MEET THE PEOPLE

Mary Jo Coulehan
Chamber of Commerce Director

Bob & Valerie Goodman
Proprietors of Goodman's Department Store

Jeff Greer
Proprietor of Overlook Mineral Springs & Spa

Joanne Irons
Youth Advocate & Mother

John, Ivy & Ryder King
An Extreme Family

Clifford Lucero
Archuleta Conty Commissioner

Guy & Diane Ludwick
Proprietors of Fireside Inn Cabins

Madeline Lyon
Proprietor of Wild Spirit Gallery

Maria MacNamee
Proprietor of Happy Trails Ladies Boutique

Giuseppe Margiotta
Outdoor Enthusiast

Bill McKown
Airport Manager

Diane Munson
Massage Therapist

Morgan Murri
Founder of GECKO

Edgar Ortiz
Proprietor of Chavolo's Mexican Restaurant

Udgar & Puja Parsons
Proprietors of Growing Spaces

Troy Persson
PGA Pro & Golf Club General Manager

Davey & Rosanne Pitcher
Proprietors of Wolf Creek Ski Area

Angel & Marsha Preuit
Proprietors of Healing Waters Resort & Spa

Doug Purcell
Colorado Divison of Wildlife

Bob, Lisa & the Scott Family
A Love for Community

Tony Simmons
Proprietor of Pagosa Brewing Co.

Todd & Kellie Stevens
Proprietors of Farrago Market Café & Alley House Grille

Keely Whittington
Proprietor of The Springs Resort & Spa

Matt Yoksh
Proprietor of Pagosa Ski Rentals

Keely Whittington
Growing sustainably and responsibly;
protecting the charm, nature and history of our town
“Pagosa had always been our home and a sanctuary away from the rest of the world for us as a family,” says Keely Whittington, whose family called Pagosa Springs their second home for 33 years. Despite its home status and her love for the area and the town, Whittington found it difficult to jump at the chance of buying a business in Pagosa Country. “My sister and I discussed it a lot to see if we wanted to disrupt that sanctuary with business.”
In the end, Whittington and her sister did interrupt the sanctuary and now own and operate The Springs Resort in downtown Pagosa Springs. She also converted from being a part-time resident to being a full-time resident two years ago.

Though only a part-time resident for much of her life, Whittington felt no less concern for Pagosa’s growth and its threat to the character of the town, as well as to itself.

“Nerissa and I wanted to see The Springs, or Pagosa in general, grow sustainably and responsibly and we didn’t want to see the charm, the nature, the history of the town destroyed by somebody coming in from the outside that didn’t understand it,” she says. She and her sister ultimately saw The Springs as an opportunity to help the town move forward in a positive manner that would benefit generations of her family, as well as other Pagosans for years to come.

So, naturally, when the The Springs needed to expand, the sisters looked into sustainable development — something they’d done with other business opportunities (Whittington noted she and her sister have been in the top 25 women-owned businesses in New Mexico for about 15 years). What came next was a luxury hotel with a twist — its status as one of America’s greenest-built hotels, built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standards.

“When we were looking at the future and how we wanted to continue our businesses and how we wanted to be perceived in the public, this was a natural step. There’s no return on investments that’s been proven for building in this manner. There’s no immediate gratification,” says Keely, noting that it cost 20 percent more to build the hotel to the green standards. “We chose to do it just as a responsible and a natural next step as to what we have been doing all along ... preserving the land, preserving the integrity and preserving the community.”

In addition to the cost increase, building the hotel to a gold standard level of green meant over 90 percent of labor and materials were local and 98 percent came from a 250-mile radius, recycling was done on site, planet-friendly paints and glues were used and more.

No detail has been spared in the daily running of The Springs, either — from the water to the daily cleaning. The brand of bottled water was chosen based on the ability to recycle its bottle, its cleaning products are all green, the heat is geothermal, and the cooling system uses river water, which then runs through the fountain that graces the premises before returning to the river.

“We’re able to really utilize a lot of really unusual techniques that haven’t, to our knowledge, been used at this point,” says Keely.