Thursday, October 27, 2016

Remodeling permit issued for Black Bear Diner on 17th Street

The Black Bear Diner in Chubbuck, which opened earlier this year.
Looks like work has finally started on converting the Rusio’s building at 1610 E. 17th Street to a Black Bear Diner. In addition to the chain link fence around the work site, city records show a commercial remodel permit, applied for Aug. 12, was issued on Tuesday.

The general contractor on the 458,104 square-foot project is Bateman Hall. There is no set date for an opening yet. The space has been vacant since Rusio’s closed in 2015, but developer Shane Murphy of Venture One Properties announced in May he had lined up Black Bear, a company based in Redding, Calif., which already has a restaurant in Chubbuck.

The chain dates back to 1994 in Mount Shasta, Calif., when it was founded by Bob and Laurie Manley with help from Bruce Dean.  The franchise has grown to more than 76 locations in eight western states, including two in Idaho, in Boise and Chubbuck. Black Bear Diner was recognized in 2015 by Franchise Times as one of the smartest growing brands.

Black Bear features a rustic motif with "over-the-top bear paraphernalia". Every restaurant is decorated with a 12-foot-tall black bear carving by artist Ray Schulz. Additional murals and artwork are created for each restaurant by Steve and Gary Fitzgerald and Colleen Mitchell-Veyna.

The menu format mimics an old newspaper titled, “The Black Bear Gazette,” with articles on the front page. It offers family meals such as breakfast, burgers, salads, and shakes. Pies, bread and cobblers are prepared on site.

For a full menu and additional information, visit

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Angel Fund reps to visit Idaho Falls Nov. 2

Kevin Learned, Mark Roberts and Vina Rathbone from the Gem State Angel Fund will be coming to Idaho Falls Nov. 2 to talk about the possibilities for angel investment in eastern Idaho.

The Gem State Angel Fund is a state-wide angel fund that claims as its mission investment in promising start-up companies from across the state. It is being organized by the Boise Angel Alliance, which was founded in 2004, a time when entrepreneurial activity in the Treasure Valley was anemic. The BAA not only created capital, but also became one of the prime encouragers of entrepreneurial activity. Members provided coaching and worked with other entrepreneurial support groups to further develop entrepreneurs.

Twelve years and three funds later, there is a entrepreneurial support system in place including many government and private programs, several entrepreneurial co-working facilities, and residential incubators.
Just as accelerators and incubators foster the development of novice entrepreneurs, angel funds incubate new angels. By participating in an angel fund, members learn best practices alongside more experienced angels, and reduce their risk through a diversified portfolio.

The Gem State Angel Fund is an investment fund seeking to pool the capital resources of accredited investors and invest those resources in early or pre-revenue stage companies located within Idaho. The fund’s objective will be to promote business and economic development in the region while providing its members with the potential for investment returns. The fund is selling up to 40 units of membership interest at $50,000 per unit.

The event in Idaho Falls is being sponsored by Key Bank, Research & Business Development Center, Moffat Thomas and the Idaho Small Business Development Center. To register, follow this link: Gem State Angel Fund Event Tickets.

Friday, October 21, 2016

City Bagel & Bakery now open in downtown Idaho Falls

City Bagel & Bakery, now open, involved extensive remodeling of an old downtown property.
It took a lot longer than they anticipated, but Lynn and Gene Winter and their family have opened City Bagel & Bakery in the 101-year-old Shane Building, at the corner of Shoup Avenue and A Street.

This is the space formerly occupied by Lily’s Consignment. With 1,200 square feet for the dining area (on two levels) and 800 for the kitchen, the overhaul has been a top-to-bottom enterprise. They tore out three ceilings and peeled away decades’ worth of changes. The only things remaining from Lily’s are two dressing rooms, which are now used for airbrushing cakes.

The Winters are joined in the business by their daughters Jill, who handles payroll and human resources, and Angie Suseno, who works in the kitchen, son-in-law Sigit Suseno, son Michael and chef Martie Jaramillo. They are serving bagels and baked goods, developing a menu for soups and sandwiches and waiting on a beer and wine license.

They wanted special for their coffee and landed upon Gillie’s Coffee Co., one of New York City's oldest and most successful coffee merchants. If you’ve never seen nitro coffee on tap, this is your chance.

The bakery opened Oct. 15 with a blessing from their pastor at St. John Lutheran Church. They are looking forward to a grand opening sometime later this year.

Baking is nothing new to Winter. Her mother, Marjorie Bidwell, and aunt, Beth McCammon, had a custom bakery in Pocatello, and in high school and college she worked in a German bakery inside the long-gone OK’s grocery store.

She later became the Post Register’s creative services director, but continued making custom wedding cakes, even winning prizes with them. “It’s just something I’ve always liked to do,” she said.

When she left the Post Register in 2007, she began baking more and charging for her work. The business grew, and she started looking at locations in earnest in 2013. “We’re really happy to be downtown,” she said.

JFoster & Associates earns special small business certification

Julie Foster
JFoster & Associates, a small business located in Idaho Falls, has been accepted into a federal program that makes it eligible to compete for and receive certain federal contracts and receive business development assistance.

The designation under the 8(a) Small Business Development program opens many new doors for JFA, said owner Julie Foster.

The 8(a) program was created to help underrepresented small business owners break into government contracting and give them assistance and resources. It involves a rigorous application process and usually takes two years to qualify. Foster managed to gain certification in a year and a half because she had more than 25 years in the construction, energy, and engineering industries, where she worked in contract, project, and program management. She also has a strong business development background. She opened JFoster & Associates, LLC in March of 2015.

Foster has also been highly involved in civic organizations and committees that benefit her community, and was recently named to the State of Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance  Communication and Outreach Task Force.

She was raised in Pocatello, and has lived in Idaho Falls for the past 15 years. She is a graduate of Idaho State University, and her sons are attending College of Idaho and Boise State University.

“I love Idaho and want to continue to serve and give back to my community wherever I can.  I want to help secure a better future for our kids and the next generations.”

The 8(a) program works in two phases over nine years and offers specialized business training, counseling, and marketing assistance and the opportunity to receive sole-source contracts. Additionally, the Woman-Owned Small Business federal contract program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible small businesses owned by women.

“These are amazing programs, and we are honored to be a part of them,” Foster said. Foster is excited about the certification and the doors and opportunities it allows for her business. Her focus has been on local business, including the Idaho National Laboratory and the Idaho Cleanup Project, but the program will enable her to launch into larger prime contracts for the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Exodus Escape Rooms opening on Park Avenue

Jennifer and Steve Jones
Steve and Jennifer Jones are getting ready to open what will be a first for Idaho Falls, Exodus Escape Rooms, at 387 Park Avenue.

An escape room is a physical adventure game in which players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. Inspired by "escape the room" video games, they started in Asia about 10 years ago, spread to Europe and eventually the United States. Games are set in a variety of fictional locations, such as prison cells, dungeons and space stations, and are popular as team building exercises.

The Joneses said they had fun participating in escape rooms in Utah and California, and saw the field was wide open in Idaho Falls. “We wanted to give people the opportunity to connect with each other,” said Jennifer Jones. They are looking at opening Nov. 1, and are busy remodeling two rooms.

Nobody gets locked up in either room, it’s more of a race against time. The first room, “The Family Jewels,” for two to eight players, involves playing at being cat burglars assigned to break into “Great Auntie’s” house, find her fortune and escape with it within an hour, because the alarm has notified the police. The second room, “Contagion,” involves preventing a mad scientist from releasing a deadly virus onto the world. It has to be found and extracted within an hour.

The scenarios can accommodate two to eight players. “We’re just looking to provide something for date night that’s different from dinner and a movie,” Jennifer Jones said.

Jennifer was working at Biolife International before embarking on this small business adventure. Steve remains employed by the Sleep Center at Mountain View Hospital.

To learn more or book an engagement, visit the web site at Exodus Escape Rooms. The Facebook page can be found here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Idaho Falls man develops Slydisk game, giving demo Friday at Tautphaus Park

Tracy Scott of Idaho Falls has a new game to introduce to the community, Slydysk, which combines elements of bocce, curling, bowling, and shuffleboard.

He will be giving a demonstration, and inviting guests to play, Friday night at 9:15 at the Tautphaus Park ice rink.

Scott has developed Slydysk with a company called TESENT Games, and has been funding the project with a Kickstarter page. As of this morning, he’d raised $2,790 from 22 backers. You can visit the link here:

Scott grew up playing hockey in Idaho Falls, so he is no stranger to what might be possible. Here is a video of him explaining his inspiration for this game.


“Slydysk can be played individually or with teams,” he said. “It is easy to learn and suitable for all ages, meaning anyone can get involved. The team behind this fun game is crowdfunding on Kickstarter to get the product launched. Backers will get to enjoy awesome rewards, including stellar deals on Slydysk sets.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Small businesses in clean energy invited to collaborate with national labs

Small businesses in the clean-energy sector have another opportunity to apply for technical help from U.S. Department of Energy labs through the Small Business Vouchers Pilot.

Johanna Wolfson, Technology-to-Market director in the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, launched the pilot’s third round on Oct. 10 at South By Southwest Eco in Austin, Texas. The pilot, part of EERE’s Lab Impact portfolio, aims to help small businesses bring next-generation clean-energy technologies to market faster by giving them access to expertise and tools at national labs.

The SBV Pilot opened its first funding round in fall 2015 and launched its second last spring. Since then, nearly 800 applications have been reviewed, and 76 small businesses from 25 states have been awarded a total of $14.7 million in vouchers.

EERE recently announced a Small Business Voucher to help Idaho National Laboratory continue work on an electrochemical process to recover gold, silver, palladium and other metals from discarded cell phones and other electronic devices. The lab has received money to work with e-Materials Recovery, a company based in Austintown, Ohio, that has developed a processes that reduces printed circuit boards to char without producing the toxic fumes associated with more widely used smelting processes.
INL researchers Tedd Lister (right) and Luis Diaz-Aldana are reclaiming base metals and rare-earth elements from used cell phones and other electronics. Through the Small Business Voucher program, they are collaborating with a e-Materials Recovery of Austintown, Ohio. (INL photo by Chris Morgan)

To read the story, follow this link: Recyling Critical Materials: Collaboration With Ohio Company to Recover Gold, Minerals From Electronic Devices.

For this third round, EERE welcomes the chance to collaborate with small businesses that have little to no experience working with a DOE national laboratory.

Individual vouchers range from $50,000 to $300,000 per small business and can be used to perform collaborative research or access to lab instrumentation or facilities. Companies selected must also provide a 20 percent, in-kind cost share for completing voucher work.

Vouchers are available in nine clean-energy research and development areas:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Bioenergy
  • Buildings
  • Fuel cells
  • Geothermal
  • Solar
  • Vehicles
  • Water
  • Wind

Businesses interested in SBV funding must be U.S.-based and U.S.-owned, with no more than 500 full-time employees worldwide. In rounds three and four, $12 million is available for vouchers. Companies have until Nov. 10 to submit RFAs.

To learn more about Idaho National Laboratory’s expertise and the process to submit a RFA, please visit or contact Tammie Borders, (208-526-3992).