Monday, April 20, 2015

Jamba Juice files plans for Utah Avenue location

The shopping center off South Utah Avenue where Jamba Juice has plans to locate a second Idaho Falls area location.
Jamba Juice will be adding a second location in the Idaho Falls area, in the Railway Crossing center that is being built at Utah Avenue and Simplot Circle.

According to building plans at the city of Idaho Falls Building Department, Jamba Juice, which has had a store in the Ammon Town Square for years, will occupy an 1,1800 square-foot section at the south end of the commercial center, which is being built by Morgan Construction across the street from Carl’s Junior and Wal-Mart. An opening date has not been announced, as the nine-unit center is still being framed.

The franchisees of this store are Ryan and Julie Arfmann, whose company Juice It Up, Inc., operates the Jamba Juice in Ammon and one in Twin Falls.

Founded in Emeryville, Calif., in 1990, Jamba Juice has grown to more than 800 locations in 26 states, as well as the Bahamas, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea. There are approximately 287 company-owned locations and 517 franchise-operated stores in the United States of America, in addition to the 45 international stores.

Casper nominates accountant to fill council vacancy

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper announced today she has nominated David Smith, a local accountant, to fill the City Council seat that has been vacant since the March 1 death of Dee Whittier.

An Idaho Falls native, Smith was selected from a list of eight people who had applied for the council seat. In a press release this morning, Casper said she planned to present her recommendation to the City Council at their regular meeting Thursday night. She cited Smith's long experience in forensic accounting a key element, replacing the financial acumen the council lost with Whittier's untimely death.

Smith was also a member of the Citizens Review Committee that studied the city's Municipal Services division in 2014. His community service includes Idaho Falls Exchange Club, the United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County, the Idaho Falls Family YMCA and the Eastern Idaho Economic Development Council.

He and his wife, Karen, a recently retired city employee, are the parents of five children.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Idaho Falls market deemed low risk for real estate investment

Employment analysis for the Idaho Falls market. Note the increase in local retail trade jobs.
Local Market Monitor, a Cary, N.C.-based company that keeps track of fundamentals in 300 markets across the United States, has identified Idaho Falls as a medium-to-low-risk place for anyone looking to invest in rental property.

According to the summary for March, home values in the market are forecast to increase 5 percent over the next year, slightly behind the national forecast of 5.7 percent.

“There was a modest housing boom and bust, but home prices have been flat in recent years,” it said. “Rents are very low. Population growth has been average. Job growth will increase housing demand, but mainly for rentals. Home prices were flat in the past year. Expect an improving housing market the next few years.”

Here are other highlights of the report:

Job Growth
In the past 12 months, jobs in this market have grown by 3.4 percent. This compares to a national increase of 2.4 percent.

Home Prices 
Home prices in this market peaked in Q1 2008 at $190,976. Since their peak, prices have fallen by 13%. In the last 12 months, prices have gone up by 2 percent. The average home price in this market is currently $165,245.

The population in this market grew 0.6% in 2013, while the US population grew 0.7%.

In 2013, net population migration was -0.6%. While migration tends to be small, it can have a large effect on demand for real estate.

We forecast rents to increase 14 percent over the next three years in this market, to an average of $877 per month, partly due to higher inflation.

Housing Permits
Total housing permits in February 2015 were up 172 percent from last year. Single family permits were up 172 percent.

Jobs were up 3.4 percent in the past year, compared to the national gain of 2.5 percent..

The Unemployment Rate in January 2015 was 4.2% versus 5.2% last year.
The Financial Capitalization Rate shows the average return on investments with similar perceived risk as residential investment properties - such as BBB corporate bonds - but without taking into consideration the special local risks measured by the Local Market Risk Premium. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bitrick honored by Idaho Business Review 'Accomplished Under 40' judges

Monica Bitrick
Monica Bitrick, CEO of Bitrick Consulting Group (and a frequent contributor to BizMojo Idaho), has been named a 2015 Accomplished Under 40 honoree by the Idaho Business Review.

This is the 16th year the Idaho Business Review has recognized professionals under the age of 40 who have made big differences at work and in their communities. More than 200 people were nominated, and of those 90 completed the application process.

Bitrick came to Idaho Falls in 2007 to be director of human resources for Advantage Employer Solutions. Before that, she was employed by Manpower International and Workscape, Inc. in Boise. She holds a bachelor’s in business administration (general business administration and human resources management) from Boise State University. She started her own company in 2013, and is also a founder to the Square One business development network.

She also has done volunteer work with non-profit organizations, including the Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho. She is a member of Idaho Falls Rotary, and serves as Bronco Contact for southeast Idaho with the Boise State Alumni Association.  Previously, she served as the chair of the Military Affairs Committee, Young Professionals Network, Distinguished Under 40 Awards Program, and the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce's Fourth of July Parade.  She is an active volunteer with EITC Foundation and Calvary Chapel Christian School.

Bitrick’s accolades include the “Accomplished Under 40 Award” from the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, Service to Others Award from the Military Affairs Committee, and the POW-MIA Recognition Award from the Veterans for Foreign Wars.

For a full list of honorees, follow this link: 2015 Accomplished Under 40.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

First quarter home sales up in Bonneville County

Home sales in Bonnville County jumped sharply in the first quarter of 2015, to a level not seen since the economic meltdown of 2008.

With 308 homes sold, sales were up 28.4 percent over the first three months of 2014. The average time it took for a home to sell dropped under 100, the first time since 1007, while new listings climbed to 535.

The median price of a Bonneville County home remained roughly where it has been since 2012, around $137,000. A median is the number at which half the homes on the market sold for more than that amount and half the homes sold for less. The average median price for the past 10 years was $140,658.

What would a home that bought for that price in 2006 be worth today? A little more, but not much, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's HPI Calculator. Going by sales in the Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, a home that sold for $140,658 in the first quarter of 2006 would have been worth $143,694 at the beginning of 2015, a jump of 2.16 percent. That home's value would have peaked in the first quarter of 2008 at $164,130, then tumbled to a low of $137,711 in the second quarter of 2011.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chukars hire new broadcast director

Alex Cohen at his last job, in Melbourne, Australia. Cohen has joined the Idaho Falls Chukars broadcast team for the 2015 season.
Alex Cohen has joined the Idaho Falls Chukars as the newest member of its broadcast team. He will be with the team for all its road games and join John Balginy in the booth for all Chukars home games this season, according to a news release from the club.

A native of Philadelphia, Cohen has six years of experience in professional baseball. In 2014, he worked for the Oakland Athletics in the team’s media and broadcasting department. Last fall, he traveled to Australia to serve as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League. In addition, he served as the play-by-play broadcaster for 2015 ABL All-Star Game.

Balginy will once again be heard through the airways this summer for all Chukars home broadcasts. All games will be broadcast on ESPN 980 AM, 105.1 FM, 94.5 FM (Pocatello), and online on either or

For a look at Cohen’s resume and examples of his work, follow this link: Sportscasters Talent Agency of America.  He can be found on Facebook here and his Twitter feed is here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Idaho Falls Civitan Club seeks to recruit new members

Idaho Falls Civitan Club is hosting a “seek event” April 21 at Catered Your Way, 2161 E. 17th Street, to recruit and educate anyone interested in learning more about the Civitan Club. The event is from 6 to 8 p.m.

In Idaho Falls, the Civitans are best known for fund-raising events such as Alive After Five and the Annual Indoor Pub Golf, with all funds going toward projects benefitting the community.

Civitan International is an organization of community service clubs with roughly 40,000 members across four continents. Each club works to help others and fulfill needs in their community, with a special emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities. Civitans also continue this mission through fund-raising for the UAB Civitan International Research Center, a world-class medical facility dedicated to researching developmental disabilities and other cognitive disorders.

For more information, visit our local Web site and the International Web site,, or call 1-800-CIVITAN.