As a former small business owner myself, and currently the secretary of the Board of Directors for the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, I know how vital our small businesses are. They are the heart of our community and give back over 200% more than chains. I have been working to connect other businesses and increase their presence in our community. When they struggle, our community suffers.
Growing our Local Economy:
- Prioritize the “local first” approach.
- When looking at city planning making sure we are fair with zoning and ordinances for businesses and residential units. We also need to look at why some spots stay vacant and balance expansion vs. infill. When we have “dead zones” it harms other businesses in the area. Our city should prioritize local businesses when engaging contract use.
- Transparency and efficiency.
- Anytime a business has to wait for the city to approve a step it costs the business money. As much as possible the city needs to streamline the process and make it easy for businesses to know what requirements are needed. It is also the city’s responsibility to be transparent about the process and any decisions made.
- Innovation and partnership.
- As we look to the future we must find ways to become more innovative. Can we partner up with private entities and develop sustainable new jobs? We also want to make sure we attracting businesses that want to make Las Cruces their home. This should include planning with multiple levels of government to make sure Las Cruces is at the table to receive any exciting opportunities that the state will provide.
The way that people shop now is changing and it is a very real issue that affects “brick and mortar” stores. Helping local businesses recognize the importance of customer service, new technology, and utilizing resources from the city or other non-profit agencies can make a difference. I have also included two related resources below for business support.
The motto for the Green Chamber is, People, Planet, Profit and it is a viewpoint that I hold as well. When in business we must treat our employees (who are often our family, friends and neighbors) with dignity and respect, and when possible try for sustainable practices. Profitability is a concern for every business, and this should be balanced with fair wages. I also feel that our vital services (such as Police and Fire) should be paid with the respect fitting of their important station.
Our own district has unique challenges with the influx of college students. I frequently visit businesses on University and was discussing with one owner of a new coffee shop on how the summer lull has affected their area. Quality of life also has a lot to do with attracting new businesses and skilled workers to the area. Our community needs to be a place where residents can live, work, and play, which will help to retain the knowledge and experience of our new graduates from NMSU, DACC, and Burrell College.
This is a complex issue that has many sides and I appreciate hearing about the concerns, experiences and ideas from our residents, not only in District 2 but also in the city. I would be happy to continue this dialogue in person or through email. I am a firm believer that we have to keep communication open and learn as much as possible from all viewpoints to make choices that are reflective of District 2.