ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Like loads of small companies a 12 months in the past, the Arroyo Seco jewellery studio Golden Anderson Studios had an internet site, however no technique to promote its merchandise on-line.
Due to that, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Taos’ regular regular stream of tourists dried up, co-owner Gail Golden stated the studio’s income plummeted.
“We had been hurting for a couple of months there,” Golden instructed the Journal.
By the Small Enterprise Improvement Middle at College of New Mexico-Taos, Golden got here throughout Taos Enterprise Alive, a brand new program designed to assist Taos County companies develop e-commerce platforms and get comfy utilizing these on-line instruments.
A 12 months later, Golden Anderson Studios has a devoted e-commerce portal that connects to its web site with an up to date record of stock. Golden stated she’s hopeful that the e-commerce portal will ultimately comprise between 25 and 50% of the corporate’s gross sales.
“It turned out to be simply such a studying expertise,” Golden stated. “Everybody who was concerned in it was very supportive, very educated, and it simply went alongside actually easily.”
Charles Whitson, government director of nonprofit Taos MainStreet and a driving pressure behind this system, stated the pandemic laid naked the technological hole between city and rural communities.
Notably in communities like Taos, the place many companies rely closely on foot site visitors and tourism, the impression of the pandemic proved difficult to beat, Whitson stated.
“When you take away these two issues from the equation, the issue turns into very apparent, in a short time,” Whitson stated.
The LOR Basis, a personal household basis that works with Mountain West communities and offered grant funding for Enterprise Alive, estimates that between 40 and 50% of Taos small companies lack e-commerce capabilities.
Jake Caldwell, a Taos-based program officer on the LOR Basis, stated challenges like the price and technical experience had been vital obstacles preserving many small companies from constructing e-commerce platforms, till the virus pressured them to adapt.
“It was extra obtrusive that there was a necessity to check these different avenues,” Caldwell stated.
Whitson stated this system obtained $22,000 in grant funding from LOR, the Taos Neighborhood Basis and the Los Alamos Nationwide Laboratory Basis, to make this system free to collaborating companies.
Whitson stated 10 companies had been chosen to take part in this system, of which seven presently have functioning e-commerce portals.
Taos MainStreet partnered with the net growth Taos Excessive Tech to construct the platforms. Whitson stated this system labored with every firm individually, tailoring the e-commerce method to their particular wants.
Going ahead, Whitson stated Taos MainStreet is planning to host one other cohort of 10 native companies. The purpose is to not solely give companies a software that may assist them adapt, however to provide companies the ability to function the platforms while not having to rent somebody to handle it for them, Whitson stated.
“There are loads of companies which have existed for a very long time who haven’t tailored … to the brand new world of social media and e-commerce,” he stated.