Voting begins Monday for Chamber board members

SUN columnist

Voting begins on Monday, Jan. 6, for the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The members selected will be on the Chamber board for a three-year term.

The candidates for the 2014 election process are: Nicki Alley, owner of Higher Grounds Coffee; Peggy Andrews, independent real estate broker and Mountain Mist Soaps owner; Mike Beckel, partner with Wilson, Rea, Beckel & Associates, CPAs; Jessica Bilazzo, leadership member with Growing Spaces; Mary Hunt, Realtor associate with Team Pagosa Realty; and Jeannie Sinkie, general manager of Mountain Landing Guest Suites and RV Park. Each of these nominees has been involved in the community and their industries and we encourage you to read their bios online at and in hard copy at the Chamber.

Chamber members are eligible to cast one ballot on behalf each business that is a member. Voting will be for three of the six nominees on the ballot. Voting will primarily be held online. Members should have received directions on how to vote electronically. You will need your membership user name and password to access the ballot. If you are unsure of your codes, please contact the chamber so that we can issue you the correct information. Should we receive multiple ballots from your business, your votes will be completely nullified. It is only one vote per business.

Members will be able to vote online up to 5 p.m. on Jan. 24 and then in person at the annual celebration on Saturday, Jan. 25.

The Chamber has a full year of change ahead focusing more on business referrals, education and some new programs that we will release at the annual meeting. The new director will be busy, and will face the uncertainty of the location of the visitor center. The new director will be tasked with setting up our offices, as well.

We will also continue with the usual chamber events at this time — WinterFest in February, the Car Show at Pagosa in May, the 38th annual Arts and Crafts Festival and the Renaissance Festival in July, and ColorFest in September. We will also be working with the retail merchants to see how we can create more experiences for our locals and visitors. Our educational classes and briefs for the year are shaping up nicely to include topics related to QuickBooks and WordPress usage, managing cash-flow and the ever changing social media arena. Invest in yourself and attend either a Business Bites luncheon or class in 2014.

Annual meeting

The annual meeting, Denim & Diamonds, will be held at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 6-9 p.m. A delicious dinner will be served, a cash bar will be available, there will be fantastic auction items from our generous business members, jazzy music by Bob Hemenger and the traditional community awards will be given.

Now is the time to get your nominations in for the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards, the Non-Profit and Small Business of the Year, and the SOS Green Business Leader awards. The nominations are due by Monday, Jan. 13. With each of these awards, it is a time to thank the individuals and businesses who devote so much effort to the community.

The Citizen of the Year nominee must have lived in Pagosa Springs for at least three years. They need to have contributed to the community in one of these four ways: philanthropically, economically, culturally or through lifestyle. Their contributions also need to have been performed outside of their normal job duties.

For Volunteer of the Year, contributions to the community can be through one effort or multiple avenues. The nominee’s contributions must also be outside the parameters of their normal job duties. Look around and nominate a neighbor, friend, someone you go to church or volunteer with. Thank them publicly for their service to our community.

Last year, Chimney Rock Interpretive Association was the winner of the Non-Profit Agency award. Who will it be this year? Nominate an organization that you volunteer for or have the director of the organization apply.

You can also nominate a business or a business can self-nominate for the Small Business of the Year award. We already have several excellent candidates, one of whom will join Happy Trails Ladies Boutique, who was the inaugural small business winner.

Pick up your form at the Chamber or, easier yet, go online to and download the form from the home page. Our residents and businesses deserve a lot of recognition. Let this be a time that we say thank you to those around us that give Pagosa Springs that sense of community.

Tickets for the annual celebration will be available beginning Monday, Jan. 6, either online or at the Chamber. Tickets are $40 per person. Break out your favorite denim, sparkle in your best bling and head out to the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts for a night of good food, good fun and great awards.

Business news

Start your new year off with a free Maximizing Your Membership class with membership coordinator Jan Santopietro. She is a wealth of membership information and can help you with anything. The class will be held on Monday, Jan. 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A delicious, free lunch is provided. Call ahead and reserve your spot and start working on your business right out of the New Year’s chute.

We have a plethora of businesses renewing this week, including Skywerx Wireless Internet, Pagosa Rooter, Ski & Bow Rack, In Balance Physical Therapy, Rocky Mountain Knives, The Durango Herald, Waste Management and Fox Fire Farms.

Don’t forget, if you are cleaning out your closets, that the Chamber is looking for denim jeans. Bring us your old jeans so that we can recycle them for our annual event. Just drop them off at the Chamber until Jan. 17.

Happy new year, Pagosa. We are looking forward to a prosperous and busy 2014.

This story was posted on January 2, 2014.