LL chamber changes its name again

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The Valencia County Chamber of Commerce has once again undergone a name change.

It is now to be called the Los Lunas Chamber of Commerce. This is not an unusual occurrence in the chamber's history.

The main reason for the current name change is because membership had been declining and the board wanted to find ways to increase membership, said Martin Callahan, the chamber's president.

"There are approximately 1,000 businesses in Los Lunas, of which we have only 20 percent of those businesses as members," Callahan said. "That is increasing, but we wondered why there are so many businesses in Los Lunas that are not a member of the Valencia County Chamber of Commerce."

The businesses and people he spoke with would ask him where it was.

"'Where is it? Is it in Belen? Is it in Los Lunas? Where is it,' they would ask," said Callahan. "It had no place in a sense, it had no home origin."

Many chamber members are members of the Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Belen Chamber of Commerce, he said.

"We were kind of just getting lost in the mix," he said. "That's what we felt."

Each board member and each Valencia County Chamber of Commerce member with an email address was sent a website survey asking if they wanted the chamber to change its name.

The survey results showed 55.6 percent wanted to change the name to "The Greater Los Lunas Chamber of Commerce," 38.1 percent wanted to leave the name as it is, and 6.3 percent wanted some other name.

At a recent board meeting, chamber members approved the name change with an amendment. A couple of board members requested the word "Greater" be removed from the name change, said Callahan.

In the chamber's earliest years, it was called "The Business Men's Association," said Diane Huckabee, former executive director of the Los Lunas Chamber of Commerce.

Huckabee started with the chamber in 1992, when the office was located at the village courthouse building on Main Street, where the Los Lunas Library stands today.

Less than a year later, the chamber office moved to the building now occupied by the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts.

During her 14 years with the board, the name of the chamber was changed twice. First, to the Los Lunas-Bosque Farms Chamber of Commerce, to get Bosque Farms businesses more involved, and then to the Valencia County Chamber of Commerce, Huckabee said.

Membership grew to 300 during her tenure, and consisted of business owners from all over the county.

"Any name change that was ever done was just to be more inclusive," Huckabee said. "We welcomed any and all Valencia County businesses. The entire purpose of the chamber is to promote local businesses and bring in new businesses."

The Los Lunas Chamber of Commerce is located at the Transportation Center, 751 Juan Perea Road SE and Courthouse Road, having moved from its former location at the Visitor's Center on Lambros Road.

The board is looking at changing the layout and the content of the newsletter, and soon there will be a Facebook page to add more value to membership. The website is, www.loslunaschamber.com

All three chambers were asked by state Reps. Kelly Fajardo (R-7, Belen) and Alonzo Baldonado (R-8, Los Lunas) if they would host an event during the legislative session to represent Valencia County, Callahan said.

"And we are. The Belen chamber, the Hispano chamber and the Los Lunas chamber," he said. "We're doing a mini matanza on the 5th of February in Santa Fe."


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.