Chamber of commerce annual meeting is Saturday

SUN Columnist

The Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and awards celebration will be held Saturday at the Pagosa Center for the Arts.

Beginning at 6 p.m., attendees will enjoy the music of Bob Hemenger, a silent auction and cash bar. A delicious dinner of prime rib or salmon or a vegetarian lasagna and all the accoutrements will be provided by The Buck Stops Here.

The evening will culminate with the announcement of this year’s winners in the following categories: Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Non-Profit of the Year. The last two categories are new to the awards menu. Every year, community residents nominate people and organizations for these awards offering these unsung heroes at least a minute of gratitude in return for their hours of selfless giving.

The trick is that you must be nominated in order to be included in the pool of candidates. The nominees for the awards in the following categories are: Citizen of the Year: Mike Hayward and Muriel Eason, Kenny Daniels, Jack and Katy Threet, Jim Stone, and Buddy and Siri Schuchardt. Volunteer of the Year: LaQuita Johnson, Joan Ward, Kenny Daniels, Tim and Laura Moore, Mike Hayward, Stella Lang, Ray and Nancy Bush, and Beverly Haynes. Business of the Year: Pagosa Brewing, Wolf Creek Run, Next Door Decor and Happy Trails Ladies Boutique. Non-Profit of the Year: Habitat for Humanity, Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, The Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center, Archuleta Seniors Inc. and GECKO.

There will also be an award for Green Businesses of the Year, presented by the Southwest Organization for Sustainability.

Congratulations to all of the nominees. Pagosa thanks you for your generosity and the talents you contribute to various organizations in our community. We are so much better off as a community because of your efforts. Come to the annual meeting and find out who won in each category.

We encourage you to attend this year’s celebration even if you are not a Chamber member. Come and meet some new people, or see some old ones, find out how your Chamber membership supports the business community while giving your business more exposure, and support some of the individuals and businesses that are an integral part of our community. Perhaps this will spur you to think of people and businesses to nominate next year.

Tickets are available either at the Chamber of Commerce or online at

Chamber board 

The annual meeting will also be the last time you will be able to vote for three of six candidates running for the Chamber Board of Directors.

Online voting will be closed at 5 p.m. Friday. We encourage all members to take just three minutes out of their busy schedules to vote for business owners and managers who will represent the business community for the next three years.

Candidates running this year are Flynn Fierro, manager for Old Town Market and Deli; Paul Gomes, branch manager for Wells Fargo Bank; Nancy Gilbert, owner of Elk Meadows River Resort; Keil Steck, manager for the San Juan Motel; Jerry Smith, owner of Pagosa Verde; and Nick Tallent, financial advisor for Edward Jones.

These individuals are committed to serving the business community for the next three years. Review their bios online at or when you register online at the Elections Online site. If you do not know your name and password in order to gain access to the election, contact the Chamber by Friday and we will gladly provide the information.

Upcoming sessions

The Chamber is starting the year off with a bang by hosting several classes and seminars to help you as an individual and to aid your business.

The monthly Maximizing Your Membership class, typically held on the last Monday of the month, will be held Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 11:30 a.m. due to scheduling conflicts. We will be back on schedule in February. This free luncheon class will show you ways to take advantage of your Chamber membership. The Chamber is more than just a referral source and should be considered a partner. Find out about marketing and sponsorship advantages, ways to give your business more exposure and services you may not have known existed at the Chamber. Call the Chamber office at 264-2360 to reserve a place at lunch.

Also on Jan. 29, the Chamber of Commerce and the Community Development Corporation will host the first Business Open Mic Night of 2012 from 4-7 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce. This open session is made available to individuals who are seeking business consultation, have a community or business suggestion or would like to voice their concern about an issue. This month’s topic is “Inhibitors to running, expanding or opening a business in Pagosa Springs.” We are interested in hearing your opinion. Stop by the downtown office for five minutes or an hour. There will be personnel and space available for private business consultations or you can join the group in the conference room for the open discussion. Light snacks and beverages will be served.

On Feb. 20, beginning at 4 p.m., the Chamber will host the first of a three-part series focusing on women — their health, their business and their success. Women are juggling work and family life and sometimes it is overwhelming. There are many different types of women in this community, including young mothers, working women with no children and retirees. At this first gathering, we will focus on you, the woman, allowing you to have an evening to yourself while taking away some gems — whether a new acquaintance, a new babysitting source, information about how to take better care of yourself, or how you might change one thing in your life to make your life easier. Naturopathic doctor Nicola St. Mary, from Durango’s Pura Vida Natural Healthcare, and Puja Parsons, co-owner of Pagosa’s Growing Spaces will be the speakers. There will be a social time and lots of active engagement. Stay tuned for more information on this seminar.

The Chamber is committed to giving you the tools to improve and succeed in business. Take advantage of one of these seminars or classes and open up your business world.


We have one new business that has joined the Chamber this week, On the Rocks Country Bar & Bistro. Formerly Pagosa Pub Works & Brew Pub on N. Pagosa Blvd., On the Rocks offers delicious food and a full bar at lunch and dinner, and live entertainment regularly. This environment has comfortable seating, bar seating, pool tables and a dance floor with exciting music. Stop by for lunch or gather with the gang after work. Welcome, Bill Thacker, and congratulations!

Our renewals this week include Plaza Grille, Goodman’s Department Store, Touchstone Gift Shop, Calm Waters Aquatics, Julie Brown at Cherry Cement Salon, Nancy Gilbert with Elk Meadows River Resort, and Realtor Lee Riley. In the non-profit category, we welcome back Archuleta Seniors, Inc. and the Wolf Creek Trailblazers Snowmobile Club. Individual members Gus and Shari Gustafson, Bob and Carole Howard, John Ramberg, and Fred and Mary Webb renew their membership. We appreciate the loyalty of all the renewing members. For more information on a Chamber membership, speak with Jan Santopietro, membership coordinator at the Chamber.

This story was posted on January 17, 2013.