Prowers County Represented In Investment Summit
We are so excited that one of PEP’s very own, Cheryl Sanchez, got selected to represent Colorado at SelectUSA Investment Summit in Maryland this week!
She is one of only two Economic Developers from Colorado that was selected to represent our state. What an achievement!!
SelectUSA Investment Summit draws more than 3000 attendees featuring economic developers from all over the US, business investors with international representation, company markets, service providers, industry experts, international tech start ups, and government officials. During this week Cheryl will get to engage in plenaries, armchairs, panels, workshops, one-on-one pitching sessions, and will also have a chance to run the Colorado booth.
We are so excited to have Cheryl representing Colorado, and even better yet Lamar, at SelectUSA! Please help Prowers Economic Prosperity in congratulating Cheryl on this amazing opportunity and achievement!!
Cheryl Sanchez (Prowers Economic Prosperity) and
Greg Thomason (Office of Economic Development & International Trade)
Prowers Economic Prosperity received several guests during the organization’s monthly board meeting on Monday, April 17th.
Jimmy Bencomo explained his need for volunteers this summer to help organize and run a Babe Ruth state tournament which will bring several hundred participants of all ages and their families to Lamar between July 7th and 10th. “We’re going to have games underway for from 30 to 40 teams at the sports fourplex as well as Merchant Park during that period and we anticipate a lot of people staying in town for the games,” he explained, adding, that Lamar will be pretty much packed! The annual Windmill Classic will be pushed back by one week to accommodate the Babe Ruth schedule.
Bencomo said he intends to develop other games with a proposed ‘border war’ with teams out of Garden City, Kansas in which each state would field four teams per age division and gain a point per win, mostly, he said, for bragging rights.
Kevin Brandon and Jon Saunders, representing SECPA/SECOM, described the company’s efforts to offer affordable and high-speed broadband services to southeast Colorado. They highlighted a three-tier level of fiber optic categories that are in use to connect states (Long Haul), communities for town-to-town service (Middle Mile), and connecting homes and businesses to the internet with (Final Mile) opportunities. Final Mile, where the emphasis on expansion is currently taking place, includes interconnections among Las Animas, Holly, Springfield, Pritchett and Kim.
Board members approved several minor changes to their by-laws which involved some clarification of terms, membership designees and explanation for the make-up of the PEP Executive Committee, given some past members places of employment. County Commissioner, Tom Grasmick, made the case for eliminating that committee, stating that the complete board membership should be sufficient to bring matters to a vote. His suggestion will be taken under advisement for future consideration.
The board voted to approve an incentive funding request from the Colorado Drink Company. The owner, Kolby Brubacher, is upgrading his beverage service to include frozen drink selections and the board funding of $1,000, will pay for a portion of the new equipment. A portion of the criteria for the vote was his hiring of three new parttime employees. Reimbursement will be based on the submission of bills. The board agreed that as a condition of receiving future incentive grants, a recipient must become a PEP member selecting from a level of associated fees.
PEP Executive Director, Cheryl Sanchez, noted she continues to visit with the Wiley Steering Committee in their efforts to secure funding for outdoor recreational equipment for the town, following a community-wide survey of needs. She said the board will receive a final report upon its completion. Sanchez was selected as an OEDIT delegate to attend an economic development conference in Washington, DC next month. “Using the available OEDIT app, I’ve already booked several meetings with representatives who could be interested in locating a business in Prowers County,” she stated.
Sanchez listed some works in progress around the county including development of two businesses on Highway 50 East, Taylor Implement and the Pipeyard, both within yards of each other, is making construction progress with an expectation of opening in June. A ‘soft’ opening for the Cow Palace is hoped for in May at this point and the PEP office has received some walk-in visitors inquiring about developing a form of grow-your-own operation. She said the monthly PEP agenda will feature Harvey Greenwood from the Workforce Center.
Gloria Madrid, representative of TA-76, the former Pilot Truck Stop, said her business anticipates a grand opening for KFC and Charlie’s Cheesesteak by July 4th as construction on those enterprises is just getting underway this week. She said area veterans will enjoy a gift as well, “During the grand opening, veterans will receive a $15 gift certificate when they show their ID for free food from Dunkin Donuts, KFC or the steak shop. She extended an invitation to the community on May 9th at 1pm to attend a donation hosted by TA’s parent company, Las Vegas Petroleum to the Prowers County Sheriff’s Department for Shield 616, bullet-proof vests.
The next PEP board meeting will be held at noon on Monday, May 15th at their offices at 223 South Main Street in Lamar.
By Russ Baldwin
Three area businesses were highlighted for their achievements during the March 23rd Prowers Economic Prosperity annual meeting, held at Las Brisas Restaurant in Lamar.
Shane and Tori Hawks with Cheryl Sanchez
PEP Executive Director, Cheryl Sanchez presented Shane and Tori Hawks of Stampede Services in Wiley with the Rising Star award for their contribution to the economy and workforce of the area for the past five years of their operation.
Stagner’s with Anne Marie Crampton
PEP President, Anne Marie Crampton awarded the Family/Business Longevity to Roger and Leslie Stagner for maintaining a multi-purpose business to the area in car and tire sales and automotive repair. Stagner Incorporated has been in operation on North Main Street in Lamar since 1962.
Tallie Harmon and Don Compton
Tallie Harmon, PEP Project Coordinator, presented Don Compton with the ‘Investing for the future of Prowers County’ award for his operations which employ over 30 persons and for making a major economic impact on the county. Compton owns and operates the Pit Stop as well as Patty’s Potties, the Wiley C Store, Rivals and the Olive Street Station. While accepting the award, Compton stated, “Never under estimate the talents of your local workforce.”
Sanchez recapped several PEP accomplishments for 2022, noting that the organization continues to recruit new memberships beyond the current 17 so they can help achieve the goals into the future. She noted that the county unemployment percentage is quite low at 2.3% which means that 140 persons are seeking employment, but work still needs to be done to match the need for workers for local businesses.
“We saw from 80 to 100 new jobs open in 2022 from new and expanding businesses and we hope to see at least 100 to 150 more in 2023 with development in hospitality services in the county,” she stated, adding there will be new growth in the future through small manufacturing development.
Greg Thomason, the Senior Program Manager and Eastern Plains Rural Opportunity Representative with the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, gave the keynote address for the evening. Keying on the PEP theme of being, “In the Middle of Everywhere”, Thomason said he anticipates a great future for Prowers County moving forward into the next ten years. He stressed three areas of regional development including an attainable housing project that is building 127 houses in the six county region, Canyons and Plains helps develop tourism in seven counties using state and federal funding to impart the history and culture of southeast Colorado to the rest of the county and the Overflow Processing Center in Granada which has created dozens of new jobs, fostered housing growth and contributed to the tax revenue of the town and county.
By Russ Baldwin
(PEP Courtesy Photos)
Prowers Economic Prosperity will hold its annual meeting, Thursday, March 23rd at 6:30pm at Las Brisas Restaurant in Lamar. PEP project manager, Tallie Harmon, outlined the basic agenda for the annual gathering, informing board members during the February 27th monthly meeting, Gregory Thompson from the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade will be the keynote speaker.
Anthony LaTour and Rachel Dunning from the Lincoln Alternative Education Program described the continuing Colorado Re-engagement Program, an attempt to have high school students return to the physical classroom to finalize their education objectives and graduation. LaTour is the Education Coordinator and Dunning is principal at McClave High School. LaTour said there are 2 ½ years remaining on the program’s grant and he reviewed the student to business project he initiated with PEP board members last year. “We have three areas we need to fulfill,” he explained, noting they were work study, job shadowing and internship. “We need ten hours a week for the students in work study while job shadow is an hour for an hour basis and the internship option is on a volunteer basis.”
Dunning said the main goal of the project is to have students graduating from the area, find available jobs for them locally, allowing them to be employed in their hometowns in a suitable job that offers future growth. PEP board members discussed the need for legal caution when it came to compensating the students for their time as there are age and work restrictions on what can be expected from a business when hiring students under a certain age.
Dr. Rosana Reyes, Lamar Community College President, attended her first official PEP meeting and expressed her thanks toward community members for making her feel welcome at the college and in the community. When asked if she would be willing to chair the PEP Workforce Development/Entrepreneurship committee as her predecessor, Dr. Lujan had done, Reyes said she would attend some future meetings to gain a better understanding of what was required, but preferred to become more acquainted with the general workings of the economic organization at this time.
Tallie Harmon said she is working with a new concept for future monthly meetings with Brewing for Business, an informal gathering the first Thursday of each month which meets from 7am to 8am at Brew Unto Others on South Main Street in Lamar. “Usually, we have a central theme or speaker, but the next few meetings can be open to suggestion for general topics of interest,” she explained. Harmon will be attending the Holly Commercial Club meetings, the first Wednesday of each month.
PEP executive director, Cheryl Sanchez, listed various meetings scheduled through the month including one for restaurant training with the owners of the soon-to-open Cow Palace Inn, PEP, Lamar Community College and the state office of Economic Development and International Trade will discuss grant opportunities and the Wiley Steering Committee will meet on March 16th to continue community projects with GoCO.
By Russ Baldwin
Tiffany Garcia, Business Outreach Specialist for the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Don Yoxsimer, Client Consultant for the Lamar Workforce Center, presented an overview for the Prowers Economic Prosperity board on the programs available to assist businesses and employees in the Prowers County Region.
“We have the ability to help workers to repurpose a prior profession into another one which can be just as rewarding and with as much merit,” she explained to the board during its January 23rd meeting. “You could be an experienced law enforcement officer who receives an injury which prevents them from performing their prior duties, but with training, that experience can be transitioned into another, relatable profession,” she offered.
Garcia detailed a number of programs available through the Division which was created to help businesses recruit, hire and train skilled workers with disabilities as well as connecting them with a network of other sources to achieve similar goals. Yoxsimer, a Lamar native, said he is a client consultant at the Workforce Center on East Olive Street who can provide specific examples of how a person can repurpose their business and work life goals.
Garcia added that Colorado is highly rated in the nation for what’s known as Agribility services. “If a farmer has a physical disability that prevents them from some work areas, the Division can help augment their actions with customized equipment that allows them to carry on most of their work as before, whether it’s a need to be able to mount and run a ten foot tall harvester or a pick-up truck. They need to contact us so we can show them the way to do the needed work.”
Board members approved a REDI grant match of $5,500 to help secure future funding through OEDIT, the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade to continue funding for the Advanced Training Program at Lamar Community College. The board also authorized up to $1,000 in travel expenses for Executive Director, Cheryl Sanchez for a Select USA Summit in Washington, DC in May. “OEDIT provides room and board for the gathering which hosts 1,200 investors from around the country and 70 international representatives. If I’m selected to attend, this could help spread the word about Prowers County opportunities to the decision-makers, “she explained.
An election of officers for Pep was held with Anne-Marie Crampton remaining as president, Traegon Marquez as vice president, Tyler Thrall as treasurer, Brady Turpin as secretary and Joe Spitz and Rick Robbins will remain as at-large representatives. The board noted to future events: SBDC (Eastern Small Business Development Center) is cohosting “Startup Strong: Launch Your Business in A Day” on February 18th, 9:00-4:00 at the PEP Office. $30 per person must go to https://eastcoloradosbdc.com/startup-strong-lamar/ and register. Brewing for Business with be at the Brew February 2nd, 7:00am and The Lamar Work Force will be joining the PEP representatives. The public is encouraged to attend these events.
Sanchez said the BEAR committee will continue to focus on manufacturing for 2023, touching base with those business they interviewed last year. One new PEP member, TA-76, the former Pilot Truck Stop may be able to assist with distribution outlets, given its wide scope in the southwest part of the country, especially Colorado and Kansas. Sanchez said she plans to meet with the new manager at Pelsue which is located on Highway 50 south of Lamar as well as with realtor Ivor Hill who plans to develop 18 gated townhouses off East Parmenter Street. The group working towards the annual business meeting, set for March 23rd, is still seeking a suitable site.
The board presented Prowers County Commissioner, Ron Cook, with a certificate of appreciation for his past eight years of support for the organization.
PEP Projects Manager, Tallie Harmon is developing series on monthly articles which will spotlight the accomplishments of businesses in the county with the first focus on Colorado Mills. The next PEP meeting will be held on February 27th.
By Russ Baldwin
Commissioner Ron Cook and PEP President Anne-Marie Crampton
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 7, 2022
Prowers Economic Prosperity, 223 S. Main, Lamar, CO 81052
Prowers Economic Prosperity awarded Opportunity Zone Video Spotlight Grant though the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
The grant was awarded to support the production of a video that features the community character and investment opportunities in Prowers County. This application was selected due to its potential for impact, alignment with local and state economic development goals, and broad community support.
Cheryl Sanchez, Executive Director, is pleased to announce the Opportunity Zone Spotlight Video is complete. The video captures the spirit of Prowers County culture and promotes the fact we are open for business in the middle of everywhere. The video is a great tool for economic development to educate and attract new businesses to Prowers County.
”Prowers County, with its close-knit community, gorgeous vistas, and clever economic development strategy, was the perfect place to feature first in this three-video series.
We couldn’t be happier with how the video turned out, and look forward to sharing it alongside our partners in Prowers County.” - Jack Tiebout, Senior Program Manager, OEDIT
Go to https://youtu.be/4gma5uJXN2w or https://www.prowerspep.org to view video.
Morgan VanKat, a representative from OEDIT, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, outlined a state program developed to provide tax relief and grants for new business start-ups and business relocations, specifically in rural areas of the state.
“We’re targeting those communities and counties that are experiencing economic distress,” she explained to the Prowers Economic Prosperity board during its November 21st monthly meeting. There are various criteria as to what constitutes economic distress and OEDIT is the governing body that makes that determination.
VanKat explained that the tax relief does not include property taxes, but a business that fits the criteria can apply for relief in several ways. In a designated rural jump-start zone, benefits include relief from:
state income taxes for the new business
state sales and use tax for the business
100% of county personal property taxes for the business municipal personal property taxes for the business (in participating municipalities)
100% of state income taxes for the employee
Local governments also sometimes provide additional tax relief from other county or municipal taxes.
Approved companies and their employees have four years of tax relief, with the possibility of extending it another four years. Your business may use rural jump-start tax credits only for each year you receive them. These tax credits do not carry forward to future years.
“The program will expire by the end of June in 2024 and we’d like to see local businesses who can qualify apply while the door is still open,” she said, noting that sponsorships from educational sources such as Lamar Community College or PEP is required. Companies must meet requirements for new hires and with some flexibility, must export their products out of the grant zone.
In other action, the PEP board set their 2023 meeting dates as well as the Brewing for Business meeting schedule for the first Thursday of the month at 7am at Brew Unto Others, South Main Street in Lamar. The public meetings provide timely business information for interested owners, managers or local residents.
Taking a long view, board member Lawrence Brase suggested PEP begin to monitor construction developments for the long-awaited Arkansas Valley Conduit program, connecting potable water to communities between Pueblo and Lamar. First proposed in 1962, the multi-million dollar venture has received significant funding over the past two years and could become a reality in seven years. “It will have an impact on our area’s water supply and we should become acquainted with its development for future business interests,” he suggested.
As a follow up to PEP’s social VIP meeting last month, Executive Director, Cheryl Sanchez, will stay in touch with interested parties and contact will be made to absentee board members or their delegates to have representation to the monthly meetings.
By Russ Baldwin
Two recent ribbon-cutting events in Prowers County on August 26th noted business growth with the expansion of the Rocky Ford Pipe Yard into the county from its Rocky Ford headquarters where it has been in operation for fifty years. Mark Carrigan said the pipe yard is an irrigation pipe and sprinkler system parts supplier and is expanding the operation to this area with his partner, Brad Johnson. An estimated 20 employees will be hired once the business, along Highway 50 east near Granada is up and running. No specific date has been set for the opening at this time, according to Prowers Economic Prosperity, Executive Director, Cheryl Sanchez.
Taylor Implement Company, a family-owned concern for half a century, has interests in Colorado and is expanding into Prowers County. The agricultural equipment dealer is headquartered in Hoxie, Kansas and has interests in Yuma and Greeley, Colorado.
The dealership features CLAAS equipment including combines, tractors, balers, forage harvesters and hay tools. Other product lines include JCB, Vermeer, Meyer and KIOTI. They are a full-service operation and expect to hire between five and seven employees once they’re in operation, perhaps by the end of 2023.
By Russ Baldwin