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Steve Fuhlendorf - Taos Entrepreneurial Network

Learning the Market

Steve Fuhlendorf has been a Taos resident for over 20 years, coming to Taos from northern Nevada. He took a job here after working in the casino industry for about 17 years. In Taos, Steve started his journey as Marketing Director for Taos Mountain Casino.

While working at the casino for about a year, Steve got to interact with many different people. Later, he joined the Taos County Chamber of Commerce and worked there for about ten years. This experience exposed Steve to another segment of the community, businesses and nonprofits.

For the first five years, Steve's primary duties included working collaboratively to market Taos as a tourist destination and overseeing operations of the Taos Visitor Center. This was an excellent opportunity for Steve because he got to explore Taos and many other parts of the state of New Mexico. After the first five years, the chamber shifted its focus more to the business community as a whole. He interacted with many business owners and learned more about the many kinds of businesses that make Taos the diverse community it is.

What Led Steve to the Taos Entrepreneurial Network

In 2007 the Taos County Chamber of Commerce participated in the launch of the Taos Entrepreneurial Network. TEN and the TCCC worked closely to help businesses in northern New Mexico. He is still involved with TEN after all these years, currently as the network facilitator and executive director. He embraces the job because it utilizes the resources he has obtained through his many years working with the Taos business community.    

The Services TEN Offers

Generally, Steve and the organization connect businesses with resources that can help them thrive. He does this by taking time to listen to business owners' needs and what they envision for their businesses. By doing this, Steve and the organization can connect businesses with resources or with her businesses with similar ideas for better collaboration moving forward.

Challenges During the Pandemic

Before the pandemic, many businesses in Taos depended on foot traffic through their doors to make a living. Therefore, many of them did not have websites, and those that did were pretty static and not maintained. Due to the pandemic many business owners had to shift their strategies and open e-commerce stores for their business to survive and scale their revenue with the transition. Steve remains hopeful and believes that more positive things are on the way this year.

Steve's Message to Business Owners 

According to Steve, businesses are becoming more open to change. He feels that business owners should understand that this is a new world and should embrace and try to navigate these new waters. By doing so, they can find the resources they need and work towards not only surviving, but also thriving in this new normal.