Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Three seats open on Fall River Electric Co-op board

Three positions on the nine-member Fall River Electric Cooperative board of directors are set for election this year, including District 1, Rexburg/Ririe area; District 5, west Driggs/Tetonia area; and District 6, the Ashton area. The Co-op’s board is responsible for providing strategic direction for the future of the cooperative.

If you are an owner/member (customer) of the Co-op living in any of those three districts and are interested in serving on the board, nomination by petition is currently open. To have your name placed on the official ballot, interested members are to submit a petition with their name on it accompanied by fifteen signatures of members who also reside in the district. Deadline to submit petitions is Monday, April 26, 2021. You must reside in one of the districts listed that have a seat up for election.

If you are interested in submitting a petition to be a candidate, please contact Fall River’s CEO Bryan Case at (208) 652-7431 or by email at bryan.case@fallriverelectric.com. Remember, the deadline to present your petition is Monday, April 26.

For further information on the duties of board members and the qualifications, refer to pages 7 through 11 of the cooperative’s bylaws which can be found at https://www.fallriverelectric.com/bylaws.

Monday, April 12, 2021

McDonald's Is Closing Hundreds of Walmart Locations

 

 
At the end of last month, some Wal-mart shoppers in Ammon, Idaho were surprised when they noticed that the in-store McDonald's had closed after 18 years of serving customers who got hungry pushing their carts up and down the aisles. Lindsay Rainey, a spokesperson for McDonald's USA, told East Idaho News that two of its other restaurants inside Idaho Walmarts would also be closing. 

"Our people are one of our highest priorities, and with the closure in Ammon, all employees of the restaurant have been offered positions at [other McDonald's locations]," Rainey said. "Closing a restaurant is a difficult decision in any town but we look forward to continuing to serve our customers at our other McDonald's restaurants in the neighboring communities."

The McDonald's inside a Walmart in Camden, Delaware—the town's only McD's—also closed last month, as did three in-Walmart locations in Bradenton, Florida. According to The Wall Street Journal, these closures aren't the only ones: McDonald's is reportedly shuttering all but 150 of its Walmart-based restaurant locations between now and this summer. (Walmart's website says there are currently 4,743 Walmarts scattered throughout the United States. If you took AP Math, you've already calculated that just over 3 percent of Walmarts will still have an in-store McDonald's.) 

McDonald's and Walmart have had a symbiotic relationship since 1994 and, at one point, 1,000 Walmarts had their own McDonald's locations. That number had slipped to around 875 by 2012, dropped to 638 in 2017, and fell to about 500 by the beginning of 2020. The fast-food giant went through two rounds of Walmart-related closures last year, which were both planned before the pandemic—although the Journal reports that McDonald's "sped them up" when things took an unprecedented turn. 

Last July, McDonald's announced that it would be closing 200 restaurant locations—including 100 that were inside Walmart stores—due to decreases in sales volume. Analysts noted that capacity restrictions inside retailers and an increase in grocery deliveries and curbside pickups likely contributed to a decline in demand for those locations. And then there was our newfound preference for the drive-thru. Kevin Ozan, McDonald's Chief Financial Officer, said that a super-sized 90 percent of the chain's sales were made through drive-thru windows during the second quarter of last year.

Walmart is now trying to figure out what to do with those now-empty spaces where a McDonald's used to be. The Journal reports that it is giving Taco Bell a trial run in some locations, others may get a Domino's Pizza (some 30 Walmarts already have a Domino's), and it plans to open at least 10 Charleys Philly Steaks in some stores. It is also giving smoothie vending machines a try. "We took a turn to make sure what we are doing matched up with the strategy for the company," Linne Fulcher, Walmart's vice president of customer strategy, said. 

If you're a loyal McCustomer, this shouldn't affect your ability to get a Big Mac meal at all: McDonald's still opened around 500 restaurants worldwide last year, and has plans to open another 1,300 new locations before the end of 2021. 

 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Pole fitness studio opening in Idaho Falls

 

Chelsea Barnes
Reprinted from EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS – A new type of exercise experience is coming to eastern Idaho this spring.

Pre-registration is now open for pole fitness classes at The Pole Experience, a new tenant moving into Patriot Park at 2295 North Yellowstone Highway in Idaho Falls the first week of May.

Owner Chelsea Barnes tells EastIdahoNews.com there are sometimes misconceptions about this type of business. She says The Pole Experience is about fitness, and is not related to strip clubs, dancing or anything of a sexual nature.

“I’ve gotten that question a lot,” Barnes says. “A lot of the classes are similar to Zumba, very upbeat and fun. We’ll be (using a pole) and doing squats and lunges and things like that to build body strength, not any kind of dance routines.”

There are three levels of classes focused on developing full-body strength, muscle definition and flexibility. Those who graduate from these classes will move on to more advanced instruction in Inversion 1 and 2.

“Inversion is kind of like what you see on TikTok and Instagram — people flipping upside down, doing crazy spins, climbing a 12-foot pole, and back bending down the pole. Those are things you should not try to attempt right off the bat,” says Barnes.

Barnes was introduced to pole fitness in 2011 after graduating from Ririe High School and moving to New York City. One of her friends had lived in Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada, where pole fitness gyms were fairly common.

They drove past a pole fitness gym while on a road trip in New York and decided to take some classes.

“They had six levels at the studio I went to. I was at level four when we moved back here (in 2014),” Barnes says. “A lot of the very high up, aerial stuff, I had a little bit of experience with but I hadn’t gotten quite to that stage.”

With no place to practice in eastern Idaho, Barnes tried continuing with her own pole at home but was ultimately forced to give it up because the space wasn’t big enough.

She first thought about opening a pole fitness business of her own several years ago.

“I was probably seeing five posts a week on social media asking if there were any pole fitness or pole dancing places. We’d been sitting on a business plan for two years and decided we just need to do it,” says Barnes.

Just as the project was gaining momentum, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and put a halt on everything.

But she’s excited the project is moving forward again and is happy others seem to be interested as well.

“We already have three classes that are full. Registration is open for seven others … and they’re at least half full,” Barnes says.

Classes are open to anyone 18 and older. Barnes is eager to share something she’s passionate about with others and invites locals to give it a try.

“I want to emphasize you don’t have to have the perfect body strength (to participate). Any stage you’re in with weight or age, you’re welcome to come,” she says.

Barnes worked with Randy Waters at SVN High Desert Commercial and Century 21 High Desert in acquiring the 1,400-square-foot space. Patriot Park is next to State Trailer RV and Outdoor Supply.

To pre-register or learn more, visit the website or Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Paycheck Protection loan application deadline extended to May 31

Jeff Newgard
The PPP Extension Act, signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden, will lengthen the application period for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by two months.

Originally scheduled to expire at the end of March, the extension gives small businesses until May 31 to apply for PPP loans and gives the Small Business Administration until June 30 to consider applications.

"If you own a small business and have been on the fence about participating in the program, I'd encourage you to apply," said Bank of Idaho President and CEO Jeff Newgard. "While many other institutions have stepped back from their PPP lending programs, we still consider it an important service – as a matter of fact, we recently created a new SBA department."

Initiated early in the pandemic crisis, PPP loans are credited with saving hundreds of thousands of American small businesses. This first round of loans deadlined in 2020.

The second round opened for application in January 2021. Businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic could be eligible to receive a low-interest-rate loans under this program and can submit their application at https://www.bankofidaho.com/cares. PPP loans may be eligible for full or partial forgiveness if the money is used for qualifying costs and depending upon eligibility.

For the second round, SBA removed a cap on small loans to encourage lenders to work with smaller borrowers. Also, $15 billion was set aside for lending institutions with less than $1 billion in assets, and another $15 billion was earmarked for banks with less than $10 billion. Second-round applicants are limited to loans under $2 million, with a total loan amount from both rounds under $10 million.

I.F. Downtown Development names social media, marketing specialist

Gibby Smede
The Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation (IFDDC) has brought on Gibby Smede, a local artist, as its social media and marketing specialist. Smede will be responsible for communications and social media campaigns to promote downtown Idaho Falls.

Smede is the creator of Pugsslane Alley in downtown Idaho Falls and joins IFDDC in an exceptional time of growth and progress. Construction projects over the last four years have been well under way with the completion of The Broadway development, the Downtown Event Center and the Bonneville Apartments, which have brought new life to the historic Hotel Bonneville, first built in the late 1920s.

A handful of new businesses plan to open in mid-to-late summer this year and construction projects that began before the COVID-19 pandemic have begun to make good progress, said Catherine Smith, IFDDC's executive director. With a focus on social media reach, Smede’s work will be focused on IFDDC's mission to advance downtown as the regional center for commerce, culture and leisure activities.

“We are optimistic the good work of IFDDC will continue as we move forward on projects that will thrive with Gibby’s creative eye and colorful talents," Smith said. "Public art installations are planned for this summer and new marketing efforts to promote the cultural and historic center of Idaho Falls will benefit from Gibby’s talents.”

For more information about IFDDC, visit http://downtownidahofalls.com.