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It’s time for ColorFest weekend

Right on the heels of a very busy Labor Day holiday, we roll into ColorFest weekend.

While the hint of fall is in the early morning air, the leaves have not really started to change color yet. We are in precursor color mode! Along with fall colors in southwest Colorado, this is also the time to celebrate the harvesting of the grapes — thus, our wine festival. There is a complete description of the events for ColorFest weekend in the PREVIEW. Don’t miss out on the balloon ascensions, the Passport to Pagosa Wine and Food Festival, the Bands, Brews, Etc... Blowout, and the Balloon Glow.

Business owners should be aware there is an event occurring at the Parelli Center this weekend, Sept. 10-12. Please make sure you are staffed, that you have appropriate food ordered, and your best smiles and service skills are in place. It is nice to have Pagosa busy on so many weekends. People will also be arriving later on in the month to view the colors, and hunting season is also now upon us. Please make sure you are open for business well into the fall. Don’t miss any opportunity to service our customers and earn a few more dollars.

QuickBooks class

On Thursday, Sept. 16, the Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center, will host an Intro to QuickBooks Class. This class will run from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center and refreshments will be served. The cost of the class is $30 for Chamber members and $40 for non-members.

The class will cover Getting Started; Accounting 101: Balance sheets, P & L’s, Cash Flow; Fundamentals: Lists, Forms; Incoming Dollars — How Quickbooks handles your customers and sales; Outgoing Dollars: Vendors and Bills; Reports: What are they telling you about your business; and a number of other topics. Bethany McManus, a certified Quickbooks ProAdvisor, has over 15 years of experience helping small businesses in southwest Colorado. She will present a high-energy program, filled with lots of practical information. Included in the cost of the class is a one-on-one follow-up session with McManus.

Another exciting announcement is that, thanks to the assistance funding from the El Pomar Foundation, two full scholarships will be offered for this class. To apply for the class and the scholarship, contact the SBDC office at 247-7009 or Lynn Asano at asano_lynn@fortlewis.edu.

Business Bites

The Business Bites for September is a must for all owners of tourism-related businesses.

The Town Tourism Committee is looking for ways to help attract tourism to your business, and one way is through Gateway Reservations. Gateway Reservations is the central reservations system that TTC has contracted with to enhance lodging and tourism activities through the website and phone calls about Pagosa Springs.

This is an important session for anyone in the tourism industry: lodging, activities such as skiing, horseback riding, rafting, outfitting, rental equipment, tours, and much more. The informational session will last about an hour and there will be time afterwards to speak with Gateway Reservations representatives. Gateway Reservations is a commission organization, but even if they sell a product that you have for a commission, versus the product just sitting there, aren’t you farther ahead? A percentage of nothing is still nothing, but a percentage of your regular fee is income to you.

Come to the community center to hear how this organization can help get you business. The Business Bites session is $5 and includes lunch. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that you call the Chamber to reserve a spot so we can order enough food. Call 264-2360 and let us know your name and business organization.

Marketing for Smarties

We have been talking about how business owners should be looking at how they do business, honing in on niche marketing, and clearly identifying their products and customers.

One way to help you is through Marketing for Smarties. This intense class offers three sessions: Oct. 6, Oct. 27, and Nov. 10. All classes run from 6–9 p.m. and are held at the Chamber of Commerce. Space is limited for this class and it is often a full class, so please register now by calling the Southwest Colorado SBDC office at 247-7009, or e-mail Lynn Asano at–asano_l@fortlewis.edu. Classes run $149 and this session will be taught by marketing coach Marcy Mitchell, owner of MTECH Internet Marketing.

Upcoming activities

Audubon Society. On Saturday, Sept. 18, give back a little to our beautiful outdoors and contribute some volunteer time to the Weminuche Audubon Society as they work on removing the protective sleeves that have been on the young ponderosa pines. Volunteers will clip off and bag these sleeves and help the ponderosa grow. Volunteers should meet at the cattle guard at the end of the Piedra Road pavement at 8 a.m. Make sure you bring water, suitable fall clothing, comfortable shoes and work gloves. Audubon will provide box lunches to all who pre-order their lunch. If you are interested in participating in the Gordon Creek Ecosystem Restoration Site, call 731-5759 or go online to weminucheaudubon.org.

High altitude cooking. If your cakes are falling and your cookies are coming out like hockey pucks, now is the time to learn while you enjoy a special spot in Pagosa. Pagosa Baking teams up with the V.A. Poma Ranch to serve up some wonderful bakery items and lodging hospitality. The class is from 10 a.m. on Saturday Sept. 18, to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19. You will start with a brunch on Saturday at 10 a.m., bake all day, enjoy a dinner with some of the results of your daytime baking efforts, then wake up to a sourdough pancake breakfast on Sunday and enjoy the rest of the day. The class also includes lodging at the ranch in one of the charming cabins. The cost of the class is $176 and accommodations are limited to only 12 people — so make your reservations by Sept. 10.

Mountain Chile Cha-Cha. All you green chile experts get ready for the Mountain Chile Cha-Cha, to be held on Saturday, Sept. 25. The day begins with the last race in the Pagosa Peak Trail Race Series with 15-, 7- and 3-mile runs in the beautiful Reservoir Hill area. Finish up in Town Park where the chile cookoff will be held. There will be free live music, food vendors and the chile tasting. If you are interested in entering the contest, go to http://pagosaspringsdining.com/mtn chile chacha.html, or call Jacque Aragon at 274-4237.

Sport Air Race. Also on Saturday, Sept. 25, you can watch the second annual Sport Air Race at Stevens Field. This is a closed circuit air race beginning and ending at Stevens Field. Come out and meet the pilots, see the fantastic airplanes, and enjoy the morning. This race allows non-professional builders and owners of airplanes to improve and test aircraft modifications. The fun runs from 7 a.m. to noon.

SunDowner signup

Don’t forget to get out your calendars and plan for a SunDowner in 2011. SunDowner signup is Monday, Oct. 4 at the Chamber, beginning at 8 a.m. You must be present to register, no e-mails or phone calls at this time. SunDowners occur every month but January and September. For more information, contact the Chamber at 264-2360.

Membership

We have two new businesses to welcome this week.

While the owner is not new to the chamber, his business is! We welcome Nathan Thomas back to the Chamber with his new accounting business, Cornerstone Accounting. Nathan previously owned H&R Block locally, but has now started a different accounting firm. Cornerstone Accounting is located at 190 Talisman Drive, Suite D-6. Nathan is a CPA and can also perform tax reviews and audits. For more information, call 731-8080.

Also located in the Cornerstone Accounting Office is Josh Hughes and Fix It Computers and Networks. Josh works on everything from laptops to a small business network. He can provide technical assistance and superior customer care. You can contact Josh at 903-0426.

Our renewals this week include Bank of Colorado; Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Pagosa Feed and Nursery; Milner Chiropractic at The Springs Resort; Abel Electrical Contracting; the Weminuche Audubon Society; Echo Canyon Ranch Association; and the American Red Cross.

Please don’t forget to register for one of the upcoming business education sessions. The Chamber also provides a Maximizing Your Membership lunch once a month to help you better understand your Chamber member services and see how we can help you and your business. The lunch is free, it is offered the fourth Monday of the month, and we will provide you with a mountain of information. Call Kimberley for a reservation at 264-2360. Enjoy your ColorFest weekend.