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October 7, 2022

Local winners announced for ‘Business of the Year,’ ‘Ken Talley Youth Service Award’ and Chamber ‘Ambassador of the Year’ for South County

 SOUTH SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — South County Chambers of Commerce announced the community award winners Wednesday evening at its Annual Dinner & Recognition Awards at Villa Loriana. The award presentations included 2022 Business of the Year for South County, 2022 Ken Talley Youth Service Award, and 2022 Chamber Ambassador of the Year. Each award recipient received a signed certificate from U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal, California State Senator John Laird, California State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, the San Luis Obispo County Supervisors’ office, Arroyo Grande Mayor Caren Ray Russom, Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee, and Pismo Beach Mayor Ed Waage.

The Business of the Year Award recognizes one business for all South San Luis Obispo County who has contributed significantly to strengthening the South County economy, community, and/or workforce.

Grover Station Grill of Grover Beach earned the title for 2022.

 “Christopher ‘Z’ and Melissa are the incredible owners of a Grover Beach staple,” said Chamber Ambassador Kassi Dee, owner of Nan’s Pre-Owned Books. “These two are genuine examples of small-town business owners who care about their community. They attend city functions, Chamber events, and run many fundraisers throughout the year for local schools. They offer a nice, fun, safe environment for their customers and are always welcoming with open arms.”

Grover Station Grill is a family-owned and family-friendly business (including dogs on the patio). Prioritizing locally sourced ingredients and full of local charm, the grill offers fresh, fun, and affordable food with rotating specials that keep the menu exciting and allow guests to always try something new. Enjoy great food, a clean, comfortable indoor space, and relaxing views of the PCH, Grover Beach train station, and the ocean from their patio. Learn more at

 The 2022 Business of the Year award winner was voted by the community during a social media campaign that included the eight businesses selected as Business of the Month for 2022: Nipomo Recreation Association (February 2022), Grocery Outlet of Arroyo Grande (March 2022), Beachside Window Cleaners (April 2022), Grover Station Grill (May 2022), Pismo Beach Homes (June 2022), CoastHills Credit Union (July 2022), PG&E (August 2022), and Kimberley Victor with Mary Kay Cosmetics (September 2022). The Marketing Committee of the South County Chambers of Commerce—a group of local business owners who represent various industries—select the Business of the Month after reviewing nominations from the community submitted via the Chamber website.

The Ken Talley Youth Service Award recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to youth in South County. The award includes a $1,000 grant to the local youth organization of their choice. The award was presented by Todd Talley of Talley Farms in honor of his father, Ken Talley, who passed away when Todd was only five years old. During his life, Ken Talley was involved with many organizations that supported the youth in our area including working with blind children and teaching them baseball. Since that time, the Ken Talley Youth Service Award has been given to many others in the community who serve local youth.

“It has been an honor to recognize so many in our community who are giving of themselves to support our local youth,” said Todd Talley. “The recipients of the Ken Talley Award are those who make South County the truly unique and vibrant place it is.”

Debra Ugalde is the 2022 Ken Talley Youth Service awardee.

“Debra is a retired schoolteacher with a passion to bring culture and hands-on learning to the Central Coast by way of an interactive children's museum,” said one of the community members who nominated her for this award. “She has fulfilled her dream in establishing the Exploration Discovery Center in Grover Beach. The Exploration Discovery Center is filled with all kinds of activities for children from 18 months to 12 years old. Debra has a revolving cultural exhibit that she changes every quarter. Her first one was an Egyptian pyramid attached to the building but extended beyond the building itself. She is always looking for new exhibits and ideas to bring to our children. Debra is a passionate person when it comes to making children's lives much fuller in experiences and fun.”

The third award presented is for Chamber Ambassador of the Year. South County Chamber of Commerce ambassadors welcome new members and assist at Chamber events. They often act as an extension of the Chamber’s staff and play a critical role at breakfasts, luncheons, membership mixers, ribbon cuttings, and other special events.

Fernando Granados of Envoy Mortgage in Arroyo Grande won the title of 2022 Chamber Ambassador of the Year. Fernando, a loan originator with Envoy Mortgage in Arroyo Grande, volunteered as an ambassador immediately after joining the South County Chambers of Commerce in 2021.

His fellow ambassadors describe him in these ways: “Fernando has made such a positive addition to the ambassador group. He is friendly and always there to help. His constant dedication, regular attendance, and support of the Chamber and the local business community shine through his everyday life. He is always reaching out to Chamber members when needed and is a constant example of what loyalty and positivity look like. Fernando has a giving heart and is a really good person.”

The event sponsor of this year’s annual dinner is Sentinel Peak Resources. Event partners include Villa Loriana, Epic Entertainment, Butlerz Event Rentals, Field to Table Catering & Events, Edna Valley Vineyard, Sunshine & Reign Photography, Andy Morris Entertainment, Central Coast Auction Service, 101 Wine Tours, United Staffing Associates, and Patrick Ang Photography (video). Kassi Dee at Nan's Pre-Owned Books created the table centerpieces.

Click here to watch video clips of the Annual Dinner & Recognition Awards from Patrick Ang Photography. For more information, please call (805) 489-1488, or e-mail

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photo caption: Christopher “Z” and Melissa Zaferis, owners of Grover Station Grill in Grover Beach, won the title of 2022 Business of the Year for South County and received award certificates from local government leaders. From left to right (back row): District Representative Clint Weirick of San Luis Obispo County for State Senator John Laird, Grover Beach Councilmember Dan Rushing, Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee, and Arroyo Grande Councilmember Jimmy Paulding. From left to right (front row); Grover Beach Mayor Pro Tem Karen Bright, Christopher “Z” Zaferis, Melissa Zaferis, and Arroyo Grande Mayor Caren Ray Russom.

Thanks to Sunshine & Reign Photography for the event photos!