Friday, March 2, 2012

FHA closing costs to rise April 1

This was posted on Facebook this morning by my friend Chris Pelkola Lee of Keller-Williams East Idaho, and I thought it worth sharing here.

In a nutshell, the Federal Housing Administration on April 1 is going to raise the up-front insurance premium it charges borrowers by 75 basis points to 1.75 percent of the base loan amount. That means for a $100,000 loan you will have to bring an extra $750 to closing. If you're thinking about a home loan, it might be a good idea to move fast.

Chris' Facebook page, always a good source of information, is!/IFListings

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kiwi Loco helps EITC Foundation

With the snow falling and the roads covered with ice, one may be forgiven for not thinking of frozen yogurt right off the bat. But guess what? It's delicious any time of year, and if you want to support a good cause Kiwi Loco will be donating 10 percent of its sales this Saturday to help the Eastern Idaho Technical College Foundation.

The foundation helps fund student scholarships and college programs, and sponsors such fabled fund-raising events as the Great Race for Education.

Stop in between 2 and 6 p.m. if you want to help. Kiwi Loco is at 3198 S. 25th East, in the Sagewood Plaza, near the corner of Hitt and Sunnyside roads.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mrs. Powell's opens store in downtown Idaho Falls

Mrs. Powell's, a fixture in the Ammon Towne Square for some time, has opened a second store, on the corner of E Street and North Yellowstone Avenue.
Ryan Hatch

Although the space itself is small, manager Ryan Hatch said they are hoping to do a lot of take-out and delivery business by being so close to downtown Idaho Falls. "We'd been wanting to expand, and we think downtown is a great market us," he said. "Yesterday we took some samples to the DMV office. They're super-excited being right across the street. We're hoping delivery will be a big part of our business."

The menu will be the same as the Mrs. Powell's in Ammon, which Hatch's parents, Sherri and Alban, have owned for seven years. The food is made fresh daily in Ammon, then brought downtown, where it can be reheated if necessary. In addition to bread and cinnamon rolls, the menu features soups, sandwiches, wraps and calzones.

Work on remodeling the location (the actual address is 235 E Street) began in November, but the sign only went up earlier this week. Hatch said he is shooting for a grand opening by mid-March. In the meantime, they are ready to take orders. The phone number is (208) 200-5300. Mrs. Powell's Facebook page is!/mrspowells

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Areva suspends Eagle Rock enrichment work 'indefinitely'

This broke on Local News 8 last night. Not great news for anyone who pinned their hopes on Areva as the salvation of the local economy.

That One Place grand opening is Wednesday

That One Place, 552 N. Capital Ave., will be having its grand opening Wednesday.

The restaurant has been at its downtown location since early December, after relocating from a spot on Third Street. Owner Trent Walker said he thought there would be better traffic and he also figured it would be more fun to be part of the downtown scene. The restaurant took part in the downtown open house earlier this month. The menu focuses on sandwiches, soups, wraps and rice bowls, all fresh from scratch.

For the grand opening, customers can buy one entree and get a second of equal or lesser value for free.

Walker said the name "That One Place" came from his 16-year-old son, who'd heard his grandparents talking all the time about places they'd eaten around the world, e.g. "Remember that one place we went to in Italy?"

"He said, 'You ought to call it that,' and we liked the idea," Walker said.

The restaurant manager is Ashley Mueller. They provide catering, carryout and delivery. For more information, call 529-9804

Visit the Web site at

Monday, February 27, 2012

"I feel a great disturbance in the Force ... "

I'm well aware of BizMojo Idaho readers' never-ending interest in franchise restaurants, so here are a few links I thought might be interesting for a Monday morning.

"Strange Burgers Invade the Fast Food Universe," would be worth reading if only for the description of the "Dark Vador" and one consumer's critique of it.

On a more serious note, next comes an article that explains a lot about franchising, from a Web site I frequently look at for new ideas.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Explaining Idaho's lower gas prices

We've gotten five or six entries in the Guess-the-Price-of-Gas contest. You have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to guess the lowest local price of regular unleaded on the Friday before Memorial Day. Whoever comes closest wins a $10 gift certificate to Carl's Jr.

In the meantime, here's some more information on gas prices. Hard as it may seem to believe, Idaho for now has some of the lowest prices in the nation, said AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson.

U.S. demand for oil and refined products has been 5 percent to 7 percent lower this year and supplies are good, yet prices are surging. That could mean there's fear that oil supplies could be disrupted in the Middle East. Or it could mean investors are banking on good growth gains in economies around the world, Carlson said Friday in a statement.

Investors have helped push oil prices well above last year's numbers, and today's national average price for regular grade gasoline is $3.65, a full 42 cents more per gallon ahead of last year's record pace. Idaho's average price is on the rise too, up 8 cents in the past week to $3.23, but 42 cents lower than the average price. Idaho's average price is fifth lowest in the U.S.

"Oil is collecting a premium price, but all you have to do is look at where Idaho is compared to its neighbors to see something is drastically different this year in the regional scheme of things," Carlson said.

Oregon's average price Friday is $3.83 and Washington is at $3.78. But Wyoming ($3.08), Utah ($3.16) and Montana ($3.20) all have prices in the range of Idaho's $3.23 average.

What gives? It's all about where the gas is being refined. Refineries on the West Coast are likely paying more than $125 a barrel for the oil they use, but Idaho and other Rocky Mountain states have access to cheaper oil coming out of Canada and North Dakota, priced closer to $80 a barrel.

"The rapid escalation in oil prices in the past several weeks has yet to be accounted for at the retail level, so prices everywhere will continue to rise," Carlson said. Barring major market changes, gas prices are expected to rise between now and mid-May. Idaho's prices peaked at $3.79 the first week in May a year ago.

"We think it's reasonable to assume that some states will hit average prices well above $4, but barring refinery shutdowns, it's possible Idaho and some states might stay below that mark," Carlson said.

Here's a breakdown on pump prices around Idaho from Friday:

Boise: $3.23
Coeur d'Alene: $3.28
Pocatello: $3.08
Idaho Falls: $3.07
Nampa: $3.24
Twin Falls: $3.20

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