Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Shopko to close remaining stores nationwide

Shopko will liquidate its assets and close all of its remaining locations, including its store in Idaho Falls, by mid-June.

The company was unable to find a buyer for the retail business and will begin winding down its operations beginning this week, the company said in statement released Monday. The decision to liquidate will bring an end to the brick-and-mortar business that began with one location in Green Bay, Wisc., in 1962.
 
"This is not the outcome that we had hoped for when we started our restructuring efforts," Shopko CEO Russ Steinhorst said in the statement. The company in February announced plans to close 250 stores, or about 70 percent of its locations, as it attempted to scale back the business and work through bankruptcy to  restore profitability and attract a buyer or investor.

That list was expanded at noon Monday with the inclusion of the 120 stores that Shopko had hoped to keep open, according to a document filed Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Nebraska. Prior to bankruptcy, Shopko employed more than 15,000 people nationwide, according to court documents.

Employees at Shopko headquarters, in Ashwaubenon, found out about the liquidation during an emergency meeting on Monday. Individual stores had team meetings to pass along the same information.

The bankruptcy court had scheduled an auction for Tuesday morning in the hope of driving up the price of initial bids that were submitted last week. On Monday, it announced the auction was canceled and a bankruptcy consultant would oversee  liquidation over the next 10 to 12 weeks.

The court filing indicates all store closures will be completed by June 16. The company said it continues to evaluate options for its optical business. Shopko had originally hoped to spin off the business into standalone locations as part of its reorganization. The optical business now becomes one of the assets it will look to sell in the liquidation process. The liquidation at the newly-identified closing stores will look much the same as what has occurred at Shopko stores that have already closed: Discounts will slowly increase over a period of weeks as the company looks to sell every bit of inventory and equipment on hand.

Shopko and its affiliates filed for bankruptcy protection on Jan. 16 citing assets of less than $1 billion and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion. It had sought a buyer that would keep a smaller number of the company's brick and mortar locations operating beyond bankruptcy.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Salon h.Davis moves to new, larger location

Salon h.Davis owner Niki Young
Salon h. Davis has opened at a new, larger location, at 3544 E. 17th St. Suite 103. Owner Niki Young said she has been looking for a few years for a place to expand from the 25th Street location, where she started the business in August 2009. Her choices were limited, however. “I didn’t want office space,” she said.

Last September, however, Young’s client Mary Shell of S2M Development told her about the 17th Street space. Shell and her husband, Mark, own the building. While 2,700 square feet was more than what Young was envisioning — “I would have liked something three times bigger instead of four times,” she said — the location was good and she had an idea for how she wanted the space to look.

It is a look she describes as “industrial glam.” The vents in the ceiling are exposed, there is an ornate chandelier in the lobby and waiting area. As far as appointments are concerned, the salon now has 10 stations, more than double the four stations on 25th Street. There are three pedicure stations, two treatment rooms and a break room for the staff.

Young, who named the salon after her grandmother, is planning a grand opening for April 6.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Car wash planned for southwest corner of Yellowstone and Sunnyside

L. Jones emailed last Friday to ask what is happening on the southwest corner of Yellowstone Highway and Sunnyside Road, where she saw activity. Our examination of building permits with the city of Idaho Falls Building Department today reveals there is to be a Pony Express Car Wash built there.

The new construction permit application from Wednesday is from Josh Howa, a Boise architect, and the owner is Seven Synergy Holdings LLC of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. The city collected $155,800 in fees, including $120,960 for water services (we can’t have a car wash without water, can we?) and $34,720 for the sewer connection.

This is the second Pony Express Car Wash in the area. One opened in Chubbuck in January, and was featured on Local News 8 with a story about its unique water reclamation system, which incorporates trenches and settling tanks. Check it out using this hyperlink: https://www.localnews8.com/news/pony-express-carwash-will-use-new-methods-for-water-conversation/954652818.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Fall River Cooperative offering scholarships

ASHTON -- Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative is once again offering scholarships to local area high school graduating seniors whose parents or guardians are members of Fall River Electric. A member is anyone who receives electric service from Fall River, whether at a permanent residence, a vacation property or commercial business. Over the history of this program, Fall River Electric has
awarded over a half a million dollars in scholarships to deserving graduating seniors.

Fall River Electric scholarships are valued at $2,400 and are paid in increments of $600 annually. In order to apply, graduating seniors must have at least a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) and provide a short written essay stating their educational goals and why they are deserving of a scholarship.

Applications are now being accepted from seniors enrolled in the following school districts:

  • Teton #401
  • Fremont County #215
  • Sugar-Salem #322
  • Madison #321
  • Jefferson #251
  • Ririe #252
  • West Yellowstone #69

Interested seniors or their parents or guardians may obtain a scholarship application by visiting the Fall River Electric website at www.fallriverelectric.com, then click “MYCOMMUNITY” and open the “Scholarships” tab on the dropdown menu to download an application.

Applications must be postmarked by Friday, March 29, or can be dropped off at any of Fall River’s offices in Ashton, Driggs or West Yellowstone. For further information or to answer questions, call Joni Amen at 208-652-7002 or email her at joni.amen@fallriverelectric.com.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Edward Jones adviser Mike Silver opening office at Snake River Landing

Mike Silver
Edward Jones financial adviser Mike Silver announced this week he plans to open a new office this summer at 901 Pier View Drive, in Idaho Falls' Snake River Landing development. "The new office should allow me to continue helping my clients reach their most important financial goals,” he said.

Begun in 2006, Snake River Landing is a mixed-use planned community now home to more than 30 businesses. “We enjoy providing a professionally setting and working with businesses to fit their needs,” said Eric Isom, chief development officer. “Edward Jones has been great to work with and we are excited for Mike Silver to join the Snake River Landing community.”

Located next to Love At First Bite, Silver's office will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. More information can be found at www.edwardjones.com/mike-silver

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Idaho Falls Fiber begins pilot program signup

Screenshot from Idaho Falls Fiber web page
Idaho Falls Fiber has begun offering fiberoptic services to city residents within the identified boundaries of its pilot program. Anyone interested can visit www.idahofallsfiber.com or calling IFF Customer Service at 208-612-8725.

Idaho Falls Fiber has partnered for the rollout with four local internet providers: Direct Communications, Qwknet, SilverStar, and SUMO. Anyone in the pilot areas, on the city's south side, can visit the website and enter their address to determine fiber availability at their location.  Once a customer confirms availability, the sign-up continues by selecting a service package and provider.

“This is a milestone for Idaho Falls residents,” said Bear Prairie, general manager of Idaho Falls Power and Idaho Falls Fiber. “We’ve had great response from local internet providers and we’re now ready to roll this program out to the public. There has been a lot of support and interest from the community for this, so it’s an exciting time and we’re eager to start connecting customers.”

Once residents have signed up for service and selected their provider, Idaho Falls Fiber will schedule a site survey and appointment with the customer for the installation of the actual fiber to the residence.  Once the fiber is installed, the local internet provider will begin Internet service to the customer.

The Idaho Falls City Council approved the pilot program last September. “This kind of a public-private partnership is exciting," said Mayor Rebecca Casper. "It allows the city to focus on infrastructure, something we excel at and it allows local internet providers to offer services residents trust from companies they know. It captures the best of both worlds.”

The new website also provides pilot program area maps, information on how fiber optics works, billing and service details along with a wide variety of other frequently asked questions about fiber optics and the service.

As directed by the City Council, Idaho Falls Fiber will use data from the pilot program to examine the feasibility and costs associated with expanding high-speed fiber throughout the rest of the community.

“We are anticipating strong support and signups to join the network which will validate the demand in our community for this type of infrastructure,” Prairie said.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Downtown Development seeks three artists for 'Living Walls' project

The Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation's Public Art Committee has issued a request for proposals for three murals to be installed throughout downtown Idaho Falls. The locations downtown will be at: 1) Villa Coffeehouse; 2) The SnakeBite Restaurant; and 3) Willowtree Gallery. The murals will be installed this spring and summer.

The committee includes: Catherine Smith, Miyai Abe Griggs, Chloe Doucette, Lexi French, Amber Deschamps, Alyssa Callantine (Shorty), Georgina Goodlander, Carrie Scheid, Lisa Schulz, Kimmon Richards, and Chip Langerak.

"We believe this is an opportunity to share the community artist members’ visions and talents to represent and honor our community and the rich history and future.  Our goal is to facilitate conversations between downtown patrons and artists to create work that represents the unique qualities of Idaho and our cultures that make this city so beautiful,” said Catherine Smith, IFDDC's executive director.

IFDDC is committed to the use of public art to convey positive messages about the community and to activate underutilized private and public space for the public to enjoy. Living Walls is as a project aimed at bringing public and private walls to life. Through the years, we have seen the historical painted walls create dialogue in our community with both appreciation of the past and curiosity.

The mural design would be informed by the artist’s own research and approach to design. The artist should be able to communicate the approach to research and develop their artistic content relevant to downtown Idaho Falls. The RFP is open through May 1, after which the Public Art Committee will meet and select three proposals by May 15. Each artist will be compensated $2,500 for the mural and provided $500 for supplies. Applications should be submitted online at this link: https://seasonpresale1819.formstack.com/forms/living_walls

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Funding drive starts Monday for Ronald McDonald Family Room at EIRMC

Ronald McDonald Family Rooms are aimed at providing a home-like environment for parents and families of children receiving treatment at hospitals.
In support of a new Ronald McDonald Family Room in Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho is holding a "Fundraising for Families” campaign this week. Monday through Wednesday, the community is being encouraged to make donations toward the construction project.

Kicking things off, Fluor Idaho has made a leading gift of $10,000. Since the project was announced in December 2018, about $515,000 has been raised toward the $766,000 goal.

Construction of the family room is scheduled to begin soon, and an opening is planned for this summer. When finished, the Ronald McDonald Family Room will provide a home-like environment for parents and families of children receiving treatment at EIRMC.

When children are sick, the thing they need most is family. Ronald McDonald Family Rooms are aimed at giving parents and families a quiet place to prepare something to eat, take a shower, do laundry, watch TV, take a nap, or even stay the night, all within the hospital.

Assistance is provided by RMHC of Idaho staff and community volunteers. To make a donation, text the amount you'd like to give to 208-721-9077 or visit rmhcidaho.org/familyroom.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Annual INL Economic Summary details lab's importance to region, state

An annual economic impact summary shows that Idaho National Laboratory continues to be a major contributor to Idaho’s economy.

Highlights from the “INL Fiscal Year 2018 Economic Summary” include:

• INL’s total economic impact exceeded $2 billion in FY-18, a 6.4 percent increase over the prior year.
• INL directly employed an average of 4,349 workers during the fiscal year. That makes INL contractor Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) Idaho’s sixth-largest private employer and ninth-largest employer when compared to all public and private businesses.
• INL spent more than $148 million with Idaho businesses.
• BEA contributed $618,700 in charitable giving, technology-based economic development grants and K-12 STEM giving.

“To see the positive impact the laboratory has on Idaho’s economy is incredibly rewarding,” said INL Director Mark Peters. “Not just because we are helping improve the quality of life in our own backyard, but also because INL’s steady growth shows that we are serving our fellow citizens by striving to resolve the nation’s big energy and security issues.”

Information obtained in this report along with data from other sources, such as the recently released reports from the Idaho Technology Council and the Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI), helps INL to focus its efforts in STEM, education programs and workforce planning efforts.

The annual summary report was prepared by the Moscow, Idaho-based Emsi, a labor market analytics firm. The FY 2018 economic impact summary is available online at https://public.inl.gov/public/FY18EconomicSummary/index.aspx. The economic impact identified in the report only includes operations managed by Battelle Energy Alliance and does not include impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy cleanup contractor, the DOE itself or the Naval Reactors Facility.

INL is one of the DOE’s national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

See more INL news at www.inl.gov. Follow @INL on Twitter or visit the INL Facebook page.

Monday, February 25, 2019

KB's (Ketchum Burrito) opening location in Idaho Falls

Ketchum Burrito, branded KB’s, is going into the space previously occupied by Costa Vida in the Sagewood Shopping Center, 3000 S. 25 East. Earlier this month a building permit was granted to Skidmore Inc., the property owner, and the opening is planned for March 6, according to the company’s website.

KB’s has stores in Ketchum, Hailey, Twin Falls, McCall and Pocatello, as well as food trucks. The chain started in 1993 in Ketchum/Sun Valley, serving made-to-order burritos and tacos. The menu features multiple vegan options. It has been singled out for praise in the New York Times, which named it a “must stop” in it’s article of top 10 things to do in 36 hours in Sun Valley, Idaho saying, “Even when people are far away, they’re still thinking about the food at Ketchum Burritos. This cheerful laid-back burrito joint serves delicious fish tacos and offers a build-your-own burrito with.”

The website indicates they have live music on “Taco Tuesday” at several of their locations. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

JFA, Zachry Nuclear, enter into SBA mentor-protégé agreeement

JFoster & Associates of Idaho Falls has entered into an All Small Mentor-Protégé Agreement with Zachry Nuclear Engineering, Inc., which allows the two firms to pursue contracts set aside or reserved for small businesses by U.S. Government agencies.

With offices in Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Boise, JFA is an SBA 8(a) Disadvantaged Woman-owned Small Business that specializes in comprehensive technical and engineering services. Under the initial three-year agreement, Zachry Nuclear, as mentor, will encourage opportunities for business development and growth on behalf of JFA as it offers project management, environmental and technical support services to a variety of government and commercial customers.

Part of the worldwide Zachry Group, Zachry Nuclear is a corporation with more than 30 years’ experience in providing engineering analytical services to commercial and government nuclear facilities. It has been deemed a pace-setter in cyber security, transient and accident analysis, thermal hydraulics, radiological assessments, containment/environmental qualification, new plant analyses, nuclear software development, and plant design changes. Besides Idaho Falls, it has offices in Stonington, Conn., Cary and Charlotte, N.C., and Richland, WA. 

For more information, contact Julie Foster at (208) 709-0508 or Julie.Foster@jfaidaho.com.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A few more Costco links for those who can't get enough

Will Costco come to Idaho Falls? It is a mystery inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma. Or something like that.
It looks like Costco fever is upon us again, so I wanted to share a source, admittedly unofficial, for all you folks who just can’t get the wholesale warehouse chain out of your mind. I've still got Himalayan pink salt I bought there in August 2017, when my wife and I last had a membership, so I'm thinking we're good for now.

This is all Costco has to offer on the subject of new stores opening: https://www.costco.com/new-locations.html. But I found this link from last month by Googling “Costco new store openings,” and it seems to offer information comprehensive and current as likely to be found anywhere: https://www.savingadvice.com/articles/2019/01/08/1052240_new-costco-locations-2018.html

Who knows how accurate it is or how many lives were lost in obtaining it, eh? But for those of you unable or unwilling to click through, here is the key information:

At the moment, the information regarding new Costco openings is limited, but so far we can expect the following:

New Costco Locations in 2019

• Coral Springs, FL (February 2019)
• Ipswich, AUS (February 2019)

Potential New Locations in 2019

Costco hasn’t officially stated where any other new locations for 2019 will be, but we will keep you updated. For now, the potential new locations for 2019 are:

• Bayonne, NJ
• Oklahoma City, OK
• Cypress, TX
• Loves Park, IL
• Bradenton, FL
• St. Cloud, MN
• Eagan, MN
• Harrison, NJ

There are approximately 19 planned warehouse stores in U.S. cities scheduled through 2022. These include:

• Murietta, CA
• Napa CA
• Pleasanton, CA
• Branford, CT
• Clinton, CT
• Athens, GA
• Sharpsburg, GA
• Meridian, ID
• University City, MO
• Ridgeland, MS
• Mooresville, NC
• Cherry Hill, NJ
• Patterson, NY
• Cranston, RI
• Bluffton, SC
• Dallas, TX
• El Paso, TX
• McKinney, TX
• Sherman, TX

Rest assured, we will continue to bird dog this story as it develops, as well as any news on Trader Joe's and In-N-Out Burger, the other two members of the "Holy Trifecta."

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rigby hires Sharon Parry as P&Z director

Sharon Parry
The city of Rigby has hired Ririe resident and former Idaho Falls City Councilwoman Sharon Parry as its new planning and zoning director. Mayor Jason Richardson announced the hiring during the Jan. 17 Rigby City Council meeting.

From 1998 to 2005 Parry was a member of the Idaho Falls School District No. 91 Board of Trustees, serving as the district's liaison to the Idaho Falls Planning and Zoning Commission. For the last two years, she also served on the board of Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Commissioners.

After her term on the school board expired in 2005, she was elected to the Idaho Falls City Council in 2007 and she remained on the council until 2016.

Parry told the Jefferson Star that her goal with the city of Rigby is to build a relationship between developers and the city council and mayor. “That’s the number one thing,” she said. “We are all in the same boat, so we might as well paddle together.”

Friday, February 8, 2019

Idaho Falls schedules meetings on airport development, zoning

The City of Idaho Falls Community Development Services Department has announced the first of several meetings to discuss future development around the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

The Idaho Falls City Council recently approved a moratorium on development around the airport in an effort to allow Community Development Services to work with IDA and the public on plans to ensure the public safety and future viability of the airport.

“We plan to host several meetings for the public and stakeholders in the area so they can learn about the importance of this critical area and  give their input as we develop the codes that will govern future land uses there,” said Community Development Services Director Brad Cramer.  “We want to make sure we are planning uses that are safe for the public and allow for the future viability of the airport while ensuring the best and highest uses for the surrounding lands.”

The first meeting will be an open house on the Airport Overlay Zone. That meeting will be held Feb. 12, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ethel Boyes Elementary School. The open house will feature displays showing the basic parameters of the code and explain how it applies to properties in the city. It will also demonstrate how development around the airport has occurred over the years and why the code and protecting the airport is so important. Staff will be on-hand to answer questions.

The second meeting will be a stakeholder meeting for those with interest in land north of the main IDA runway and east of the Snake River.  That meeting will be held on February 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ethel Boyes Elementary.

That meeting will feature an introductory presentation followed by group discussions related to topics specific to the future of those impacted areas. Invitations will be sent to property owners and known stakeholders in the area, but the meeting is open to anyone who would like to attend.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Real estate numbers from 2018 hold steady; median price up, homes selling faster

Looking at the 2018 sales numbers for single family homes and condos in Bonneville County, it would appear that the market is chugging along for a third straight year. There was a slight slowdown in the number of homes sold and a dip in the number of new listings, but the median price is up to an all-time high and properties are selling faster than ever.

The other thing that struck me from looking all the way back to 2006 was how bad things had gotten in 2011-12. Everyone thinks the darkest days were 2009 -- and if you were in sales, they were dark days indeed -- but I remember someone telling me then, "It's going to get worse. This market is always about two or three years behind what's happening everywhere else."


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho receives Leader in Excellence Award

Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho has received a Leader in Excellence award from Home Care Pulse, the industry's leading firm in satisfaction research and quality assurance. The company was also named the Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in eastern Idaho for the 4th year in a row. These awards are granted based on client and caregiver satisfaction scores gathered by Home Care Pulse.

“We are happy to recognize Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho as a Leader in Excellence,” said Erik Madsen, CEO of Home Care Pulse. “We’ve been impressed by their commitment to their clients and caregivers, as well as the quality of the overall care they provide. They really stand out in their market as a top home care provider.”

Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho opened its doors in 2015 with a unique approach to senior home care. Over the years, seniors and their families have embraced a companion-based solution whereby each senior has a designated "Angel," avoiding a shuffle of caregivers for home visits. This results in lasting relationships with extraordinary care and high job satisfaction for the caregivers.

“We are so honored to receive this distinction,” W. Scott Holmes, Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho's owner and CEO, said in a news release. “We have the most amazing team of Angels who put their heart and soul into every visit. To be honest, we are still a bit in shock that an agency in a smaller community such as ours can achieve this ranking!”

Visiting Angels of Eastern Idaho is a local franchise with offices in Idaho Falls and Pocatello. As one of over 600 locations, it provides a range of helpful services for seniors, including companionship, personal care, light housekeeping, meal preparation, errands, and respite for family
caregivers. For more information, call 208-529-2734 or visit visitingangels.com/easternidaho.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Bank of Idaho names Caleb Dimick head of retail and commercial banking

Caleb Dimick
Bank of Idaho has announced the promotion of Caleb Dimick to Senior Vice President of Retail and Commercial Banking. The title is new, but the role is not.

"He's been functioning at this level for the past year, and he's worked hard at it," said Bank of Idaho President and CEO Jeff Newgard. "We're really proud of what he's accomplished during that time, and we are happy to give him the recognition he's earned."

A specialist in small business lending, Dimick has focused both on retail services and commercial lending, ordinarily the work of two executives. "The integrated role was one that was completely untested here, but the way Caleb led us through the transition, his team never missed a step," Newgard said.

Dimick's advancement coincides with expansion on many fronts at Bank of Idaho. This month, the 33-year-old, Idaho Falls-based institution opened an office in downtown Boise, its eighth full-service branch. The bank is also awaiting completion of new office space for its Wealth Management department at The Broadway, the new structure at the corner of Memorial and A Street in downtown Idaho Falls.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

New Shoshone-Bannock Casino opening set for Feb. 13

An artist's rendering of the new Fort Hall casino
 The Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel has announced Feb. 13 as the date for the opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting at it new casino.

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes broke ground in 2017 on the 85,463-square-foot casino addition, connected to the west side of the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Events Center.

Beginning at 11 a.m. the ceremony will include remarks from tribal leaders, casino hotel executive staff and project management team members. Celebrating the cultural significance on a project this size, the program will feature traditional dancing and an honor song from a drum group. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a celebratory ribbon cutting will take place, to symbolize the project’s
completion and that the property is open for business. At that time, the public will be invited in to experience the new gaming floor.

The celebration will not end there, however. On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel invites the public to participate in the grand opening celebration. During the day, multiple promotions, activities, entertainment and giveaways will be highlighted. Details will be released regarding specifics, times and where guests can find additional information.

For questions or quotes, please contact Andrea Todd at andrea.todd@shobanhotel.com.

In addition to the casino floor, there will be an addition to the north side of the event center, more than 300 new parking spaces, a new bingo hall, buffet and lounge.

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes owns and operates three gaming properties including the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel, Sage Hill Casino and Travel Center, and Bannock Peak Casino and Truck Stop. The economic growth plan continues to evolve for the health and benefit of the tribal membership and the eastern Idaho region.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Idaho Falls airport reports sharp jump in passengers in 2018

More than a quarter-of-a-million passengers traveled through the Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) during 2018, according the most recent numbers compiled by airport personnel.

The total of 320,000 passengers is an increase of more than 30,000 passengers from 2017, reflecting a 10 percent increase over the previous year and the highest totals for the airport for more than a decade.

“Those passenger figures are pretty significant, especially when you consider we were closed for an entire week this year to renovate the runway,” said IDA Director Rick Cloutier, in a press release from the city.  “Had we not been shut down during that time, those number would have been much higher.”

With the exception of Boise, more than twice as many passengers used IDA in 2018 than any other regional airport in Idaho.

IDA currently has seven non-stop destinations to serve Idaho Falls travelers, which is more destinations presently offered at any airport in Idaho with the exception of Boise.  In 2019 there are already additional available seats on larger aircraft that are scheduled to fly through Idaho Falls with additional frequency.

In addition to the recently improved runway and taxiway at IDA, the airport has also upgraded passenger amenities, renovating the restaurant on the main floor and adding the first-ever restaurant with beverage service to the secure, upstairs section of the airport.  Future improvements are also in the works, including expanding the number of passenger boarding gates, improved traffic and security and a new baggage claim.

“We are working very hard to try and bring even more flights and additional airlines to Idaho Falls,” said Cloutier. “Our renovations and improvements are all part of that effort.  It takes time, for sure, but we are working every day to bring more destinations to the residents of Idaho Falls and provide a premium experience for our passengers.”

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.”