By Gary Mitchell
With the coming of Lowe’s, Hobby Lobby and Chili’s restaurant to the area, a new era of growth seems to be permeating the business community, local officials say.
One of the factors that has apparently influenced chain retailers and other businesses to locate in the region is the recent designation of the Clovis-Portales area as a microplex.
“What it does for both communities is that it allows us to advertise a customer base of more than 50,000 people,” said Kim Huffman, executive director of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce. “We in Portales haven’t yet seen any real results, but it remains to be seen. We just need to get the word out. We’re excited about it. We’re benefiting from it.”
Ernie Kos, executive director of the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce, said the cities of Clovis and Portales joined with the chambers of commerce in getting the area designated as a microplex.
“The Clovis-Portales microplex designation really helped a lot,” she said. “Because of the microplex designation, we can put our numbers together, and it makes us more attractive as a trade center. We’re now on people’s radar screens because of our demographics package.”
Huffman agreed. “The whole purpose of the microplex designation is to attract those businesses that are expanding or moving or developing a new business,” he said. “We’re always open to talk to people about starting a business here. We have a lot to offer.”
Kos said her office recently created a revision of the community’s demographics study, which has had an impact on attracting new businesses.
“We’ve actually had a demographic study done, and (land developer) Bill Giese helped to kick it up a notch,” she said.
One of the new factors in the demographics package featured the number of irrigated farms in the area, Giese said.
“I worked with Ernie Kos on that, and we put together a pretty good demographics package,” he said. “The monumental reason people are interested in this area is that Clovis is the only city in New Mexico that offers an irrigated trade center. The farmers in our area have a much higher income because of the irrigated farmland. It’s a big deal — our agricultural economy makes a huge difference. There’s no comparison between Roswell and Clovis outside the city limits. If you fly over the community, you can see the difference. You don’t see the rich farmland until you get to the Clovis area.”
Giese also pointed out that other chain retailers have noted “how well Wal-Mart is doing in gross sales here, and that there’s a lot of traffic.”
“Success breeds success,” Kos said. “We’ve got a lot of exciting things happening — we’ve had a dozen ribbon cuttings for new businesses developing in the area. The retail community is definitely developing.”