Farmington Chamber of Commerce moving into new home at San Juan College
Relocation from downtown will take place Oct. 19
- The Quality Center for Business is home to several economic development organizations.
- The center is located at 5101 College Blvd. in Farmington.
- The move will solidify the building's status as the epicenter of local economic development efforts.
FARMINGTON — One of the side effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and its negative impact on the economy has been the way it has led businesses and organizations to take a closer look at how they operate, perhaps leading them to take steps to improve their efficiency and relevance as the pandemic continues to challenge their survival.
Farmington Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Jamie Church said she has been considering her organization's options for several months. But it wasn't until she was driving home from an early-September meeting with other business officials at San Juan College's Quality Center for Business that she hatched an idea to move the chamber from its downtown home.
"I thought, 'Gosh, this would be a great spot for the chamber because it would allow us to be at the center of everything,'" Church said, referring to the Quality Center for Business, which serves as the home for Four Corners Economic Development, the Small Business Development Center, the Women's Economic Self-Sufficiency Team, the Enterprise Center and The Big Idea at San Juan College Makerspace.
Church checked with San Juan College officials to determine their reaction to such a move before pitching it to her executive committee and board of directors. She found support for the idea at all levels, and on Monday, Oct. 19, the chamber will conduct its first day of operations at the center, which is located at 5101 College Blvd. in Farmington.
The chamber has operated for years out of the Downtown Center at 100 W. Broadway Ave. from a space it shares with various other entities. The arrangement at the Quality Center for Business will be the same, but the difference is all the chamber's new neighbors are engaged in efforts to promote business growth to one degree or another, making the building the epicenter of local economic development efforts.
"This puts us right there in the middle of what's happening now, especially with new businesses coming up through the (Enterprise Center) incubator," Church said.
The relocation of her organization will allow it to generate synergy and stronger relationships with all those like-minded organizations, she said, in addition to providing one-stop shopping for entrepreneurs looking for help in launching their own ventures.
Lorenzo Reyes, the college's dean of workforce and economic development, welcomed the move by the chamber in a press release.
"Having the Farmington Chamber of Commerce relocate to the QCB is a true benefit to established and new businesses in our area," he stated. "Along with establishing a one-stop center for business support and resources, it will help in maximizing our outreach efforts with our partners such as San Juan County, the City of Farmington, Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fort Lewis College and the La Plata Economic Allowance."
San Juan College President Toni Hopper Pendergrass praised the move, as well.
"We are elated to have the Farmington Chamber of Commerce relocate to our Quality Center for Business," she stated in the press release. "The focus of a community college is its community. With the addition of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, we are bringing together a full complement of partners, creating synergy, and maximizing benefits for our local and regional businesses."
Church said the chamber already has a great relationship with many of the organizations it will be sharing space with at the center, and she noted she serves on the board of directors of Four Corners Economic Development.
Church plans to hold chamber-sponsored networking coffee events at the new location, in addition to ribbon-cutting ceremonies for chamber members that lack brick-and-mortar locations.
The chamber staff will work out of two offices and a cubicle at the center, but it also will have access to conference rooms, making its new square footage roughly equivalent to its current space, Church said. She acknowledged the new space may not have have the visibility of the downtown location, but she said she was pleasantly surprised at how many visitors the Quality Center for Business already attracts, and she believes the presence of her organization will draw even more attention.
"It's always hard to leave a space you've been in several years," she said. "But this move is going to bring about some new possibilities and new collaborations, and I think that's exciting."
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.