It’s time to prepare for March Madness for businesses

SUN Columnist

We lost a little time in February working on all the changes that will be occurring at the Chamber in the upcoming months. However, we are back on track, looking to provide some excellent business education sessions during the month of March. Business March Madness is also apropos because it is a busy month for Pagosa with Spring Break. We are looking right now at the two middle weeks of March being the busiest. This is the time for you to make sure that you adjust your hours of operation to meet the needs of our visitors, and to make sure that you have appropriate staff and food on hand to meet the influx of business and polish your hospitality skills.

The March Business Bites class will focus on online reviewing sites. We will have a small panel of leaders in a variety of industries that use these online sites as tools for helping them improve their business.

One negative comment is not the end of the world, but if there is a repeated comment about a particular service, then you may have a problem — which could easily be fixed. How do you address these comments? Successful businesses don’t just ignore them. This interactive Business Bites luncheon will be held on March 25 at noon. We will announce the location soon. If you are interested in attending this training session, contact the Chamber at 264-2360 to reserve your space. The lunch is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Obviously you also get lunch (tax and tip included) and a ton of useful information including how to manage online review sites to benefit your business.

The Chamber will be producing a great line-up of classes all throughout the year including more social media tips including blogging and mobile apps — what works for your business, qualifying for Enterprise Tax Zone Credits, and Word Press 101. We will also offer more specialized classes including Managing Windows 8.1, using Word Press to manage your website, Excel: from formulas to tracking your business and much more. If you have an idea on a class that should be offered or you would like to take, please call the Chamber with your ideas.

Fish fry events 

The Knights of Columbus begin their delicious Friday Lenten Fish Fry events beginning March 7 at 5 p.m. The price remains the same as last year with adults being $11, seniors $10, children $6 and under 6 eat free. This price includes the tasty catfish, hand-cut French fries, coleslaw, a non-alcoholic drink and dessert. Come by the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Hall by 7 p.m. to eat in or take out. The fish fry events will continue until April 11.

Thank you

The Chamber would like to take this time to say thank you to Mike and Laura Haynes for all their years of business service to Pagosa Springs. From Ponderosa Lumber and Home Center to Eagle Mountain Mercantile, the Haynes have been part of the fabric that is Pagosa business. There is rarely a silent auction or organization that they have not supported throughout the years. Their talents in building, outdoor sports (especially hunting) and crafts have given many a Pagosa resident a place to go for advice, quality materials and lessons. The support of the Haynes towards the Chamber has been so valuable. I will miss Mike’s insight, questions and support, and Laura’s guidance on the right products for a project.

Membership news

We would like to welcome back a plethora of renewing members this week. In the lodging arena, we have High Country Lodge, Pagosa Springs Inn and Suites and Sunetha Property Management. Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant, Christine’s Cuisine, Pagosa Ski and Snowboard Rentals, DJ 21, Dale Construction, Mountain West Insurance, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Axis Health System, Durango Credit and Collection and The Creede Repertory Theatre also renew. The nonprofit agencies renewing this week are Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County, San Juan Outdoor Club, Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Community United Methodist Church. Our individual associate renewal is Gus and Shari Gustafson.

Last day

Officially, my last day as director of the Chamber was Friday, Feb. 28. But, I will still be around and in and out of the office until a replacement is hired. I will continue to provide community information through this article and on KWUF. Please be patient in my returning phone calls and e-mails and lighter-than-normal staffing at the Chamber. I’m not saying good-bye yet, just slowly exiting.

Thank you for the humbling good-bye article and the kind words by SUN owner and editor Terri House.

As I cleaned up my office (finally) the other day, I found it a surreal experience. But I’m just changing my business address, not my community love and involvement.

This story was posted on March 6, 2014.