Portales MainStreet selected for pilot program

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

Portales MainStreet is entering a program to support small business and serve as a model for that program.

Portales MainStreet has been selected to serve as a model in creating a New Mexico MainStreet entrepreneur development initiative, according to the Associated Press.

“We’re going to be creating an environment to promote entrepreneurship in the local area,” said Portales MainStreet Manager Nicole Thornton.

The community will receive help with planning, business training, program and resources development and implementation from New Mexico MainStreet, she said.

Thornton said representatives from the New Mexico and Portales MainStreet programs expect to hold a preliminary meeting next month, and inventory and asset mapping will start in June.

The initiative provides two years of services.

As a model, Thornton said, Portales MainStreet’s experience will allow the state Economic Development Department and others to see how well the program works and how well a community implements the plans.

Thornton said more business means more gross receipts taxes, a primary source of revenue for the city, and that money goes back into such things as sewers and law enforcement.

Entrepreneurism also attracts people to the community to live and visit, and helps provide a better quality of life, she continued.

Portales MainStreet members believe entrepreneur development is vital, Thornton said.

“We hope it’s supported, and we hope people take advantage of the program offered so we support the success of local businesses, local people and our local neighbors,” she said.

Portales MainStreet President and small business owner Danny Woodward hopes the initiative will teach people the pros and cons of owning a business.

“I believe, due to the size of the community, you need entrepreneurship,” he said.

Towns need retail, and most of it comes from small business, a dying trade, Woodward continued.

New Mexico MainStreet Program Associate Keith Kjelstrom said Portales MainStreet was picked to participate because of its record in leadership. It has a strong element of business owners in that leadership, putting it in touch with the needs of businesses, and the community has a good entrepreneurial spirit, he continued.

Also, Kjelstrom said, the Portales application was well-written and showed the program had a lot of community partners.

Tucumcari MainStreet was also chosen for the initiative. The two programs were picked from among 19 state-certified communities competing for participation, according to the Associated Press.