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No St. Patrick’s Day parade this year

SUN Columnist

Everyone loves a parade and, while nowhere near the Fourth of July Parade status, businesses and people have come out for the traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade, where everyone can be a little Irish. However, in 2013, there will not be a parade.

The decision was based on several factors. The first one is that St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year. To schedule a small parade on a Sunday and to get businesses and attendees together would be difficult. Scheduling a parade on Sunday also involves securing town and county employees and volunteer organizations to block and man the highway, which needs to be closed down. That involves a significant amount of overtime and related costs due to it being a weekend.

Last year, when the parade was held a day earlier, on March 16, the public was not happy because it wasn’t actually St. Patrick’s Day. Another factor was that, in order to close off the highway, we must have a minimum of 25 entries. To acquire even this minimal amount of participants for the past few years has been difficult and always last-minute. We could not run the risk of applying to close the highway on a Sunday and then not meet the requirements.

We apologize that some entries will not be able to promote their business or organization, but, when looking at the whole picture of entry and attendee participation, we felt this was the best decision.

Never fear, in 2014, March 17 falls on a Monday, so depending on the interest level, we can probably show off the green spirit again.

Visit one of our local restaurants or pubs that will be celebrating the holiday, where everyone can be Irish for a day.

Women’s Conference rescheduled 

With Mother Nature being Mother Nature, a snow storm blew into southwest Colorado on Feb. 20, necessitating the need to cancel the first session in our three-part Women’s Conference series. This conference has now been rescheduled and will be held Thursday, March 21.

The seminar will still be held at the EcoLuxe at The Springs Resort and we thank them for being so flexible in working with our changing needs. The class will begin at 4 p.m. and last until 7 p.m. This time also includes an hour for networking and socializing, with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

The conference will feature popular Durango naturopath practitioner Dr. Nicola St. Mary and Pagosa’s own wellness advocate and business owner Puja Parsons. These two health leaders will guide participants through some easy steps in helping women cope more effectively with daily stress and the daily requirements to juggle many tasks at once. They will provide and teach small and effective ways to set boundaries, change one habit which could make your life easier, and even recommend foods that might be affecting your moods and therefore your ability to handle stress.

From a Chamber standpoint, we encourage businesses to send some of their female staff members to this conference as a wellness benefit. The seminar is only $7 and this ticket would be a perk and a way to say, “thank you” to some of your staff and let them know that you care about their well-being. You may even see a change in their performance or attitude, whether it be handling work or home issues.

There is limited space for this conference, so register now. You can reserve your spot by calling the Chamber at 264-2360 or online at www.pagosaspringschamber.com. Those registrants that paid for the February class may apply their payment to any of the three upcoming sessions to be held this year. It is still not too late to start the New Year off with a commitment to improve your lifestyle.

Membership advantages

Many Pagosa businesses have a basic Chamber membership. This basic membership allows you to take advantage of a number of free benefits, including one website and printed listing, brochure display in the Chamber and Visitor Center lobby, use of Chamber facilities and goods, and many more amenities. It also allows you to take advantage of some nominal fee- based benefits, such as an enhanced or second business listing and various advertising opportunities. Many businesses also attend and support Chamber events such as SunDowners, the annual meeting, and public events such as the Passport to Pagosa Wine & Food Festival or the Car Show.

Why not combine some of these advantages and save money? The Chamber offers several Advantage Membership opportunities which can be catered to your needs as a business. All Advantage Memberships include a cost of a membership, event participation and tickets, and marketing exposure. Even if you are an individual associate member, you can upgrade your membership and get your membership, SunDowner and various event tickets all at one time — and save money! No need to come by and get ColorFest tickets or tickets for the annual meeting throughout the year; we simply reserve them for you and let you know when they are ready. Not going to use all your SunDowner passes? Give them to a friend or business acquaintance.

The beauty about these Advantage Memberships is that they can be customized to fit your business needs and budget. If you sponsor any of the Chamber events, you should definitely look at these membership upgrades. For every event sponsorship opportunity, your business is immediately added to the event sponsor page. You could be receiving months worth of advertising at no additional cost, just because you signed up now. We have several businesses that are already getting exposure as a ColorFest sponsor, which won’t be held until September, because they took advantage of the event sponsorship opportunity now.

Many of the Advantage Membership packages come with event tickets included in the package bundle. These tickets can be used as employee thank-yous and incentives. The higher the advantage level, the more tickets are included. So, not only you as the business owner can attend the event, but you can give them away to employees for a job well done. Wouldn’t you like to reward some staff members with tickets to the Bands, Brews or the Wine & Food Festival? Advantage Membership packages also include enhanced business listing status, which puts you at the “Top of the List” in your business category and often includes a free second business listing and banner ads on popular Chamber website pages.

Are you really taking advantage of your Chamber membership benefits? Do you know how much you spend on Chamber activities? Wouldn’t you like to save some money and get more for your money? Again, all packages can be customized to fit your business needs and we easily work with payment plans.

Jan Santopietro, membership coordinator, can help you design an Advantage Membership package to meet your needs. You need to be smart about where and how you spend your hard-earned dollars. We appreciate the business support and we want to reward you with more for your membership dollar. Give Jan a call, let her come by your business, or schedule an appointment at the office to see how we can better serve you, give your business more exposure, and save you money. Don’t just renew your membership, enhance your Chamber membership!

Membership news

We have one new business to welcome as a Chamber member this week; Debby Kruzic has opened a local branch of Records and Data Management, Inc. on Lewis Street. For more information, contact Debby at 264-1120 or find their information on the Chamber website.

Our renewing members this week include longtime business, Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant, and Good Earth Meds, Archuleta County’s only medical marijuana center.

The Archuleta County Education Center will host its annual fund-raiser, a Silver Star Celebration — 25 years of Lifetime Learning, on Wednesday, March 20 at Centerpoint Church. Nationally-acclaimed speaker Finessa Ferrel will deliver a keynote address about the latest advances in educational research.

This story was posted on March 7, 2013.