator, Stacy Kirby, for jumping on board and quickly launching a very successful San Juan River Rod Run Car Show, in record time. Kimberley Siler, Chamber office manager, was also crucial to this event’s success. Events do not happen without the help of volunteers. So, to the high school’s Skills USA group, to the car judges, and all those who helped set up, break down, and park cars ... thanks, the show could not have happened without you. The Killens did a fantastic job with music all day long. Thank you to the community and businesses for support. If you forgot to get your car show T-shirt, we still have a few at the Chamber.