Gov. Polis stops in at Apple Valley Cider Co. in Penrose to speak about what the state is doing to save lots of Coloradans cash – Canon Metropolis Day by day File

PENROSE — Gov. Jared Polis made a pit stop in Penrose on Friday to discuss what the state is doing to save Coloradans money and also to sample some of Kevin Williams’ locally-produced hard cider.

Polis started the day in Pueblo where he signed a number of bills into law and then stopped at Apple Valley Cider Co. where he met with Williams. After that, he made the trek to Westcliffe where he signed HB22-1382: Support Dark Sky Designation And Promotion In Colorado.

“How is business this year?” Polis asked Williams while sampling a Prickly Pear cider.

“So far, so good,” Williams said. “We survived COVID and we are looking forward to coming back at it.”

Williams started his business in January 2018, but then state law changed in 2019 to allow grocery stores to sell full-strength beer. This drew customers from the smaller liquor stores where Apple Valley Cider was offered to the grocery stores, putting a dent in his sales.

Then in 2020, COVD-19 struck.

“2021 wasn’t any better,” Williams said. “We has a string of unfortunate luck, but we worked through it.”

As Polis has visited with several small business owners across the state, he said some have rebounded from the pandemic, but some didn’t.

In an effort to help business people, the state is reducing commercial property taxes for the next two years.

Earlier this month, Polis signed bills into law that will reduce property taxes for residential and commercial properties in 2023 and 2024.

“Commercial retail stores and commercial office space pay a lot more because it has been increased over the last couple of decades,” Polis said. “This is the first cut in 40 years to commercial property taxes.”

He also talked about having a stronger economy statewide, making sure that Colorado is a statewide success story.

“That includes rural, urban, suburban – and small companies like this are really the backbone of our economy,” Polis said.

He said every Coloradan will receive at least a $500 tax rebate this summer, which also will help retail businesses.

“Some folks will save for retirement, but a lot of folks will be able to enjoy and spend some money in our local economy,” Polis said. “So we are really excited about getting that out late this summer.”

Unemployment is low, with more jobs available now than before the pandemic, and demand is strong across Colorado.

“The biggest concern that everyone across the state has is rising costs,” Polis said. “That’s why we’re focused on saving businesses money, saving people money with the property tax cut, the tax rebate, and the state parks pass has been brought down from $84 to $29 a year for a family.”

During the state’s next fiscal year, people starting a business won’t have to pay the fee to incorporate. This is an effort to help new business owners, like Williams.

Thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program, Apple Valley Cider Co. and other similar businesses were able to keep afloat during the pandemic. Now the company is looking forward to many new things.

Apple Valley Cider Co. is starting to offer its product in cans, rather than glass bottles, which soon will be available in the Denver metro area. Williams’ current service area is within a 50-mile radius, including Fremont County, Monument, Pueblo, Woodland Park and Westcliffe.

On tap, a new flavor, blueberry-lemon, will be available in the coming weeks.

Williams has won a number of awards for his hard cider, including the Great Lakes International Cider Competition, Colorado Governor’s Cup, Denver International Beer Competition, Colorado State Fair and the U.S. Open Cider Championship.

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