Archive for June, 2014

SANTA FE – The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe Professional Business Women and the City of Santa Fe are pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Santa Fe Business Awards. The awards were presented at the Chamber’s Red Carpet Business Awards Gala at CCA on June 12 to honor business excellence in Santa Fe.

Over 80 local businesses were nominated this year. Judging criteria included: business growth, customer service, green and family friendly business practices and community involvement. Seven awards were presented, including the three Century Bank Business Excellence Awards, the City of Santa Fe Small Business of the Year Award,Family Friendly Business of the Year Award, the Santa Fe Community College Green Business of the Year Award and a new award – Woman-Owned Business of the Year.

The winners are as follows:

Century Bank Business Excellence Awards

1-4 Employees – Eldorado Audiology

5-20 Employees – Cisneros Design Inc.

21 + Employees – Nurses With Heart

 

City of Santa Fe Small Business of the Year – Mindshare Studios

Santa Fe Community College Green Business of the Year – Ravens Ridge Bed and Breakfast

City of Santa Fe Family Friendly Business of the Year – Glorieta Creek Mechanical

Woman-Owned Business of the Year – The Santa Fe New Mexican

The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce believes that rewarding businesses for outstanding business practices and leadership is important. These businesses serve as examples to the rest of the community and set the bar for business excellence in Santa Fe.

“We are very proud of the winners and indeed all the nominees” said Chamber president and CEO Simon Brackley. “The local business climate is not easy and we are excited that so many entrepreneurs are succeeding and doing so with excellent business practices.”

Judges for the awards are representatives from the partner organizations and last year’s winners.

About four years ago I wrote the following opinion piece asking for more humane treatment of day laborers and the return of De Vargas Park to its intended use. Since then the situation has worsened. A decline in construction jobs, unlicensed serving of unapproved food products, increased use of Workforce Solutions resources and an increase in those who prey on the unfortunate have made the Park almost unusable by the general public and those who want to walk from the Railyard to the Plaza area.

A Vision for De Vargas Park

De Vargas Park has traditionally been a gathering place for day laborers who are seeking work, mostly in the landscaping and construction industries. The workers gather in front of the Dept. of Workforce Solutions even though the State of New Mexico has no official role in the day laborer program. The laborers provide a valuable service and show an admirable willingness to work hard in tough conditions.

In a thriving economy most of the workers managed to find employment. However in a difficult business climate the demand for day help has declined significantly and each day many workers are left hopeful but jobless.

As the number of non-working laborers has increased we have seen increased trash, drug, alcohol and harassment incidents in the Park area.

I have recently received three letters from individuals complaining that they cannot access the services provided by the Dept. of Workforce Solutions because of sidewalks being blocked and harassment. I have also heard of incidents of urination and vandalism on the grounds of the Santuario de Guadalupe.

De Vargas Park is located in a highly visible area of the city. With the Rail Runner bringing increased pedestrian traffic from the Railyard to downtown, visitors have to negotiate the Santa Fe River, the skate park and dozens of laborers. The port-a-pottie clearly does not fit the historic design requirements and is an embarrassment in a historic area.

A new vision is needed.

Contractors most often start their workdays at Home Depot, Lowe’s or another building supplier. If the day worker program was relocated to the same area, less travel would be needed. A small lot fitted with turn around parking, port-a-potties, drinking water, trash containers and shelter against inclement weather could fill the demand much more comfortably, safely and efficiently for all involved.

De Vargas Park should become a welcoming area with vendors carts offering ice cream, coffee and sandwiches. These licensed start-up businesses could have carts and umbrellas and be an attractive feature for downtown workers and visitors seeking lunch in the park.

In Santa Fe we are very attached to the way things have always been. But the old way is not always the best way. The only thing that is constant is change. Let’s come together and find a solution to the De Vargas Park situation that meets everyone’s needs and benefits our whole community.

The Chamber urges the City of Santa Fe to take immediate action to return the Park to a public gathering place and guarantee access to Workforce Solutions employment services.

 

Simon Brackley

President and CEO

Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce

Once again the fabulous Bandstand music series is about to begin on the Plaza. This year there will be even more shows and varieties of music represented, and there will be a few additional events on San Isidro Plaza on Zafarano to better serve Southside residents.

The Bandstand crew do a fabulous job of presenting over 80 shows in all weathers to all kinds of audiences, and many of our visitors enjoy the community celebration that is a Bandstand show.

But the series does not just happen. It requires hours of work by City staff, Bandstand staff, volunteers and other professionals. This effort only happens because of the support, contributions and sponsorship of the City and local businesses. Without this support the series would simply not happen.

You can show your appreciation by shopping at downtown businesses and returning the favor to those who step up each year to make Bandstand happen. Your purchases also generate gross receipts taxes that help the City.

Buy a burger or an ice cream, or a beer or a coffee. Buy gifts for yourselves and others. Share a dessert, enjoy a frito pie, purchase a gift card and support the local businesses who help make the Plaza such a treasure for us all.