Prowers Economic Prosperity Annual Banquet – March 21, 2024

The Holly Pride Center was the setting for the 2024 Prowers Economic Prosperity (PEP) annual banquet.  89 people attended and were treated to a delicious barbeque meal provided by Gary’s Backyard BBQ.  Outgoing PEP President Anne-Marie Crampton welcomed the attendees, first by mentioning Ag Week and thanking all the area farmers for all that they do for the community.  She then thanked the PEP board members as well as Executive Director Cheryl Sanchez and Project Manager Tallie Harmon.

Ms. Sanchez explained what PEP does and how it helps attract new businesses to the county as well as supporting current businesses.  She talked about BEAR, an acronym for Business-Expansion-Attraction-Retention and how it is the model for all that they do.  The group visited 21 businesses in 2023.  2024 will see a lot of new activities for PEP, including the goal to spend a day in each town in the county visiting businesses and talking to local merchants and developers.  Recently, they spent a day in Wiley, having lunch with 15 people there and visiting 5 businesses.  The group heard about a pending Brownfield grant to be used to identify and help with blighted properties.  She mentioned Dr. Rosana Reyes of LCC and the recent career work fair they hosted, which attracted 200 kids from 14 area schools.  A career job fair is scheduled for September.  She thanked Tallie Harmon for all her hard work and announced that PEP would host a business spotlight once a month on their website and also interview them on KVAY.  She ended her announcements by saying “I feel an energy here and that Prowers County is on the upswing” and that the attendees are part of a great community with great people.

The evening’s feature speaker was Granada’s own Antonio Huerta, Southern Colorado Regional Director for U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper.  He started by saying “It’s great to be home” and that Senator Hickenlooper sent his regards.  He said that he felt there was a lot of opportunity for growth in SE Colorado and that we all need to continue to have conversations on how to make improvements.  He spoke about the 4 committees he serves on, which include small business development and energy/resources.  The group also heard about the BEAD (Broadband Equity, Access and Development) program.

Ms. Sanchez presented the first of the evening’s 3 awards, the Rising Star award, given to Tavern 1301 in Lamar and its owners Ezra & Jenna Gutierrez and E.J. Carpenter.  Ms. Sanchez said the business had a belief in our community and had made a significant investment in Prowers County, spending both time and money to bring back a Lamar icon, the Historic Cow Palace.  While the hotel is undergoing a total renovation, the Tavern was completed first, while work continues to finish the rooms.  A large number of rooms are available and daily progress can be seen throughout the total project.


Tallie Harmon presented the second award, the “Business Longevity Award” to Reyman’s Grocery in Holly and its owners Tracie and Jess Kalma, who are third generation owners.  The original grocery store opened in 1940 by Art & Hazel Reyman and was later taken over by their son Kent and his wife Pearl in the 1980s.  Tracie Kalma is the daughter of Kent and Pearl.  The business was lauded for its generosity and positivity in the community and has been a large part of the Holly business family for 84 years.



The third and last award of the evening, the Community Champion award, went to Dee Melgosa of Bison Title in Lamar.  Traegon Marquez of New York Life presented the award to Ms. Melgosa and shared a personal story that epitomized her community support and spirit.  Mr. Marquez is also the Head Football Coach in Granada and when he told Ms. Melgosa about his upcoming first game as head coach she replied “I’ll be there!”   What he neglected to tell her was that it was an away game, but as the bus pulled in, the first person he saw at the field was none other than Dee who said “I TOLD you I would be there!”   Ms. Melgosa is a generous contributor to many causes and gives freely of her time to serve on committees and advisory boards.


For more information about PEP, visit their Facebook page or their website at   Monthly meetings are open to the public and are held on the third Monday of each month at 12:00 p.m at their 223 S. Main Street location in Lamar.  You can also view their digital brochure by scanning the QR code below.


By Barbara Crimond





Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyCountyEconomyEmploymentFeaturedTourism


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