by Dana Cole for Benson News-Sun on July 17th, 2013

Lea Marquez Peterson, president and chief executive officer of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, gave a presentation on “The Growing Influence of the Hispanic Population in Arizona” Thursday at the Benson/San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon. 

As one of the fastest growing business organizations in the state, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has managed to grow by more than 300 percent in the midst of an economic downturn. It’s the only chamber in the state of Arizona with an office in Mexico, a presence that fosters a close working relationship with Mexican businesses while serving as a referral source for businesses in both countries. 

Lea Marquez Peterson, president and chief executive officer of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was in Benson Thursday where she talked about “The Growing Influence of the Hispanic Population in Arizona” during a monthly luncheon hosted by the Benson/San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Peterson’s presentation highlights a fast-growing economy in Sonora, Mexico along with the economic benefits Mexican businesses and trade could bring to Cochise County. She also spoke about the Tucson Hispanic Chamber’s desire to grow into Cochise and Santa Cruz counties, forming collaborative relationships with chambers of commerce in Southern Arizona to help boost struggling economies.

Stressing the benefits of Mexican trade for Benson’s business community, Peterson said Mexican visitors spend close to $190 million a year in Cochise County. “Benson businesses certainly want to attract visitors traveling through their community from Sierra Vista on their way to Tucson or Phoenix,” she said. To draw those visitors, Peterson advises local businesses to consider such questions as, “Is the business ‘Mexico ready?’ Does the business attract Mexican shoppers from the outside? Is sales staff bilingual? Does the business stock the right inventory?”

The Tucson Hispanic Chamber is the largest Latino business organization in the state of Arizona, with more than 1,020 business members, of which 65 percent are Hispanic owned or managed businesses, Peterson said. With Arizona’s Hispanic population at 31 percent and growing, she emphasized the important economic impact Hispanic business could have on Benson’s economy through ....


by Chamber Admin on June 26th, 2013

Ákos Kovach, Economic Development Planner for the SouthEastern Arizona Governments Organization is a strong believer in Benson. Specifically he believes that Benson is poised for growth. To find out why he believes this, the Benson San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce asked him to come and share his vision at their June monthly breakfast on June 20 at The Benson City Grille.

With 28 persons in attendance, Kovach first explained that he believes in Benson and that Benson is poised for growth because we have many existing resources. A resource, Kovach explained, is “somebody or something that is a source of help or information.”

Benson’s existing resources, according to Kovach, include:
  • The Visitor Center,
  • City Hall,
  • Chamber of Commerce,
  • Available private land,
  • Available State land,
  • Commercial property for sale,
And, the infrastructure to sustain growth.At this point Kovach asked the audience their thoughts on what Benson’s existing assets and infrastructure are. Chamber President Lupe Diaz mentioned Benson’s location in conjunction with I-10 and our property price point. George Scott, Executive Director of the Southeast Arizona Economic Development Group, feels that our ability to put deals together quickly to be a major asset.

Bob Nilson of the Visitor Center listed off the railroad, Gamon’s Gulch, Singing Winds Bookstore, our local history, and our strategic location that necessitates that visitors to Tombstone must pass through Benson. Dan Barrera of the Quarter Horse Motel emphasized our hospital, EMS services, medical system, and nursing home as key advantages to relocating a business to Benson.

City Councilman Ron Brooks gave a comprehensive response of land, location, and our recent $11 Million in upgrades to our local airport, while also agreeing with the others as to the importance of our railroad and our connection to I-10.

Greg Hall from Apache Nitrogen Products, Inc., focused on our available workforce with an emphasis of having a fresh group of high school graduates looking for work. Ron Curtis from American Southwest Credit Union mentioned the parking and clear air space at our airport, as well as the benefit of the Cochise College Benson Center.

Summing it up, Kovach agreed that our education system, including both K-12 and Cochise College; our workforce, including that we are an easy commute from Tucson or Sierra Vista; tourism; and our position as a transportation hub, including the airport, Amtrak, and railroad all position Benson for growth.

In speaking of the railroad, Kovach reminded us while we have a rail yard and the Union Pacific, next we need to attract an investor who will fill the need to transfer goods from rail to trucks or from truck to rail to round out our position as a transportation hub.

Kovach let the attendees know that Benson has what Sierra Vista wishes they had: I-10 and a clear airspace over our airport. The key, he said, is finding ways to promote what we have.
In closing Kovach encouraged the attendees to start a promotion in the community to help brand Benson. He even mentioned that with our small business growth – the incubator on Fourth Street and shops opening up; the airport opportunity for air shows, balloon festivals, fly-ins; the intermodal opportunity; increased Amtrak – tourism business; available shovel-ready property; cost-effectiveness; and logical regional transportation hub – distribution point, Benson can have its own FTZ sub-zone. But we must, he emphasized, promote, have a business plan, and a budget plan that fits the goals.

by Chamber Admin on April 4th, 2013

Benson Wal-Mart Remodel Brings Temporary Jobs To Area Residents

Powerhouse Retail Services has numerous Merchandiser/Labor opportunities for a Wal-Mart remodel project in Benson, AZ.  This is a local and a temporary project (approx. 4/22-6/7) but could turn to long term for the right applicants with a great work ethic, great attitude and willingness to travel. This will be entirely up to you. Powerhouse is now hiring for these positions. There will be a day and overnight shift. Pay is $12.00/hr. We will be accepting applications in person on Monday, April 8th from 10am to 3pm at the Arizona Electric Power Co-op and Tuesday, April 9th from 9am to 4pm at the DES Employment Service.

Job responsibilities include but are not limited to:
  • Merchandising 
  • Understanding planograms/Display Solutions
  • Using hand and power tools (experience preferred)
  • Meeting strict deadlines in a  fast paced environment
  • Working 8+ hours a day 5 days a week
  • Reading tape measure
  • Following directions
  • Cleaning 
The following are REQUIRED:
  • Must have reliable transportation.
  • Must consistently be on time and reliable.
  • Must be able to consistently lift 50lbs without assistance.
  • Must pass criminal background check(no felonies or misdemeanor theft/violence)
  • Must pass drug screen
  • Must be available to work various shifts. (Nights or days).
  • Ability to stand, walk, bend for 8 hours or more.
  • A professional appearance and attitude at all times.
  • Must work well in a team. 
Arizona Electric Power Co-op                                DES Employment Service
1000 Arizona 80                                                         400 West Congress Ste. 420
Benson, AZ 85602                                                      Tucson, AZ  85701
Monday April 8th                                                       Tuesday April 9th
10am to 3pm                                                              9am-4pm                   
Please contact Christina Ruiz at 817-297-8575 ext. 7010 or for more details                                

Click Here To Download Flyer

by Chamber Admin on March 27th, 2013

Solar Community Forum 
A free informational forum offering the community practical information for those interested in residential and commercial solar energy. 
Saturday April 6, 2013
At Benson City Council Chambers
120 W. 6th Street | Benson, AZ 85602
Mark Apel, University of Arizona
“Cochise County Solar Development Opportunities”
Telly Stanger, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative
“SSVEC’s Renewable Energy Incentive Program”
Brendan Nuriddin, Solar Path
“‘Right sizing’ Solar Systems and The Construction Process”
University of Arizona
Sulpher Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Benson/San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce
Solar Path
Please RSVP to George Scott at

by Chamber Admin on March 26th, 2013

The March 2013 Chamber Breakfast held on March 21 at the Benson City Grille was well attended. Barbara Richardson Director of Cochise College Benson Branch gave an overview of the services they provide for the students that are part of their student body. She also shared the challenges that the sequester has brought to the military community. Her address was very informative.

Benson Community Hospital's new Chief Financial Officer, Ken Gorason, also shared briefly of his new position at the hospital and some of the objectives and improvements lined up for the hospital.

Benson School District Superintendent Dr. David Woodall provided information about the new Arizona Common Core Standards which are being implemented across the state to help ensure that all students have the academic knowledge and skills they need to be successful in college, career and life.

Those in attendance had several questions for the speakers. The breakfast was very informative.

Pastor Lupe Diaz President of the Chamber spent the reminder of the time sharing the events of the Chamber Advocacy days at the State Capitol. The Arizona State treasurer, the Health reform representative, The State School Superintendent and the Speaker of the House all shared what they are facing. Governor Jan Brewer gave an address on what the state is doing for business in the state. She mentioned that the driving force of our economy is the small businesses in our communities. She is doing she can to drive down the state tax so that business will be attracted to Arizona and thrive. She believes that the State cannot afford the  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Five Chambers from Cochise county were represented at our lunch table alone with Gail Griffin our Senator.

The breakfast meeting which was held at the Benson City Grill was adjourned and the afterglow was vibrant with people talking and arranging for more to happen with the information that was shared.

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