Businesses to offer incentives

Christina Calloway

Before Portales’ major renovations of Highway 70 begins in March, local businesses are trying to get ahead of the game so that they can increase business during construction.

The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce hosted business owners Thursday at the YAM theater and announced they are sponsoring Passport to Portales, a creative program that if successful, will boost business for owners by providing incentives for customers.

“We get lemons and we’re going to open a lemonade stand,” said chamber Executive Director Karl Terry.

The chamber wants at least 50 or more businesses either on or surrounding Highway 70 to participate in Passport to Portales.

For those who participate, each business must offer some type of special discount or deal for customers as well as other prizes.

The actual passport has a list of all of the participating businesses, and every time a customer shops or purchases something, that business will initial or punch a hole on the passport.

In addition to the special discount, if customers visit at least 10 of the listed businesses, they are automatically entered in a city-wide raffle with grand prizes.

Customers can pick up passports at local businesses or at the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a very good idea and if we all work together, we can make success for every business involved,” said Hestands Floral and Gifts Manager Michele Robertson. “Community participation will be the biggest factor.”

After the meeting, business owners brainstormed several different advertising methods to make Passport to Portales successful.

If businesses come to a consensus and sign up, they will be ahead of the construction plans because there is no defined schedule for the major construction.

Although the construction is projected to take a little over a year, the city does not have a contractor yet but city officials are confident that construction will begin in March.

“We’ll have a completely new look in town,” Terry said.

Business owners at the meeting were excited about Passport to Portales and plan on creating a Facebook page for the year-long event to promote the different deals in town.

Merchants also plan on having a strong database of customers so they can retain customers and continue to send them information about special offers.

“The goal is to create unity and harmony with the local merchants,” said Mark Vigil, owner of Mark’s and Vines restaurants. “We are stronger in a group as we are solo. We will ultimately develop stronger relationships and look out for each other.”