Thursday, January 31, 2013

MacKenzie River Pizza to open in Snake River Landing

MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub is planning to open a new restaurant later this year in Snake River Landing, on Milligan Road just south of Buffalo Wild Wings.

The restaurant will be roughly 5,500 square feet and will be located in a new retail building. It is expected to employ 60 people.

Based in Montana, MacKenzie River Pizza has 16 locations in five states. The Idaho Falls location will be its second in Idaho (the Coeur D’Alene restaurant opened in 2009.)

The Idaho Falls location will be owned by franchisee Mark Thompson and operated by Colin Higgins. Under their holding company, Granite Mountain Restaurants LLC, the two own and operate one other MacKenzie River Pizza, in Butte, Mont.

The chain is known for more than 70 different lunch and dinner menu items, including a huge variety of pizzas.

"Snake River Landing is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub. We look forward to their opening later this year,” said Eric Isom, chief development officer of Snake River Landing.

You can learn more about MacKenzie River, Pizza Grill & Pub by visiting their Web site,

Two scientists named INL Fellows

A.J. "Gus" Caffrey (left) and Richard N. Wright
Two scientists with six decades of combined research and development experience have been selected as Idaho National Laboratory Fellows.

A.J. "Gus" Caffrey and Richard N. Wright have earned the distinction held by only nine others in the 62-year history of the lab. Selection as a fellow is the lab's top scientific achievement designation.
"Laboratory Fellows are the scientific leaders of the laboratory who have achieved a national and international reputation as authorities in their area of expertise," wrote Caffrey's manager, David Ceci, in his nomination letter.

Caffrey, a physicist, earned his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, specializing in gamma ray and neutron spectroscopy. In his 32 years at INL he led the development of several transformative technologies, including Portable Isotopic Neutron Spectroscopy, which nondestructively detects the contents of munitions that may contain chemical warfare agents. It earned an R&D 100 Award 20 years ago and is used around the world today. He is also advancing an invention that can passively verify the contents of nuclear fuel casks.

Wright earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in metallurgical engineering from Michigan Technological University. During his 27-year tenure at INL, he has led several research efforts in the lab's Materials Science Department. He currently leads a team characterizing potential metals for applications in very high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactors for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant High Temperature Metals Research and Development Program.

Caffrey has consulted for the International Atomic Energy Agency, served on two national Energy Department panels, and is an original member of the U.S. Army's Munitions Assessment Review Board, which cannot lawfully meet unless an INL PINS scientist is present.

Wright has contributed and influenced the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy University Program, its Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) program and the Metals Working Group for the Generation IV International Forum on Very High Temperature Reactors, for which he chairs the management board. He has published 62 journal articles, 50 conference proceedings and nonreviewed articles, and holds seven patents.

A candidate for Laboratory Fellow is recommended by the employee’s manager to the Fellows Promotion Committee, which reviews promotion packages. Selection as an INL Laboratory Fellow equates to being named to an endowed chair at a major university, an elite member of a professional society or a member of a national academy.

The other nine INL Fellows are William Apel, James Delmore, J. Stephen Herring, Paul Meakin, Giuseppe Palmiotti, David Petti, Joy Rempe, Herschel Smartt and Terry Todd.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Idaho Falls P&Z board OKs specialty grocery store on 17th Street

Here's what a typical Natural Grocers store looks like. 

The Idaho Falls Planning and Zoning Commission has approved plans for a specialty grocery store on land south of 17th Street where Andrew Well Drilling used to be.

The developer, Leadership Circle, LLC, of Montrose, Colo., is seeking eventually to build a 15,000-square-foot grocery, a restaurant and a retail store on 4.42 acres, but the only definite plans at the moment are for the grocery. During the application process Leadership Circle has been reluctant to release its client's name, but research reveals the company has represented the 56-year-old Natural Grocers chain as it has expanded into Idaho and Montana in the past year.

Natural Grocers has stores in 12 states. In 2011 it opened stores in Boise and Missoula, and most recently it opened a store in Helena in December. "We really cater to specialty diets, gluten-free, non GMO (genetically modified organisms)," spokeswoman Nancy Flynn told the Journal World in Lawrence, Kan., where it opened a store in 2010. "We feel like we're the label-readers in the market."

Here is a link to its Web site:

The City Council will hear the matter at its Feb. 28 meeting. If it gives its approval, a plat will be submitted and work can start, said Brad Cramer, assistant city planner.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Idaho Falls declares snow alert; parking restrictions enacted

It's official: We have a winter.

The city of Idaho Falls declared a snow alert today, putting snow removal restrictions for Zones A and B in effect.

Here's the map (click to enlarge):


ZONE A -- Snow removal in Zone A on east-west streets will begin Tuesday at 8 a.m. Snow removal in Zone A on north-south streets will begin Wednesday at 8 a.m. On streets running north to south, parking restrictions will be in effect between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On east-west streets, parking restrictions will be in effect between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
ZONE B -- Snow removal in Zone B began today. Parking restrictions will be in effect on all streets between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Vehicles should be moved off the public streets as quickly as possible.

Other parking restrictions already in effect include:
NORTH-SOUTH STREETS – Parking restrictions will be in effect between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
EAST-WEST STREETS – Parking restrictions will be in effect between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
MAJOR STREETS – Parking restrictions are in effect (see map).
All city residents and businesses are encouraged to move vehicles off the streets as quickly as possible. Under the ordinance, any vehicles left on the streets in violation of the ordinance may be towed immediately and stored at the owner’s expense.

Downtown boutique features recycled jewelry, artwork, decor

Downtown Idaho Falls has a new store, Re'Eclectique, at 260 A Street, a boutique featuring items made from recycled materials. Owners Sherri Biorn and Monique Purcell make everything sold in the store, including artwork, furniture, jewelry and home decor. Their philosophy is to rescue and reinvent things from the disposable world.

From now through the end of February, they are having a weekly Facebook contest. Find their page on Facebook,!/pages/ReEclectique/225391854249595, like them and follow their giveways running up to a final big freebie on Feb. 28.

Hours for the store are Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (208) 881-5149.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Online education project hires two veteran Idaho journalists

Clark Corbin
Idaho Education News, an online news operation funded by a grant from the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation, has hired Post Register statehouse reporter Clark Corbin and Idaho Statesman editorial page editor Kevin Richert.

Jennifer Swindell, a former Statesman staffer, is the editor of, the newest venture for the Idaho Leads Project, which up to now has focused on finding and highlighting “best practices” at Idaho school districts.

Kevin Richert
The project, which is under BSU’s Center for School Improvement & Policy Studies, received an 18-month $3.85 million grant from the Albertson Foundation, according to its website. According to a press release, its goals are to “support and enhance the advancement of educational improvement and reform in Idaho, and second, to share, in an easily accessible manner, best practices to all interested districts, schools and charters.”

The Web site’s articles are free to all users and available for distribution on other platforms or Web sites so long as proper attribution is included.

Richert, who worked for the Post Register in the '80s and '90s, has a farewell blog post here at the Statesman's Web site.

As a footnote, I've played softball with Clark and whiffleball with Kevin. Both of them have mean arms. I wish them well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Work begins (at last) on D Street underpass

Cars and trucks lined up at the D Street underpass
Today is brought to you by the letter D.

Two words that begin with D are "decrepit" and "dangerous," both of which can be said of Idaho Falls' D Street underpass.

The subway under the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, part of the original layout of the depot that was demolished in 1964, has been deteriorating for as long as anyone can remember. Many a motorist can relate the dread they have felt waiting for the light on Yellowstone to change while a train rolled overhead.

The news today is that work to replace the structure with a wider, safer structure is finally underway, as evidenced by a crane and land grading.

City of Idaho Falls Spokesman Brad Huerta said part of the holdup has been due to the tracks being a main line for the railroad, which must adjust its schedule while any work is done. Then there is the pace at which the railroad works. A contract was awarded last year, with construction work scheduled to begin in the fall, but was delayed Union Pacific took its time signing the final agreement.

In the railroad's defense, it can't shut down the line for the months that the project is expected to take. A "shoefly" -- a contrivance for throwing the track temporarily to one side -- has to be built first.

The public can expect the underpass to be closed periodically as the work progresses. The cost of the project has been estimated at $5.5 million. It is expected to take a yer to complete.
The city's reconstruction plan

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Togo's Great Sandwiches expanding into Idaho, seeking franchisees

Togo's, a San Jose-based sandwich chain, has signed a franchise agreement to develop five restaurants in the Boise market over the next several years, and is also targeting cities such as Portland, Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City for future development.

This begs the question, given eastern Idaho's penchant for chain restaurants, are there any enterprising would-be franchisees who want to explore the possibilities for eastern Idaho? I do not know whether our area is on the company's radar screen, but in 2011, while it was celebrating 40 years in business, Togo's announced its goal to grow the brand to 400 restaurants by the close of 2015. To help fuel growth, Togo's offers new and existing franchisees access to $15 million in financing for qualified candidates to both build new restaurants and for transfers.

"As we head into 2013, we will see strong growth for Togo's in California, Idaho, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Oregon and Arizona,"said Tony Gioia , chairman and CEO of Togo's Holdings, LLC.

Here's a link to their Web page:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rigby-made vodka to be served at Obama inaugural reception

Republicans may be fleeing Washington, D.C., as President Obama's second inauguration approaches, but eastern Idaho will be there in spirit.

American Harvest Organic Spirit, a new brand of vodka distilled near Rigby, will be served as the only vodka at the Presidential Inaugural Candlelight Reception. The event, Monday night at the National Building Museum, will be for National Finance Committee members and their guests. It will be the only inaugural event that President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will all attend.

American Harvest is made for Sidney Frank Importing Co. by Silver Creek Distillers, a company that took over a closed-down ethanol plant in Jefferson County near the Snake River in 1988. Unlike Blue Ice and Teton Glacier, also made there, American Harvest is distilled from organic winter wheat, not potatoes.

The brand will be available nationwide in March.

Teton Volkswagen hosts I.F. Chamber for ribbon cutting

Teton Volkswagen owner Mario Hernandez shows an artist's rendering of the dealership that will be built next to Teton Toyota on Sunnyside Road. The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting at the dealership's temporary location on Outlet Boulevard. Hernandez said they will break ground at the permanent location as soon as the weather allows, adding that he is hopeful it will be finished by the end of the year.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Conference for social media, marketing, set for Jan. 30 in Boise

Sarah Kuntsal
The Women’s Business Center is hosting an all-day conference in Boise Jan. 30 on how to use social media in business.

The main presenter will be Sarah Kuntsal, manager of strategy and planning at, a unit of the Hearst Corp.

Dating back more than 100 years, Hearst Corp. is one of the oldest and largest diversified media companies in the nation, owning magazines, newspapers, publishing, cable networks, television and radio broadcasting, and Internet businesses.

The conference will cover all aspects of social media, including blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest and YouTube. The idea is to make social media work by building effective referral relationships, creating compelling messages and offering content that will drive customers to your business.

The event will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Boise Centre on the Grove. Cost is $75, and includes continental breakfast and lunch. To register in advance, visit this link:

The Women's Business Center is a program of Mountain States Group, Inc. a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chamber After Hours today at Stevens-Henager College (Snake River Landing)

Stevens-Henager College's branch location at Snake River Landing
The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce will be holding its first Business After Hours of 2013 today from 5 to 7 p.m. at Stevens-Henager College in Snake River Landing.

If you come, you may win one of $150 in gift cards being offered, to Stockmans Restaurant, Love At First Bite and Bella Vita Coffeehouse, all of them Snake River Landing tenants.

The Idaho Falls campus opened last May, but Stevens-Henager dates all the way back to 1891, when it was founded in Ogden, Utah, as Intermountain Business College. Its founder was James Ayers Smith, an educator from Nebraska who wanted to teach commercial subjects and place graduates in business positions. It changed owners and names several times, becoming Smithsonian Business School in 1910; Moench University of Business in 1938; and Ogden Business College in 1940. It became Stevens-Henager in 1959 and established its first branch campus in Provo in 1978. In addition to Provo and Idaho Falls, it now has branch campuses in Murray and Logan, Utah, and Boise.

Mattress Firm to build at old T.G.I.Friday's location in Ammon

The picture from Mattress Firm's Web site,
Mattress Firm, a Houston-based chain with more than 1,100 stores in 28 states, has begun preparing a site in Ammon, at the old T.G.I.Friday's on Hitt Road.

Although a contractor has not been hired, Gay Leming of the Ammon Building Department confirmed the company has applied for a building permit. Obviously there is going to be a dramatic change at the location, which has been vacant for more than a year. A big tip-off that something was finally happening was the presence Tuesday of a dumpster in the parking lot.

I know this is a bit of a snooze (ha, ha!) to those of you who were hoping for something more exciting, like a Red Lobster.

The largest bedding retailer in the nation, Mattress Firm began with a single store in July 4, 1986. It carries such brands as Sealy, Stearns & Foster, Tempur-Pedic, Simmons and Serta. The store in Ammon will be its first in Idaho.

More information can be found at its Web site, www.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Seinfeld, Kenny Rogers Roasters and a reader's request

Jerry and Kramer in "The Chicken Roaster" (Season 8, Episode 8)
I got a request Monday from Ben Rippel for the old Kenny Rogers Roasters corn muffin recipe that I once posted in Shoptalk. "I went digging after seeing the notorious 'Seinfeld' tonight," Ben tweeted.

It's been nearly 10 years (and at least one face lift for Kenny) since the Roasters on 17th Street closed and was remodeled into a KFC. Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, I was able to Google the recipe in a flash. If I wasn't trying to lose weight, I'd make a batch right now.

Before I share it, however, here's a bonus, a YouTube link to the actual "Seinfeld" episode. If you've got some time to waste (and you wouldn't be here if you didn't), you can watch it right now. It's even subtitled in Spanish.


3/4 cup Yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 cup yellow corn; frozen
1 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Honey
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cream together butter, sugar, honey, eggs and salt in a large bowl.
3. Add flour, cornmeal and baking powder and blend thoroughly. Add milk while mixing.
4. Add corn to mixture and combine by hand until corn is worked in.
5. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan and fill each cup with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins begin to turn brown on top.

Makes 12 muffins

Straube promoted to EIRMC physician support IT position

Myles Straube of Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center has been promoted to the position of physician support coordinator for information technology and services.

Straube previously worked in computer technology at EIRMC. He replaces Lenette Maxwell, who has accepted an information technology position with the Hospital Corporation of America's Mountain Division. Nashville-based HCA is EIRMC's owner.

Straube has a degree in information technology and 20 years' clinical experience as a Navy corpsman, Army medic, EMT and private office medical assistant, a hospital news release said.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I.F. Advertising Federation guest speaker to talk about listening skills

Brent Bean of BYU-Idaho
The Idaho Falls Advertising Federation will have its Lunch & Learn this Thursday at Billman's Steakhouse, on 17th Street in Ammon.

The guest speaker will be Brent Bean of BYU-Idaho, who will be talking about developing better listening skills in business and personal matters. Better, more attentive listening, can save time on revisions, reprimands, re-dos and can spare relationships a lot of unnecessary pain.

Sign-in starts at 11:45 a.m., 15 minutes earlier than usual, to give Bean time to arrive from his last class of the morning. Billman’s has a large (and warm) meeting room, so there will be plenty of chairs for all. For lunch: Soup, salad, and build-your-own-sandwich bar with chips, a cookie and lemonade.

RSVP and pre-pay  at a discount online at:
Or, reply to or Lisa Fischbach before Wednesday 5 p.m., and pay at the door. Cost is $15 for members, $18 for non-members at the door.

Teton VW to hold ribbon cutting at noon Friday

Teton Volkswagen, south of Idaho Falls
There will be a ribbon cutting at noon Friday at Teton Volkswagen, 3084 Outlet Boulevard, on the west side of Interestate 15 Exit 116 and next door to Queenie Linderman's One16 Sports Bar and Grill.

Light refreshments will be served, and there will be a drawing for a VW Mountain Bike.

Teton Volkswagen is owned by the same company as Teton Toyota. The Outlet Boulevard location is temporary, as the plan is to build a new dealership this year on the east side of the Interstate, next to Teton Toyota.

All this comes at a time when Toyota has retaken the top spot as the world's best-selling auto company, passing General Motors. According to a story on NPR this morning, Volkswagen came in at No. 3. To hear the story, follow this link:

Here is the link to Teton Volkswagen's Web page: I notice Buddy, Teton Toyota's mascot, is on the Teton VW masthead. I was going to volunteer my dachshund, Schatzi, but it's probably all for the best. She's not comfortable with strangers and even more nervous around children.

Riverbend Communications acquires Harvest Fest, Home and Garden Extravaganza

Riverbend Communications has taken over management of two of eastern Idaho’s largest community events, Harvest Fest and the Home and Garden Extravaganza.

Harvest Fest was purchased from Blue Fox Events and The Home and Garden Extravaganza from 78 Productions.

This year's Harvest Fest, the eighth in as many years, is set for Sept. 14 at Snake River Landing.  The 5th Annual Home and Garden Extravaganza will be held March 15 and 16 at the Kingston Plaza on West Broadway.

The shows join a growing list of events put on by Riverbend Productions, a division of Riverbend Communications, a company owned by Frank and Belinda VanderSloot. Other Riverbend events include the East Idaho Kids Fair in the spring, East Idaho’s Biggest Garage Sale in June, the What Today’s Women Want Expo in October, and The All I Want for Christmas Expo in December.

“Our goal continues to be to provide quality entertainment for the east Idaho community and results for those clients who participate in the events,” said Jay Dye, the company's director of special projects. 

For more details on all the Riverbend events, call (208) 535-8331.

Riverbend Communications companies include, Classy 97, Z103, 105-5 The Hawk, KBEAR 101, NewsTalk 690/1260, Riverbend Digital, Riverbend Outdoor, and Riverbend Productions.

Monday, January 14, 2013

In defense of newspapers and print

Your daily newspaper can never be a niche product, but nobody responds well to an "eat-your-broccoli-it's-good-for-you" kind of pitch.

Considering what I'm doing now it might seem funny that I'm defending newspapers, but I spent 30 years in the business and I care about their survival for a number of reasons. I don't have any solutions, just a few observations.

It's no secret the business is in trouble. Recently, 60 Minutes had a story about the New Orleans Times-Picayune, one of the nation's oldest papers, cutting back publication. The community was outraged and upset. There was talk about a community-based rescue. Strategies for moving content online were mentioned (of course). But no one saw things going back to where they were.

In the last few days, there have been stories about The New York Times slashing salaries, offering early retirement packages, possibly laying off staff. When The New York Times is cutting back, it's not just the canary in the coal mine anymore.

What is happening? The answer is simple: for a lot of newspapers, especially big city metros, readership and advertising revenue are going down fast. Local papers have not been spared the pinch either.

A question for all you middle-aged and older newspaper readers. Do any of your kids take the paper? If they don't, where do they get their news? I'm willing to guess a lot of them get it from their smart phones or tablets. Question No. 2: How well-informed are they?

I don't write for a newspaper anymore, I have this blog, which is the online resurrection of a weekly column I wrote for the Post Register for 12 or 13 years, and it's doing moderately well.

My column was popular because it was made up of brief items rendered in a conversational tone. I did plenty of longer stories, but that column seems to be what people remember most.

I started the blog because I missed the connection with the community my writing gave me, and to make a little money (it's not a big bucks proposition.) As much as I enjoy getting a scoop, I don't regard myself as serious competition to the paper. Perhaps they feel undermined by me. I can't say I blame them. Newspapers are in a special bind.

On one hand it's a business, and we all know businesses have to make a profit. When your costs are going up and your revenues are going down, it's a tough proposition. In a very short time, Craigslist kicked the pins out from under newspapers' classified business. In a lot of ways Craigslist is a garbage dump, but it has its uses and most importantly it's free. How do you compete with free?

Cliched as it sounds, freedom isn't free and neither is a free press. Newspapers, and the watchdog journalism they consistently provide, are essential to a functioning democracy. Our Declaration of Independence says governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. But if the governed are underinformed or misinformed, what is their consent really worth, and how susceptible are they to manipulation?

I don't think widespread public ignorance is exclusive to the Internet age. Not as many Idahoans can name their congressional representatives as can name all the members of the Kardashian family, but I suspect 50 years ago people were more preoccupied with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton than they were with House Speaker Sam Rayburn.

With regard to news online, there are some good national sources. There are lots of local online sources as well, but for the most part it's still the newspaper that breaks the big news.

People always say they want more "good news." I confess I wrote a lot of feature stories when I was at the paper because I'm at heart a people pleaser. It made me a bit of a freak. By and large, journalism is a profession filled with people who enjoy talking to each other more than they enjoy talking to you. Their self-importance can be off-putting.

I was never all that keen on the "truth to power" stuff, and was kind of a wreck anytime I knew was likely to upset people. Most of my colleagues were tougher in that respect, or at least they seemed that way. Nevertheless, I think I added something, because I believe a newspaper ought to reflect the community it serves, the good and the bad.

A few years ago, Idaho Falls had a weekly that specialized in warm, fuzzy stories. It competed with the daily paper for adversing dollars. The daily had an arm tied behind its back. The weekly didn't have to cover car wrecks, homicides, sex offenders, abuses of power, etc. Nor for that matter do Idaho Falls Magazine or BizMojo Idaho. But if the editors at the Post Register were to decide to ignore stuff like that in favor of feel-good stories, the paper's credibility would be nil.

Newspapers perform a necessary and often thankless function. On top of that they are expected to make money, not just to pay for their production but ideally to pay the people who produce the content that makes them essential.

Can anyone convince an increasingly distracted population they are necessary to its well being? Even if you are essential, how do you close the sale? I don't think it's going an easy challenge to meet, but for society's sake I'm hoping newspapers can.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Super Fly Fitness studio opening Tuesday at Snake River Landing

AntiGravity yoga will be one of the offerings at Super Fly Fitness, a new studio opening Tuesday at 901 Pier View Drive, in Snake River Landing.
Studio owner Alex Chapman
A new exercise studio, Super Fly Fitness, will be opening Tuesday at Snake River Landing, offering free demo classes and opportunities to enroll.

Owner Alexandra Chapman said she plans to offer fitness classes that have never before been offered in eastern Idaho with a pay-as-you-play philosophy. Studio specialty fitness is an emerging market for clients that prefer the smaller gym experience and the ability to pay for only the classes they take. "I don't hold my customers to contracts, but would prefer to have clients pay as they go, only paying for what they use. I want people to come and discover something new they are going to love doing," she said.

Chapman's experience as a trainer dates back to 1998, when she certified with NETA to obtain her National Group Exercise Certification and began teaching at University of Idaho in Moscow. She has taught at several gyms in the Idaho Falls area, gaining additional certifications to broaden her skills. She said it was after she was hired by Eastern Idaho Technical College to start a Zumba program that she decided she wanted her own studio.

Snake River Landing, a master-planned development south of Pancheri Drive on the west bank of the river, immediately appealed to her.
"My studio may be 1,,550 square feet, but what makes my Super Fly surroundings so unique is the property which surrounds it, including miles of pathways for outdoor fitness activities," she said.

Super Fly Fitness will offer AntiGravity Yoga, a form of fitness in which participants use a silk hammock that attached to the ceiling to suspend their bodies and do zero compression inversions. Chapman has coupled AntiGravity with TRX, as the systems seemed to work well together and she enjoyed using the TRX system in personal training sessions.

Other classes include Kettle Bells, H.I.I.T. and Zumba. The complete class schedule and any new classes added may be viewed at along with more information about enrollment, the trainers and staff.

Free mini-classes will be offered next week from Tuesday through Friday. The official grand opening and ribbon cutting will be Jan. 31 at 4 p.m., with an open house until 7 p.m.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rexburg Motor Sports named Idaho's top dealer

The showroom at Rexburg Motor Sports (Photo by Matt Allred for
Rexburg Motor Sports has been named Idaho's top dealer in Dealernews' 22nd Annual Top 100 Awards, the motorcycle and powersports industry's largest, longest running and most prestigious retail competition.

The 2013 Top 100 Awards competition is presented by American Express OPEN and Helmet House.
Thirty-six states and one Canadian province are represented in this year's Top 100. States with the highest number of winning dealerships are Missouri (8), Ohio (8), California (6), Texas (6), North Carolina (5), Pennsylvania (5) and Wisconsin (5).

The powersports industry will honor the winners at an awards gala Feb. 15 in Indianapolis, in conjunction with the 2013 Dealernews International Powersports Dealer Expo. The ceremony also will reveal the 2013 Dealer of the Year, Special Merit Award winners and the recipient of the Don J. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award.  In addition, the Vehicle Brand of the Year will be awarded to the vehicle manufacturer with the highest number of Top 100 franchised dealerships in the Class of 2013.

The dealers also will be showcased in a three-day gallery exhibit Feb. 15-17 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

For a feature story about Rexburg Motor Sports, visit this link:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Idaho Falls posts $83.5 million in building permits for 2012, surpassing even 2007

Click to enlarge the chart
Construction in Idaho Falls came roaring back in 2012, thanks in large part to new schools being built and a new research building for the Idaho National Laboratory.

The city Building Department recorded $83.5 million in permits, a number bigger than even the pre-crash year of 2007, when $51.4 million in new permits were issued. Of the 2012 total, $58.2 million -- nearly 70 percent -- was commercial construction.

Preliminary data for November from the Idaho Department of Labor showed the jobless rate in the Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area at 5.7 percent, 1.1 percentage points below the state number, 6.8 percent.

Here's what happened in 2012. In March, voters in Idaho Falls School District approved $53 million in bonds to replace four outdated elementary schools, plus remodeling at several of the district's other schools. It was the third time the district had appealed to patrons for money to replace aged facilities -- Dora Erickson, Ethel Boyes, Longfellow and Edgemont. The super-majority restriction -- under which at least two-thirds of the district's voters needed to vote yes for the bonds to pass -- had been a barrier twice, but this time the yes votes amounted to 78 percent.

"I think the patrons and parents had a much better sense of what the need was," said Margaret Wimborne, spokeswoman for the school district.

Bids were awarded for the Dora Erickson and Ethel Boyes projects in August. Bids for the other two projects are expected this year, with work continuing into 2014. The same two-story floor plan is being used for all four schools, to save on design and construction costs.

For the construction firm of Bateman-Hall, which is managing the work for the district, the projects couldn't have come at a better time. "We're thrilled the school district was able to pass their bond," project manager Jason Ginn said in May.

The INL began construction in March on a new $50 million Research and Education facility, a three-story building with dozens of offices and laboratories for conducting experiments and performing energy security research. Expected to open this year, it will also include space for conducting laboratory conferences, employee meetings and community outreach activities.

Other high points of the construction year in Idaho Falls included the completion of the Marriott Residence Inn on Broadway, and the start of a $3 million remodel of the Idaho Falls Surgical Center and Idaho Falls Recovery Center into Idaho Falls Oncology, a cancer treatment center.

As for for 2013, in addition to the two new schools in District 91, Teton Volkswagen anticipates opening its new dealership on Sunnyside Road in November. In Bonneville County, Georgia-based Cives Steel has the go-ahead from local officials for a fabrication plant near Ucon. And as soon as the weather permits, Melaleuca will be moving in earnest on its $50 million, 371,000-square-foot corporate headquarters near Interstate 15 Exit 113.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mockli's Music Shop and School merges with Piano Gallery

Dillon Mockli
If you've driven down South Boulevard since Christmas you may have noticed that Mockli's Music Shop and School is now empty.

Owner Dillon Mockli has moved and merged with the Piano Gallery Music Superstore, at 2995 E. 17th Street.

He said Piano Gallery owner Doug Brown approached him a few years ago about a partnership. Music classes were part of Brown's plan in 2010 when he remodeled the old Rex Store, adding six studios and a recital hall. At that time, Mockli said he was still building his business, but in late 2012 the idea of a merger became more appealing.

The expanded class schedule at Piano Gallery has prompted the Piano Gallery to add two new classrooms, one for guitar and another in the back for drum lessons (the latter of which the store hasn't offered until now.) Lessons are being offered in guitar, piano, violin, drums and voice. Mockli said he is looking for a cello teacher.

For more information, call 524-4420.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Manufacturers directory ranks I.F. 3rd in state in industrial jobs, up 3 percent in 2012

Idaho Falls ranked third in the state for manufacturing between October 2011 and 2012, according to this year's Idaho Manufacturers Directory, published annually by Manufacturers' News, Inc. of Evanston, Ill. During that time, industrial employment in the area increased 3 percent, twice the rate of the entire state.

Boise remained the state's top city for manufacturing employment, with 21,939 jobs, up 1.4 percent over the year. Nampa ranked second with 5,890 jobs, up 2.4 percent. Industrial employment in Lewiston decreased 8.4 percent over the year with the fourth-ranked city accounting for 2,916 jobs, while Pocatello, home to 2,827, was up 4.8 percent.

MNI reported that Idaho gained 1,096 manufacturing jobs, the first gain the company has recorded for the state since 2006. Idaho is now home to 2,152 manufacturers employing 73,920 workers. Southwest Idaho accounted for the largest share of the state's manufacturing employment with 41,547 manufacturing jobs, up 1.9 percent. Southeast Idaho ranked second at 17,972, up 1.7 percent. Northern Idaho was home to 14,401 industrial jobs, with no significant change reported over the year.

Bright spots included the opening of Chobani's $450 million yogurt-manufacturing plant in Twin Falls; Cives Steel Company's plans to open a steel fabrication factory near Idaho Falls; and the opening of a Southwark metal ductwork plant in Caldwell. Losses for the state included layoffs at Lewiston's Clearwater Paper lumber mill after it was purchased by Idaho Forest Group.

MNI reported industrial machinery and equipment remained Idaho's largest industrial sector with 15,331 jobs, down 1.7 percent over the year. Food products manufacturing ranked second and accounted for 14,883 jobs, down 3.3 percent. Third-ranked lumber/wood represented 8,808 of the state's jobs, up 2.4 percent over twelve months.

Most other industrial sectors gained jobs over the year including:
  • Textiles/apparel, up 5.5 percent
  • Primary metals, up 5 percent
  • Fabricated metals, up 4.7 percent
  • Paper products, up 4.3 percent
  • Instruments/related products, up 3.2 percent
  • Furniture/fixtures, up 3 percent
  • Chemicals, up 2.9 percent
  • Transportation equipment, up 1.7 percent
  • Stone/clay/glass, up 1.1 percent.
Losses were seen in printing/publishing, down 5.4 percent; and electronics, down 1.3 percent.

Detailed profiles of Idaho's 2,152 manufacturers and 390 distributors can be found in the 2013 Idaho Manufacturers Directory, available in print for $89, or available online through MNI's subscription-based service at

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

BizMojo Idaho Focus: Author Rob Morris

Rob Morris: Teacher/Author
Now that BizMojo Idaho is an affiliate, here's an interesting question: How many of our social media friends have things for sale on Amazon?

I have to be up front about this. If you buy something on Amazon using a link from, I receive a commission. Ergo, it is in my interest to post as many links as I can.

With regard to people I know on Amazon, the first person I thought of was Rob Morris, a teacher in Idaho Falls School District 91 and the author of two books about U.S. bomber crews in World War II. I interviewed Rob for the Post Register when he published his first book, Untold Valor: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crews over Europe in World War II. His second, The Wild Blue Yonder and Beyond: The 95th Bomb Group in War and Peace, was published last July. He is busy at work on another.

Getting to know Rob since our first encounter has been a real pleasure. Not only do we share a passion for World War II history (and history in general), we also have compatible tastes in music (Beatles, Stones, Who) and a fond feeling for the windier parts of Wyoming.

So, if you have an Amazon gift card from Christmas that you haven't used, maybe you want to get one of Rob's books. If WWII history isn't your thing, I still invite you to check out these links and find out what people have to say about his work.

Untold Valor:
The Wild Blue Yonder and Beyond:

This is only the beginning, by the way. I am going through all my Facebook friends (hundreds of people) to search their names on Amazon and see if they have anything to feature on this blog. I have no idea what to expect, but I'm hoping to find some interesting stories about people in my own social media corner of the world.

Reflecting on '12, looking ahead to the new year

I hope everybody is ready for a fulfilling and profitable new year. As BizMojo Idaho has finished its first full calendar cycle, I thought it might be a good time to look at the numbers and reflect on where this all might be going. There have been a lot of highs and lows and lessons learned.

Here's a snapshot from our Google Analytics page, with some numbers and statistics that still mystify me.

Click on graphic to view larger size
All I can say in the end is that 15,393 people is more than the population of Blackfoot (Note: I have nothing against Blackfoot. There are lots of things I love about Blackfoot and I'd be glad to tell you what they are if you want me to post them.)

Marissa Bodnar
In terms of eyeballs, the biggest bump I got all year was in mid-August when I was interviewed as an "expert" by Marissa Bodnar of Local News 8. It was a revelation the way the line graph shot up after that segment aired on the 10 p.m. news. I hardly had time to thank Marissa before she moved to take a job in Portland, Maine, so I'd like to now.

One question I get asked a lot (usually by my mother) is "Are you making any money doing this?" I would like to call your attention to the advertisers on the page, especially Snake River Landing, who has been with us the whole year. I hope to monetize the site more. You might notice the link on the page. Just yesterday I began looking into affiliate marketing after reading a column in the New York Times by David Carr. The story is not about affiliate fees, but about Brian Lam, who found great success on the Web, burned out, left and then came back on his own terms. Worth a read:

Content is always going to be the heart of any blog, but I am convinced that in the age of social media the conversation that goes on between the storyteller and the listener is the most important aspect. I sort of knew this when I was writing my weekly column for the newspaper (BizMojo Idaho is basically its online reanimation). People sometimes told me, "When I read your column I feel like you're talking to me," which I considered the highest praise I could receive.

So stay tuned, folks. I predict something will happen this year with the old T.G.I.Friday's on Hitt Road, which now has been vacant for more than a year. Don't ask me to make any predictions about Costco, though.