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Happy New Year everyone!

Elections are behind us, and 2017 may be a game changer for everything and everyone this year promising to bring economic prosperity to our country.

Last year, chamber representatives and mayors came together to discuss the closing of more than 7,200 Bureau of Land Management mineral leases. If this were to happen, more than 9,000 jobs would be lost. They were asked to revisit their plan as the impact would be devastating. We are still awaiting BLM’s decision.

Membership

Are you a member of the Aztec Chamber of Commerce or any of the chambers throughout the Four Corners? Are you taking advantage of the wonderful benefits offered by the chambers: printing services, discounts, workshops, luncheons, business and networking opportunities?

Memberships, of any kind, are like gym memberships. We join because we have goals we want to accomplish. We need to take off pounds, control our diet or work on specific parts of our body. But unfortunately, many of us join with good intentions but never achieve the results we set out to accomplish.

Chamber memberships are no different.

The value of the benefits offered by chambers far exceed membership fees paid for these services. The monetary value of staff, volunteers, time, knowledge and application of skills, such as marketing, social media, technology, advertising, public relations and board management, is great. Chambers want a business to grow, prosper and succeed.

If, however, members do not take advantage of the benefits, like gym memberships, the goals for joining the chamber to evolve a business are also not met. Growth is now at a snail’s pace and businesses can become stalemated and stuck. Chambers are designed to help businesses move forward but they need you as chamber members to help apply those skills and talents.

Aztec Sparkles

Economic prosperity came to Aztec and was evident with hundreds joining us to participate in the many events that took place Dec.8 to 10 for the chamber’s third annual Aztec Sparkles event.  Many came from our own Aztec, but Farmington, Arizona, Colorado, Shiprock, Bloomfield and Kirtland residents also joined us for the festivities.

Our 5K Santa Dash, a regulation chip run on Main Street, included Santa’s elves and a few Mrs. Clauses in traditional red and white costumes racing to their destination. Congratulations to all the race winners.

Save the date on your calendar for next December if you are a runner or a health buff or just want to walk. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and by end of day, hundreds lined Main Street to see the parade and of course, Santa Claus.

New store openings included Soaps on Main and the Lil Ole Flower Shop. We are excited to welcome you.  Thank you for investing in our town and a special thank you to all the vendors, building owners, shops, stores, nonprofits, musicians, restaurants, city official and artisans who participated in our great event. An additional thank you to Chairwoman Sally Burbridge!

Hub workshop

Our move to the new office is complete and our partnership with the San Juan College and the city of Aztec is an exciting venture.

Are you a new business owner or existing small business owner looking to continue to evolve your business? Join us for Work for Yourself@50+ on Feb. 15 at 119 E. Chuska to learn how to be self-employed in today’s economy by leaning to explore your options, be your own boss, find your focus, make a plan, watch out for trouble and connect with resources in the community.

The workshop will be hosted by partner San Juan College Enterprise Center and the AARP Foundation. For more information, call the San Juan College Enterprise Center at 505-566-3699.

Aztec Chamber of Commerce board position

Interested in making a difference in your community? Join the Aztec Chamber of Commerce by serving on the board.  We are seeking a talented individual looking to share their leadership, and managerial and organizational skills. Contact the Chamber at 505-334-7646. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Annual banquet

What educator has made a difference in the life of your child and many others? What individual has paid it forward in the community? What chamber member’s business has succeeded through a difficult recession? Nominate them now to spotlight these heroes at the 2017 Aztec Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet.

The event helps to spotlight and honor the Business of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Educator of the Year. The event will take place at the Aztec Community Center on April 29 at 101 S. Park Avenue, Aztec.

If interested in making a donation for our silent and live auction, please contact Vangie Neil at 505-215-9888 or the Aztec Chamber of Commerce at 505-334-7646. No donation is too small. Additionally, the Chamber will accept any or all gift certificates, items (art, clothes and accessories, oil changes, wine and gift baskets, services, etc.), weekend trips, use of cabins and more.

The chamber is run solely on the dues from membership, year-round events, donations and grants. The dollars raised help to provide educational programs for chamber members in the areas of marketing, social media, IT, public relations and various business workshops. Funds also help to stage luncheons, breakfasts and business after-hours events.

Table sponsorship packages will be mailed out soon. Most importantly, we look forward to your attendance!

Vangie Garza Neil is the Aztec Chamber of Commerce vice president.

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