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As we rush around during the holiday and are finally busy shoveling snow, hopefully we are also taking time to look back on the year.
With that comes reflecting on the people and organizations that make this community tick. The Chamber of Commerce encourages residents to do just that, then take time to nominate people for the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards that will be handed out at the Chamber’s annual meeting on Saturday, Jan. 19.
This year, in addition to the two standard awards, we have added two more: The Small Business of the Year and the Nonprofit of the Year awards. These two new awards have been added not to say that one business or organization is better than another, but for these types of organizations to assess their successes and contributions to the community, celebrate their achievements and become an example for others.
But, in order to win, you must self-nominate or be nominated.
The Small Business of the Year award has the following criteria: You must have been in business at least three years, have less than 20 employees, present an attractive physical appearance for the business, demonstrate excellence, maintain a reputable business image and high hospitality standards, be supportive of community projects, exhibit initiative and creativity, exemplify organizational stability and, of course, be a Chamber member.
Seems like a lot of qualifications, but there are a number of businesses I could easily nominate that meet these requirements. It is time for our businesses not just to subsist, but to assess their practices, tout their achievements and become examples for others in our community.
The Nonprofit of the Year award is not designed to recognize a particular member of the organization, an executive director or a particular special event, but rather to commend the entire organization. We have a plethora of well-qualified nonprofit entities in Pagosa and many of our community needs would not be met if these organizations did not exist.
As with the Small Business Award, we want the community to recognize the hard-earned efforts of some of our high-functioning nonprofit organizations. The criteria for the Nonprofit of the Year are: Must be a viable 501(c)(3) for at least three years, provide a necessary service to the community, enhance and enrich the community, have a positive image in the community, serve the community with distinction and excellence and, yes, be a Chamber member. Again, this award is not about the director, but is a recognition of the organization and its impact in our town.
Along with these four awards, the Southwest Organization for Sustainability will highlight the Green Business of the Year at the annual meeting. There are several categories this year in which a business can qualify for the award: Utilities, Food and Beverage, Lodging, Manufacturing, Automotive, Service and Other. The Green Business Award reflects on how your business takes steps to minimize the impact on the environment through energy and water use, transportation, pollution and waste, leadership steps and innovation in implementing environmentally responsible practices.
There are also the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards. Is there an individual, couple or small group that has made a positive impact in the community with their tireless efforts to improve the quality of life here in Pagosa? Many of these dedicated people fly under the radar; they go about their jobs quietly, performing their volunteer work, never expecting a thank you or reward. Now is the time to say thank you and recognize their contributions.
Forms for all the awards are available at the Chamber and they can be downloaded from the Chamber website at www.pagosaspringschamber.com. They are located on the home page. You will also be receiving reminders in your inbox through our weekly Updates and Reminders, so don’t delete these e-mails.
The forms are due back to the chamber by Friday, Jan. 4, and the Green Business nomination is due Jan. 11. If you need more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce. We look forward to recognizing a lot of people, businesses and groups this year. Remember to nominate someone or self-nominate your business or organization; we want to celebrate the people and businesses that make up our community. Thank you for taking time to recognize these people and organizations.
With the recent gift of snow and the holidays, our visitor numbers in Pagosa will increase significantly over the next couple of weeks. The Chamber/Visitor Center has put together a list of restaurant hours for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We have sent this information out to lodging facilities and other entities on our mailing list. It might be a good idea for lodging and restaurant entities to have this information handy for staff to answer any questions. Your facility might be closed on a particular holiday, but a great hospitality tip is to refer people to another facility in town that is open. Visitors will appreciate you for going the extra mile to make sure they are given correct information.
We are also receiving numerous calls about accommodations during the holiday weeks. Please make sure you communicate your availability status to the Chamber so we can refer people accordingly. Visitors can also go online to www.visitpagosasprings.com and be referred directly to the appropriate lodging facility through the Book Direct system. It is important that you keep your reservation system current as well. We don’t want to send calls to you unnecessarily if you are booked; however, we want to send business your way. Please help us help you during this holiday season. Your next couple of weekly Updates and Reminders will also have information about any changes in business hours. If you have any significant changes — closed for the holidays, open on a day you are usually closed, etc. — let us know so we can update our information for the office staff and Visitor Center volunteers.
There will be several more opportunities to bundle up, get the family out and enjoy the holiday season in Pagosa.
On Saturday, Dec. 22, Santa will be making the rounds in town. From 1-4 p.m., residents and visitors alike can visit the parking lot at the old City Market parking lot, downtown at 8th Street and U.S. 160, for the Kid’s Cowboy Christmas. Santa has brought his horse (or reindeer) trailer and will be available for all those last-minute wishes. There will be hot drinks and snacks as well. Thanks to a group of dedicated citizens and students wanting to improve the look of our vacant downtown shopping center, the building will be decorated.
Beginning at 4:30 p.m., the first Reservoir Hill Light Up will take place. Three trees at the Spa trailhead behind Healing Waters will be decorated with lights. They will go live after 5 p.m. Mayor Aragon will be on hand to flip the light switch and Santa will change locations and move over to Reservoir Hill. There will be even more hot beverages, cookies and goodies for the kids. This is a wonderful time to show off our community assets. If visiting, make yourselves at home and attend one of these festive events.
We have a few new members to welcome to the Chamber this week.
Christa Laos joins the Chamber with her licensed massage Healing Bodywork program. Christa has 60- or 90-minute sessions, which also include a 15- or 20-minute consultation. She uses organic products, provides a safe and healing environment and uses a variety of massage techniques such as hot stones, moist-heat therapy and reflexology. Christa takes pride in offering a safe and relaxing environment for you to heal. To speak with Christa, or to book an appointment, call 903-9797.
Blake Holleman with Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society joins the Chamber. Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society provides insurance, fraternal benefits and community activities for members and their families now and in the future. Blake is available to talk with you about life, health and disability insurance, AFLAC long- and short-term insurance. Also offered is estate planning, annuities, universal life, team, whole-life and long-term care insurance. Give Blake a call at 731-9797 or visit his offices in the Country Center Plaza F, Suite 263.
Kristal Fortune and the Friends of Pagosa Skate Pavilion are excited as they work toward bringing a regulation-size, year-round skating pavilion to Pagosa. To be used as an ice skating rink in the winter and roller rink in the summer months, this rink will service locals and visitors alike. Public ice skating, hockey games, broomball and skate parties will be available and the facility will serve as a home base for the Pagosa RIP team. To find out more about this venture, or to offer support, contact Kristal at 264-3346.
Our renewals this week include the Archuleta County Extension Office, Lobo Express and Adobe Abodes vacation home rental property.
Our office and Visitor Center will be closed Christmas Day; however, we will be open the rest of the time, including the weekends. Thank you for your support and please contact our office if we can assist you during the holidays.