Monday, May 30, 2016

Black Bear Diner coming to old Rusio's space

The Black Bear Diner in Chubbuck, which opened earlier this year.
Black Bear Diner, a Redding, Calif.-based chain, will be moving into 1610 E. 17th Street, in the Hall Park Shopping Center, according to Shane Murphy of Venture One Properties.

There is no firm date for an opening, as there will be remodeling involved. The space was occupied by Rusio’s, which closed in 2015.

The first Black Bear Diner dates back to 1994 in Mount Shasta, Calif., founded by Bob and Laurie Manley with help from Bruce Dean.  The franchise has grown to 76 locations in eight western states, including two in Idaho, in Boise and Chubbuck. Black Bear Diner was recognized in 2015 by Franchise Times as one of the smartest growing brands.

Black Bear features a rustic motif with "over-the-top bear paraphernalia". Every restaurant is decorated with a 12-foot-tall black bear carving by artist Ray Schulz. Additional murals and artwork are created for each restaurant by Steve and Gary Fitzgerald and Colleen Mitchell-Veyna.

The menu format mimics an old newspaper titled, “The Black Bear Gazette,” with articles on the front page. It offers family meals such as breakfast, burgers, salads, and shakes. Pies, bread and cobblers are prepared on site.

For a full menu and additional information, visit blackbeardiner.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Discount Tire coming to Ammon

I’ve been getting asked a lot about what’s happening on the northeast corner of Hitt Road and 17th Street, where Soapy’s car wash used to be. Checking in with Gay Leming at the Ammon Building Department, here’s the scoop.

Discount Tire will be building on the site. The buildings where Big Dog and Billman’s were are going to be town down, and Big Dog will be be moving onto the old Billman’s lot.

I suppose you were all hoping for something a lot more exciting, but that’s it right now. Looks like a Vietnamese restaurant is going in where Togo’s used to be, and Aspen Dental is opening next door to Panera Bread. We will be reporting on it all as details emerge.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Idaho Falls council hears Internet expansion options

The city of Idaho Falls is inviting the public to get involved in a conversation this fall about high-speed Internet service to homes.

At a work session Monday afternoon, Mayor Rebecca Casper and the City Council heard about a study done by Finley Engineering Co. and CCG Consulting.

Using Idaho Falls Power’s rights of way, the city began laying a fiber ring in the early 2000’s in order to improve communication between its power plants, offices and recreational facilities. The second advantage was the economic incentive of being able to offer “dark fiber” to business customers.

“Recognizing that home broadband use is experiencing exponential growth – doubling every three years – it was appropriate for us to identify the types of options that exist for promoting high speed broadband connectivity to homes as we contemplate the future of our existing network,” says Idaho Falls Power General Manager Jackie Flowers.

Idaho Falls Power issued a request for qualifications in 2015 to evaluate expansion options for the city’s existing dark fiber network and to identify potential alternatives associated with expanding high speed broadband connectivity to the home. With a winning bid of $56,904, Finley Engineering was hired in August to study the city’s Internet business model and present alternatives.

The feasibility study outlined Monday afternoon at a work session not only looked at the cost of building fiber everywhere in the city. It evaluated the cost of electronics and other assets needed to build and operate a fiber network and what level of penetration rate would be needed to make each option economically viable.

Here are the options:

  • Idaho Falls operating as an Internet service provider based on various public finance options. 29 percent penetration rate required.
  • Idaho Falls partnering with either an existing or new Internet service provider. 40 percent penetration rate required, and privately financed network expansion.
  • Public-private partnership with either an existing or new Internet service provider. 40 percent penetration rate required, and a combination of publicly and privately financed network expansion.
  • Internet service provider “cherry picking” areas of town most likely able to afford connectivity (also known as the “Google model”). 35 percent penetration rate required, and a privately financed network expansion.
  • Open access network, building off the existing business model where end use customer chooses from multiple providers. Publicly financed network expansion with no break even potential.

A series of public information sessions are planned this fall to present the detailed findings of the consultant’s report.

“If, after reviewing the report, the citizens of Idaho Falls want us to move forward, we will consider next steps. We are excited to engage the public in this conversation,” Flowers said.

NanoSteel receives Platts Global Metals Breakthrough Solution of the Year award

NanoSteel Vice-President Bob Marini accepting the Platts Global Metals Breakthrough Solution of the Year Award in London last Thursday night.
NanoSteel, an Idaho National Laboratory spinoff that still has its research and development in eastern Idaho, received major recognition in London Thursday night when it and its partner, AK Steel Corp., received the Platts Global Metals “Breakthrough Solution of the Year” Award.

The award came in recognition of NanoSteel’s advanced high strength steel, which brings the combination of both high strength and high formability to automotive lightweighting.

In April, the companies announced delivery of their product to General Motors for initial testing. The automaker’s venture arm, GM Ventures, bought equity in NanoSteel in 2012.

AHHS is viewed as a breakthrough in the drive to meet rising global fuel-economy regulations. Production of the material, targeted to the $100 billion-plus automotive steel market, is the result of a multi-year joint development program between NanoSteel and AK Steel.

“We believe this product brings optimal properties to automotive engineers for reducing structural weight without compromising safety and ride-quality requirements,” said NanoSteel president and CEO David Paratore. While significantly lighter, AHHS can be manufactured and fabricated like regular steel, making it more cost-effective than alternative metals and easier to integrate into a supply chain that has produced steel automotive components for more than 100 years.

Although its corporate headquarters are in Providence, R.I., NanoSteel’s research and development is still in Idaho Falls. The company came out of INL in 2002 when Dr. Dan Branagan, now NanoSteel’s chief technical officer, decided he had something that could change the world.

Since 2002, NanoSteel has developed metallic coatings, additive manufacturing powders, and sheet steel protected by over 300 patents. The company is privately held and funded by lead shareholders EnerTech, Fairhaven Capital, and GM Ventures.

The market for advanced high-strength steel is expected to reach $55 billion in 2020 and $77 billion in 2025, according to an article earlier this month in American Metal Market.

For more information, visit www.nanosteelco.com or follow them on Twitter, @NanoSteelCo.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I.F. City Council to hear ideas for fiber-optic network expansion

The Idaho Falls City Council will be having a work session Monday afternoon to review ideas for the city’s fiber-optic network, including expanding it directly to homes.

In 2015, Idaho Falls Power solicited proposals from consultants for refreshing the business model of the city’s fiber optic network, which was first started in 2002.
and contemplate options for

A consulting team will be presenting expansion options at the work session, scheduled for 2 p.m. in the City Council chambers. The public is invited to attend or watch the meeting via the city’s live video internet stream.

The feasibility study, conducted by Finley Engineering and CCG Consulting, has not only looked at the cost of building fiber everywhere in the city, but also evaluated the cost of expanding the city’s fiber network.

A variety of scenarios have been studied, ranging from the city becoming an actual ISP (Internet Service Provider) to ways commercial providers might perform the service on a city network, to an open access network in which multiple ISPs provide services.

“Idaho Falls city officials believe that high speed broadband connectivity is a necessary 21st Century infrastructure offering,” Mayor Rebecca Casper said in a press release issued today. “The results of this study will poise the city to consider next steps for its already successful fiber network.”

Idaho Falls first started building its fiber optic network in 2002 to enable business connectivity and to provide better communication between city offices, power plants and facilities.

“Since that time, our network has been embraced by service providers and the business community,” said Jackie Flowers, Idaho Falls Power General Manager. The network has not only improved operational efficiencies for the city and its utilities, but it has also brought economic development and competitive internet service rates, and helped maintain city rights-of-way.

Today, nearly 400 business locations are connected to the Idaho Falls fiber network, with service being provided by seven private ISPs. “Many of our end-use customers are unaware that they are connected to the Idaho Falls network because we are the backbone that the service providers use to serve their customers,” Flower said.

The current fiber network enables voice, video and data service including access to high speed bandwidth internet (speeds in excess of 1 gigabit) and voice over internet protocol. The network also promotes video on demand and digital high-definition programming.

Fiber Fest starts Friday at Eastern Idaho Technical College

Are you a knitter looking for a new gift project to make? How about this one! Class available at the 2016 Snake River Fiber Fest. For registration and more information, see www.srfiberartists.org.
The 22nd Annual Snake River Fiber Fest starts Friday and runs through Sunday at Eastern Idaho Technical College, in the Alexander Creek Building.

Friday is classes only, while Saturday and Sunday there will be vendors offering supplies for spinners, weavers, rug hookers and other fiber artists.   Finished items and gift items will also be available.

Registration for classes and additional information can be found on the Guild’s website, www.srfiberartists.org.

If you need a spinning wheel or loom, they are available in limited quantity from the Weaving, Spinning & Fiber Arts Guild of Idaho Falls. Call Kate Wolski, (208) 521-5343.

There will be a fashion show and spin-in Saturday night. Events begin at 6 p.m. with a potato bar and salad supper (drink included) for $10 in the Hope Lutheran Church School gymnasium, 2071 12th Street. A dairy-free, meat-free option will also be available. Sign up and pay on the registration form if you want supper or just come on over for the fashion show and the spin-in.

The spin-in is set to begin around 8 p.m., with music by the Old Time Fiddlers. Dessert will be available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

For more information, visit online at www.srfiberartists.org/2016_snake_river_fiber_fest.

Members of the guild are fiber artists who specialize in spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting & tatting. Members have all levels of experience, and are dedicated to teaching, learning and building skill in the fiber arts. Classes are often taught by well-known artists and authors who teach spinning, weaving, knitting, rug hooking, felting, beading and dyeing yarns and fibers.

The guild rents a studio in Idaho Falls in the historic Idaho Professional Building, 482 Constitution Way, Suite B-11. Access is through the front entrance and parking is available in the adjacent lot near the side entrance.

Java Espress holding grand opening Friday for new store

Java Espress' new store at 2139 E. 17th Street has been open since Tuesday, but the grand opening is set for Friday morning.
Java Espress will be having a grand opening Friday at its new shop at 2139 E. 17th Street, in the parking lot in front of Big Lots!

There will be a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m., and the store will be offering a buy-one-get-another-for-free deal on flavored sodas.

Owned by Shane Murphy, Java Espress has been around since 1993. Since then, it has expanded to several stores, all the way to Twin Falls and most recently in Pocatello this past February.

Hours are 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, visit www.javaespress.com or visit the its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/JavaEspress.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Short Stop 2 opens in Coltman

Huds, built in 1938, is now Short Stop 2.
Short Stop 2, also known as Hud’s Food Store, will have a grand reopening Saturday, May 21, at 3 p.m.

Located at 12492 N. 5th East, the store can be found by driving straight out Lewisville Highway, past the city of Idaho Falls’ Sage Lakes Golf Course.

This is the second store for Jason and Jennifer Anderson, who bought the Short Stop Market in Highland Park in 2013. Jason Anderson said he became aware last fall that Hud’s was for sale. They closed on the property in December.

The store, officially located in Coltman, was built in 1938. It had been closed for 2 1/2 years before the Andersons bought it.

“We considered it a good value,” he said. “It’s in a location I think is really underserved, and that’s what you look for with a business like this.”

Going by USGS data, he learned there are about 1,400 households within a three-mile radius.

Anderson said he plans to operate as a hybrid. “About 40 percent of what we carry is what you’d find in a grocery store and about 60 is more convenience store,” he said. The inventory mirrors the Highland Park store, which will still be the base of operations for Short Stop’s delivery service.

The grand opening will feature food, games, trivia and prizes. “We want to meet the community and give them a look at what we have to offer,” Anderson said.

For more information, visit www.shortstopmkt.com or the Facebook page, Short Stop 2, or call (208) 970-4240.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Business Basics workshop set

The Small Business Administration’s Boise office will be at the Small Business Development Center in Idaho Falls Wednesday to conduct a free Business Basics workshop.

Topics to be covered include self evaluation, resources, choosing the right legal structure, building a business plan, preparing for a lender and marketing.

Co-sponsors include SBDC and SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives).

The workshop will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The center is located at 2300 N. Yellowstone Highway. For more information, call (208) 523-1087 or visit http://idahosbdc.org/regional-training/.

To register online, email wilsfros@isu.edu.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Teton Volkswagen receives Gold Pin award

Teton VW execs Mario and Dave Hernandez receive the Gold Pin award
Teton Volkswagen of Idaho Falls has received the Volkswagen’s Gold Pin Award, one of three dealers to receive it in an area that covers Texas and the Rocky Mountains. The award, one of only 10 awarded world-wide this year, recognizes Volkswagen dealerships for sales and service not only to customers but to the community.

This isn’t an award dealers nominate each other for, said Darren Bush, VW’s regional officer from from Dallas, who came to Idaho Falls Tuesday to bestow the honor upon Mario and Dave Hernandez, who started Teton VW in December 2012. District directors send nominees to Volkswagen of America in Herndon, Va., where the first cut takes place. Winners from there get sent on to Wolfsburg, Germany, where the leadership decides. Nominations are unknown to the dealer until the dealer is approved as a recipient.

The certificate that comes down is in German and contains the word “ausgezeichnet,” which four years of high school German allows me to recognize as meaning “excellent.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Shaddow Domain moves to Broadway address

The parking lot door at Shaddow Domain's new address.
Julie Oliver has moved her store, Shaddow Domain, to 341 W. Broadway, where Dave’s Bike Shop was before it shifted west into the old Catmull’s furniture store.

The business is not new to Idaho Falls. Oliver had been at 175 South Eastern Avenue for 14 years, selling “curious things to curious people.”recognizes some people are never going to visit her store, Shaddow Domain, 175 S. Eastern Avenue.

“We moved so we could have a larger space and be more involved in the downtown area,” she said.

Oliver recognizes that her store is not for everyone. A person who is freaked out by pentagrams, Wiccan accoutrements or books about the occult — and there are a few — are not her target audience.

Nevertheless, she's keen to stress she’s not a devil worshiper, just a small retailer and good neighbor. She would like to encourage anyone with an open mind to stop by for a visit. "We're not scary," she said. "The hardest thing is to get people in the front door. It's just a fun place."

The store stocks hard-to-find items including Cards Against Humanity, Wicked Jester Tees, Ben Ny Theatrical Makeup and Living Dead Dolls. It also carries a wide variety of incense, candles, figurines and novelties.

The move back to Broadway will be a near-homecoming of sorts. Before starting the store, Oliver worked for 20 years at Chesbro Music, on the second floor, where all the sheet music is kept. Working at Shaddow Domain gave her more face time with the public, which she likes.

Nobody has ever given her flak, and obviously there's a market for the shirts, incense, candles, dolls and novelties that Shaddow Domain sells. The store's Facebook page has 2,544 likes.

"People are looking for so much different stuff," Oliver said. While she is glad to have more space and a prime spot on Broadway, she still wants to keep a friendly feel to the store. "If it got huge, it would lose something special," she said.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Fun run for veterans planned May 28

The Greater Idaho Falls Association of Realtors is hosting a 5K Run/Walk & 8K Run on Saturday, May 28, to benefit 208 CARES, an organization that builds homes for Idaho veterans.

The event will be at 10 a.m. at Mountain River Ranch, near Ririe. The entry fee is $25 on or before May 20 or $35 after that. The race will start and end in the Mountain River Ranch parking lot. Registration the morning of the race will be from 9 to 9:45 a.m.

T-shirts are guaranteed to those who register by May 20. Prizes will be awarded to the first two men and women who finish.

Following the race, there will be free wagon rides, climbing wall, car show, music, food and prize drawings. To honor Memorial Day, there will be a memorial service followed by a military plane flyover.

For more information, call Julie Anglesey at (208) 589-6867 or email her at julie@homesineasternidaho.com.

Mountain River Ranch is located at 98 N. 5050 East and can be found online at www.MountainRiverRanch.com.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Site plan filed for motorcycle dealership

Indian is a motorcycle brand that predates Harley-Davidson by a few years, but has struggled commercially. The brand was bought by Polaris in 2011.
Eagle Rock Indian Motorcyle has filed a site plan to build a dealership in Idaho Falls at 845 Milligan Road. The 1.9-acre location is off Utah Avenue, just north of the Taylor Crossing on the River office buildings.

Other than the address, the information on the business’ Facebook page is sketchy: “Eagle Rock Indian Motorcycle is a start up retail business for the sale and service and new and used Indian Motorcycle.” Efforts to reach the business owners are ongoing.

Here’s a little bit about Indian Motorcycles, though. The company dates back to 1901, when bicycle racing promoter and former bicycle racing champion George Hendee of Springfield, Mass., hired Oscar Hedstrom of Middletown, Conn., to build gasoline engine-powered bicycles to pace bicycle races. Hedstrom completed the first motorized bike in May and shipped it to Hendee. The machine, and the other two bikes Hedstrom built in 1901, proved to be powerful and reliable, establishing the company’s reputation for outstanding performance. Later that year the company’s first factory was established on Worthington Street in downtown Springfield.

As a brand, Indian was a longtime competitor with Harley-Davidson in the U.S. motorcycle market. Chiefs, Scouts, and Junior Scouts were all used in World War II, but none could unseat the Harley-Davidson WLA as the motorcycle mainly used by the U.S. Army. The company went bankrupt in 1953.

In the years that followed, however, Indian’s legend was valuable enough for companies to want to revive the name. The latest iteration was formed in 2006, in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, where it manufactured Indian Chief motorcycles in limited numbers, with a focus on exclusivity rather than performance. In 2011, Polaris Industries, parent-company of Victory Motorcycles, announced its intention to acquire Indian. The company’s production facilities were moved to Spirit Lake, Iowa, and in March 2013, Indian unveiled its new 111 cubic inches (1.82 L) "Thunder Stroke" engine and began to sell the newly designed motorcycles based on it.

Monday, May 2, 2016

BMW of Idaho Falls plans move to Sunnyside Road

BMW of Idaho Falls plans to relocate from Northgate Mile, across from the Idaho Livestock Auction, to Sunnyside Road by spring 2017.
BMW of Idaho Falls has announced plans to move to Sunnyside Road. The Northgate Mile dealership, part of the larger Ron Sayer Auto Group, is the latest Idaho Falls car dealer making the move to the south side of town.

The $2.3 million dealership will be just east of Teton Volkswagen, on 2.6 acres off Pioneer Road. It will be the fifth to relocate to the area since Teton Toyota built its facilities in 2008. Smith Chevrolet and Smith Honda opened new showrooms and service facilities on the other side of the road in October 2014.

General Manager Rick Williams said said they hope to be moved in by spring 2017. They anticipate being able to offer twice their current inventory, about 200 cars. The  showroom will hold 16 cars, Williams said, and the shop area will be greatly expanded.