Start planning now for spring events

SUN Columnist

Snowfall keeps our winter activities on track, and we’re prepared for spring breakers and spring river run-off.

However, as you know, the Chamber is also looking ahead at least six months to prepare organizations and the community for upcoming events. So, while you are enjoying skiing and snowmobiling, start thinking about planting and spring activities.

The Southwest Organization for Sustainability will again host Earth Day Celebrations this year on Saturday, April 20, in Town Park. Last year, Mother Nature played a trick on us and gave us snow that day, but, hopefully, we will not be thwarted this year. If so, SOS does have a contingency plan.

Included in the Earth Day events will be a Volunteer Recruitment Day. Organizations and the public are encouraged to participate in this information exchange. If you are a member of a nonprofit or community organization that is seeking volunteers to help out or you’re looking to increase attendance at your meetings, it would behoove you to join in the Volunteer Recruitment Day. This community outreach program is multi-faceted: an organization can have a booth at the Earth Day Event, be listed on the Chamber website on a volunteer page dedicated to organizations seeking volunteers, and you will be listed in the hard copy book that is handed out at the lobby of the Visitor Center and used as a tool when we are working with people relocating to Pagosa Springs. The second option is to be listed on the website and in the book. The third option is to be listed in the volunteer publication. Each option involves a nominal cost. Recruiting one new volunteer or have someone find out about your organization is well worth the minor investment.

In addition, we encourage local residents to enjoy the activities associated with Earth Day, and to get out and investigate if there are any organizations that you would like to invest some time with. There will be groups of all types at the event. If you are new to the community, this is a must-attend event: there will be organizations there that can quench your passion for involvement and you can find out about numerous organizations that may not be in attendance.

Non-profit organizations interested in attending, participating in the Volunteer Recruitment Day, or that need more information should contact Patricia Shoffner, Visitor Center coordinator at 264-2360. Even the Visitor Center will be represented at the event as we, too, are always looking for people to help out.

Hanging baskets

The Chamber will again offer beautiful hanging baskets in the spring.

The super-large, 16-inch baskets will not be delivered until after Memorial Day, but the smaller, with flexible delivery, of stunning 12-inch baskets waiting for a consistent warm weather trend — either late May or early June. We will alert you when the baskets go on sale in early April. There will be a limited number of baskets of each size available. There is great demand for these beautiful containers and the large baskets bring phone calls from out of the state from people wondering where to purchase them. As you look at the snow in your yard, or shovel the sidewalk in front of your business, plan to get a few colorful baskets to brighten things up.

Spring break

As always, the community awaits spring breakers during the month of March. This year, the major dates are March 9-15 and March 16-22. We are currently calling around to the lodging establishments asking about availability. Please respond to our request so we can try to help book your location or stop bugging you with calls if you are sold out. If your status changes, contact us so we can alert staff and volunteers.

Restaurants should be prepared for large groups and families, especially at the dinner hour. Retail store owners should make sure that the stores are stocked with product and staffed so our visitors can leave with a memento of Pagosa Springs.

This is a time when a first impression can be a lasting impression. Work with staff now to offer exceptional customer service and provide an experience that will keep visitors coming back to Pagosa and your store for years to come.

You always get caught

Many years ago, when I was a novice manager with Marriott Corporation, my food and beverage director said, “Just remember, Mary Jo, you always get caught.” I think he said that to me as I was trying to skirt around the rules — being younger, and being smarter than he was. That one statement reinforced in me the challenge to do the best I can and to own up to mistakes I make. Shortcuts don’t always work.

So, I got caught! In last week’s Chamber article, I commented on how great the Feb. 20 Women’s Conference was. That was based on the fact that I had heard the speaker and gathered from the attendance list that the networking would be great. However, last Wednesday being the day of an early morning blizzard, who would have guessed when I submitted my Chamber article Monday that the conference would be cancelled? Yes, I got caught and the conference was not held, but will be rescheduled for Thursday, March 21, at The Springs Resort and Spa, in the EcoLuxe building.

Anyone who paid for the conference will receive a credit for the conference in March, or for any other of their choice.

We can’t wait to hear Dr. Nicola St. Mary and Puja Parsons. All I can say is that I deviated from my commitment and, guess what? Mr. O’Brien was right. You always get caught!

Business news

Don’t forget the Imagine Downtown meeting today, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center. Representatives of the Geothermal Greenhouse Project, the TTC Signage Subcommittee and Habitat for Humanity will make presentations, and there will be updates on what is happening in the downtown area. The final DCI report has also been released. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

We have two businesses renewing this weekend: Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship and Habitat for Humanity.

Remember, if your business will have special hours for Pagosa’s spring break, let the Chamber know so we can include that information in our weekly Updates and Reminders.

This story was posted on February 28, 2013.