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By Mary Jo Coulehan
Do you have a new business; a business that has added product or completed some renovations on the property?
Does your business need a “shot in the arm?”
If so, this is the time of year to sign up for the monthly SunDowners or Business After Hours functions.
SunDowners are typically held on the fourth Wednesday of the month, except in January and September when no SunDowners are held due to the annual meeting in January and ColorFest in September.
The holiday months of November and December also have date changes.
For planning purposes, the 2013 schedule will be as follows: Feb. 27, March 27, April 24, May 22, June 26, July 24, Aug. 28, Oct. 23, Nov. 20, and Dec. 18.
The SunDowners are great opportunities to expose your business to the community and, from the business standpoint, wonderful opportunities to network with other people. Yes, it is a social event, but how many of us conduct a lot of business or make contacts at social events?
The business host is responsible for providing the location and hors d’oeuvres or light snacks. It does not have to be dinner. The Chamber provides the beverages. SunDowners are held from 5 to 7 p.m.
We encourage businesses to partner on SunDowners to give broader coverage or to engage a business that does not have store frontage and would like some exposure. If there are several businesses in an area, you might want to consider something like a “block party.” We are happy to work with all kinds of scenarios.
If you are interested in signing up for a SunDowner, you need to be at the Chamber by 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1. You can arrive earlier and pull a number. There will be 12 numbers available: 10 for the SunDowners and two for the wait list. It will be a first-come, first-served situation. You can pull your number and leave, but if you are not back at the Chamber by 8 a.m. when the signups begin, you will forfeit your spot.
For more information about hosting a SunDowner, contact Mary Jo Coulehan or Jan Santopietro, membership coordinator, at 264-2360. We look forward to a busy signup day.
Business Open Mic Night
On Wednesday, Sept. 26, the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Community Development Corporation will host a business roundtable or Business Open Mic Night.
The open session will be held at the westside Visitor Center and CDC office located in the Country Center Plaza next to Aspen Tree Veterinary and the UPS store.
Individuals or business can come between 4-7 p.m. and speak to staff and board members about any community or business topic.
Perhaps your business is looking for employees; perhaps you would like to comment on a community or business issue, or perhaps you would like some counseling advice. Whatever the reason, this is a time to exchange ideas, ask for assistance or voice an opinion.
In this way, these two organizations can help businesses get together, put people in touch with others who are working on a similar project, or give assistance. You do not need to stay the whole time — the evening is set up in a casual and comfortable manner. Please come and see how we can assist you in your community or business endeavors.
For more information, contact Mary Jo at the Chamber at 264-2360.
Pagosa Perks Raffle
The chance to win $1,000, $500 or $250 in Pagosa Perks is back. For only $5 per ticket or $20 for five tickets, you have the chance to win local dollars you can use for almost any purpose. Use the winnings at the grocery store, buy new tires or have your car tuned up for winter. Purchase some clothing or accessories for winter, take the family out for a night on the town or purchase some holiday gifts. Whatever you choose to do, you can do it with the Pagosa Perks that you win in the raffle. Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce and from Chamber board or staff members. The raffle will continue until Dec. 19 when we will pull the winning tickets at 6 p.m. at the December SunDowner at The Springs Resort. You do not need to be present to win, but the December SunDowner is another great event to attend. For more information, contact the Chamber.
As we look at sustaining a successful workforce in a business, we often find that it isn’t just about providing a job. We look at the whole picture for the employee and how their outside life can affect their work performance.
Employers — Habitat for Humanity will conduct an open house on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 26 Durango Court, near Lake Hatcher. The location is their latest housing completion. Tour the property, or if one of your employees has shown an interest in engaging in a Habitat House, send them out for a free burger lunch. Habitat is currently taking applications for home ownership and a Family Selection committee member can answer questions about this opportunity. Help your staff and help give them a hand up; be engaged in your community and offer housing assistance to your staff.
Don’t forget there are two business education sessions coming up.
The first one is Maximizing Your Membership, to be held Monday, Sept. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Membership Coordinator Jan Santopietro will take you through the steps of utilizing your Chamber membership to your advantage. Can you log on to your own business listing and check your information, or change something? Are you looking at your referral reports? Are you giving your business the best exposure possible? Find out how you can make your chamber membership work better for you.
Then, beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 3, Marketing for Smarties is back. This intensive marketing class will take you through the steps to pinpoint how to better market your business. Each class is three hours and they will be held Oct. 3 and 24, and Nov. 14. There is a tremendous amount of class interaction and the sessions are facilitated by coach Marcy Mitchell. The cost of the three-week challenge is $149 and scholarships are available; however, deadline for scholarship application is Monday, Sept. 24. To register for the class, go to www.coloradosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=170320106 or call Lynn Asano at the Fort Lewis College SBDC office at 247-7009.
I was just introduced to a book — “Put the HEART Back in Your Community” — by one of our Chamber board members. The book is written by Lisa Brochu and Tim Merriman, Ph.D. and I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is a short read, but is powerfully descriptive. “HEART” stands for Holistic, Engaging, Appropriate, Rewarding and Thematic. The book features community stories from around the world. I would highly recommend adding this to your reading list.
We are back to having a large number of renewing members. We welcome Don and Mary McKeehan with Old West Press; Bill Schwab and his wife, Susan, with Piedra Automotive; Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate; Exit Realty Advantage Pagosa; Hometown Insurance Professionals of Pagosa Springs with Roy Vega; Professional Insurance Resources with Pam Slovak-Howard; the Bank of Colorado, the San Juan Motel, Plaza Liquor and FolkWest. Our individual associates renewing are Ron and Cindy Gustafson, with Ron being a Chamber diplomat throughout the summer.
With tourism slowing down some, this is a perfect opportunity to get some things done at your place of business: work on budgeting for 2013, take an educational class and work on your website, among other things. Give us a call at the Chamber if you need any guidance or assistance.