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Planning begins for Rural Entrepreneurship event

Whether your business is a lifetime dream, in the planning stages, a start-up or expanding, you will benefit by attending the fourth annual Colorado Rural Entrepreneurship conference to be held Oct. 7, in Pagosa Springs.

The date is a ways off, but residents of Pagosa Springs will be responsible in large part for designing and shaping this year’s state conference. With this in mind, it is important that owners of all types get involved.

If you were to attend the Entrepreneurial Conference, what would you like to see, and what sessions would you attend to improve your business?

Typically, the conference consists of tracks, including topics relating to agriculture and how rural businesses and entrepreneurs deal with technology, finance, marketing, being an entrepreneur, and building a business. There are sessions for the start-up business and those for the business owner who would like to expand, or go national or international. Experts will be in attendance to help guide and give one-on-one advice. However, each conference is different and we want to produce a unique and exciting marketplace showcasing unique businesses, especially those here in Pagosa.

On Friday, Feb. 25, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first planning meeting will be held. There are many facets to be considered when putting on this conference: designing the sessions, logistics, marketing, community involvement, arranging “the Store at Marketplace,” designing the breakout, lunch and reception events, and working with volunteer organization, just to name a few.

The conference is hosted by the Colorado Rural Development Council and serves as an opportunity for community leaders and residents of rural communities to share visions and ideas that can help rebuild and revitalize rural America. It is an event where we can share resources and ideas and encourage relationships vital to a successful business. Previous conferences have been held in La Junta, Grand Junction and Limon. It is now time for southwest Colorado and Pagosa Springs to show how desirable our region is — to highlight local entrepreneurs and attract businesses.

We encourage business owners to get involved. If you want to work on a particular committee or if you would like to participate in the Marketplace in some fashion, we encourage you to attend this initial planning meeting. If you are not able to attend, but would like to add your ideas, please e-mail them to Mary Jo Coulehan at director@pagosachamber.com.

The planning meeting will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center on Feb. 25, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you have questions, contact the Community Development Corporation at 731-1443 or the Chamber at 264-2360. We hope to see a good contingency of business owners at this planning session, ready to make this marketplace the best one yet.

Website redesign RFP

The Chamber is excited to announce that we are upgrading our membership database system. Upgrading this system also involves redesigning the website. The guidelines for bidding on this project or submitting an RFP (Request for Proposal) are listed on the Chamber’s website or a hard copy can be obtained from the Chamber offices. The due date for submitting your proposal is by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25. Late proposals will not be accepted.

The majority of the website will be driven by the database system run by a company called WebLink. This database system is very user (member) friendly and is very robust. Members will be able to track referrals, change their own information, and even purchase event tickets for Chamber events online. Members will also be able to sign up online and pay online. This feature is great — but don’t forget that we always like seeing our constituents when they visit our offices. The scheduled date for rolling out the new database and website is mid-May.

Please visit our current website to download the RFP. If you have questions, contact Mary Jo at the Chamber, 264-2360.

Upcoming events

“It’s a Grand Night For Singing.” The Pagosa Springs Arts Council will present a Broadway Sing-along on Friday, Feb. 25, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at DJ’s Italian Grill (56 Talisman Drive). At the keyboard will be John Graves with special guest stars and local singing talents Johnny K and Natalie Oman. The restaurant will resound with famous and favorite Broadway tunes. DJ’s will offer a pizza bar, salad and a cash bar. Tickets are $25 and are on sale at the Chamber, DJ’s and Boulder Coffee, as well as at the door. Ask anyone who attended last year’s sing-along and they’ll tell you they were transported to Broadway in New York without all the traffic and smog. This is a fun and festive event and lends itself to a great evening out on the town.

Rotary Club Mardi Gras Ball Casino. On Saturday, Feb. 26, the gold, green and purple come out of the closets as the Rotary Club holds its annual Casino Night. This year’s event will be held at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts on Eagle Drive. The festivities will run from 6-10 p.m. Tickets are $35 each and include gambling funny money, hors d’oeuvres, music, entertainment, dancing, an auction, and gaming including craps, blackjack, poker, craps and Texas Hold’em. There will also be a cash bar. Tickets can be purchased from any Rotary Club member, at Exit Realty on Put Hill, and downtown at The Pagosa Springs SUN offices. Mardi Gras colors are encouraged, but not required. Proceeds from this event go to scholarships, teacher mini grants and non-profit community projects.

Little Black Dress Affair: The Animal Within. On Saturday, March 5, Seeds of Learning hosts its annual fund-raiser. This year, the little black dresses or animal prints come out of the closet as the women of Pagosa enjoy an evening out with elegant appetizers provided by Alley House Grille/Farrago Market Cafe and a fashion show. The fashion show will feature Goodman’s Department Store and Little Weedz Dresses that Grow. There will be a silent and live auction and cash bar. The event will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 and may be purchased at Switchback Mountain Wear in the Country Center and Seeds of Learning. And gentlemen, while the women are out, don’t feel badly — you can have a fun “man-cave” evening at Pagosa Brewing. Your festivities begin at 5 and go until 8 p.m. and include mug club status for everyone, special burgers, pizza and food, and the ability to watch NHL and NBA games. No black dresses and no tickets, but a portion of the proceeds will benefit Seeds of Learning.

Membership

We have quite a few new members this week, starting off with the reinstatement of Enchanted Valley Farms, our friends with fantastic spreads and dips, all made with the freshest products and produced locally. You may purchase Enchanted Valley products at a variety of local stores. Welcome back, Barbara and Daniele.

All Purpose Storage and U-Haul joins. All Purpose is centrally located off of Rob Snow Road. They have residential and commercial space, as well as boat and RV storage space. There is an onsite manager and they offer a free lock with a rental space. All Purpose also offers packing boxes and supplies and U-Haul moving equipment. Call Dean Bridgewater at 264-5958 for more information.

Paul Hudson Custom Log Homes is a new member. Formerly known as Snowshoe Log Homes, Paul has built over 25 log homes in and around Pagosa. Paul incorporates the ideas and wants of the client into each project, as well as making the project as stress-free as possible. To see his repertoire of homes or schedule an appointment, call 946-4467.

Team Murphy Realty of Lake City also joins our Chamber. Team Murphy offers ranches, farms, river properties, recreation parcels and commercial businesses not only in the Gunnison, Lake City area but also in southwest Colorado and Northern New Mexico. For more information, contact either Michael or Michelle Murphy at (970) 944-5050.

The last new member is Siri and Buddy Schuchardt as friends of the Chamber. We thank Siri for all she does in the community and as a volunteer for the Visitor Center.

Our renewals this week include Colorado Dream Homes, City Market, Buckskin Towing and Repair, HTI Builders, Be Our Guest Bed and Breakfast, Chimney Rock Adobe Rental, and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. Our nonprofit agencies include Habitat for Humanity, Community United Methodist Church and Thrift Store, and Archuleta Seniors. John and Carrie Weiss renew as friends of the Chamber.

We hope to see people out and about at WinterFest activities this weekend — wherever the events are to be held. Check the Chamber website for the latest information.

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