Let's rethink how we do business

By Marianne Griffin

I have been receiving phone calls that are a little different from those of the past. Potential visitors are calling to say that they understand Mancos to be a town with artists and galleries.

"We're going to be in town on Sunday and want to have breakfast and spend the rest of day touring your galleries. So, what's open on Sunday?"

Shops that have been open on Sundays recently include Artisans of Mancos, Raven House Gallery and the new sweet shop on Grand. Our local restaurants, the Absolute Bakery, Chavolos, the Millwood Junction, and Mancos Pizza at the P&D Grocery are always open on weekends and they are big draws for visitors to our town. But, for the most part, Mancos is not known as a community that is open for business on Sundays.

Is it time to rethink how we do business in our community? According to Janet Chanay, photographer at the Raven House Gallery, "If we want to make Mancos a destination for travelers, we need to be open during the summer months, and that includes weekends and holidays." This is a tough decision for our small town businesses because our shops are "mom and pop" operations. People do need time off to handle other business activities for their shops and for some personal time. It's a huge challenge being a small business owner in Mancos.

We now have another project to consider that will probably have a positive impact on local business. An upscale RV park has been proposed and approved by the Mancos Town Board. Once completed, the park will have 100 or more guests using the facilities. These travelers will typically stay two to three days and will be interested in visiting our town and all it has to offer. They will be here on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays and they are going to shop. They are also going to look for places to hang out where they can feel a part of the town. How are we going to welcome them and make them feel that their business is desired in Mancos?

Summers are short here in Mancos. Memorial Day weekend starts it all and the Balloon and Arts Fest ends it in September. Mancos relies on those four months to sustain us through the winter season. What can we do to bring travelers into town and then ensure that they stay while to shop and dine? In my mind, the first step is to be open for business. Let's begin a conversation about how we want to do business in Mancos and how we want to treat our visitors. Tourism is beginning to build in our little town, and we need to be ready for increased activity in the near future, especially on the weekends.

Marianne Griffin is the executive director of the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, 101 E. Bauer Ave. Visit www.mancosvalley.com or contact her at 533-7434. You can also visit chamber@mancosvalley.com for more information.