By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce
Most businesses are aware of the 2021 PPP program that has been released. By now, businesses can apply for these assistance funds with a CDFI lender or their regular banking institution. If you are a first-time borrower to this program, you do not need to demonstrate the 25 percent loss of revenue. If you are a second-time borrower, you will need to demonstrate your decrease in revenue. Borrowers will also need to show payroll numbers and indicate what you will be using the funds for: payroll, rent/mortgage, utilities. The program also has expanded the uses of the funds to include business damage and health and safety improvements in the business. The deadline to fill out the application is the end of March, but don’t wait.
Another program, geared specifically to our food industry, gyms and fitness centers and our movie theater, is the Small Business Relief Grant Program through Archuleta County. Restaurants, food trucks, caterers, bars, fitness studios and the like are highly encouraged to apply for this money. While it may not be a lot, it is certainly money that could help you with a month or two of rent or mortgage, payroll or other important costs in running your business. This is also grant money, which means you do not have to pay it back. Businesses with revenues of $500,000 or less can receive up to $3,500 in funds; business with less than $1 million to $500,000 can request up to $5,000, and business between $2.5 million and $1 million can request up to $7,500. Applications can be found on the Chamber website under our COVID graphic “Learn More” tab. The applications are due Feb. 1, with money being dispersed by mid-February. Should you have any questions about applying, please contact Mary Jo at the Chamber.
Forever hopeful, the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce was still holding onto the hope that we might be able to host our annual meeting in person. However, that is not going to be the case. Therefore, the meeting, which per the Chamber’s bylaws was slated to be held in January, has been moved to Feb. 18 to accommodate the planning for the virtual meeting. I know — another virtual meeting. But, this is one meeting you don’t want to miss.
The meeting will be free to attend. Anyone is welcome to join the meeting; it is not open to just Chamber members. You will just need to register for the meeting in order to access the login link. Registration will open at the beginning of February.
We have a fabulous lineup of speakers and breakout sessions all packed into 1 1/2 hours. Elizabeth Garner, director of the State Demography Office, will be one of the keynote speakers. Garner is one of the most popular speakers in the state with her engaging data and style. Laura Lewis-Marchino, executive director of Region 9 Economic Development District, will be the other keynote speaker. Lewis-Marchino most recently presented at the annual Southwest Economic Forum. More information about their topics will be forthcoming.
In early 2020, the business community ranked issues that were most important to their business or their inability to run their business well. These top initiatives were: broadband, workforce, housing and infrastructure. The Chamber board chose to take these initiatives and work on improving them in order to assist our businesses.
The Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation took over broadband as they were already heavily involved with broadband expansion and improvement. While we started working with various groups, COVID happened in early 2020 and many efforts shifted to helping our businesses survive. However, progress was made on a number of fronts.
After the speakers present at the annual meeting, the forum will break out into these four initiatives. Participants can attend two breakout sessions, as they will be held twice during the meeting. That way, if you want to hear about the progress being made or voice your comments in the initiatives of interest, you can do so. There will be participants in each of the breakout sessions that will give some background on projects being worked on and they will note your concerns and comments.
The meeting is scheduled to be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. We are planning this virtual meeting to be informative and engaging for our community. From this meeting, we hope to have a great exchange of information, as well as find out topics that are of most concern to our business community. This information will help the Chamber with our working roadmap for 2021.
The community will receive much more information in the upcoming weeks about this seminar. However, mark this date and time out on your calendar now. The more people that attend, the more information we receive and can work on the topics of most concern to you — our businesses.