By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
In past SUN issues, the Chamber has encouraged residents to shop local. While we encourage people to shop local as much as possible throughout the year, during this holiday season, there is even more of a dedicated push to do so.
Small Business Saturday takes place on Saturday, Nov. 27, and is squeezed in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping initiatives.
Synonymous with these shopping events is the concept of deals and discounts. These discounts are what shoppers are looking for during this prelude to the holiday shopping crunch. Businesses should jump on board the marketing effort and be open both online and in person to offer new items, exciting gifts for the holidays and perhaps offer a discount.
What many small businesses can do that online or “big box” stores cannot is to offer “experiential shopping.” Maybe you don’t offer a discount, but you offer the shopping experience of snacks or appetizers, beverages, free gift wrapping, gift wish lists or personalized shopping. Attract people into your stores to make the most of their shopping efforts. What you do now could result in repeat business.
Many people will be heading out even Thanksgiving Day as Black Friday deals kick off on Thursday. Data experts will be looking at this weekend as an indicator of retail sales strength for the holiday season. As you create your shopping lists this year, make an extra effort to buy local. Support your community while sending something special from Pagosa Springs.
Enjoy visiting our stores who offer unique items and a wonderful hometown, welcoming atmosphere. Check out the paper for all of the great holiday deals and discounts and special shopping days not only over the Thanksgiving weekend, but into and throughout the month of December. Thank you, Pagosans, for shopping Pagosa first.
For those looking for Santa sightings over the Thanksgiving holiday, Santa will be at the Visitor Center on Saturday, Nov. 27. The Visitor Center will be lit up in the evening at about 5:30 p.m., which is also when Santa is scheduled to arrive. Santa’s workshop will also be complete and beautifully decorated. Although Santa will not be able to have the children close and sitting on his lap, children can certainly make out their wish list and give it to him when at the Visitor Center. Hot chocolate will also be served.
After shopping local, families can head over to the Visitor Center to see the beautiful lights and visit with Santa. Many businesses will also be lighting up as Nov. 26 is the start of the Holiday Lighting Contest. People can drive around town and view the award-winning entries, both residential and commercial.
On Thursday and Friday, Dec. 2 and 3, the Ross Aragon Community Center will host the annual Festival of Trees — an event supporting our nonprofit agencies. The public viewing is Thursday, Dec. 2, from noon until 6 p.m. Santa will be at the public viewing, there will also be hot beverages and cookies, and you can vote for your favorite tree.
On Friday, Dec. 3, the Festival of Trees event will take place beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the Community Center. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available, along with a number of gorgeously decorated trees that you can keep in your home or office for years to come or donate back to a family in Pagosa. Questions can be directed to the Community Center at (970) 264-4152.
With family and friends and this being a time of gathering, we encourage people to be safe and keep healthy. It is cold and flu season, so enhanced cleanliness and disinfecting protocols should be in place in our businesses. With the increase in COVID cases in Archuleta County, many businesses are choosing to require customers to wear masks. Please respect those businesses, owners and employees for putting measures in place that they feel are best for their business and the safety of their staff.
The Chamber is grateful to continue to serve our community, work on issues important to our growth and thank everyone that supports us in our efforts to help you. Happy Thanksgiving from the board and staff at the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.