Monday, December 22, 2014

Lowell Observatory Trustee Emeritus William Lowell Putnam Dies

Flagstaff, Arizona – William Lowell Putnam, III (“Bill”) died yesterday at the age of 90. Putnam was a prominent alpinist, broadcaster, and, for 26 years, Sole Trustee of the observatory his great uncle Percival Lowell founded in 1894. Lowell Observatory director Jeffrey Hall said, “Bill Putnam is one of the monumental figures in the 120-year […]

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

ATHENA and Young Professional Awards

The Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for its ATHENA Awards recognizing women who demonstrate excellence, their leadership and creativity in their careers, valuable service to the community, and who mentor other women in reaching their full leadership potential. The 2014 ATHENA Awards will also mark the eighth year that the Flagstaff Chamber […]

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Cost of Living Index

The Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce collected data for the national Cost of Living Index that was recently released for third quarter. The Council for Community and Economic Research produces the Cost of Living Index based on more than 90,000 prices, which are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and university economic […]

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Family Adventures at the North Pole Experience

It took a village to bring North Pole Experience to Flagstaff from Greer three years ago. It entailed a private-public partnership with Coconino County, a partnership with Little America and collaborations with local businesses. North Pole Experience (NPX) brings a memorable, unique Christmas experience to all ages. It begins with a trolley ride that goes […]

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

City of Flagstaff Sign Code Revised

There is a new and improved Sign Code in the City of Flagstaff. City Council voted unanimously to improve, clarify and simplify the standards while maintaining our city’s unique character and positive community image. The new code will go into effect January 18, 2015. The Chamber has been very involved in this process and commends […]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Massage Envy Flagstaff, AZ Therapist Recipient of Beauty Changes Lives Scholarship

- Nation’s Largest Massage Therapy Brand Continues to Support Scholarship Fund - 

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – November, 25, 2014 – Massage Envy Spa, the largest employer of massage therapists and estheticians in the United States, is proud to announce that Jamie Blazquez of the ASIS Massage Education School was awarded a $2,000 Beauty Changes Lives Massage Therapy Education scholarship. Beauty Changes Lives is a non-profit foundation created by the American Association of Cosmetology Schools to build awareness of the extraordinary career opportunities in the beauty and wellness industry. The organization provides scholarships to individuals pursuing careers in hair, skin, nails, barbering and massage therapy. Last year, Massage Envy Spa donated $30,000 in support of the foundation.

“We are thrilled to award Jamie with the Beauty Changes Lives scholarship,” said CG Funk, vice president of industry relations and product development for Massage Envy Spa. “Massage Envy Spa has a deep commitment to the industry, which is why we continue to support organizations like Beauty Changes Lives, so that students can reach their full potential as professional massage therapists.”

The BCL Massage Therapy Education Scholarship, sponsored by Massage Envy Spa, awards $2,000 towards tuition costs for six prospective and current students at massage therapy programs at a qualifying schools. 

As the demand for alternative wellness services such as massage therapy continues to rise, so does the need for professional massage therapists and estheticians. According to U.S. News & World Report, massage therapy was named one of The Best Jobs in 2014 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects massage therapist employment growth of more than 20 percent between 2012 and 2022, adding 30,000 more jobs to the field. Since its inception in 2002, Massage Envy Spa has created more than 21,000 new massage therapist positions and projects to add 1,500 new positions annually through 2018. Additionally, the company provides 1.5 million services to a total of more than 1.5 million members every month.

Today, a career in massage therapy offers incredible growth, creative employment opportunities including flexible work schedules, active and healthy work environments and sustainable incomes.

As part of its ongoing commitment to the industry, Massage Envy Spa has contributed nearly $500,000 to date to support research, associations, student scholarships and regulatory efforts. Additionally, Massage Envy Spa continues to support the work of national organizations and associations in the massage and esthetic industries through partnerships, donations and sponsorships.

To learn more about Massage Envy Spa careers visit 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stories to Life: Letters

Stories to Life: Letters
Sunday, November 16, 4 p.m.
Coconino Center for the Arts

FLAGSTAFF, AZ – The Flagstaff Arts Council and the Flagstaff City/Coconino County Public Library present November’s Stories to Life event: Letters. The event will be Sunday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts.

A spoken word cast will read aloud from some of the very best letters ever written. They will be accompanied by the chamber music quartet, The Ponderosa Players, a Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra ensemble comprised of Andrea Graves and Jeannette Moore on flute, Karin Hallberg on viola and Andrew Hamby on cello.  

“The Stories to Life management team has wanted to do a program about letters and the people who write them for years. This program is our opportunity to showcase the lost art of letter writing and how it reflects the human condition,” said project manager Judy Finney.  “We are including letters written by prominent figures and ordinary people alike that are truly intriguing.”

Funding for this season’s Stories to Life is generously provided by the Friends of the Flagstaff Public Library. This event is free and open to the public. For more information about the series, please contact Flagstaff Arts Council at (928) 779-2300, Judy Finney at the Flagstaff Public Library at (928) 213-2369, or visit 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

CollegeAmerica's Fall Career Fair

CollegeAmerica's Fall Career Fair

Looking to hire? Are you looking to be hired?

Then join CollegeAmerica and 20+ Flagstaff employers at their annual Fall Career Fair Wednesday, November 5, 2014 from 2pm to 5:30pm at their new campus at 399 Malpais Ln. on the second floor.

More information about CollegeAmerica Flagstaff at their website:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

News You Can Use

The credit/debit card industry has had a lot of changes lately and that has resulted in much confusion and misinformation. This combination is ripe for fraud and scams. Please don’t waste your money. Knowledge is your best defense.

  1. Industry digital conversion. Yes, the industry is going all digital but NOT instantly. Many older counter top machines are now obsolete...but operational. They will not be serviced, downloaded or rebooted but WILL remain working until they fail. Only then will the merchant be required to get a newer machine. Planning for replacement is a good idea. New digital machines run from about $400 to $600 for counter top with wireless adding another $100 to $150.  Fear mongers are pushing machines for nearly twice that!
  2. Chip cards ARE coming. This is also known as EMV conversion. The credit card with a chip in it is far more secure than the brown strip version. Europe and Canada have long proven its value. Neither the machine nor card manufacturers can make enough to convert quickly. The transition will take place over the next couple of years with Oct 2015 as the initial target date. New machines and readers will have a slot to insert the chip card as well as the known slot for magnetic cards. Initially, US chip cards will have both the chip and strip. This will allow for a more orderly change over as older analog machines (see #1 above) are replaced in the next several years. After 2015, strip reader machines will continue to work but breach protection will be absent. 
  3. Credit card rates are getting more competitive. Value added services such as gift cards, ATMs, text messaging, online systems, wireless in store systems, and cash advances are showing up as additional offerings. 
  4. As part of the more competitive nature, the older more costly tiered pricing system (usually 3 tiered) is giving way to the more competitive cost plus pricing system also known as interchange plus. Cost plus is a bit more difficult to show quickly but reduces total costs dramatically. This is the only pricing all big box stores use. An informed ISO (Independent Sales Organization) sales rep can explain it clearly and demonstrate its profit potential to a merchant.

The key issue will ever more be the knowledge of the sale rep from the ISO. Banks and warehouse stores continue to sell merchant services but as tiered pricing with no service rep available. Let’s face it, when you mix people, computers and money, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ issues arise, it is a matter of ‘when’. A knowledgeable rep will be invaluable in keeping these issues from becoming significant problems.

For questions call Chamber member Bear Thomas at Merchant Solutions International, Inc. in Williams, AZ at 602-910-0500.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tourist Home Urban Market Opens for Business

FLAGSTAFF – AZ. For the first time in decades, the Tourist Home will illuminate the neon sign hovering above the San Francisco Street sidewalk in Flagstaff’s Southside, and open its doors to locals and visitors once more. A former boarding house for immigrant Basque sheepherders whose travels through Flagstaff once were widespread, the building has been sitting dormant; boarded up and decaying for the last 40-plus years. It wasn't until visions for its revitalization and re-purposing were met with strategy and partnerships, did progress begin for the Heinonen cousins and new business partner, Chris Kemmerly of Miramonte Homes.
A natural extension of its sibling restaurant and bar businesses – Tinderbox Kitchen and Annex – Tourist Home Urban Market (THUM) will represent the retail arm of the three. Part storefront, part restaurant, part local hub, THUM provides counter service offering chef-driven foods, pre-packaged or made-to-order. Menu items include hot breakfast items and pastries, gourmet packaged foods, house charcuterie, chef-butchered steaks and chops, domestic cheeses, prepared-to-order sandwiches, plus an assortment of soups and salads. All foods are made on-premises and intentionally kept simple with no more than five ingredients. Drinks include fair-trade coffees, juices, sodas, beer and wine.
“We kept the integrity and style from the Tinderbox and Annex and implemented that quality into the market,” said Dara Wong, general manager, “It allows T-Box fans to access many of the specialty foods, meats, cheeses and wines we have at the restaurant, but in a one-stop- shop fashion, including made-to-order counter-service meals.”
The historic preservation and architectural efforts; local craftsmanship; and artistic vision that aligned to create Tourist Home Urban Market, did so in an unprecedented and synergistic way. The owners and staff are eager to share the building’s story and contribute to the next chapters in its history.
Tourist Home Urban Market, located at 52 S. San Francisco St., will open its doors for business on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 6 a.m. Hours and days of operation are 6 a.m. - 6 p.m., seven days a week. More information at 928-779-2811 or 928-226-8400.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Props 406, 403 aim to repair streets and increase safety

The Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce recognizes that transportation infrastructure in our region is in critical need of repair and ongoing maintenance. Funding through Federal
resources is lacking and a solution that will adequately address our needs is unlikely. Arizona’s Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) is continually being swept, reducing the already minimal share our city sees from that funding source. The lack of funding support from our state and federal resources necessitates a local solution. Both the City and County have proposed increases to our sales tax in order to repair, improve and maintain our road system.

The City’s Prop 406 – Road Repair & Street Safety raises the sales tax one third of one percent (.033%) or 33 cents per $100 purchase. The County’s Prop 403 – Coconino County
Road Maintenance Tax raises sales taxes three tenths of one percent or 30 cents on a $100 purchase.
This would go into affect while the existing Coconino Parks & Open Space tax expires. The net increase would be reduced to 17.5 cents on a $100 purchase.

These initiatives would bring our sales tax rate from 8.446% to 8.951% or 50.5 cents per $100. It would be in effect for 20 years and fund approximately $12 to $13 million for needed repairs and maintenance.

The propositions are the result of a two year process with significant input from diverse groups within the community. There have been two voter surveys, a Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) comprised of various community leaders, and independent road evaluations.

The results of the 1,200 voters surveyed indicate overwhelming support (69%) for a tax increase now vs. paying more later for future repairs. The CTAC recommended a sales tax increase to fund these core services. Kimmley-Horn and Associates provided the independent assessment, finding that 35% of the County paved roads are in poor or severe condition.

The City of Flagstaff and Coconino County have stated that without the significant revenue this initiative will provide services will be at risk. The negative impact on tourism and the business community is too great to ignore. It is a public safety and an economic development imperative that our roads are properly maintained.

The Chamber is cognizant that the idea of raising our local sales taxes to fund road repair is a difficult proposition. Unfortunately, our two choices are to let our roads fall into further disrepair or fund improvements ourselves.

Registered voters have the opportunity to decide to fund better roads in the upcoming general election on November 4, 2014.
For more information, visit and

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blinded by the Light: a Dark Skies Summit

On August 18-19 the Keystone Center hosted a Dark Skies Summit to explore common solutions to the growing threat from the proliferation of white and poorly-filtered LED outdoor lighting in this region.

The value of our Dark Skies City designation cannot be underestimated to sustain and grow our
deep scientific and astronomy communities.

The Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce participated along with collaborative partners Lowell
Observatory, the City of Flagstaff and NAU.

The importance of preserving our Dark Skies as it relates to regional economic development
through the use of emerging technologies and it’s importance to our tourism industry was discussed.
Public policy, balancing lighting standards and public safety while incorporating cost effective new
technology to preserve our dark skies will all continue to be important work at the Chamber on
behalf of this region. For more information please go to and

Business Leaders Meet New NAU President

At the end of August, Chamber board members, ambassadors and other community members gave a warm welcome to NAU’s new president, Dr. Rita Cheng.

The Chamber has always believed in the importance of a strong partnership between the business community and NAU, which is why President and CEO Julie Pastrick invited the new university president to the Chamber’s board meeting.

Dr. Cheng spoke about both her career and personal history, as well as her exciting plans for the future of NAU, building on John Haeger’s numerous accomplishments.

Business leaders asked her questions, gave her advice and informed her about current initiatives happening between the university and the community and at the Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome, Dr. Cheng!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sign Code Restrictions Discussed at City Council

The Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce mission includes advancing a strong business climate by being a catalyst for community and economic development in our region. Community improvement and economic growth come from a thriving business environment; when our local small businesses are able to grow their bottom line they are able to retain and hire new employees and reinvest in community needs. But to be able to do that good public policy needs to be in place that provides small businesses tools to succeed and removes barriers to success.
A significant way we can strengthen Flagstaff is by improving our city’s sign code to better reflect the needs of an economy in recovery. A study prepared by the University of Cincinnati and the Signage Foundation found that if a business chooses to use advertising signage to promote themselves it can help improve sales by as little as 10%  and much more, and can even lead to small positive impacts on employment at those businesses. For Flagstaff businesses a 10%+  increase in volume could contribute major dividends to strengthening our community.
Unfortunately, many of our city’s business owners and operators have felt that Flagstaff has too stringent of a regulation on signs, leading some to not bother with a significant investment in promotional signage due to penalties that are too high, permits that cost more than the signs themselves, and a permit application process that is too cumbersome.
Earlier this year, we conducted a survey among Chamber member businesses to gauge their opinions on the city’s current sign regulations. Responses were robust with more than 140 member businesses weighing in and the results were not surprising. Over 67% of respondents indicated that they felt the current code was too complicated. Only 15% said they had an above average opinion of the current regulations. Over 54% agreed that their business could benefit from a de-regulated code on temporary A-Frame (sandwich board) signs.
In the spring, Chamber staff went before the Flagstaff City Council to present the results of this survey to members of council and city staff advocating for a less burdensome, easier to understand, and less costly sign code to promote a stronger small business environment and robust economy. Some of the reforms for which the Chamber has advocated include:
- Continuing to respect our dark sky ordinance
- Allow for directional way-finding/off-premise signs
- Rescind permit requirement for indoor & inside window signage
- Give businesses an incentive to replace free-standing/old signage without fees or reapplication
- Allow A-Frame signs without a permitting process so long as their use conforms to a set standard
The Chamber applauds the city council for moving forward with amendments which reflected many of our suggestions including: removing the need for a permit for an A-Frame sign, allowing for directional signage to a business and adopting incentives for business owners to replace their old signs.  We still have work to do.  A vote on the final sign code revisions should take place early in the Fall.
To keep up-to-date with the sign code revisions and to see the full results of our member survey, visit our advocacy website

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chamber Active on Wildfire Prevention Legislation

A Message from the President

Last week the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce sat in on a conference call with Senator John McCain, representatives from his office, and the offices of Senator Jeff Flake and Senator John Barasso of Wyoming, to hear about S.2593, FLAME Act Amendments Act of 2014. Senator McCain began his conversation stating what an incredible challenge we have in the Southwest regarding fire and water.

The FLAME Act Amendments are tweaking the original legislation passed in 2009. Senator McCain bases his sponsoring of the legislation on the 2.4 million acres needing thinning in the Four Forest Restoration Initiative. Forest thinning can reduce the severity of a fire and the associated suppression
costs. But forest thinning cannot be successful without commercial enterprise to do it since the associated costs would be an enormous burden on the federal government.

Very high temperature fires are created when thinning isn’t done, which ultimately cause more catastrophic effects than if a burn reaches a thinned out area. This summer we watched the San Juan fire near Show Low torch over 7,000 acres of the White Mountain Apache Reservation and the Apache-
Sitgreaves National Forests. That number could have easily been multiplied if not for the decade-long White Mountain Stewardship Project. In S.2593 there is a requirement for the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior to dedicate appropriate funding to hazardous fuel reduction. There is also a discussion about categorizing catastrophic fires as FEMA national disasters; ditching the 10 year average cost of fire suppression to truly document what we have been spending in the past 3 years to better understand actual costs associated with suppression today and what budgetary measures should change to meet current drought conditions; requesting the Department of Defense to transfer newer aircraft to suppression efforts, versus outdated military aircraft which cannot meet our demands; and lastly to consider taking 50% of the $1.9 billion that is dedicated to suppression and dedicate it to hazardous fuel reduction or simply – forest thinning.

We applaud our Senators McCain, Flake, and Barsso for taking a lead on an issue so near and dear to all of us in Flagstaff and across the state. The bottom line is that we can’t continue to put more dollars into emergency fire situations and maintain the status quo while ignoring the excess fuel loads in our national forests that cause the catastrophic fires. Your chamber remains actively involved in many issues that affect our livelihood and local economy. Thank you for your membership investment; you allow the Greater Flagstaff Chamber to remain active affecting good policy decisions on many fronts as a catalyst for community and economic prosperity throughout our region. You are valued!

Boy Scouts Build New Park for 'Second Chance' Dogs

Thanks to a local Boy Scout troop, the dogs at Second Chance Center for Animals can now let out some energy and build confidence in the shelter’s own backyard.
When Anthony Violissi of troop #7033 approached SCCA looking for a project, they tasked his troop to build a confidence training park for the dogs temporarily staying the shelter.
 Mark Markussen, the adoptions and outreach manager at Second Chance, designed the course to be similar to the one set up in Bushmaster Park – which he designed for the City.
“I set it up so that any dog can complete the course,” Markussen said. “There are a few more difficult obstacles, but they’re all modifiable so that even a small dog, for instance, can get over everything. We use it particularly for dogs that have less confidence.”
Violissi found different donors to provide all of the supplies and materials needed to create the park. Then, he and his scout troop went out to the shelter for two days and constructed the course.
Mark was impressed with Violissi’s drive and leadership skills.
“Anthony was the lead guy and he learned a lot about leading,” Markussen said. “It was really cool to watch him figure out what he needed to do over the two days. I think the rest of the scouts really got some good work ethic out of it. They all stayed focused and got everything done and stayed on schedule. It was awesome.”
Markussen explained that Second Chance’s goal is to take care of the body, mind, heart and spirit of all of the animals that come in to their facility. The confidence course helps stimulate the dogs’ minds, keeps their bodies strong and their spirit high.
“Most shelters can only focus on Body – which is survival,” Markussen said. “We take it a step further by having a behavioral department so we can also focus on Mind, Heart and Spirit. We think about mind by actually giving them adoptable behaviors. Socially, they get play time together. They also get to interact with people. And finally, Spirit. Most dogs come here with an unbroken spirit and it’s up to us to not break that spirit. We need to make sure their lives are enriched while they’re here.”

To learn more about Second Chance Center for Animals, visit their website:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Summer Camps 2014

This summer parents can have their children participate in a plethora of programs being offered by Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce members that range from learning how to open your own business to discovering dinosaurs to band camp. Among the programs are:

YES Week 2014

Do you have a budding entrepreneur in high school? If so, NACET and the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce would like to invite your student to YES Week 2014!
Young Entrepreneurial Scholars (YES) Week is a week long summer event for high-school-aged students in the Northern Arizona area to create their own businesses and to learn the ins and outs of startups!  At YES Week, students will gain an understanding of entrepreneurship as a viable career option and learn about resources in their community, generate business ideas to create an atmosphere of fun, meet and learn from successful entrepreneurs, learn to work and cooperate in groups, develop critical thinking, leadership abilities, and life skills, and identify and evaluate entrepreneurial opportunities in Northern Arizona. To learn more and to register, call the Chamber at 928.774.4505.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army offers a wide variety of summer camps to youth ages 7 through 16. Their five different camps include Salvation Army Youth Camp, Band Camp, Gospel Camp, Teen Wilderness Camp, and Discovery Camp. Each program is held at The Salvation Army Southwest Division Camp Ponderosa Ranch in the White Mountains of Heber, AZ. At every Salvation Army summer camp:
Youth live in common aged cabin groups with councilors.
Meals are served “family style” by wait staff to each table.
Each day’s programming includes Bible emphasis and Chapel times.
An on-campus certified Health Care Supervisor handles all medications and incidences at the Camp.
Contact the local Salvation Army Corps/Unit in your community to inquire about eligible camps, possible scholarships, and for Camper Applications.

Theatrikos Theatre Company

Theatrikos Theatre Company is offering several summer camps in the coming months! Expose your child to the thrill, excitement and creativity of theater. This summer, kids ages 7-14 can be a part of many popular performances, including Peter Pan Jr. and James and the Giant Peach. Children ages 6-12 also have the opportunity to learn about play production, test out their juggling skills, and practice their acting, dancing and singing. For more information and to sign up for classes, visit

The Boys & Girls Club of Flagstaff

The Boys & Girls Club of Flagstaff’s Super Summer Day Camp is a nine week summer program that kicks off June 2nd, and will run Monday- Friday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Kids will enjoy many field trips and exciting activities throughout the summer, including participating in the Youth Police Academy presented by The Flagstaff Police Department, going on treks with the hiking club, and themed weeks such as Super Heroes week and Space week. Career week also includes fine arts classes, time in the technology room, indoor sports activities, swimming, bowling, movies and much more. The camp costs $70 a week per child  plus a $20 membership fee. Multiple child discounts and scholarships are available. No child will be turned away. For more information please visit or call the Boys & Girls Club of Flagstaff at 928-266-0489.

Museum of Northern Arizona

From dinosaurs to clay, floating the San Juan river or excavating an archaeological site, make your child’s summer one to remember. Museum of Northern Arizona camps offer meaningful exploration with a focus on the diverse traditions of the arts, natural sciences and Native cultures of the Colorado Plateau. Experienced educators will delight and teach using hands-on activities and field trips. The Museum of Northern Arizona Discovery Program offers summer camps for children ages 4 to 13. Camps run for 8 weeks from June 9 to August 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for ages 6 to 13 and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for ages 4 through 5. Camp dates, descriptions and costs are listed on the museum’s website, Scholarships are available.

Hitchin’ Post Stables

A horseback riding camp at Hitchin Post Stables features equine education, riding lessons, activities, crafts, snacks, drinks and a Hitchin’ Post Junior Wrangler T-Shirt. Kids 7 to 16 years will learn about horse and barn safety, tack lessons and vet care. Gentle horses on a roomy ranch provide a backdrop for a fun-filled time. Monday through Thursday from 8 am to Noon. Sessions are  June 2-5, 9-12, 16-19 and 23-26. Cost is $300 per four-day session. Reservation are required, so call 928.774.1719.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Week May 5-9

A few years ago, the Board of Directors of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce met to discuss possible initiatives it could invest its time and work in to better our community. While several ideas were discussed, the one that met with instant universal support was finding a way to help our teachers, who work tremendously long hours and often feel underappreciated.
How can businesses expect world-class education across our state, it was asked, if we do not invest in and recognize those that inspire, motivate and lead students? How can we honor those professionals who serve as one of the most influential forces in our children’s - and our future employee’s - lives?
As a result of that dynamic and passionate discussion, a terrific new Chamber initiative was born: Flagstaff Values Teachers.
Flagstaff Values Teachers (FVT) incorporates a three-pronged approach to supply teachers with the items they need in their classrooms, provide low-cost professional development, and a wonderful business discount card with sizable breaks from local businesses. Hopefully, these gestures will give a morale boost to local teachers and ensure that they feel appreciated.
“We are really excited about providing ways for our local business community to honor local educators,” said Board Chairman Guillermo Cortes. “K-12 teachers lay the critical foundation for educational attainment.”
FVT’s teacher discount card helps ease the financial burden that many teachers feel by offering them special savings at more than 100 Chamber businesses. More than 400 teachers have enrolled in the discount card initiative. Meanwhile, our partnership with APS and Lessons2Life provides low-cost professional development through on-site meetings with local business owners and managers about the skills businesses are looking for when they hire.
Lastly, in August, Suddenlink and the Chamber host a three day teacher supply drive at the two WalMarts in town. Last year’s drive secured more than $43,000 worth of supplies. It is our hope that this will grow annually and that no teacher will have to pay out of their own pocket for classroom supplies. Every student deserves a fully supplied classroom to optimize learning.
No matter what kind of student you were, you probably remember at least one outstanding teacher who was passionate about your achievement and who made a big impression on you. Teacher Appreciation Week is a fabulous time to take a moment to reflect on how important teachers are to you, your family, your business, our community and more. Send a card with your student to his or her teacher, celebrate teachers on your favorite social media platform, invite a teacher to dinner at your house! Those small steps could be the start of something big - making sure our local educators know just how much they are valued.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Twin Arrows celebrating their 1st Anniversary May 3rd

Join the party as Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort celebrates their 1st anniversary on May 3rd!

Come out to the casino resort for a day of gaming, specials and a complimentary fireworks show.

Indulge yourself  with $1 hot dogs & $1 beers all day long.

Plus, enter to win $100 CASH every hour in our Hot Seat Drawings from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Just play your favorite slot machine with your Players Club card properly inserted to register for the cash drawings.

Longing for a weekend escape? We're also giving away ten "'Suite' Deal!" Packages at 10 p.m.
Win one of ten overnight stays in one of our brand new suites and dinner for two at Zenith Steakhouse. See the Players Club for your free entry!

Don't miss out on our complimentary fireworks show at 9 p.m.

Bring your family and friends to Twin Arrows for an unforgettable anniversary celebration!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce Annual Report Video

Check out our Annual Report video, presented at the January 24 Annual Meeting.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Director Mike Sistak traveled to Denver last year for the Business of Water Summit, sponsored by the Colorado-based consortium Protect the Flows. We continue to be involved in Protect the Flows on behalf of the outdoor recreation industry and businesses of all types in our region who rely heavily on the Colorado River. 6.1 million jobs are associated with the river statewide and billions in state tax revenues are collected annually. We must protect every drop! 

View this great video
produced by Protect the Flows explaining what this group is and their mission:

Flagstaff Chamber Represents Area Businesses at ‘Business of Water’ Summit in Denver

Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Director Mike Sistak recently represented member businesses that rely on the Colorado River and traveled to Denver for the Business of Water Summit, sponsored by the Colorado-based group Protect The Flows.

Protect The Flows was founded in 2011 as a consortium of businesses dedicated to common sense solutions to the water challenges that face the entire southwest. The main driver of needed solutions is finding a way to protect the Colorado River Basin, which is vital to the economies and well being of the 7 state region that comprises the basin.

The group advocates for both business and public policy that will support and sustain the environment, business, recreation, and the overall quality of life that the Colorado River provides.

Throughout the entire basin region, the Colorado River supports over a quarter million jobs and generates over $26 billion in annual economic output. In Arizona alone, the river supports over 53,000 jobs and generates just under $6 billion a year in economic output.

Mike traveled to the summit on the heels of the sixteen day shutdown of the federal government. Northern Arizona bore witness to several million dollars in lost revenue due to the shutdown, closing Grand Canyon National Park and restricting access to the Colorado River.

“The message I wanted to bring to the summit was that in Flagstaff we caught a glimpse of what it would be like if suddenly the Colorado River wasn’t there,” Mike said. “We take the river for granted and if as a business community we don’t invest in sound policies to protect the river, the effects we felt during the shutdown could be that much more detrimental to a wide variety of local businesses.”

Also in attendance at the Denver summit was Mark Lamberson, owner and operator of Mountain Sports in downtown Flagstaff. “As a retailer for outdoor clothing and supplies, much of which ends up going with my customers to the Grand Canyon and Colorado River, I am directly affected by the sustainability of the river,” said Mark. “But no matter what your business or reason for living in Flagstaff is we are all, in some way affected by the river.” Mark and his daughter Lisa have been involved with Protect The Flows since its inception.

At the summit, over 30 individuals represented businesses and organizations that ranged from mega-hotels in Las Vegas that consume thousands of gallons of water a day, to small regional banks that provide startup loans to river runners. The common message among the group was that it is up to the business community to lead the charge of the sustainability of the river.

Mark Udall, the senior United States Senator for Colorado, gave the keynote address at the summit. He indicated that if the Southwestern United States is to meet the challenges of sustaining the river, that it first must be acknowledged that the current use and management of the river is unsustainable. He said that he has a close friendship with each senator that represents a Colorado River Basin state, and that when it comes to water policy there is no partisanship among them, it’s about working toward what is the best policy for future access to water.

The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce is taking comments from member businesses directly impacted by our proximity to the Colorado River.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Exporters, Look South!

Northern Arizona companies looking to build overseas sales are wise to start by looking south to the United States’ eleven Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners in Latin America.

These 11 economies – Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru – all have a rapidly growing base of middle-class consumers and diversifying industries. Tariffs are low or nonexistent, which can mean a lower cost of doing business and lower barriers to entry in these markets.

A record number of American businesses are reaching international customers, but exporting companies are only taking advantage of one market. Expanding to additional export markets improves a business’ bottom line. Companies exporting to one market average roughly $375,000 in export sales. For a company exporting to two-to-four export markets, that average nearly triples to $1 million in sales.

Thanks to its network of offices in the Latin American FTA markets, the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) is well-placed to help Arizona exporters evaluate and prioritize market potential and implement a business development strategy for the region. CS services include

  • Identifying potential partners and clients; 
  • Sharing insights into legal and cultural environments; 
  • Arranging business-to-business meetings; and, 
  • Advocating for U.S. companies bidding on FTA partner government procurement contracts.

To learn more about how the Commercial Service can help, Northern Arizona companies are encouraged to contact Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce CEO Julie Pastrick.  Julie can put you in direct contact with U.S. Commercial Service resources in Arizona.

Flagstaff’s Julie Pastrick Appointed to Arizona District Export Council

In late December, the Arizona District Export Council announced that Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Julie Pastrick has been appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to serve a four-year term.

The District Export Council recognizes that there is  great potential in Arizona for small and medium size business through exporting products and services. The focus of the Council includes the following activities:

  • Collaborating with Arizona business public and private sector groups to stimulate economic growth through trade and investment.
  • Regularly providing export training, readiness and advice to interested businesses.
  • Addressing local and regional trade issues.
  • Advocating for a well-informed public and political dialogue about global business in Arizona.
  • Preparing Arizona to be a “global ready” State.
  • Supporting the Arizona U.S. Export Assistance Center, a division of the U.S. Commercial Service.
At the Federal level, the DEC works in conjunction with Congressional and Senatorial offices to represent export-oriented Arizona businesses.  If you are interested in expanding your products or service into international markets please contact Julie Pastrick at

Monday, January 6, 2014

2013--Setting a New Standard for Business Advocacy

In 2013, we set a new standard for business advocacy at the Greater Flagstaff Chamber. Representing our member interests before government, we affected positive changes advancing the success of the Flagstaff business community and region.

Locally, we saw many successes that will help businesses grow and keep our community strong:
  • As an integral part of Mayor Jerry Nabours’ roundtable on zoning map amendments, we helped draft a new process that will relax some of the requirements for anyone wishing to rezone a parcel of land.
  • We also advocated for a more reasonable update to energy code standards for new homes built in our city. Instead of the proposed adoption of the 2012 International Energy Code, which would have added burdensome costs to new homes in a community that is already 56% above the national average for the housing costs. Instead, we advocated successfully for an amendment that is less stringent but still emphasizes our  commitment to energy efficiency.
  • We were very active in contributing to the city’s draft of the Regional Plan 2030 document, which has been developed over the last four years. Through our Community and Economic Development Committee, we combed through the plan and offered significant input to the city council, much of which was adopted. The most important changes approved were adding prefatory language stating that the goals and policies expressed throughout the document were not law, but guidelines, thereby softening much of the business-unfriendly obligations. Council also reversed the emphasis on compact housing developments, instead allowing for a variety of housing, most important of which is single family housing. Much of the economic development chapter was also changed at our suggestion, notably adding sections stressing the importance of Pulliam Airport and its business park as well as more emphasis on our robust tourism industry.
  • We supported the proposed expansion of the Little America hotel property as a welcome creator of hundreds of local jobs through both the construction and staffing once the build-out is completed. At City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, we advocated in favor of the project, which will also  make Little America a destination resort benefitting the entire city. Between additional jobs,  more sales for our local businesses and increased city revenues through the Bed, Board, and Beverage (BBB) tax, it is estimated the economic benefit of the expansion to Flagstaff will be $34 million annually.

During the 2013 state legislative session we advocated for, and helped win passage of, two issues that are vital to the continued success and future vibrancy of our community:
  • Restoration and expansion of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), or state Medicaid program. This legislation advanced by Gov. Jan Brewer (right) as part of her 2013-2014 budget, allowed the state to accept a temporary 10-to-1 federal funding match to provide health insurance to those living up to 133% of the federal poverty level. It also restored coverage to the more than 141,000 individuals who were cut from the program in 2011, a loss that caused significant problems in our hospitals and drove up private health insurance premiums by 8.8%.
  • Formal legislative adoption of the state’s new College and Career Ready Standards. The Greater Flagstaff Chamber has long made educational reforms one of its core initiatives and the 2013 legislative session provided an opportunity for a major overhaul of state standards, which will allow our students to compete on both national and international levels as they progress to college and the workforce. The standards were developed by a bipartisan coalition of governors from 46 states.
In 2013, we expanded the Greater Flagstaff Chamber’s profile with our national government by building on existing relationships, resulting in visits to our Chamber by highly influential government officials. In a 50-day period, we hosted before membership Sen. John McCain,  Sen. Jeff Flake as well as Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.
  • On the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) we worked closely with our senators and Congressman Gosar to seek answers from the US Forest Service (USFS) on how they planned to protect the Northern Arizona region from a devastating fire when the project was dangerously behind schedule. Senator Flake was able to pass out of committee a reauthorization of the ability of the Forest Service to enter into stewardship contracts such as 4FRI that includes new language to make such contracts more workable and successful.
  • We held a forum on the federal Affordable Care Act to ensure that in 2013 our members knew all the necessary information regarding the new law and how it affected them. Our panel featured Herb Shultz (below left), President Obama’s appointee as Director of Region IX of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Schultz joined us from San Francisco where he oversees health care law for several western states, territories, and tribal nations.
  • We remained heavily involved in the dispute over new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations for the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), advocating for a major economic engine to Northern Arizona that has created over 1,000 jobs and will pump over $20 billion into our state’s economy over the next 30 years. We have written several letters to our Congressional delegation, as well as directly to the EPA, expressing our support for NGS, and most recently we signed onto an amicus brief that has been filed with the United States Supreme Court which will highlight the devastating economic impact these new regulations will have nationwide.

2014--Our Legislative Agenda Is Based on Pro-Business Public Policy

Recently, the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce adopted a platform of state and federal legislative priorities for 2014 that it helped craft with other chambers in the state through the Arizona Chamber Executives. This legislative agenda provides  common goals on pro-business public policy for chambers to advocate for together and will build upon the successes we saw last year.

The agenda pushes for fiscal policies that will attract new investments and bring jobs to Arizona. Last year saw many businesses relocate to Arizona because of its conducive environment, a trend we continue to encourage in 2014. Advancing a successful business climate will also include advocating for policies that help make our state education system the most attractive by producing graduates who are career-ready and capable of competing on a global scale.

The chambers will oppose any legislation that would reduce rural economic development capacity and impair tourism dollars. We will also support legislation that explores more public-private partnerships that would increase industry productivity and reduce the dependency on state funds. Most importantly, Arizona chambers will advocate for a balanced budget to ensure there are no unjustified taxes imposed on our families and businesses that would hinder economic vitality.

We will also support legislation that will continue to highlight Arizona as an attractive place to invest federal and corporate research dollars. Our first-rate public universities have helped make Arizona a hub for vital study in areas such as national research. It is our goal to continue to attract these investments that will help grow our universities, educate our students, and infuse our economy with the outputs.

Building upon our successful restoration and expansion of our state Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), in 2014 we will advocate for legislation and policies that maximize the number of individuals receiving health insurance while also being fiscally responsible. We will also oppose any efforts by the federal government to reduce funding to AHCCCS that would cause a cost shift to the private sector.

At the federal level, we will continue in 2014 to push for a comprehensive immigration reform bill to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Obama. Such legislation would provide for visa reform, reinforce education attainment and contribute to the overall economic vitality of the state of Arizona. It would also support policies to properly seal our porous borders, respond to the needs of the economy, and address the issue of illegal immigrants already in the United States. Legislation such as this passed the U.S. Senate in 2013 through the leadership of our Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake. We will call on our House delegation to do the same.

We will work to ensure that in 2014 any legislation that addresses climate change does so without transferring wealth out of our state or artificially increasing the costs for energy producers or consumers. For Flagstaff this means working to protect the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) from burdensome new regulations that threaten to eliminate over 1,000 jobs and drive up our utility costs.

Finally, with regards to the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI), we will continue to work with Senators McCain and Flake and Arizona’s entire Congressional delegation to monitor the progress of this vitally important project. In 2013, we saw the 4FRI contract transfer to a new company, Good Earth Power. Our Senators also advanced legislation that will provide more tools to the U.S. Forest Service for fighting dangerous wildfires. It will be key in 2014 for Arizona’s forests to remain healthy so as to protect life and the economic output our forests provide.

These policies will form the basis for our advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels, but as always, we remain committed to all issues and advocate for any legislation that will be a benefit to our businesses, strengthen our educational system, and grow our communities.