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Make a choice, be part of the change

There are many changes occurring — statewide, regionally and locally.

Tourism projects, large format retail and politics are consistently the hot topics of conversation at the coffee clutches, card tables and office settings.

Pagosa is facing some of the biggest changes in at least a decade, with a lot happening all at once. Whether you are for or against one or many of the projects planned for Reservoir Hill, whether you are for or against large format retail —?be informed.

A project such as the Wal-Mart planned for our community generates very emotional responses and polarized groups. Our community is not the only one that has gone through this growing pain with large format retail. If you are interested in finding out more about large format retail or ways to bring another alternative into Pagosa, attend a Pagosa First meeting. If you want to support a big box, there are people advocating this addition to our community. Have you attended any of the public forums to voice your concerns or find out what is planned with Wal-Mart — or are you just basing your knowledge on the latest rumors?

Before the projects on Reservoir Hill were presented for public comment, there were more than 30 meetings open to the public to determine the types of projects, budgets, financing options and feasibility. Did you attend any of those meetings? Have you attended any of the public forums about Reservoir Hill or are you just listening to the latest rumors? Rumors abound everywhere, but they seem to be especially prevalent in smaller communities. We must make our decisions based on fact, not rumors.

Whether a large format retail comes into Pagosa now, or in three years or five years, our business community must be prepared. That is why this year’s Business to Business Expo will deal with small businesses competing with retail giants. It can be done and has been done in other communities, and our community needs to evaluate what we have to offer and what can be offered. In addition to competing with retail giants, by honestly evaluating your current business plan and business potential, you get the benefit of knowing your business better and improving your business now.

We are working to bring restaurant and retail consultant, and Virginia SBDC Retail Industry Consultant Marc Willson to Pagosa Springs for the Business Expo. In addition to Willson speaking at the conference, there may be an opportunity to have him conduct some private consultations. We are investigating to see if there is enough business interest and how many days we could keep him in Pagosa to consult with some of our business owners. If you are interested in finding out more about Willson coming to your business for a consultation, contact the Chamber by Friday, March 30. Based on the level of interest, we will make some determinations on cost (if any) and availability. Sometimes we are too close to the forest to see the trees and we think we know what the customer wants simply because it is what we want as a business owner. If you are interested in improving your facility now and for the future, and are interested in consultation time, give the Chamber a call.

Parade winners

Many thanks to all who participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 16.

We had over 30 floats in the parade — some representing organizations and others just in the parade for fun.

The winners this year were: Best Overall Entry — Our Savior Lutheran Preschool; Greenest Entry — Pagosa Springs Youth Center; Most Bizarre — Ron Gustafson.

Special thanks goes out to the Town of Pagosa Springs Police Department for coordinating the closing of the highway and for traffic control. Traffic control was also accomplished by the town’s Street Department, the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol and the San Juan Mounted Patrol. We can’t thank them enough for allowing our residents and visitors to have a good time on this fun holiday — even if it was a day early.

TBD Colorado

Similar to the Governor’s Bottoms Up Survey and project, there is another statewide initiative being formed. This project is “TBD Colorado” and it is exactly what the name implies — To Be Determined. There will be representatives from communities from throughout the state who will work on some of the following issues: Community values and priorities; increased participation in public policy decision making by Coloradans aged 35 and younger; networks of communities that work together to address common issues; consensus on big issues facing Colorado; develop a credible, enduring mechanism for non-partisan deliberation and consideration of public policy issues and other issues. The top priorities that will be reviewed will be Education, Health, Transportation, the State Budget and State Workforce/Talent.

I was asked by several state officials to head up the Archuleta County participation group. While there has been an open self-nomination form on the State website,, they have also asked for community nominees. If you are interested in serving on this group, here are some of the criteria: non-partisan representation, commitment to attend a few meetings (only two to three at this time) and read the required materials, ability to share results with others, preferably private citizens more than individuals that hold public office, commitment to work for the long-term good of all Coloradans rather than for any one special interest, diversity of age, ethnicity and gender.

This project is anticipated to be complete by June with a report to the governor shortly thereafter. I would be happy to submit your name to the regional nomination group as we work to select a well-rounded group of engaged citizens. If you are interested or would like more information, contact me at the Chamber at 264-2360.

Business news

Don’t forget to sign up for Maximizing Your Membership, set for Monday, March 26, from 11:30 to 1 p.m. A free lunch is included in this lunch-hour training session. See how you can better utilize your Chamber membership benefits, gain exposure to your business through our website and how you can be made aware of Chamber updates and activities. Call the Chamber to reserve your spot, so we can have a headcount for the purpose of ordering food.

We have a new member to welcome this week. Ginger Andrews, the new owner of Satori Boutique and Gifts in historic downtown Pagosa brings this business back to the Chamber. Ginger will be carrying some of Satori’s existing wonderful clothing and gifts, but will also bring new items to the store. There are unique gift items from around the world, clothing, jewelry and some special oils and products to nourish your body. If you missed her ribbon cutting, stop by the store to see what is new.

Our renewing members include Snow Country Adventure Tours and Majestic Outfitters; Re/Max Eagle’s Nest Realty; Team Murphy Realty; Abba Eye Care; Sears; Enterprise Rent-a-Car; H&R Block; Photos by Griz; Canyon Crest Lodge; Touchstone Gift Shop; and Durango Coca Cola. Our Individual Associate members are John Chrzanowski and Jerry LaQuey.

As members of the business community, we can sit on the sidelines and watch change happen or we can be part of the decision-making process and some positive change. Where do you fit in?

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