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Los Lunas Chamber of Commerce Benefits a Small Community with Big Possibilities

By Pamela Sosnowski

The village of Los Lunas is one of New Mexico's fastest growing communities. A new urgent care center recently opened, and a plan to build a multi-modal transportation station that includes rail service has been approved. Helping to drive this development is the Los Lunas Chamber of Commerce, a volun­teer, member-led organization consisting of a board of directors that maintains the day-to-day operations of the Chamber. For more than 20 years the Chamber has made improving the community and the economic environment of Los Lunas its mission.

"It is not by accident that the Village of Los Lunas is the fastest growing community in New Mexico," Theresa Montoya, the Chamber's vice president, said. "Los Lunas is both business friendly and resident caring. We strive to help local businesses grow and are always looking for ways to bring new business into the community."

Any type of business, whether it's a government organization, restaurant, retailer or more, may join the Chamber. Members enjoy networking events, monthly luncheons, and ribbon-cutting ceremonies of new businesses as well as the opportunity to have the Chamber cosponsor their events. They also receive a listing on the Chamber's website and invites to social events.

"Membership benefits include networking opportunities, community involvement, information access, New Mexico political advocacy and heightened business credibility," Montoya said. "Our goal at the Chamber is to improve the economic environment of Valencia County, thereby benefiting established businesses and encouraging the development of new business."

Investment in the community is also a priority for the Chamber and its members. Donations and hundreds of volunteer hours have been invested in the community. Later this year the Chamber will cosponsor three community events: a Valencia County fundraising golf tournament, a free workshop on managing chronic disease and the biggest of the three, the Believe in Heroes/Cops for Kids Memorial Day run. This is a fundraiser that will raise money for Valencia Country veterans and local military organizations presented by L.I.V.E. (Los Lunas Invested in Veteran Events.)

The Chamber also makes local businesses aware of certain tax breaks and credits they are eligible for. The Rural Jobs Tax Credit, for example, enables employers to receive a credit of $1,000 for each qualifying job they create in communities of less than 15,000 residents. The Alternative Energy Product Manufacturer's Tax Credit gives manufacturers involved in green energy, such as solar power or electric vehicles, a tax credit of up to 5 percent of their capital expenses. In helping to spread the word about these incentives, the Chamber is able to attract a diversity of business to the area and drive employment.

Although this new growth is very much encouraged, the Chamber also understands that the town doesn't want to grow too fast or too quickly and works with them to keep it that way.

"Los Lunas is still a rural community and the Village plans to keep it that way," Montoya said. "They balance new development with making sure we don't lose our small town charm. Their logo of 'Small Community, Big Possibilities' fits them perfectly."

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