Business Growth Discussions Held at Lamar Merchants/PEP Roundtable Meeting



The Lamar Merchants and PEP, (Prowers Economic Prosperity) combined two different meetings into one session at the Wash Spott on East Olive Street, Tuesday, May 9th.  PEP has been hosting a series of roundtable information meetings devoted to such topics as agriculture, housing, marketing, employment, transportation and last night’s session, retail sales.  The Lamar Merchants meeting is held monthly for an update on future Chamber and sales events and marketing strategies in the community.  Those meetings are held at a different location each month.

PEP Logo

PEP Logo

Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Director, led some of the discussion regarding retailer’s business issues and challenges, noting that sales expansion has been indicated locally through email sales, facebook or ebay. Several business owners expressed concern regarding future hikes in the state’s minimum wage and how the increased overhead cost would impact their sales.  Juan Maldonado, owner of Printed Imagination in Lamar, said he would have to compute how much he needed to increase his prices to justify the increase in wages.  While others agreed with those concerns, it was also mentioned that minimum wage was never intended to be a sustaining wage for employees, but a starting point in a younger person’s salary and career.  Maldonado told the gathering one current challenge for his new location was a leaking roof, a prime topic of discussion at the recent Lamar Redevelopment Authority meeting.  Aging roofs along Main Street in Lamar, mostly those covered in polyurethane foam from decades ago, are on their last legs of serviceability.

Katie Appel, representing the new, planned Health Mart Pharmacy on South Main Street in Lamar, provided an overview of the new operation, now under construction. “We will have a drive-thru window in the building, but we don’t expect to be open until later this summer,” she explained, adding that there are several licensing procedures that have to be followed before the state will allow the pharmacy operation to open.  “One thing we are doing now is an assessment of the different insurance companies that are available to the local public.  We want to make sure we’re contacting those businesses so we can offer comprehensive certification.  The Lamar pharmacy will be the fifth in their group enterprise along the Arkansas Valley.

Future Lamar Chamber activities were noted including the approaching Lamar Days Anniversary which will feature a BBQ lunch at the chamber on May 19th from 11 to 1pm instead of the traditional breakfast and the parade route will be the same as last year’s from East Olive Street, to Second Street and into Willow Creek Park from Pike’s Tower.  A ‘Taste of Lamar’ featuring food, beer and wine and a display from the Southeast Colorado Arts Council will be held on July 8th at the Lamar Elks Lodge and the Fall Festival will combine with Oktoberfest on September 23rd at the chamber offices.

The group thanked Wash Spott hosts, Shea and Matt Reinhardt for the soda drinks, ice cream, snacks and brownies for the evening. The car wash will celebrate their first year of operation later this summer.  Matt told the gathering, they have a fundraising event planned for the public for June 8th in conjunction with KVAY Radio beginning at 6pm.  Various events will help raise funds to offset medical expenses for Ansley Herrera.  The next Merchants Meeting is set for June 13th at Déjà Vu Hair Salon on East Elm Street at 5:30pm.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyEmploymentFeaturedTourismUtilitiesYouth


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