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I believe Pagosa has a bright future. History and traditions are important and have made us uniquely Pagosa, but Pagosa will spend the rest of its existence in the future. Pagosa can never go back to the past.
As J.R.R. Tolkien said, “The wide world is all about you. You can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.” Change is all around us. How can we embrace and leverage these changes to create a future Pagosa that benefits us all?
There really has never been a better time for small, rural towns like Pagosa. There are a variety of trends that bring tremendous opportunity. Here are just a few:
Geographic limits do not define who we are today or in the future. Geographic limits are no longer a barrier. Some changes include global, overnight delivery, mobile phone service, Internet access and more. Forward-thinking small businesses in our community are already taking advantage and using local talent for manufacturing while selling and shipping globally.
Many people here are remote workers and do their work online. In fact, both my husband and I worked for global companies while we lived and worked in rural Pagosa. It enabled us to bring in paychecks from outside our community, invest in property, pay taxes here and spend our money here to create and support local jobs.
Customers are forever changing retail. Big box retail is getting smaller. James Howard Kunstler predicted two years ago that everything gigantic is about to get smaller. Charles Wetzel with the Buxton Group has already documented in Dallas-Ft. Worth that new big boxes are smaller and that customers are shifting to shopping where there is good customer service and they are loved and appreciated. Even if a product can be purchased online, people prefer the personal relationship of local, home-town retail. Small retail is now growing faster than big business.
Travel motivations are changing. Tourists want to find unique places off the beaten path. They are looking for authentic, local, mom and pop experiences. This describes Pagosa. They want to find these by getting references from people they know. And, if people think Pagosa is a nice place to visit, they will think it is a nice place to live. Some will ultimately choose to do so like I did.