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Taking advantage of your Chamber membership benefits

Throughout 2012, the Chamber will place additional emphasis on businesses taking advantage of membership benefits.

Many of the benefits are included in your membership fee or offered for a nominal fee.

Some of us are so busy working our businesses that we don’t pay enough attention to running our businesses. Could you take one to two hours a week to “tweak” some aspects of your business, such as your Internet presence, or attend a one-hour Business Bites luncheon? This small investment of time could reap financial rewards.

Here are some suggestions for things you might consider in February.

The first quarter of 2012, the Chamber will highlight safety and security for your business. This subject covers a lot of aspects, so we will break down the topics. Breaking from the traditional Tuesday seminar, on Friday, March 2, we will host the first 2012 Business Bites lunch with guests Chief Bill Rockensock of the Town of Pagosa Springs Police Department, Undersheriff Jim Saunders of the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office and sheriff Det. Richard Valdez speaking about securing your business, how to discourage break-ins and Crime Stoppers.

“It will never happen to me,” is the line we hear. “I lock up my cash,” “I have a deadbolt,” and many other excuses will keep you away from this meeting. However, look around your store. What is your merchandise worth and is it merchandise that is attractive to thieves — clothing, gift items, equipment, medicines or parts? Unfortunately, Pagosa is experiencing a higher rate of vandalism and break-ins lately. Take some proactive steps and see how you can better protect your assets. A $7 lunch might save you thousands of dollars in merchandise or cash. The luncheon will be held at the West Side Visitor Center beginning at noon. Please R.S.V.P. to the Chamber at 264-2360 so we can ensure there is enough food for everyone. Cost for Chamber members is only $7; non-members are $10.

With safety and security in mind, we are teaming up with Archuleta County Dispatch in an effort to make sure they have the correct emergency information for our businesses. Do you have a new cell phone number? Have you changed locations, but didn’t register the change with dispatch? Has the business changed owners? The process is simple. There is a form available that includes a listing of the store name and physical address, emergency contact numbers, and multiple contacts should the owner not be available. We have these forms in hard copy at the Chamber and they will be available online within the next few weeks. We will also send out reminders in the weekly Updates and Reminders with a direct link to the website and Emergency Contact form. Whether a fire, flood, break-in or other emergency, it is important that County Dispatch has the correct information on file. Please respond to one of the various notifications that we will be sending out.

Also in the upcoming months, another one of our Business Bites will focus on PCI compliance. What is PCI compliance? If you have to ask the question, you might be in violation of new credit card requirements. We will inform businesses of the requirements if they take credit cards. If you take credit card numbers over the phone, do you meet the new regulations? Should you take credit cards through Paypal or another online system? Do you take credit cards off site such as at trade shows or expos? Are you processing the cards correctly? If not, you could be subject to big fines if it is determined your business is the location where a credit card was misused. Look for this Business Bites topic in March or April.

The preventative steps we often don’t have time for are the ones that could save us hundreds of hours in time and thousands of dollars. Let 2012 be the year you make a commitment to work on your business to make it more efficient and productive. Let the Chamber show you how; participate in one of the free monthly Maximizing Your Membership luncheons. The next session will be Monday, Feb. 27, at the Chamber. Please R.S.V.P. as space is limited and we want to make sure there is enough food for everyone.

WinterFest is here

With fresh snow coming to Pagosa Springs just in time for President’s Day Weekend, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the winter season.

In the PREVIEW section there is a listing of all the WinterFest activities for the whole weekend. There is something for everyone, whether a spectator or participant. With the fresh snow, the cross country skiers will be challenged out at the Kuhn Ranch during two days of Nordic races. The snow sculpting contest will be great; the sled race course on Reservoir Hill is fast, and the snowshoe track is a challenging 1.5 miles. On Sunday, Feb.19, come to the Riverwalk to enjoy the inaugural Hot Toddy for the Body contest while watching those crazy plungers in the Pagosa Penguin Plunge. DJ Dude will be on hand with lots of music and Pagosa Mountain Coffee Roasting Company will be at the Riverwalk with their fresh, delicious coffee. Spectators can taste the entries for the Hot Toddy contest for only $5 for three tastings. On Saturday evening, there will be a special concert with singer/songwriter Tom Irwin at the Pagosa Lodge and tickets are only $10.

It will be a great weekend with fresh powder and lots of activities to enjoy. For all the information or registration forms, go online to the Chamber website at www.pagosaspringschamber.com. We would like to thank The Pagosa Springs SUN, Wells Fargo Bank, Eagle Mountain Mercantile and Healing Waters Resort & Spa for their sponsorships of this year’s WinterFest activities. Let’s play outside, Pagosa!

Recycling

Chamber representatives were pleased to perform a ribbon cutting at the new recycling center at the Archuleta County Transfer Station this past Saturday. The single stream recycling has its do’s and don’ts, but recycling is back in Pagosa Springs.

Paper, appropriate plastic, cardboard and aluminum containers will be accepted. Glass is not being accepted. Glass is not being accepted at many recycling centers now and there are not many options. Hopefully the nation will find something to do with all this material, but, for now, glass must go into the dumpsters. The transfer station and the recycling center will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residential dumping is $1 per load. Commercial dumping is $8 per cubic yard. Stop by the transfer station on Trujillo Road and see the improvements that have been made.

Membership news

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

Playing the tunes around town and at the Pagosa Penguin Plunge is Mike Hayward of DJ Dude fame. You’ve seen him and heard him at Relay for Life and at dances at the Community Center, just to name a few places. Mike’s specialty is customizing the music to your event. His music repertoire is endless and his enthusiasm contagious. For a super party or special event, contact him at djdude@centurytel.net or 946-2032.

Attorney Larry Holthus joins the Chamber. Larry has been in the community for over 20 years and provides general practice services including real estate, civil litigation, DUI and foreclosures. He is conveniently located in downtown Pagosa Springs and can be reached at 264-4196.

We have a long list of renewals this week and we thank all of our individual members and businesses that have chosen to renew. They include City Market, Wyndham and Archuleta School District 50 Joint. Also renewing are Ken Harms and his two businesses, SelecPRO School Photography and Harms Photo/Graphic Associates; Upscale Resale; Pagosa Office and Storage; and Carl Nevitt and Big Sky Studio. Non-profit organizations renewing are Community United Methodist Church and Thrift Store, United Way of Southwest Colorado (don’t forget to purchase Dine-Around gift certificates) and the Pagosa Springs Kiwanis Club. We also have individual members “Gus” and Shari Gustafson renewing this week.

Make this the year to focus on your business and look for little ways to improve. This can be done by marketing smartly, oftentimes with little cost involved. The Chamber looks forward to helping you help your business prepare to compete with the big boys and fine-tune your efforts.

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