Sign up for Business After Hours

SUN Columnist

Typically, the first Monday of October is SunDowner signup time.

This year, the Chamber is changing a few of the guidelines for SunDowners or Business After Hours events.

First, while most people will continue to refer to these monthly networking opportunities as “SunDowners,” we would like to reinforce the word “business” and call these events “Business After Hours.” It is amazing how much “work” or “business” can be accomplished at networking functions such as this. The sponsoring businesses put a lot of effort into hosting the events and we want to make sure that other businesses take advantage of these receptions. Just imagine your business expanding, adding a new section of merchandise to your inventory or completing a renovation. You would want to show off your facility. That is one of the purposes of the Business After Hours — to show off a place of business, and we hope that other business owners attend, become informed and are supportive of the business community.

In addition to a new name, we are going to make some modifications to the signup procedure. While it may not be that different this first time out, business owners can now sign up for Business After Hours functions beginning Tuesday, Oct. 1, and you can sign up at any time for any month available. The biggest challenge, of course, will be this first signup period, especially if you would like a particular month. You can get to the Chamber offices early, but the signups will not take place until 8 a.m. This time, it will still be on a first-come, first-served basis, but after that you can sign up for an after-hours reception at any time. If the particular month you want is taken, you can sign up for another month, be placed on the waiting list, or sign up for a particular month for the following year. We will keep an ongoing schedule and will send out updates periodically, reminding business owners to sign up for a Business After Hours function.

We don’t want people waiting in the dark and cold every year. If the mood strikes you to have a reception, you can just call the Chamber and see what dates are available. Unfortunately, there may not be a lot of difference in the procedures this first time around, but we hope that after Oct. 1 the registration process will become much easier for the upcoming season of Business After Hours. Call the Chamber should you have any questions.

 Part of the solution

As mentioned in last week’s article, there will be several upcoming meetings where business involvement is important.

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, there will be a business meeting where we will discuss a more comprehensive plan for the holiday season. The Chamber and Visitor Center staff are already getting inquiries for that time of year, with people asking about things to do. The Chamber and the Town Tourism Committee would like to produce a more comprehensive calendar to promote our community and encourage people (visitors and locals alike) to participate in events. Some great ideas were generated at the first meeting, but we would like the business owners and residents alike to get involved and help us produce a busy holiday schedule. We are looking for things like areas of the community that would like to encourage residents to decorate their homes and be placed on the tour of homes/businesses lighting map. There will also be lighting contests this year. The stores downtown and on the west side are planning weekly specials and opportunities for people to get out and enjoy our community while encouraging residents to shop local. If you have some ideas on some fun activities, or if you know of some activities with your organization, attend the next holiday planning meeting on Sept. 25. Location and time will be announced.

The other important business involvement opportunity is the Business to Business Expo to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Elements in the community continue to duplicate efforts and miscommunicate, but what steps are we taking to rectify the problems? On Oct. 16, Tim Merriman and Lisa Brochu, international speakers and consultants, will be in Pagosa to give us some assistance in moving forward, on identifying a more definitive community vision and providing suggestions on how we might be able to work better together. Who would not want to be involved in making things better? To find out more about the speakers, go to

Also, the health care laws will change next year. Are you and your business ready? Connect for Health Colorado, the company facilitating Colorado’s Exchange program, will also have a representative in attendance as a luncheon speaker on Oct. 16. Mark your calendar and set aside a half day to attend this important conference. Don’t just wait in the wings and see what happens — be part of the positive change. Vendor space, sponsorship opportunities and tickets for the event will be available soon.

Calypso ColorFest

September is here and ColorFest weekend is only three weeks away.

Tickets are on sale for the Passport to Pagosa event to be held Friday, Sept. 20. You can also book your reservation for a delicious wine dinner at Nello’s on Thursday, Sept. 19. This year, we will focus on some wine blends — red and white. We will also be doing some comparisons between some “old vine” wines and “new vine” wines. The restaurants are also gearing up for the taste portion of the event. We are excited to announce that there are some new restaurants that will be participating this year. Stay tuned for a list of the restaurants participating.

This should be a fun and colorful event this year. Wear some colorful clothing or your fun floral prints to fit the Calypso theme. You can purchase tickets online at or stop by the office. Tickets are still $40 allowing you food and drink tickets. The event will be held under an 8,000 square-foot tent, so get ready to party, rain or shine!

Business news

Thanks again to Mountain Landing Suites and RV Park for a great Business After Hours. What a beautiful job on their guest rooms and new RV Park.

Thanks again to FolkWest for another exciting Four Corners Folk Festival. The entertainment is first class and we appreciate all the hard work it takes and all the volunteer hours required to put on an event of this magnitude.

And congratulations, again, to Pagosa Brewing, which not only came away from the Colorado State Fair with top quantity medal honors, but has also received one of “The Best in the World” awards for their Kayaker Cream Ale by “All About Beer Magazine.” We have some great businesses in Pagosa.

We have a new business to welcome to the Chamber membership this week: Holy Smokes Stoves and Fireplaces. With the onset of winter not too far off, you can call Holy Smokes for installation, service, maintenance, chimney cleaning and technical support for fireplaces and various types of stoves. They have been a family-owned business for 33 years. Located on Goldmine Drive, they have a great selection of stoves and are convenient to uptown and downtown residents. Welcome Darwin, Lisa and Jeremiah Flaugh.

Our renewals this week include La Plata Electric Company, Roy Vega with Hometown Insurance Professionals, the Made in Colorado Shoppe with new owner Jean Hietala, Liberty Theatre, Rio Grande Savings and Loan, Abracadabra, Dayspring Chiropractic and, from out of the area, PASCO, from Cortez.

Now that Labor Day is over, start thinking about holiday specials and your involvement. Contact the Chamber if you need suggestions or information about upcoming activities.

This story was posted on September 5, 2013.