By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce
Every year, we can’t believe that “it is that time again.” However, we here at the Chamber are looking forward to 2021 and the changes that will come with it. No one expected the changes that occurred in 2020 and I hope those types of changes aren’t mimicked in 2021.
The change we are looking forward to bringing is three new directors to the Chamber board. This process occurs every year at this time and it is now a business owner’s opportunity to have a stronger voice through the Chamber board of directors.
Every year, we rotate off three directors and welcome three new ones. The Chamber puts before the business membership six candidates, three of which are elected. The board of director’s stint is a three-year commitment. The nine-member board has one meeting a month and other possible subcommittee meetings. Monthly meeting dates are voted on at the beginning of the year by the whole board, including the new members.
The Chamber also typically hosts multiple events throughout the year and board members are expected to participate in a variety of activities as their schedule allows. Since we represent the business community, the Chamber encourages a wide range of businesses to participate on the board. In this way, we obtain a broader voice. Not all topics resonate with all of the businesses and different Chamber activities elicit different reactions from the various business sectors. Therefore, engaging conversation often occurs when making decisions. The business must also be a member of the Chamber in good standing for a minimum of one year.
Prior to COVID-19 derailing some of the planned Chamber activities, these were the high-priority issues the Chamber is intent to focus on: workforce, housing, business infrastructure: signage, licensing and building. Broadband is an issue that the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation has undertaken. These priorities were decided upon from the business survey that the Chamber conducted at the beginning of 2020 and were the topics of most concern to the business community. The board of directors will be working on these priorities in 2021. How can we move the needle forward on improving these issues? However, even if you do not want to run for the Chamber board but are interested in helping out on any of these issues, we would welcome you to one of our subcommittees.
If you are interested in applying to run for the 2021 slate of candidates for the Chamber board of directors, visit the Chamber’s website at www.pagosachamber.com. If you scroll down on the homepage to the Community and Chamber news and click on the “Application” button, you can fill out the nomination form and send it to email@example.com by Nov. 6. Interested parties can also contact Mary Jo, executive director, at 264-2360 for more information.
Business After Hours
Another activity that we are hoping will return to our community is the monthly Business After Hours (BAH) member networking events. These events are held typically the fourth Wednesday of the month and hosted by a Chamber member business.
Most of the 2020 BAHs were canceled due to the prohibition of community gatherings and social distancing. However, as Archuleta County continues to exhibit low COVID case numbers and our county looks to move to Protect Your Neighbor status from Safer At Home status, we hope that we can move into hosting the monthly BAH events.
The businesses that had to cancel their event in 2020 have been given first choice to host a BAH in 2021. Due to other events, the Chamber does not have a BAH in January and September. Therefore, we will have available only three or possibly four BAH slots open in 2021. Businesses may apply to host a BAH at their facility in 2021 by filling out the BAH application. There will be a couple of new requirements to the lottery for 2021. First, businesses that are new to the Chamber or have not held a BAH in the past will be given priority as there are so few slots available. Second, businesses hosting the event must make sure that they have enough space to host a BAH safely with distancing protocols in place. This could include partnering with a nearby Chamber business to host more of a “block” party. Any Chamber member can apply and we hope that many do. Just please keep in mind that we have implemented these new guidelines.
BAH functions are a great way for the business to get exposure to their facility and services. At this time when there are so few slots available for 2021, businesses should think of sharing a BAH. Share your slot with a nonprofit agency, share your spot with a nearby Chamber-member business, again, to host a “block” party and creating additional space. It also increases your chances of being selected if one of the businesses is chosen. After meeting the criteria of a new Chamber member or never having hosted a BAH previously, we choose the business to host randomly. The businesses will be made aware of the open months that are available so that the available slots will fit into the time slot that the business wishes to host a BAH. BAH applications are available on the home page of the Chamber website at www.pagosachamber.com.
For more information about hosting a BAH and the requirements, please contact Rick Artis, membership coordinator, at 264-2360. We look forward to our businesses getting back into networking opportunities, especially since many of us have not had the opportunity to get out and about. Chamber members are looking forward to inviting people into their business and networking with other businesses to discuss successes and areas of concern. We hope that businesses will take advantage of this great networking and marketing opportunity.