Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pop's Ice Cream opens on Park Avenue

Jennifer and Steve Jones, owners of Pop's Ice Cream.
Just in time for summer — and Alive After 5 — Pop’s Ice Cream is open at 475 Park Avenue, right between the Center Theater and La Vanilla Bean.

“I think every kid dreams of having an ice cream or candy store,” said Jennifer Jones, who owns the shop with her husband, Steve. The Joneses are shaping up as true believers in downtown Idaho Falls. In addition to Pop’s, they own Idaho Escape Rooms, also on Park Avenue, which has expanded from one to four rooms since opening in 2016.

Jennifer Jones said she sees plenty going in the downtown district that is encouraging. The Broadway project, at Capital and Broadway, is due to be open in the fall. Across Park Avenue the space is being developed into a reception center, and around the corner, in the Rogers Building, the third floor is being developed into 12 residential lofts similar to the ones on Shoup Avenue above Happy’s.

“It’s such a fun place, and the Downtown Development people have been so supportive of everyone,” she said.

For Pop’s, the Joneses serve 24 flavors of Russell’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and 12 flavors of Mountain Fresh Italian Ice. The eating area is 700 square feet with seven tables. The color of the walls is “Pepto Pink,” and the logo was done by the Joneses’ daughter, Blair Kolbet.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Bank of Idaho CEO to speak at Chamber series in June

Jeff Newgard
Jeff Newgard, president and CEO of Bank of Idaho, will be the featured speaker June 28 at the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Speaker Series.

The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Waterfront at Snake River Landing, 1220 Event Center Drive in Idaho Falls. Questions from audience members will be taken.

Newgard came to Bank of Idaho in July 2015 from HomeStreet Bank, where he was responsible for management and strategic expansion throughout central and eastern Washington. He had joined HomeStreet with the company’s acquisition of Yakima National Bank, where he had served as president and chief executive officer.

He has held a number of leadership positions in regional and community banking since 1998. Newgard is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking (Colorado) and holds a Masters of Business Administration from Washington State University and a bachelor’s degree from Walla Walla College.

In the community he currently serves as Area 5 Chair of the Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve, also on the Independent Community Bankers’ of America Select Committee on Cyber Security, the Idaho Falls Symphony Board, and War Bonnet Rodeo Board of Directors.

There is no charge for the event, but space is limited. RSVP to programs@idahofallschamber.com
to reserve a spot.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Old Bubba's BBQ on First Street being remodeled into Adam & Eve

After sitting vacant for at least a year, the old Bubba's/Dad's property at First Street and Northgate Mile is being radically repurposed into Adam & Eve, a lingerie and adult toy store.
The building at 118 First Street, formerly Bubba’s then Dad’s barbecue, is being remodeled into Adam & Eve, a store with 2,454 square feet of retail space, two changing rooms and an office.

The building permit, which was granted by the city of Idaho Falls in late April, lists Kraig and Kara McGee as the business owners and Resin Architecture, an Idaho Falls firm, as the architect.

As you might surmise from the name Adam & Eve, the business is of a mature nature. With stores all over the United States, Adam & Eve bills itself on its website as “America's #1 Trusted Source for Sex Toys.”

The McGees started with a store in Nampa in 2007, expanded to Coeur d’Alene in 2009, and Boise in 2010. (This says a lot when you consider the shape the economy was at the time.) They have since expanded to Pocatello, and were interviewed last year by Ted Vayos of Body Magazine. You can follow the link to that interview here, http://www.bodymagazine.us/retail.php?idStore=328, or if you’re too lazy to click through here are a few of their comments:

“Our Adam & Eve Stores are well-lit, clean and organized. We pride ourselves in creating a comfortable and safe environment for women and couples to explore and learn about what products are available to them, and to provide a professional atmosphere when purchasing any item. …

“The striking improvement over the “old school” adult store makes for a much more appealing and fun shopping experience. From the friendly, knowledgeable staff, to the wide variety of products, to the clean and classy store appearance, we easily outperform our competitors.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Montana & Idaho Community Development shortens name

Dave Glaser
Montana & Idaho Community Development Corp. has changed its name to MoFi, a name intended to better represent its expanding geographic footprint and product line, said Dave Glaser, the company’s president.

MoFi provides financing and consulting services to business and communities that are just outside the financial mainstream, with solutions including business lending and tax credit financing for businesses, non-profits and real estate developments.

In 2017, MoFi provided over $11 million in small-business financing to businesses that were unable to access traditional bank capital, with roughly half that amount going to Idaho borrowers. It expects that amount to increase in 2018. It has also been responsible for catalyzing multiple projects using New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), a program of the U.S. Treasury that is designed to incentivize investment and development in economically underserved areas. Since 2012, MoFi has used NMTC to support over $150 million in projects in Idaho, including Fresca Mexican Foods (Caldwell), Golden Valley Natural (Shelley), Hemming Cedars (Rexburg), Kootenai Health (Coeur d’Alene), Targhee Professional Services (Rexburg), Western States Caterpillar (Pocatello), and Idaho Burger Grill (St. Anthony).

Glaser said the new name came after recent expansions into Wyoming, Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon.

“For over 30 years, we have aggressively grown our organization to meet the needs of low- and middle-income people in our region,” he said. “But for many, the inequality of opportunity continues to grow. We’ve realized that the people we serve need more, so we’re responding to the need for flexible, responsible capital by expanding our reach. In addition to Montana and Idaho, we are now serving Wyoming, eastern Washington and eastern Oregon. We look forward to continuing our work with the hardworking people and communities of Idaho in pursuit of our mission, which remains unchanged: to transform the lives of individuals and strengthen community prosperity.”

Last fall, MoFi relocated and expanded its Boise office, led by Ben Wright, Director of Consulting Services. Wright oversees the organization’s asset management division, which provides technical support to loan clients, including free bookkeeping and accounting services, connecting them with marketing and advertising grants, providing management advice and helping them establish a lasting relationship with a local bank.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Orangetheory Fitness opening in Sandcreek Commons

Orange Theory Fitness will be opening in Ammon’s Sandcreek Commons shopping center early this summer. The 3,600-square-foot fitness center will be at 2678 E Sunnyside Road near Broulim’s Fresh Foods, Bill’s Bike & Run, Lunchbox Wax, Hobby Lobby and others. The business is owned by J&J Fitness IF, LLC.

OrangeTheory Fitness’ concept is the one-hour full-body workout. The gym offers trainer-led classes all day for all levels of fitness. Based in Boca Raton, Fla., it offers group personal training workouts based on high intensity interval training (HIIT) that blend cardiovascular and strength training.

The Ammon location marks the 1,049th location for the chain, which was named the fastest-growing woman-owned company in 2017 by Forbes and brought in $451 million in revenue in 2016.

“We are eagerly anticipating the opening of the new OrangeTheory Fitness,” says Sandcreek Commons Chief Development Officer Eric Isom. “OrangeTheorgy will be a wonderful addition to the center and to the Ammon community.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

CEI names dean of student affairs

Michael Walker
Michael J. Walker has been named dean of student affairs for College of Eastern Idaho (CEI). He comes to eastern Idaho from Utah Valley University, where he has held leadership and teaching positions since 2008, including instructor, assistant director and, most recently, director. He launched UVU’s professional education program (certifications and workforce training) in 2015. From 2009 to 2015, he served as assistant administrator for the UVU Wasatch Campus in Heber City, facilitating student and faculty services.

Walker holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Brigham Young University, and a master’s in higher education and student affairs from Utah State University. He is working on his doctorate in education (instructional leadership) with Utah State University. His research focuses on concurrent and dual enrollment. He has taught more than 60 collegiate courses in history, ethics and the humanities for over ten years, having taught at UVU, USU, and Salt Lake Community College.

Monday, April 30, 2018

NuScale plan for small modular reactor in Idaho clears regulatory hurdle

NuScale began life as a spinoff company based on research conducted by Oregon State University professor Jose Reyes. (NuScale Power photo)
NuScale Power's plans for a small modular reactor west of Idaho Falls has cleared another regulatory hurdle, as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed the first and most intensive phase of review for the company’s design certification application.

This is the first and only SMR application to ever undergo NRC review. The NRC is expected to certify NuScale’s design, and the company’s first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems -- of which Idaho Falls Power is a member -- is planning a 12-module SMR plant to be in operation by the mid-2020s.

“We are thankful for the rigorous review of our revolutionary nuclear design and greatly appreciate the government recognizing the importance of furthering NuScale’s advancement,” said the company's power chairman and chief executive officer, John Hopkins. “Our technology means significant economic and job benefits for the country and it’s positioned to revitalize the domestic nuclear industry by virtue of NuScale’s affordable, flexible, and safe solution to providing zero-carbon energy.”

During the 115,000 hours the NRC spent reviewing the application, it issued far fewer requests for additional information compared to other DCAs, validating in NuScale's view the simplicity of the design and quality of the application.

On a separate but related front, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy announced Friday it was awarding NuScale $40 million in cost-sharing financial assistance. The federal award supports early-stage research and development and the industry’s embrace of these technologies, with the stated goal of promoting U.S. energy independence, electricity grid resiliency, national security, and clean baseload power.

Headquartered in Portland, Ore., NuScale, majority-owned by Fluor Corp., has already received more than $200 million in federal support. The $40 million award announced Friday, the lion's share of $60 million doled out under the DOE’s new "U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology" program, comes with an equivalent cost share.

In a Portland Business Journal story, NuScale Director of Communications Mariam Nabizad said the company has "commitments from private investors to cover the NuScale $40 million portion of the DOE award." She added that the company "looks to continue to seek additional investment beyond our DOE cost share award to provide the funding to complete our commercialization program."

In a Bloomberg story earlier this month, "First Small-Scale Nuclear Reactor May Be Just Eight Years Away," CFO Jay Surina said NuScale was looking for "deep-pocketed" individuals who could provide it up to $120 million in equity investment.