Friday, March 30, 2012

Waiting for word on Idaho Falls Best Buy store

Best Buy has announced it will be closing 50 stores in the coming fiscal year, but there is no news yet whether its store in Idaho Falls, No. 944, will be affected.

The retailer on Thursday reported a $1.7 billion loss for its fourth quarter, which ended March 3. Along with the store closures, Best Buy also plans to eliminate about 400 jobs in its corporate and support areas. The goal, the company said in a statement, is to achieve $800 million in cost reductions by its fiscal year 2015.

So far, the only specifics the company has offered has been in a canned e-mail: On Thursday, March 29, we notified employees at five stores in the Twin Cities area, and one store in the San Antonio area, that their stores will close later this year as Connected Store remodels are completed in their markets.

The company plans to cut costs by $250 million in FY 2013 and by $800 million by FY 2015. "We are quite deliberate and thoughtful when we make such decisions," Best Buy spokeswoman Susan Busch Nehring said over email. "We are working to ensure the impact to our employees will be as minimal as possible, while serving all customers in a convenient and satisfying way. We will announce details about specific store locations and timing for closings once they are finalized."

As part of the company’s new strategy, Best Buy will remodel some of its big box stores with what it calls a “Connected Store” format. These stores will “focus on connections, services and multi-channel experience through a total transformation of both the store and the operating environment.”

Stay tuned. Consumer spending may be up, but consumer spending patterns are changing faster than anyone can make heads or tails of.

Titanic Remembrance Teas planned at Stillwater Mansion

Page 1 of the New York Times, April 16,1912
There's little more than two weeks before the centennial of history's most memorable shipwreck, the Titanic, which sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 2012, around 2:20 a.m.

For moviegoers, director James Cameron has remastered his 1998 film "Titanic" to 3-D. That should be interesting, but if you're looking for something more intimate The Stillwater, 387 N.Water Ave., will be hosting a Titanic Remembrance Tea every Tuesday in April at 6:30 p.m.

The Ladies Tea Guild of South Eastern Idaho are helping to put the events on, but members of the public can make reservations by calling (208) 200-4473 or e-mailing

The first event, this Tuesday, will feature storyteller Teresa Clark presenting accounts of the Titanic's survivors and music by the White Star Orchestra.

My favorite account of the Titanic comes from book called "The Sway of the Grand Saloon: A Social History of the North Atlantic," by John Malcom Brinnin (Delacorte Press, 1971). Brinnin is mainly a poet, so I thought I might share a passage from his account.

The unsinkable ship, the most superb technological achievement of her time, the dreamed-of sign and symbol that man's mechanical skill would carry him into a luminous new world of power, freedom and affluence had become, in the words of one contemporary dirge, "the most imposing mausoleum that ever housed the bones of men since the Pyramids rose from the desert sand." Nothing had gone wrong. Everything had gone wrong. The odds on a ship such as the Titanic hitting an iceberg and foundering under the blow were calculated at a million to one. With devastating and absolute precision the Titanic and her officers had in the space of four days surmounted these odds. Designed to survive anything that man or nature could bring to bear against her, the great ship could not survive even the first voyage of the twenty-five or thirty long years of sea-going for which she was built.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Irish pub planned for old Hub Bar site

For years it was known as the Hub Bar and for a brief time it was Shooters, but the building at the northeast corner of Broadway and Park Avenue is going to have a radically different look and feel by this summer. State Rep. Janice McGeachin and her husband, Jim, have got framers busy inside transforming the interior into an Irish pub. No word on what the name will be or the exact opening date, but here is a picture of the work that's going on as well as an artist's rendering of what the property is going to look like inside and out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Busted! Why, Google, why?

Looks like I've managed to tick off Google, which has informed me that it has yanked my AdSense account. Not that it was doing me a lot of good. In three months I hadn't even reached the $100 threshold, when money would have gone into my bank account. Yet earlier this month I received this e-mail:

After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account
poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a
responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due
to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense
account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will
both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers.

Apparently, the Web giant, which reported net income of $2.71 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, was concerned that people might have been clicking on my Google AdWords with intentions that were less than sincere.

I confess. I wrote a smart alecky piece in Idaho Falls Magazine suggesting to readers that if they saw an ad on BizMojo Idaho that struck their fancy I wouldn't be opposed to them clicking on it. I hinted that if I made enough money from Google AdSense there might be a party at Carl's Jr. sometime, where we could all enjoy juicy burgers.

I can appeal this, and I might, but I'm more curious than anything. Did someone get carried away? Was I ratted out? Or is Google all-knowing and all-seeing? I have a hard time believing someone as small as myself would show up on their radar screen or cause them any concern at all, but I guess I could be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time.

The ultimate irony, I suppose, would be getting dinged on the Web for something that appeared in old-fashioned print. I believe the truth will emerge in the fullness of time, but it still might be more complicated than anything I can understand.

Next in the Biting-the-Hand-That-Feeds-You-Department: Has Facebook Turned Into a Turkey?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A less frantic picture at this year's job fair

I don't think there's a better way to take the temperature of the local economy than to attend a job fair like the one held this morning as part of the Mayor's Business Day.

The last one I went to, in 2010, there was an air of desperation at odds with the bankers and business people onstage at the Civic Auditorium that morning, all talking about how the recession was over. It wasn't, as we all found out. People told me about being out of work for months, about single job openings receiving more than 300 applications.

Whether it was the time of day -- morning rather than late afternoon -- or the actual economy, this year's job fair was comparatively laid back. The Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area's unemployment rate for February was 6.5 percent, way below the state and national averages. Idaho has posted seven straight months of declining unemployment.

Will Jenson
Rob Smith
Jessica Clapp
"You can have a decrease because people have stopped looking for work, but in our case it's because people have been finding work and the labor market has been growing," said Will Jenson, regional economist in the Idaho Department of Labor's Idaho Falls office.

While the unemployment rate is the same as it was in February 2011, the number of job postings online and in the paper was up 24 percent in 2011 over 2010. That has shown no sign of collapse in the new year.

Jenson said the housing market is still down, but the decline in construction jobs has slowed. The segment of the economy that has been up sharply has been leisure and hospitality, which he feels indicates an increase in consumer confidence.

If eastern Idaho's unemployment doesn't drop as far as other parts of the country, it will only be because it hasn't had as far to decline. Jenson said he expects the local unemployment figure to be between 5.5 and 6 percent in the second half of this year. Beyond that, a lot will depend on the federal budget. Between Pocatello and Rexburg, 20 to 25 percent of the jobs are linked to the Idaho National Laboratory.

If you can see it coming, it's not as bad, he said. "When people have a timeline, they have time to plan. It creates a softer landing for them. We've been through it before and we'll go through it again in the future. It's nothing new to us."

Elsewhere at the job fair, here's what people had to say:

Fred Rhoads of Waddell & Reed said he would be happy if could find one good entrepreneurial person for his team. In early December, Waddell & Reed moved to expanded offices in the Taylor Crossing on the River development. "People are starting to feel more optimistic. I think (they) are realizing they need to do something with their investment dollars."

Representing Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, JoAnn Cummings pointed to three pages of positions that the Idaho Falls hospital has open. "At the hospital, we constantly have opportunities," she said.

Still, she is not without friends who have been anxious to find work. "In this market, it depends a lot on what your skill set is," she said.

Rob Smith of Idaho Falls was at the event in hopes of finding a part-time job that would suit his degree and background in accounting while he pursued a mechanical engineering degree at Idaho State University.

Smith, 32, got a degree in accounting from BYU-Idaho, but discovered that the earning potential wasn't what he thought it was. "The compensation wasn't what a lot of us expected coming out of school," he said. To earn the more than $40,000,"the only way you can get that is if you're a CPA or really lucky," he said.

Jessica Clapp, 22, said she was looking for a job as an administrative assistant or something in information technology. Since graduating from Idaho Falls High School in 2007, she has worked for two call centers (Qwest and Center Partners), in food service and retail. Since last July, when she was sidelined by a health problem, she has been living with her parents while looking for work.

"I'm looking for a career, not a job," she said.

Monday, March 26, 2012

DeMarco's sale could get new influx of inventory

DeMarco's sale may get inventory from the store in Casper, Wyo.
Every girl's crazy for a sharp-dressed man, and if you're a guy who's looking for quality clothes at great prices DeMarco's in the Grand Teton Mall still has plenty of good stuff available. Right now, all items are 30 percent off the lowest marked price. I picked up a $300 suit Saturday for $109, and I will most likely be going back for more. I can't help myself.

Owner Rob Marcowitz said it's possible they will be bringing the inventory from their store in Casper, Wyo. There are still some great deals in store for men and women -- shoes, coats, slacks, dresses, ties, suits and sport coats. Brands such as Tommy Bahama, True Religion, Robert Graham, For All Mankind, etc.

So go on in and try something on. Check yourself out in the three-way mirror. Tell 'em BizMojo sent you.

Mayor's Business Day features, job fair, expo, luncheon

The Third Annual Mayor’s Business Day will take place Tuesday at Idaho Falls High School. The event is being presented by Grow Idaho Falls, the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Idaho Department of Labor.

The day begins with a job fair in the small gymnasium, from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Representatives of more than two dozen businesses will be there to take applications and offer advice. They include: Barton Consulting, BBSI, Carl's Jr., CBS Collections, Center Partners, CenturyLink, City of Idaho Falls, Compa Industries, Development Workshop, E2 Consulting Engineers, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, Express Employment Pros, Home Depot, Human Dynamics & Diagnostics, I. E. Solutions, Idaho Department of Labor, INL - Peer Support Specialists, Legal Shield, Melaleuca, RED Inc., Riverbend Communications, SAGE Trucking School, SHRM, Stevens Henager College, Teton Toyota, TRPTA, University of Idaho, Waddell & Reed, Western Transport and Alsco

A luncheon in the small gym will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. Two speakers will be featured: Donna Tuttle, who served in the Reagan Administration and is now a partner in the Elmore Tuttle Sports Group, which owns the Idaho Falls Chukars; and Jeff Sayer, executive director of the Idaho Department of Commerce. Seating for the luncheon is limited. RSVP by e-mail at or by calling (208) 522-2014.

The luncheon will be followed by the Area Business Connections Trade Show, in the large gym from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Vendors include: Ag Grand Natural Organic Fertilizer, Advantage Employer Solutions, Apple Athletic Club, Atwood Family Dentistry, Bank of Idaho, Better Business Bureau, Barrett Business Systems, Century Link, ComDesigns & Idaho Aviation, COMPA Industries, DL Evans Bank, Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, Eastern Idaho Technical College Foundation, Eastern Idaho Technical College, Foothills & Riverwest Dental, Good Samaritan Society - Idaho Falls Village, Hands of Hope Home Health & Hospice, Hopkins Roden Crockett Hansen & Hoopes PLLC, Hunter Idaho Falls Monuments, Idaho Correctional Industries, Idaho Industrial Commission, IBF, Idaho Housing & Finance Association, Inches-A-Weigh, Key Bank, GIFCC Military Affairs Committee, Microserv, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, Northwind, Riverbend Communications, Rocky Mountain Environmental, Sam's Club, Scenic Falls Federal Credit Union, Snake River Animal Shelter, Snake River Landing, State Farm Insurance, Syringa Networks, Technology Ventures Corporation, The Bank of Commerce, University of Idaho & Idaho State University, Waddell & Reed, Wienhoff Drug Testing, Machen Family Dentistry, The Bank of Commerce and Syringa Wireless.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Four things not to buy at Costco, assuming that one is coming someday

OK, we all know you're waiting for news on Costco. Not since the advent the Olive Garden has there been such interest, and to be frank even in those days people were already asking about Costco.

Since we found out Dec. 23 that the company has boots on the ground locally, we've been determined to check periodically to keep tabs. A call Thursday to Costco's headquarters in Issaquah, Wash., brought the response I expected. Our interest was appreciated, but the company's development calendar doesn't show anything planned for Idaho Falls in the next six months.

This is how it's going to be until the Costco has a deal and is ready to make an announcement. Some of you may not be able to contain yourselves and will go to Pocatello to get your fixes. For your benefit, here's a link to a story about the four things you should not buy at Costco: designer clothes, imported shrimp, sheets and towels and bulk produce.

Commerce Director to speak March 30 at I.F. City Club forum

Jeffrey Sayer
Idaho Commerce Department Director Jeffery Sayer will be the speaker at the Idaho Falls City Club's March 30 forum, at the Samuel Horne Bennion Student Union Building, 1784 Science Center Drive.

His talk, "Moving at the Speed of Business," will address several topics, including:
    •    Business attraction and retention
    •    Long-term competitiveness
    •    The “Window Dressing” of Business Attraction
    •    The Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM)
    •    The Idaho Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission

An eastern Idaho native and Brigham Young University graduate,  Sayer was appointed to his current post by Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter in October 2011. He is the former president and managing partner of Novayx Group, a firm specializing in providing financial and business sophistication for small- to medium-sized businesses. Before that, he was president and chief financial officer of Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls. He began his career with Ernst & Young in Silicon Valley, where he specialized in advising venture-capital funded technology companies through all stages of growth. His experience includes corporate turnarounds, public offerings, equity financing, mergers and acquisitions, and extensive involvement in corporate strategy and leadership.

Sayer serves on the board of directors of the Idaho Governors Cup, Idaho Falls Auditorium District, Hospice of Eastern Idaho, and was a former member of the Governors Select Committee on Health Care.

Lunch will be served at noon. Cost is $14 for members and $16 for non-members. Gallery seating is $5. Reservations or advanced payment are required for lunch service, and are due by noon Tuesday. To pay by credit card, visit

You are not an entrepreneur if ...

Business author Jeff Haden
In the newspaper business, there's an editor who "sorts the wire," which is to say he or she sifts through all the stories from the Associated Press, Reuters or whoever to determine what might be of interest to readers. If a wire story is on Page 1, it's because the editors agreed that it was a winner. If there's a lot of good local news, there will be fewer wire stories out front (unless there's really big national or international news). Likewise, on a slow news day, you'll see more wire.

I've discovered publishing a blog isn't that different. While I want to be on top of every local business development, one thing I do every morning is surf the Web to see if there might be interesting links worth sharing. To keep readers engaged, I have a duty to generate content every day, one way or another. On a slow news day, I go to the Web.

Today's find is a piece by business author Jeff Haden on the traits you ought to look for in yourself before you decide you're an entrepreneur. If you answer yes to any one of these, chances are you'd be better off working for someone else. Before I post the link I'll bullet them, for the sake of the people who always stop reading at "the jump" (another newspaper-ism).

According to Haden, you are not an entrepreneur if:
  • You spend a lot of time personalizing your office.
  • You manage your fantasy teams at work.
  • You never empty your own trash.
  • You are sure you could be a lot more productive if you only had a new (insert hot new tech tool).
  • You can't get over the fact your department got shorted during the last budget cycle. 
  • You passionately discuss work-life balance issues.
  • You sometimes say, "Wait, I've paid my dues."    

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I.F. Magazine app offers BizMojo link

Considering that 25 percent of the visitors to this blog are doing it on iPhones, iPads and Droids, the question of whether to make an app for BizMojo is very much on my mind.

Earlier this month, I asked whether people saw the market moving from laptops to tablets. A few people responded on Facebook, and the answer seemed to be emphatically yes.

So, I would say an app is in the future. In the meantime, if you want to read BizMojoIdaho on your mobile device, Idaho Falls Magazine has provided a direct link to it from its app, which it is pushing hard.

All you have to do is follow this link and scan the QR code.

It's got plenty of other cool stuff to browse through, but don't get distracted.

I've also found Google Reader to be a pretty effective way to look at the blog. Meanwhile, stay tuned for exciting developments.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

April 19 social media workshop to feature iPad Today co-host Sarah Lane

Sarah Lane, co-host of iPad Today, the Social Hour and Tech News Today, will be the featured speaker at an April 19 workshop, Communicating in a Changing World: Social Media Workshop.

The event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Shilo Inn. It is sponsored by Media Network Idaho, Idaho ANS and ComDesigns.

Lane worked several years for KRON-TV in the station's San Jose, Calif., bureau, starting out as a production assistant before eventually becoming a series producer and director. Focusing on hi-tech, she produced weekly half-hour newsmagazine programs, documentaries, and wrote for the nightly news.

In February 2001, she was hired by TechTV to be a senior segment producer and an on-air contributor to The Screen Savers, a television show centered around computers, new technologies and their adaptations in the world.

She moved to the TWiT network in 2010, joining Tech News Today and eventually becoming a daily co-host. She and Leo Laport launched a weekly Apple iPad podcast, iPad Today, that July and in March 2011 she and Amber MacArthur co-hosted the first episode of The Social Hour, a weekly podcast focused on social media.

Here is a link to iPad Today 88, which aired March 8:

Other speakers at the event will be Mike Hart of ComDesigns, an Idaho Falls company; Cynthia Price of ChildFund International; Misty Benjamin of the Idaho National Laboratory; and Paul David Menser of

I don't know what the others are going to say, but I am collecting my thoughts on my 35-year media odyssey, from proportion wheels and rubber cement to the agonizing decision of whether to buy an iPad now or wait three months for the newer version (I still occasionally use the Olympia typewriter my parents bought me in high school.)

For more information on this event, contact Teri Ehresman at 521-9882 or at Cost is $30 IANS and NFPW members and $40 for the public.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Special screening Wednesday of 'Casablanca' at Edwards Grand Teton theater

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in 'Casablanca,' the Warner Bros. classic that will be screened Wednesday at the Edwards Grand Teton Stadium 14.
I would like to encourage anyone who hasn't seen "Casablanca" to get the the Edwards theater on Wednesday, where they will be showing the classic at 2 and 7 p.m.

The movie is being presented by Turner Classic Movies, and I'm sure the print and picture will be pristine.

Shot in black and white, "Casablanca" is unlike many movies you are likely to see in our day and age. What does it have that today's movies lack? Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, for starters. It has wit, romance, great acting, great music, a fantastic script and nobility of spirit.

Bet you didn't know that Ronald Reagan, a contract player for Warner Bros. in 1941, was originally slated to play expatriate saloon owner Rick Blaine. I have a hard time imagining what the movie would have been like with anyone other than Bogart. History would have been different.

"Casablanca" is exactly two hours long, and I promise you it will seem like less time than that. I am willing to personally refund your money if you do not come out of "Casablanca" feeling like you have seen one of the great movies of all time.

Here's looking at you, kid.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ruminations on what might have been

Legendary investor Peter Lynch's guiding principle has always been "invest in what you know." In other words, if you use Tide, buy Proctor and Gamble. If you use Rubbermaid, buy Newell.

When it comes to computers, I am a longtime Apple man. Although I had a Leading Edge 286 PC in the early '90s, I have used Macs since 1997. Even before Steve Jobs' return to the company, I found them easier to use.

If I had used Lynch's thinking and bought 100 shares of Apple stock this day in 1997, it would have set me back $403. Those same shares today would be worth $60,110. If I had spent $1,000 on Apple stock, I would now have $149,156.

Excuse me while I pour myself a drink.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Idaho Falls indoor trampoline center opens

iJump owner Jacob Lundquist and his son Ezra. Lundquist and his wife, Natalie, have opened an indoor fun center with nearly 6,000 square feet of trampolines and foam.
iJump, an indoor trampoline center with close to 6,000 square feet of bounce, opened this evening at 6. The address is 2670 E. 14th North, which means you turn off Hitt Road at Majestic Auto Body and proceed east for about 1/4 mile.

Owners Jacob and Natalie Lundquist got the idea for the business from similar places in the West, and wanted to run a business where kids and families could have fun and enjoy physical activity. iJump features a Wee Jump area, a dodge ball court, an open jump area and foam pits. There is a mezzanaine area for birthday parties and an eating area.

Everyone must have a signed waiver to jump. Those under 18 must have their parents sign and complete the waiver and those over 18 must have current ID with them.

To visit the Facebook page, go to They will be giving away free jumps when they hit 1,000 likes.

The regular Web address is For more information, call (208) 881-5108

AmeriTel begins rebranding Ammon, Idaho Falls hotels

The new lettering at Ammon's La Quinta Inn was half-finished Friday at lunchtime. The Boise-based AmeriTel chain is rebranding most of the hotels it owns. While the Teton Spectrum hotel is now a La Quinta, the Lindsay Boulevard hotel will become a Hampton Inn next month.
The new signs went up Thursday and today, and the AmeriTel Inn at the Teton Spectrum in Ammon is now a La Quinta Inn. In mid-April, the AmeriTel on Lindsay Boulevard will become a Hampton Inn.

This doesn't mean AmeriTel has left the business. "We still own the hotels," said Chuck Everett, the Boise-based chain's vice president for operations. "We needed to reinvest in the properties, and we decided the best way to leverage the reinvestment costs was to rebrand the properties. It's increasingly difficult these days to operate as an independent hotelier."

The Lindsay Boulevard hotel opened in June 1996 and the Ammon hotel opened in May 2000. Since then, the local environment has become increasingly competitive, especially since the openings of the Fairfield Inn and the Hilton Garden Inn.

The conversions have been in the works for two years, and are part of a company-wide rebranding. The Ameritel in Twin Falls recently became a La Quinta Inn and the hotel at the Boise Spectrum will be a Hampton Inn & Suites by May. By this summer, the only AmeriTels left will be in Pocatello, Coeur d'Alene and Boise.

La Quinta and Hampton Inn are both owned by the Blackstone Group, but operate independently.

Given the Hampton Inn already on Channing Way, the Ammon AmeriTel couldn't be rebranded a Hampton Inn. There are a lot of considerations that go into rebranding and remodeling a hotel, Everett said. The other main thing is whether a franchise can be fit into an existing property.

To convert the Lindsay Boulevard hotel into a Hampton Inn & Suites, which they would have liked, it would require a two-story lobby and tearing out rooms to generate more suites. Nevertheless, the look and feel of the Hampton Inn on Lindsay Boulevard is going to be completely different from the AmeriTel, Everett said.


Bonneville County

Active listings in January-February 2012 were 309 compared to 270 in 2011.
There were 143 closings compared to 107 the previous year.

Median price of sold homes was $123,125 in compared to $145,125 in 2011.

There were 149 new properties under contract in February 2012, up 21% from February 2011.

Year-to-date closings were 33.6% above January-February 2011.

Median price of sold homes was 17.8% below January-February 2011.
                        2007          2008          2009          2010          2011          2012 
UNITS SOLD               242            169            108            103            107            143
MEDIAN PRICE          $146,700   $160,450   $152,225   $144,750   $145,125   $123,125

NEW LISTINGS           273            318            342            427            270           309
DAYS ON MARKET    101            102            125            109            114           133  

Source: Snake River MLS

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ball Ventures hires new asset manager

Tahri Molifua
Tahri Molifua has joined Ball Ventures as an asset manager. He was most recently with The Richman Group, a large, privately held multi-family residential property owner. As an associate, he performed acquisition and property management for the company's Orange County team.

He attended Brigham Young University - Idaho,  where he majored in communications, then went on to study at Cornell University, where he received an MPS Real Estate degree. He returns to Idaho with his wife, Kehaulani, and their three children.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

FleetPride buys out Trane's Diesel

FleetPride, Inc., the nation's largest independent aftermarket distributor of heavy-duty truck and trailer parts, announced Monday that it has acquired the assets of Trane's Diesel Service, Inc. in Idaho Falls. This acquisition includes a 23,000-square-foot facility with 14 service bays located at 683 East Iona Road.

Trane's Diesel is a full-service repair, maintenance, service and parts facility founded in 2002 by Cal Trane and his sons Joel and Andy Trane. Cal Trane will stay on in a consulting role and both Joel and Andy Trane will join FleetPride in management roles. Employment offers were extended to all employees.

The company recently acquired six other locations in Idaho and Utah. "This is a well-run business in a location FleetPride has been interested in for some time," said Lee Stockseth, FleetPride's chief operating officer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A sweet surprise from the past

I could sing the praises of Sarah's Candy Cottage for any number of reasons -- the truffle and fudge samples, the dozen-plus different kinds of licorice -- but nothing compares to the excitement I felt last month when I discovered they had Bonomo Turkish Taffy.

"I thought they stopped making this years ago!" I thought, as I loaded up the bucket with the individually wrapped pieces.

Based on my rhapsodizing about the Slurpee in a previous post, you've probably figured out that anything sweet from my childhood is going to get me going pretty good. As many Baby Boomers can attest, Turkish Taffy is probably best remembered for the way we smacked a bar of it in its foil wrapper against a tabletop or sidewalk. Harder than salt water taffy, it could keep you occupied for a while and take a few fillings from you in the bargain.

Turns out it did disappear in the 1980s, after Hershey's bought Bonomo, monkeyed with the formula and renamed it. It was resurrected in 2010 by some fifty-somethings with fond memories. Here's to them, and here's a link to a story than ran in Fortune Magazine:

Contractor seeks subcontractor bids for BYU-Idaho apartment project

The 43-unit apartment, as rendered above, will be at West Fourth South and South Fourth West.
Brigham Young University-Idaho is building a five-story, 43-unit apartment project to be used as women’s housing.

Headwaters Construction is seeking subcontractor bids by March 22 for Birch Legacy Apartments, an off-campus project planned for West Fourth South and South Fourth West streets in Rexburg.

Headwaters, which is based in Victor and has a Rexburg office, has built other housing for BYU-Idaho, including a larger complex completed in December for women.

“They have asked the community to come up with housing,” Headwaters President Stan Marshall said. “They are basically increasing enrollment as housing is built.”

Project architect Douglas Gibson, of Eagle-based DG Group Architecture, said the site is in a Rexburg zoning overlay district that calls for higher-density residential uses and pedestrian access close to the BYU-Idaho campus.

The apartments will be owned by The Pacific Companies and Braintree Development, both of Eagle, and Rexburg resident Trent Birch.

Construction on the $5.5 million, 75,000-square-foot building will start in April and is expected to take about a year. The complex will have exercise and tanning rooms, common-area meeting space, a media room, and on-site storage for each unit, Gibson said.

IAAP seeks vendors for April 19 semiar, exhibitors fair

The Eagle Rock Chapter of Idaho Association of Administrative Professionals is seeking vendors for the exhibitors fair at its annual professionals seminar, April 19 at the Red Lion on the Falls. Vendor space is $60.

The seminar offers a great opportunity for professionals to network with each other, said event coordinator Natalie Hebard. For a vendor packet, email her at or call 526-9332 and leave your name, type of business and contact information. Anyone interested in being a sponsor is welcome to call as well, she said.

The theme of this year's seminar is "Making The Leap To Remarkable." The featured speaker is Jasmine Freeman, chief executive assistant to Joan Burge, CEO of Office Dynamics. As a strategic business partner to Burge, Freeman is involved in a number of the business' aspects, including the company's social media initiative. Freeman is the company's blogger, and has contributed to the books "Life Choices: Putting the Pieces Together," "Life Choices: It's Never Too Late" and the recently published "Who Took My Pen ... Again?"

Registration, due no later than April 9, is $125 and includes lunch and refreshments. If you have questions or concerns, contact the registrar, Anita Thompson, at 526-9528, or email

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mayor's Scholarship Fund winners announced for 2012

Twenty-seven local students have been named recipients of the Mayor’s Scholarship Fund for 2012.

In its seventh year, the program was expanded to include 15 Senior Scholarships to graduating high school seniors (previously there were 12) and a dozen Promise Awards to scholars in eighth through 11th grade.

Recipients of the Senior Scholarship receive $1,500 to help cover tuition at an accredited institute of higher learning in the state of Idaho.

The Promise Award is $500 and is given to students who maintain a college-bound path. Promise Award funds can also be used to pay for dual credit classes while students are still in high school.

The recipients will be honored April 25 at the Mayor’s Scholarship Fund Awards Event, at the Red Lion Hotel on the Falls.

Mayor Jared D. Fuhriman launched the scholarship program in 2006 as a way to demonstrate the city’s commitment to its youth. It’s overseen by the Idaho Falls District 91 Foundation and relies on the support of local residents, business owners and corporations.

The money that is raised goes to scholarships; an endowment for the scholarship fund; a College Pathway account to help educate students and parents; and the annual awards event.

The fund has distributed tens of thousands of dollars and awarded 139 scholarships to local students in the “forgotten middle” – those whose families are not able to support them financially through college but who are unable to qualify for financial aid.

Anyone interested in attending the function or in sponsoring the Mayor’s Scholarship Fund is encouraged to contact Cami Smith at 525-7506 or

By school, here are this year's recipients

Senior Awards


Andrea Black

Callie Evans
Emily Edwards
Gabrielle Phillips
Hannah Sarah Scalia
Amy Tracy

Idaho Falls
Ethan Fisher
Alisa Kuharske
Jessica Marboe
Alex Zwahlen

Jared Hinckley


Nichelle Hutchings
Asucena Leon
Galilea Lavariega
Roxana Nava

Promise Awards

Nathan Burton

Karina Cruz Flores

Home schooled

Isaac Hassel

Rocky Mountain
Logan Holverson

Eagle Rock
Amanda Higley

Jordan Likes
David Rivas
Christie Seedall

Natalie Mihu
Kaitlyn Peterson
Hailey Saunders
Laurana Wheeler

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Deadline is Tuesday for tradeshow booth reservations

If you are thinking about having a booth at the 10th Annual Area Business Connections Tradeshow, to be held at March 27 at Idaho Falls High School, the deadline is this Tuesday (March 13).

As part of the annual Mayor's Business Day, the show offers area businesses and organizations the opportunity to display their products and services to a wide number of people. It will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. in the high school gym.

There will be prizes, including an iPod Touch and $500 in cash, for anyone who visits  every vendor booth.

Signing up gets you:
  • a 10-by-8-foot booth with standard draped back wall and side
  • an 8-foot table with two chairs
  • Internet and electrical access
  • a listing in the flyer and program directory
  • a listing on Powerpoint to run during the Grow Idaho Falls Luncheon Presentation
  • live mentions on Riverbend Communication radio stations during event
Click here for an application:

For more information, contact Kerry McCullough at the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, (208) 523-1010 or

Friday, March 9, 2012

I.F. dentist building new office

Considering how few foundations have been poured in the past three years, we thought it might be worth sharing this picture, taken Friday morning on Elk Creek Drive next door to AmeriTitle. This is the site of the new office Morgan Construction is building for Dr. Michael Elison, an Idaho Falls dentist now practicing at 3656 Washington Parkway. Elison's practice will occupy half the building and the other half will be leased.

Chesbro's marketer to speak at Idaho Falls Ad Federation lunch

Cory Kerr
The Idaho Falls Advertising Federation will have its monthly luncheon Thursday at Stockman's Restaurant at Snake River Landing. The guest presenter will be Cory Kerr, marketing directory for Chesbro Music.

Kerr recently won a 2011 Diamond GEM Award for a 3D direct mail piece titled “Backyard” For a look at him and his mailer click here:

He plans on
sharing his story on how the mailer was done, and to offer tips and instruction on how to put together winning sales pieces that won't go “straight into the round file”.

Sign in for the luncheon is 11:30 a.m., followed by club notes at noon. The presentation will be from 12:15 to 1 p.m. The menu is your choice of a chicken salad or BBQ pork sandwich.
Cost is $12.50 to members and $15 to non-members.
R.S.V.P. with Tina at 524-1777 or

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Isotopes opens distribution deal with California company

Idaho Falls-based International Isotopes has teamed with Alpha-Omega Services of Bellflower, Calif., to be its exclusive worldwide distributor for a new line of radioactive material transportation containers. The deal comes after approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which came last week.

The Type B (U) containers come in three sizes and five different models, addressing a wide range of applications and meeting all of the most current International Atomic Energy Agency regulations for the safe transport of radioactive material. They are suitable to replace many models of radioactive material containers, used by the United States government and commercial interests, that lost their approval for use in October 2008.

Steve T. Laflin, International Isotopes' president and CEO, said getting NRC approval was a long and expensive process dating back to 2007. But the capability to transport "normal form" radioactive materials in addition to "special form" materials brings a significant advantage and "the elegance of their design makes them simple to use and easy to maintain," he said.

INIS will immediately begin taking orders for sales or long-term leases, with the first container deliveries expected by September 2012. Interested parties can learn more at the company's web site,

International Isotopes Inc. manufactures a full range of nuclear medicine calibration and reference standards, a variety of cobalt-60 products, and provides a wide selection of radioisotopes and radiochemicals for medical devices, calibration, clinical research, and industrial applications.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reader seeks business opportunity; anyone care to help?

In the BizMojo Idaho mailbox this morning:

Mike DeFord <> wrote:
Good morning Paul. My name is Mike DeFord I have read your site daily for the past 6 months or so, you do a great job. It is one of only three sites that I MUST visit everyday.
The reason for my email is that I have recently walked away from the world of corporate marketing ... I am in a position to start or take over a business here, my problem is that all of the traditional methods that I have used to find business opportunities in the past do not seem to be used by business owners in the Idaho Falls area. Do you have any resources that local business owners are using locally to list, sell their business?
Thank you for the time.

Naturally, I'm flattered by the praise, but now I'm calling on BizMojo Idaho readers to weigh in with any ideas or suggestions they might have. Post them here or send them directly to Mike. I'm very interested in the power of social media as applied to B2B interactions

P.S.: I'm sort of curious what the other two sites were.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reed's Dairy scores with non-homogenized milk

For decades, small family dairies have been disappearing from rural America, but Reed's Dairy of Idaho Falls has managed to buck the trend.

Owner Alan Reed has kept the business local and kept the middle man out of the equation. He's also been attentive to what customers want, such as non-homogenized milk, which the dairy began offering Feb. 1.

"We've got a group of people who really like it," he said. "Some are saying it's easier to digest or it helps with their allergies. Others just like it because it's the more natural kind of product."

With non-homogenized milk, the cream rises to the top. If you're a real stickler for the old-school presentation, you can get it in returnable 1/2-gallon glass bottles. "We've got some people who say it tastes colder and fresher in glass bottles," Reed said.

Reed said sales have leveled off after a month, but the product has a broad demographic, from people in their 20s to senior citizens.

Overall, it's a challenge staying in the business. The price of milk is dropping to where it was in 2008, and feed and hay prices are as high as he's seen them. Reed's had to raise their price $1 a gallon on Feb. 1, but so far there has been drop-off in sales. That's due to customer loyalty.

"Our customers are really understanding about the increase," he said. "We lose some and we pick up some. It's been steady over the past few years."

Reed is partners with his cousin Mike Reed. The dairy, at West Broadway and Bellin Road, was started by their grandfather, Charlie, and then operated for years by his sons, Roy, Larry and Dave.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Will the tablet replace the PC?

I still have a manual Olympic typewriter that I like to bang on now and again. I like the sound, the feel and the touch. I wrote book reports on it in high school and term papers on it in college, and even used in my early days with the Post Register, 30 years ago.

Nevertheless, I'm under no illusion that the typewriter is going to make a comeback. Technology marches on, and I found this article in today's New York Times interesting.

Tablets have a long way to go before they replace the PC, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens faster than some people think.

I decided to drill down into some BizMojo Idaho to see what's happening locally. It was interesting.

Between the first of the year and yesterday, this BizMojo Idaho has had 5,036 visits. Of those visits, 604 have been on mobile devices. That's roughly 12 percent. More than half of those visits -- 366 -- have been on iPhones and iPads.

Somebody ought to be able to make sense of those numbers. If you do, drop me a line.

Vietnam pursues nuclear program

Given the interest here in all things nuclear, I thought this item from the Vancouver Sun might be worth sharing.

Undeterred by Fukushima, Vietnam is planning to build its first nuclear reactor by 2020 and 13 more in the ten years that follow. It appears they are getting help from Russia and Britain, but the story makes no mention of the United States.

As a student of history and a fan of irony, I have to wonder whether they are going to name their power station after Ho Chi Minh. Still, I don't hear talk these days of bombing anyone back to the Stone Age, at least in that part of the world. Maybe someone (John McCain?) is talking about sending a few B52s over, just for old time's sake, but I doubt it. After all, your Nikes and the Vox guitar amplifiers I sell at the Piano Gallery are now made in Vietnam. Those factories need electricity.

A lot can change in 40 years, eh?

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.