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Chamber sees busy first quarter

Seeing more snow on the ground, it’s hard to believe it’s already April. All of us at the Chamber have had a very busy start to 2023, and now that we are into the second quarter, I wanted to take a quick glance at all we’ve done during the first quarter.

The mission of the Durango Chamber of Commerce is to promote and support the local business community through communication, advocacy, education, leadership and stewardship. We do this in a variety of ways and through different programs.

In early March, we celebrated Durango by honoring businesses, leaders and organizations that are making a positive impact in our community with the annual Durango Rocks Awards Celebration. If you know of someone, or a company that should be recognized, please nominate them by going to our website, DurangoBusiness.org.

The Chamber educates our members by holding various programs to discuss important issues impacting our region. We feature workshops to assist organizations with marketing, public relations, human resources, management, customer service training and more. We also kicked off a new quarterly series, called “Get to Know the CEO,” featuring Rob Sarlls, CEO of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. We’ll have other CEOs of various companies join us to provide information about their personal experiences, their company – its challenges, successes and future opportunities, and learn leadership tips that can help you grow.

In February, we partnered with the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance to host a workforce housing forum, where we had more than 120 participants. Housing is a top priority that must be addressed, and we were honored to bring so many players together for one of these conversations. Public and private partnerships are needed to meet the demand for our area’s housing issues, and progress is being made.

An important function of the Chamber is advocating for a strong business environment on the local, state and national levels. Recently, the Chamber, along with La Plata Forum, hosted a City Council Candidates forum to learn more about the five candidates who ran for two open positions.

At the state level, the Chamber is reviewing legislation that could impact our business community and either supporting bills or opposing them and communicating with our members and legislators. It’s important that Durango has a voice at the state level to weigh in on policies that could negatively or positively impact our businesses.

The Chamber offers a leadership program called Leadership La Plata and applications are now being accepted. We invite you to apply or share this information with someone you know who wants to gain personal and professional leadership skills, as well as learn more about the community.

All of the efforts of the Durango Chamber are to ultimately help the economy grow. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year, as we have a lot of exciting programs in the pipeline. If you have any questions or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to call us at 970-247-0312, ext. 2 or visit DurangoBusiness.org for more information.

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.