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Aztec Chamber of Commerce, The Voice Of Business

Aztec Chamber one of the oldest service organizations in Aztec


February 16, 2018

"The Voice of Business"

by Jacque Ritchie & Lisa Bailey TALON

Did you know that the Aztec Chamber is one of the oldest service organizations in Aztec? But its true! In 1893 Aztec formed the Committee on Immigration to further the growth of the town. The committee later became the Commercial Club which boasted an elaborately furnished club room complete with a piano, card tables, pool and billiards. According to author George Bowra (A Journalistic History of Aztec and San Juan County, New Mexico Copyright 1998, Inklings USA) ".. between card games the original dozen members proposed and debated promotional ideas to bring settlers and business to the area. By 1920 the name had changed to the Aztec Chamber of Commerce (ACC). It was financed by membership dues without public solicitation and no salaries were paid to any board members, the dues were enough to keep the chamber solvent."

Fast forward to 2018, Theresa 'Teri' Bailey is the president of the Aztec Chamber of Commerce which enjoys a 501c(6) non-profit status. She shares, "It's really important for small businesses to come together with the community and get to know as many people as possible," And adds, "Basically all aspects of business are being affected by the internet and so it's super-important to be active in the community." Bailey understands the problems the city faces when it comes to small business. "I hear the chatter, .. but we are business-friendly, the chamber definitely is and so is this city." Bailey contends that the new year can bring positive growth to Aztec. She believes a continued partnership between the ACC and the HUB is key to success for both entities. The HUB is the city's small business incubator located at the corner of Chuska and Church streets and where the ACC has set up shop. The trick, Bailey says, is to raise public awareness about the HUB and the ACC and the valuable resources they provide that can ultimately create and foster small business and a positive business environment within Aztec. "I've been all-in and committed to the HUB from the beginning. I want to see it successful."

Regarding local issues, Bailey believes that completing the Aztec Arterial Route (truck by-pass) is essential for growth in the downtown area, "It's been a project for almost 20 years ... We really need that to happen." And, feels it is important because, "Highway 550 is a state highway with major impact, foot traffic is negatively affected by it and we can't control it or close it down for festivals, and that's not good." She promotes economic diversification in San Juan County and thinks it is a key to over-all success. "There isn't a whole lot of economic drivers in our area besides oil and gas." She feels it is time for the city to take another look at the current liquor laws and allow Sunday sales. And, although she is not personally a proponent of recreational marijuana use, she is not opposed to following Colorado's lead in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. "God did put that plant here for us to utilize ... I cannot speak for the board on this one ... We need to jump on that, that would be so much money in our pocket, insane money ... Just look at Durango, they have phenomenal schools, good roads, beautiful parks. They have more than enough money to take care of all the things they need and then some." Bailey continued, "It's stupid we are not capitalizing on this. Can you imagine the revenue that would bring in? Our tax base would go through the roof!"

Currently the ACC membership numbers well over 100 businesses. The ACC six-member board includes; Tina Pacheco-White, Amanda Chavira, Cindy Fisher, Jean Bougeant, Sandra Lanier and Teri Bailey. "We are always looking for volunteers for committee heads, etc." To join the ACC businesses pay annual dues from as much as $700 for 'Gold Member' status to a reduced rate for non-profits. Dues are based on the number of employees. The monies brought in from dues go to pay rent, office expenses, and for annual events the chamber hosts like the Sparkles Celebration and the Chamber Awards Banquet. However, Bailey warns, "Buying a membership (to ACC) is not going to guarantee the success of your business. It's like a gym, just because you buy a membership doesn't mean you are going to get skinny, you have to do the work."

"The chamber believes Aztec is an amazing town and we are going to continue to be here and do what we can to better our community...So we would like to challenge everybody in the community to do something for the community, maybe it's volunteering, like working with the elderly, go to Good Sam's and read a story to one of our elderly residents. There is so much need for so many things. Be a mentor to a young person, impart your wisdom and get them out from behind the computer for a while." To volunteer Bailey urges folks to, "You can call us anytime." Due to remodeling the ACC is temporarily not located at the HUB but Ms. Bailey can be reached at:

[email protected]


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