Thursday, September 3, 2015

Great Clips moving into Sandcreek Commons retail center

An artist's rendering of the retail center at Sandcreek Commons.
After last week’s big news about Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen coming to Sandcreek Commons, I’ve been eager to check in with the city of Ammon to find out what else may be shaking.

After all, they have a retail center with spaces for 15 businesses that is coming along very quickly. So far, there is one business committed to the center, Great Clips.

I realize this is hardly Popeyes or Panera Bread-level excitement, but there you have it. By way of consolation, let me tantalize you with the conversation I had with Greg McBride, Ammon’s plumbing and mechanical inspector, who said he has been getting a number of calls about ventilation hoods and grease interceptors. “They never say who they are, but from the questions they’re asking I’m thinking they’re small restaurants,” he said.

If you’re interested, Kohl’s and Texas Roadhouse have both filed plans for remodeling. Otherwise, on to Idaho Falls, where Java Express is planning a new building at the corner of St. Clair and Woodruff. Java has had a small drive-thru presence in this location for years. The plans at the Idaho Falls Building Department office show a 40.5-by-13.5-foot building with drive-thru lane, landscaping, parking and a patio.

Java Espress is owned by Shane Murphy, who has been in the coffee-serving business for 23 years. Murphy opened Kool Beanz in Snake River Landing in May, and told me then he toyed with the idea of naming it Java Express but then thought that might be confusing to people.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Flowers Power -- Idaho Falls utility chief to speak Thursday

Jackie Flowers
The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce is featuring Idaho Falls Power Director Jackie Flowers as its speaker Thursday afternoon as part of its CEO Speaker series.

The free program will be from 3 to 4 p.m. at the ARTitorium on Broadway.

Flowers was hired to head the utility in 2006.

At 115 years, Idaho Falls Power is one of the oldest public power generators in the United States, and it is Idaho’s largest publicly held utility. Idaho Falls Power boasts some of the lowest utility rates in the country — less than half the national average for residential power. It is also unique in that more than 95 percent of its energy comes from carbon-free energy sources, predominantly hydroelectric power.

Flowers said she saw several challenges when she came to Idaho Falls from Sheridan, Wyo. Although she was a licensed civil engineer with infra-
structure experience in dams and municipal public works, she had never managed an electrical utility.

Her first day on the job, as she prepared to meet her staff, then Mayor Jared Fuhriman handed her the massive set of keys to all the facilities and said, “You know you are going to have to earn their respect. How are you going to walk in there and introduce yourself?” Flower replied, “Doughnuts will be involved.”

Since then, she has distinguished herself in her industry, serving on the board of directors for Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), which is made up of utilities from eight western states, as well as on several other industry organizations. She regularly speaks on energy issues and has been asked numerous times to speak about her position as one of few female utility executives in the country.

Asked about the challenges she may have faced being a female in such a male dominated industry, she said, “It isn’t really something that I have given much thought to in the past. In engineering school the ratio was about 4 to 1 male to female. There have only been a couple of times in my career where the fact that I am a woman has really stood out.”

Friday, August 28, 2015

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen coming to Sandcreek Commons

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen will be coming to Ammon, most likely by December.
As part of a six-restaurant expansion into Idaho, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen will be coming to the Sandcreek Commons Shopping Center.

The plan is for the restaurant to be open by December, said Sandy Mann of Norcal Cajun Foods, the company in Concord, Calif., that has the rights to franchise Popeyes in Idaho. The restaurant will face Sunnyside Road, between Zions Bank and D.L. Evans Bank.

Norcal has opened Popeyes in Nampa and Caldwell and is preparing to open one in Boise. In addition to Ammon, it also has plans for Pocatello and Twin Falls. The company has 17 Popeyes in Northern California.

Popeyes dates back to 1972, when Alvin C. Copeland, Sr. opened a restaurant called Chicken on the Run in the New Orleans suburb of Arabi, serving traditional Southern fried chicken. After several months of mediocre sales, he changed the menu to spicy, New Orleans-style chicken and renamed the restaurant Popeyes, after the character Popeye Doyle in the movie “The French Connection.”

The menu features Cajun-style fried chicken and seafood that is typically served with buttermilk biscuits and a variety of sides, including Cajun rice, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, or french fries.

Today, there are more than 2,000 Popeyes in the United States and 25 foreign countries. Only 40 Popeyes locations are company-owned, according to the business profile on

Popeyes reported coming to area, the question is where?

Here's a box of Popeye's Wicked Chicken. It looks scrumptious!
I’ve always had fun playing detective, but this is a story in which you may have to draw your own conclusions — at least for now.

Making my rounds at the city of Ammon office Thursday, I asked City Planner Ron Folsom, whether there was anything new, especially at Sandcreek Commons, a widespread spot of interest. He told me about the site plan for “Pad E,” the lot on Sunnyside Road between two banks, D.L. Evans and Zions.

No business has been designated for the pad, but judging by the shape of the building and the fact that there is a drive-thru lane going around it, one might deduce that it is going to be a fast-food establishment.

I know better than to ask the developers, Ball Ventures and Woodbury Corp., what is being planned for the ground. It’s their policy to let the business owners make announcements.

Early Thursday evening, I got an e-mail from one of my most reliable news sniffers, Gary Mills, who runs the testing center at Eastern Idaho Technical College. Attached was a link to a TV story out of Twin Falls about Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen coming there.

This is the link: Famous fried chicken restaurant making its way to the Magic Valley.

“The television story says that Pocatello and Idaho Falls are next.  Where?” he asked.

If I were a Magic 8 Ball, I might answer, “Signs point to Sandcreek Commons.” As it stands, I am waiting for an answer from Norcal Cajun Foods, the Bay Area company quoted in the story, which has already opened Popeyes in Boise and Nampa.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

EITC Foundation nominated for nonprofit award

The Eastern Idaho Technical College Foundation has been nominated for the Idaho Nonprofit Center’s Excellence Award.  

“We know that nonprofits make a difference in communities across Idaho every day and these awards recognize the contribution of the nonprofit sector.” said Janice Fulkerson, the center’s executive director.

EITC Foundation is one of nearly 100 organizations nominated. Six of the organizations will be honored at the Nonprofit Excellence Awards Dinner on Sept. 15 during the center’s annual conference at Boise State University.

The EITC Foundation was established in 1992 to develop positive community relationships, provide scholarship opportunities and support college initiatives.  Earlier this year the awarded nearly $200,000 in scholarships at its annual scholarship ceremony. Its most recent fund-raiser, The Great Race for Education, raised over $45,000 for scholarships.

“This community is the only reason we are successful.” said Natalie Hebard, the foundation’s executive director. “We are also extremely fortunate to have 19 wonderful volunteer board directors with a passion for education and helping student achieve their academic goals.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Majestic Auto Body receives certification

Majestic Auto Body and Glass, 1456 N. 25th East, has been officially certified by Assured Performance, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization specializing in the automotive collision repair market.

Assured Performance works with top automakers to identify, audit and promote collision repair providers that meet best-in-class business standards — maintaining the right tools, equipment, training, and facility necessary to repair Automaker brand vehicles according to the manufacturer's specifications.

In achieving this certification, Majestic becomes part of a worldwide network. According to a press release, less than 5 percent of body shops across the nation are able to meet the stringent requirements to become officially certified and recognized. In Idaho Falls, Dan’s Collision Repair is the only other body shop with the certification.

Majestic is also officially recognized by GM, FCA, Ford, and Nissan.

Advertising Federation plans summer mixer

The Idaho Falls Advertising Federation club mixer will be held on Thursday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Keefer's Island Patio, at the Shilo Inn.

Club members, sales managers, art directors and marketing directors are invited. There will be free appetizers and door prizes.  A drawing for several Eastern Idaho State Fair concert tickets will be held at 6 pm.

Discounted club memberships will be available. Call 569-9468 for more information.