Friday, January 18, 2019

Idaho Falls ShopKo store to continue operation as company pursues bankruptcy

The Idaho Falls ShopKo store appears to have escaped the bankruptcy axe.

The Green Bay, Wisc.-based retail chain announced this week it was closing more than 100 stores across the Midwest and West, including three in western Idaho and 13 in Utah. But the Idaho Falls store, at 800 East 17th Street, and its store in Pocatello, both of which date back to the mid-1980s, were not on the list of stores closing as part of the company's restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (Link: http://info.shopko.com/closing-locations.pdf)

The stores remaining open are to be sold through a court-supervised auction process. Company spokeswoman Michelle Hansen said Thursday the retailer is exiting the pharmacy business and has already sold many of its pharmacies to Kroger, CVS and other buyers. The Idaho Falls and Pocatello locations were not included on the list of ShopKo pharmacies that have already changed hands.

Hansen said the pharmacies should remain open under Shopko until a buyer emerges. She said Shopko will post updates at http://info.shopko.com. She said Shopko will notify customers when a pharmacy will close and to where their prescriptions have been transferred.

Founded by a pharmacist in 1962, ShopKo went public in 1991. It was purchased by Sun Capital Partners, a private-equity firm, for about $1.1 billion in 2005. The company has operated 363 stores in 24 states, according to its website, and operates a regional distribution center on Gowen Road near Interstate 84 in southeast Boise.

"This decision is a difficult, but necessary one," Russ Steinhorst, Shopko's CEO, said in a press statement. "In a challenging retail environment, we have had to make some very tough choices, but we are confident that by operating a smaller and more focused store footprint, we will be able to build a stronger ShopKo that will better serve our customers, vendors, employees and other stakeholders through this process."



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Idaho Falls logs first commercial business permit application of 2019

The old Pizza Hut building on West Broadway
I've worked at many papers that had a "First Baby of the Year" promotion, in which the family of first baby born at the local hospital would receive all sorts of prizes from the hospital and local businesses. The family would get its photo on Page 1, and everyone would saw "Awwww ..."

Here's the BizMojo Idaho equivalent, albeit with no prize other than the incomparable value of publicity: The First Commercial Business Permit of 2019. And the winner is ...

Jeff Maier, who is undertaking an estimated $100,000 remodel of the Pizza Hut at 1970 West Broadway. The square footage is 2,674, and the contractor is Black Enterprises LLC of Boise. The only other detail is that the remodel is restaurant to retail.

The old Pizza Hut building in question has been empty since the business relocated to the nearby Iron Oak Retail Center. We'll keep you posted as we learn further developments.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Bank of Idaho opens Boise branch

Jeff Newgard
Bank of Idaho has expanded westward, opening its newest location, in downtown Boise's CenturyLink Building, Jan. 7.

This will be the bank's eighth full-service branch. Bank of Idaho started as Bank of Eastern Idaho with its first branch in Idaho Falls in 1985.

Adhering to the company's business model, the Boise branch will specialize in a consultative approach geared toward helping small businesses by building long-term, personal relationships.

“We work hard to learn about our customers," President and CEO Jeff Newgard said. "We strive to gain a deep understanding of their goals and aspirations so we can anticipate their needs and give them the right tools to succeed. Then we make decisions at a local level, which sets us apart from
large-scale institutions."

The Bank of Idaho Boise team will be made up of familiar faces from the area: Tony Vahsholtz, v.p.
area commercial manager; Melissa Montierth, retail branch manager; and Rob Cochems, credit
analyst. More hires are expected in the next month.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Ferrell's, which has been at the southwest corner of Broadway and Park Avenue since 1950, will be moving. Developers have announced plans to remodel the building, which was once the downtown JC Penney store. 
Ferrell’s Clothing, a downtown mainstay since 1950, is moving to 3194 S. 25th East, in the Sagewood shopping center next to Kiwi Loco, where David’s Bridal used to be. A moving sale is planned for this month.

The move itself has been in the works since Dana and Teneal Wright bought the business from Teneal’s father, Brent Tueller, in June 2018, according to an announcement from the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, which has named Ferrell’s its January 2019 Business of the Month.

At 417 W. Broadway, Ferrell’s is where the parents of countless Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and LDS Missionaries have gone shopping for their sons. Before Ferrell’s opened there is was the JC Penny store. Dave Anderson brought the business there, and in the 1980s Tueller bought the business from him.

“I’m grateful we could buy the business from my dad so that he can retire, but it’s still a little sad,” Teneal Wright told East Idaho News in November. “All the memories (of this location) will always be close to our hearts.”

“The building has been for sale since I started working here in 2004. We just never expected it to sell very fast,” Dana Wright said. “Some developers downtown bought this building several weeks ago and they’ll be restoring it.”

“Knowing they’re not going to just demolish it and tear it down — that makes me feel better,” Teneal says. “Now we can always drive by and say ‘That’s where Ferrell’s was.’ I know they’re going to make the building beautiful and it’ll be a good thing.”

In case you're wondering what happened to David's Bridal, the Pennsylvania-based company filed for bankruptcy in November 2018. In a classic case of "pump and dump" capitalism, a private equity firm bought the company in 2012 for more than $1 billion. The high level of debt the company had to take on under the deal left it little room to invest in its digital business or marketing. It missed its first interest payment in October 2018 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection owing between $500 million and $1 billion to creditors, according to court records.

“While David’s Bridal used to be the dominant force in bridal outfitting, it gradually became less relevant,” Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, told CNN. ”David’s Bridal is a classic case of a retailer with too much debt and a challenged business model.”