Visit our Website
Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube

Time to Reflect and a Time to Plan

As we begin a New Year, it is a good time to not only reflect on successes of 2023 but set strategic goals, dust off business plans, and update as needed. As small business owners, we are presented with unique challenges and opportunities. To navigate the ever-changing landscape here are some items to consider.

  1. Check in with your core advisors. If you don’t already have a relationship with a group of advisors, establish them in 2024. Its good to have relationships before you need them. These include: a banker, an accountant, an attorney, insurance provider, a marketing specialist, IT specialist, just to name a few. Also your local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Business Improvement District (BID), Region 9, and the Economic Alliance can be great resources, and we all provide services within our “swim lanes.”
  2. Building customer relationships. Having strong customer relationships is key to a successful small business. Examine your customers’ lifetime commitment to doing business with you. Know their likes and dislikes, offer loyalty programs, personalize communications, ask for their feedback. A repeat customer can be a wonderful ambassador to help promote your business.
  3. Employee development. Prioritize employee training and development in 2024. The Durango Chamber offers a variety of professional development opportunities throughout the year. From Lunch and Learns, Human Resource courses, Coffee Connections, Eggs and Issues forums, to our Leadership La Plata program, all are designed for professional enhancement and growth. Ask your employees about their personal goals and help achieve them. A satisfied and engaged workforce contributes to increased productivity and business success.
  4. Local community engagement. Small businesses are the backbone of our community and consumers gravitate towards those that actively give back and support others. Strong ties to various non-profits not only can enhance a business’s reputation but also provides a positive work environment.
  5. Increasing digital presence. Review your website with a fresh set of eyes. Optimize your website for mobile users, leverage social media platforms, maximize e-commerce opportunities. Having an online presence not only increases your local visibility, it expands your customer base to a broader audience.
  6. Diversity and inclusion. Building a diverse and inclusive workplace will foster creativity, increase productivity, attract a variety of talent, and promote equal opportunities. Having a varied workforce can include employees of different ages, gender, diversified backgrounds, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and disabilities are just some examples of how to diversify your workforce. Involving everyone and engaging input can spark new ideas and programs often leading to increased business.
  7. Developing an exit strategy. At some point in the maturing process of owning a business you might want to sell, retire, change direction, or close the business altogether. Whatever the situation entails, having an exit strategy before you need it can relieve much of the anxiety, emotional stress and offer clarity. Knowing what you ultimately want out of your business before a “must do” situation occurs can be a lifesaver. Having an exit strategy can give you peace of mind when a transitional opportunity presents itself. 

As you embrace the New Year, consider some of these goals and continue to be involved. The Durango Chamber is here as a resource, a promoter, an advocate and a partner to help grow your business. Our staff is here for you. Our business is to help grow your business. 

Give a Warm Welcome to the Chamber’s New Board Members!

It is with great pleasure that we extend a warm welcome to our new board members who have joined the Durango Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. We look forward to collaborating with you as we continue our goal of fostering economic growth and prosperity in the Durango area.

Vaughn Morris

Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County

Nick Johnson

Exit Realty Home & Ranch

Sarah Boyette

Durango Motor Company

Navigating Local & State Policy Initiatives

As part of the Durango Chamber’s commitment to effective advocacy, the Legislative Affairs Committee monthly report is posted online so our members and community can stay abreast of the latest developments related to public policy on the state and local levels. Read the report here!

Durango Descends on Denver Feb. 12-13! Join us for Legislative Action!

Join us for the Chamber Day at the Capitol on Feb. 12-13 in Denver, where you’ll have the opportunity to connect with policymakers and champion issues that matter most to the La Plata County business community. Mark your calendar and register for details.

Join us for a Groovy Time at the Fun-Official Snowdown Business After Hours!

Grab those tie-dye shirts, bell-bottoms and platform shoes because it’s time to spread Peace, Love & Snowdown vibes at our Jan. 31 Business After Hours, in partnership with Radio 101, the DoubleTree Hotel, A&L Coors and Star Liquors! Get ready for an evening of out-of-sight conversations, radical food & beverages, groovy door prizes, and off the hook costume contest prizes!

Wed., Jan. 31 from 5-7pm at the DoubleTree Hotel. Costumes are strongly recommended! Register online & save! $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Learn more & register now

Durango Rocks Awards – Save the Date!

Join Us in Celebrating Leadership Excellence!

Mark your calendar to celebrate La Plata County businesses, organizations and leaders during the Durango Rocks Annual Awards Celebration on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024! Tickets on sale this week!

Leavitt Group Enterprises, Insurance Brokerage

Ryan Woolverton, Agency Co-owner

Jeff Dickerson, Agency Co-owner

By Sara Lynn Valentine

“Leavitt Group Enterprises got its start in Durango in 1996,” says Ryan Woolverton, who has been with the company since 2003. “We’ve grown to fifteen or so employees in Durango and now have partner offices in Farmington, New Mexico and Amarillo. More recently, we decided the time was right to expand the already talented staff we had in Durango, so we reached out to Jeff Dickerson, who owned his own insurance agency in Louisiana. We chatted back and forth for a couple of years, and this past year Jeff joined us as a partner and part owner in the Durango Leavitt Group office.”


The Leavitt Group offers a broad range of insurance options, including personal and small business commercial insurance, but they are most notably involved with larger commercial businesses, especially in the construction, oil and gas, and manufacturing industries. 

“Our footprint is quite large,” Jeff says, “especially for an agency based in a small town. Although our primary customer base is in Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana and Texas, we serve clients all over the country. We are very good at what we do. Some large local enterprises might think they need to look beyond Durango to Denver or another large Metropolitan area to find a sufficiently sophisticated level of acumen to meet the needs of their particular businesses. But we can provide whatever is needed from right here. In addition to our involvement with construction, oil and gas and manufacturing, we insure counties, municipalities, school systems, educational institutions, and even offshore maritime interests.”

“We align ourselves with the ambitions of our customers,” Ryan says. “We want them to be very successful, so we take a personal interest beyond just insuring them. We like to be considered a business partner, not just an insurance broker. Because we have extensive experience to draw on, we’re able to advise our clients on issues like workers comp, employee benefits, advanced risk management, loss-control consulting, OSHA compliance, etc. We can work with human resource managers and help them pursue best practice procedures.” 

The Leavitt Group is also happy to be a resource in the community. Their human resources consultant recently did a 90-minute-long Chamber ‘Lunch and Learn’ for Durango Area Human Resources Managers with attendance by many resource managers of local businesses. The Leavitt Group supports the Boys and Girls Club, Manna Soup Kitchen, Fort Lewis Athletics, DHS, and quite a few more local nonprofits.

“Anywhere we’re doing business we’re going to give back to the community that trusts us to handle a lot of their financial security,” Jeff says. “We highly value our partnership with the Durango Chamber.” Ryan adds. “Jack and Kim are instrumental in advocating for our local community and businesses, and we sure appreciate it.”  

You can learn more at or call (970) 259-2966

Featured Chamber Diplomat:

Colleen Dunning

What do you do for a living? Development Manager at the La Plata County Humane Society

How long have you been a Diplomat? Since May 2023

How long have you lived in Durango? 15 years

Tell us about your family: I married my high school sweetheart, Keith, in 2007. We grew up in upstate New York, and landed in Boulder, CO when Keith worked for Leave No Trace: Center for Outdoor Ethics, and I worked for Colorado Parks & Wildlife. I went to CSU to get my teaching credentials in math & science. During a lunch in Durango, we decided this is where we would like to live. I requested to do my student teaching at Durango High School and became a founding teacher at Animas High School where I taught Physics, Algebra, Biology, and a variety of elective classes. In 2015, I transitioned out of education and took a job as a Funeral Director at Hood Mortuary, where I could bring my passion for animals to work. I often had foster kittens in tow who I would bottle feed on my breaks. In 2021, I decided to make kittens my full-time job and began to work full-time at La Plata County Humane Society as the Foster Coordinator. In March 2023, I was promoted to Development Manager. 

Wildlife and companion animals are incredibly important to me. Currently, Keith and I have 4 dogs, 2 cats, and 4 chickens. In addition, we always have foster kittens and the occasional foster puppy.

What is your favorite part of being a Diplomat? I enjoy meeting other professionals in the community and supporting local businesses by attending after-hours and ribbon-cutting events. 

Fun Fact About You: I am very serious about baked goods and make it a priority to visit the best bakery in every town I visit. I also love scary movies. My husband and I attend the Telluride Horror Film Festival every year. This year will be our 11th year attending!

Learn more about getting involved with the Diplomat Program here.

Welcome the 2024 Young Professionals of Durango Board!

Returning Board Members:

Joseph Kuzma - President - Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County / Blue Lily Productions 

Ryan Simonovich - Vice President - Verde Brand Communications

Sean Perry - Secretary - Brightside Health

Kierstan Ellender - State of Colorado

New YPOD Board Members:

Kaikea Cavaliero - Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County 

Elizabeth Heine - Region 9 Economic Development

Clara Welles Raley - New Mexico State University

David Bratcher - Vectra Bank

Benjamin Brewer - Visit Durango

YPOD Member Benefits include:

  • Mentorship program - New for 2024
  • Private optional Slack group chat for members - New for 2024
  • Member pricing for YPOD and Chamber events
  • Referral Program
  • Networking opportunities
  • Professional development
  • Community involvement & more!

Reach out today or join online if you are interested in becoming a Young Professional of Durango!

Upcoming Chamber Programs & Events!

Calendar of Events -- For more info & to register:

Jan. 11 at 8am Coffee Connections with Sandy A. Lane 

Jan. 24 at noon Lunch & Learn – Member Benefits Workshop

Jan. 31 5-7pm Snowdown Business After Hours at the DoubleTree

Feb. 6 8am Coffee Connections at the Wells Group of Durango

Feb. 12 – 13 Durango-area Businesses Chamber Day at the Capitol

Feb. 28 noon Lunch & Learn: AI and You!

Feb. 29 at 5pm Durango Rocks Awards Event

What’s Happening with our Chamber Members!

Find more information here.

Jan. 20 Homebuyer Education Class in Durango

Jan. 25 Snowdown Kickoff – theme Peace, Love & Snowdown!

Feb. 2 6pm Snowdown Light Parade

Want your event listed? It’s free! 

Log in to your portal or call us at

(970) 247-0312 ext 2

Fun Festivities with the Chamber Diplomats!

What a fun night! Our Chamber Diplomats sure knew how to throw a great holiday party. From an exciting white elephant gift exchange to dazzlingly ugly holiday sweater, the Diplomats celebrated the season in style!  A huge shoutout to the faithful sponsors for making it a special night: Star Liquors, Steamworks Brewing, Sandy A Lane Consulting, the Leavitt Insurance Group, Nancy Ottman, Peak Physical Therapy, and Alex Santos!

Chamber Diplomats Help Bolster our Business Community!

And to our phenomenal Chamber Diplomats – the unsung heroes of our business community! Thank you for volunteering your time and energy throughout the year! Be part of this fantastic community in 2024 – learn more here!

The Chamber Features Exciting New Podcasts for Durango’s Business Community!

The Durango Chamber of Commerce now has a Podcast called "Down to Business!" The podcast features business and community leaders, uncovers the latest happenings, and explores the vibrancy of our mountain town life. From entrepreneurs to upcoming events, we've got you covered. The Down to Business podcast is available on Spotify or you can follow this link.

Thank You to the American Legion Trujillo-Sheets Post 28 for Hosting the December Coffee Connections

The American Legion hosted December’s Coffee Connections Learning Series and shared information about their history and organization. Did you know that the Durango American Legion Post 28 charter dates back to 1919, and it continues to foster a sense of camaraderie, advocates for veterans’ rights, and engages in community service. Also anyone who is serving/has served a day of active military duty since 1941 & was honorably discharged is eligible for membership; plus immediate family members of American Legion members/deceased veterans can join the American Legion Auxiliary. More information here.

LLP Monthly Focus:

Take Your Wins with You Into 2024

By Beth Porter, Four Corners Broadcasting

Happy New Year! Out with the old, in with the new! Before we all go charging into 2024 with new ideas about leadership and teamwork, let’s take a moment to reflect on the year just past. Cataloging our triumphs…and examining our defeats…reinforces our strengths and informs our weaknesses. There is great value in revisiting those leadership attributes that have led to success. Instead of starting with a clean slate, let’s build on our past achievements, our skills and knowledge base, our hard-won wisdom.

As you look back on 2023, what were the major projects or improvements you and your team tackled this past year? Which were successful? Take a deep dive to identify the whys of those successes. Add your own success qualifiers to fully understand what your team and you as a leader bring to the table for 2024.

Beth Porter is the Senior Marketing Consultant with Four Corners Broadcasting and an alumni of Leadership La Plata Class of 2015-2016.

Thank You to Leadership La Plata Monthly Sponsor:

Read More

Congratulations to Meadow Market on your Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting! 

Offering coffee, small deli/bakery, creatively chosen grocery items & necessities and unique household items and gifts. Inviting indoor and outdoor seating areas allow you and neighbors to relax and enjoy coffee, beer or glass of wine with your tasty tapas, charcuterie boards and delectable dishes.

Located at 688 Edgemont Meadows Road. For more information, visit

Rainbow Springs Flower Farm

Chandler Strange                   

378 Lyman Ln.

Durango, CO 81303



Life in Flow Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine          

Carla Marie Toth

3473 Main Ave


Durango, Colorado 81301


Living In Durango Colorado   

Kyle Kunkel

Durango Colorado, CO 81301


Watch the latest Member Moment Video featuring Durango Dermatology. Find past Member Moment Videos here.

Advanced Eyecare

Azteca Landscape, Inc.

Barnum Financial Group - Jake Darsch

Builders First Source

Chris Schnurr

Cole & Company, Inc.

Durango Creative District

Durango Hot Springs, LLC

Durango Rendezvous, LLC

DZC Surveys

Evergreen Education Group

Farm to Fingers

Feeney Architect

Four Corners Gem and Mineral Club

Happy Pappy's Pizza N Wings

Horse Empower, LLC

Junction Creek Health & Rehabilitation Center

Kroegers Ace Hardware

Manna - Durango Soup Kitchen

Maria's Bookshop

Next Level

Out of the Blue

Outdoorsy Bayfield

Peak Physical Therapy of Durango, LLC

Pepsi Beverages Company

Phoenix Physical Therapy/

FootWork, Inc.

Pueblo Community College Southwest

SolarWorks! LLC

Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center

Studio B, LLC /

Stacy Reuille-Dupont, LLC

Tafoya Barrett and Associates PC

The UPS Store 3715

The Yellow Carrot

The Route to Post-Holiday Recovery Takes the Easy Path

La Plata County Extension: Health Tip of the Month

by Nicole Clark, RDN, M.Ed.

Welcome to January. This is the month when the joy and excitement of the holidays feel like the end of a rollercoaster ride - you’re pulling into the station with elation, but well aware the ride is over and it’s back to real life. This drastic shift can feel unsettling. 

Perhaps it’s why we scrabble for a New Year’s resolution. We need an activity to fill the holiday void, we crave a feel-good boost or we are responding to guilt by countering our choices of the last six weeks. For now, willpower is high. What better month to capitalize on new habits?

Read More here

La Plata County Extension health programming: [email protected] or (970) 382-6461.

4 Motivators to Jumpstart Your Job Search in 2024

By Robert Whitson Owner of Express Employment Professionals of Durango, CO

“Success seems to be connected to action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they never quit.” —J.W. Marriott

Cheers to the new year! Have you mapped out your goals for 2024? Is looking for a new job opportunity part of your plans? According to a Top Resumé survey, 65% of professionals say getting a new job is among their top New Year’s resolutions, however, less than half report knowing how to execute the goal. If you’re looking for encouragement to tackle your job search in 2024, here are four motivational tips to get started.

1.  Set Yourself Up for Job Seeker Success

Whether this is your first job search or you're looking for your next big opportunity, be proactive by making yourself marketable to recruiters and hiring managers before hitting the job market. Check that your resume and portfolio are up to date with relevant experience and skills. Write down your target companies and do market research on relevant industries. Setting yourself up early for success will help streamline your job search and alleviate some anxiety or stress you may face.

Learn more here

The Durango, CO Express office is located at 321 So Camino Del Rio and serves the Four Corners Area. Local businesses and applicants are encouraged to stop by, visit or call (970) 403-8780.

NEW! Value-Based Memberships

The Durango Chamber is now offering value-based memberships with the ability to choose what works best for your business. The previous structure was a “fair share” model, based on the number of employees with 15 total membership levels. The Chamber has been working on this change for several years, and hasn’t altered its structure in 10+ years, nor has it changed pricing in 5 years. The current 15 levels are being simplified to 7 and all members are being offered a choice of what’s best for them. Learn more here



Jack Llewellyn, Chief Executive Officer

Kim Oyler, Chief Operations Officer

Jennifer Dickens, Communications Coordinator

Madison Anderson-Oles, Member Relations Coordinator

2301 Main Avenue | Durango, CO 81301


[email protected]

Chamber Board Members

Dr. Karen Cheser, 9-R School District

Brandon Mencini, CEO Mercy Hospital

Melisa Jackson Palmer, Bank of Colorado

Vaughn Morris, Boys and Girls Club

Charles Spence, Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel

Michael Hennon, The Payroll Department

Nick Johnson, Exit Realty Home & Ranch

Sarah Boyette, Durango Motor Company

Sandy Lane, Diplomat Representative

Sandy A. Lane Consulting

Neil Dolder, Leadership La Plata Representative

Jaynes Construction

Joseph Kuzma, YPOD Representative

Boys & Girls Club

 Dave Woodruff, City of Durango Representative

Not a member yet? Join today!

2301 Main Avenue | 970.247.2301 |