By Jo Mixon, Executive Director
I am so proud to be part of this organization, the Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce, because of the exceptionally professional mix of business members we represent! Over the past four years, as director, I have focused on making positive changes, revitalizing our organization and becoming more service oriented toward our membership. As a non-profit organization, funded entirely by our membership dues, some of the changes were a leap of faith! We immediately restructured our membership dues, not raising dues, but actually cutting out the extra fees we had charged in the past, which meant the Chamber would take a cut in funding, but our members would benefit. We did this as a service, believing it would pay off in the long run. Another change made that first year, was the decision not to continue the Best of Awards. After much thought and council, the Board of Directors agreed the Village of Angel Fire is too small to represent a Best of Contest. The Chamber is here to represent all of its members equally, not pursue which one is favored over another. We instead provide opportunities between our members for other recognition. We believe all of our members are the Best of Angel Fire!
Our focus in 2011 was on launching a social media presence. The 32 likes our Face Book page had at that time, has grown to 2308 to date. Depending on what we post, according to the analytics, each of our post reach and engage anywhere from 125 to 6000 people at a time. We also began sending a weekly eBlast featuring news and updates on member activities, state wide news that might affect or be of interest to our members, a special “I Know Jo Story” about one of our businesses, and member ads. This eBlast now has over 7000 subscribers. The analytics we receive show us that each eBlast is opened on an average of 34% to 46% of these subscribers. The analytics also tell us the model average open for any given eBlast is 24%! (We are happy with our numbers!) Plus the “I Know Jo ” stories made national news when featured on the front page of the US Chamber newsletter last year, as an example for other Chambers who might want to up their marketing presence and add benefit to their membership. Even our webpage, as simple as it is, due to our barebones budget, according to google analytics is visited by more than 32,000 people per month. We get constant positive feedback through emails and inquiries from visitors to our page. Social media is a relatively inexpensive way to market Angel Fire and our membership.
As a way for businesses to network together and invite people to come into their establishments, 2012 was the year our summer Business after Hours events took off. The average attendance for a B.A.H still hovers around 70 to 80 people, but it actually reached 135 people when we teamed up with the Village of Angel Fire for a huge birthday celebration!
Wanting to give our members the opportunity to get more actively involved together, in January 2013, we began having quarterly breakfast membership meetings. Our Chamber members have the opportunity to discuss business needs and come together as a whole to look at ways to assist one another, and work together toward economic successes. And our business members are given the opportunity to host these meetings while sharing their marketing information with other Chamber members.
Also in 2013 we rolled out an Ambassador Program. To be a part of the Chamber Ambassador Team, you must be a member in good standing with the desire to increase your business exposure while representing the Chamber. The Ambassadors serve as hosts/hostesses/greeters for Chamber events throughout the year. These include membership breakfasts/luncheons, Business after Hours, ribbon cuttings, the Chamber welcoming program, Chamber special events and receptions, etc. Joining this committee is an option a business member can exercise to increase their commitment to the Chamber while gaining additional business exposure.
During the entire year of 2014, Chamber Cash Mob, was a great success and brought a cash boost to all those who participated. As did the Christmas season, Shop Local, Shop Small contest. With this contest we encouraged everyone to shop local, whether the business was a member of the Chamber or not.
And this year 2015, we decided to try our hand at hosting an event, Habla Tamale Cook-off Festival. It will happen this Saturday, August 8 beginning at 10:00 am. There are five tamale contestants from all over the state of New Mexico, competing for legitimate bragging rights to prove their tamales truly are the best in the state! The winners will be announced at 12:30 pm, with a people’s choice award to be announced at 3:00 pm. Come dressed in festive New Mexican attire and enter to be crowned as our first ever Molly or Wally Tamale! We ask that you enter as a couple; father/daughter, mother/son, best friends, couple/couple, etc. So grab your partner! The Wally & Molly Tamale contest will take place at 11:00 am. Or you can enter to win the Tamale Eating Contest. Hosted by KKTC radio celebrity, Elle, how many tamales can you eat in three minutes! Look for fun workshops at the Kids Corner, peruse the twenty arts and craft booths for treasures, and enjoy performances throughout the day by World Champion Roper and Wild West Comedian, Marty Tipton, also known as the Oklahoma Kid. Admission is free. Family fun for everyone! If you would like to volunteer please give us a call at 575-377-6353, we definitely have something for you to do!
Habla Tamale Cook off Festival Schedule
- 10:00 am – Gates Open/ Admission is Free
- 11:00 am – Molly & Wally Tamale Contest
- 12:30 pm – Tamale Cook-off Winners Announced
- 1:00 pm – Tamale Eating Contest, Hosted by KKTC Radio Celebrity “Elle”
- 1:45 pm – “The Oklahoma Kid” World Champion Trick Roper and Wild West Comedian Marty Tipton
- 3:00 pm – People’s Choice Award
Kids Corner Schedule
- 10:00 am to 12:00 pm – Paper Mache Workshop with the Muery’s
- 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm – Face Painting with Bailey
- 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm – Various Activities