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Workshops promote creation of outdoors business

James Fenton
jfenton@daily-times.com
Shorell Dixon of Kirtland competes on Oct. 3 during the Road Apple Rally at Lions Wilderness Park in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Anyone contemplating starting a business based on the area's wealth of outdoor recreational activity could benefit from a pair of workshops today that focus on making connections and providing ideas on ways to successfully negotiate the area's prolonged economic slump.

At 11:30 a.m., Four Corners Economic Development CEO Ray Hagerman will lead a "bring your lunch" training at San Juan College's Quality Center for Business to help business owners set achievable goals concerning people, processes and products.

The lunch-hour workshop kicks off a monthly series of brown bag lunch meetings sponsored by the college's Enterprise Center and WESST, a statewide nonprofit organization that strives to support local businesses.

Hagerman's free training is geared toward helping businesses chart a course through the turbulent economic waters with goal-setting strategies that reflect what he calls the "new normal" economy, which is a result of the lingering effects of the 2008 recession and the recent slump in the oil and gas prices on the commodities market.

"You have to take into consideration that 2016 will be a very difficult year, no matter what industry you're in," Hagerman said. "My goal (for the workshop) is for people to leave understanding the goal-setting process, (and) to understand the difference between a goal, an objective and a strategy."

Judy Castleberry, who works for the Enterprise Center, said a recreation and tourism business workshop later today will bring together Tonya Stinson from the Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, Cory Styron of the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department and other economic development and college officials to explore options for pursuing or expanding existing businesses into the outdoors and recreational sectors.

Business owners who currently operate in those areas will also be on hand to share their insights and experience running outdoors-based businesses in San Juan County.

Castleberry said the business potential derived from outdoors recreation in the area has not been fully explored. And recent tourism data suggest the outdoors and tourism are sectors to follow.

report by Tourism Economics showed visitor spending in San Juan County jumped by 4.8 percent in 2014.

"When something like this is in an industry that our community has a way of actually doing, I get excited," she said of the idea behind tonight's workshop. "People are interested."

Increased opportunities to start tourism-based outdoors businesses — such as food or arts and crafts vendors in city parks, guides for popular regional activities including river rafting and mountain biking — are among the possibilities, she said.

Castleberry said the point of the workshops is to draw on a wealth of experience, ideas and energy that comes from new and existing business leaders and local officials to further promote the area and help improve the local economy.

"The idea is to get people in the same room. People can make connections," Castleberry said. "If all these people are interested in doing something and get together, the ideas get better."

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.

More info

What: Goal Setting training workshop

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., today

Where: San Juan College, Quality Center for Business, Room 5028, 5101 College Blvd. in Farmington

Cost: Free

More info: Call 505-566-3715 or 505-566-3699

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What: Recreation and Tourism Business workshop

When: 5:15 to 8:30 p.m., today

Where: Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St. in Farmington

Cost: $15, dinner included

More info: To register, call 505-566-3699 or send email to castleberryj@sanjuancollege.edu