Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Morgan Construction, ESI announce merger

Morgan Construction Inc., an Idaho Falls-based commercial general contractor founded in 1989, has announced it has merged with Boise-based ESI Construction, Idaho’s largest privately held general contractor. The transaction closed earlier this month. Morgan Construction will become Morgan Construction, LLC a Division of ESI.

Matt Morgan, founder of Morgan Construction, will continue as a business development and client relations executive with the new company, working alongside the ESI team as the two companies merge capabilities and employees.

“(We) believe this merger will enable us to serve our clients at an even higher level thanks to the resources that ESI brings to the table,” Morgan said in the press release announcing the merger. “In addition, this merger will give myself and my wife, Lynne, more time to focus on people and causes we’re passionate about in this new chapter of our lives moving forward.”

Morgan Construction is the developer involved with Jackson Hole Junction, on West Sunnyside Road near Exit 116 of Interstate 15. ESI has project experience in eastern Idaho, most recently doing work for Idaho National Laboratory, with whom they worked on joint venture projects such as the Collaborative Computing Center and Cybercore.

“This merger of two great companies allows ESI an exciting opportunity to support already established clients and new clients on exciting projects by enhancing our efficiency and response to a broader market. Idaho is our home and we want to be able to serve all communities throughout the Gem State as we grow together,” said ESI’s president and co-owner, Neil Nelson. "Developing eastern Idaho is important to ESI and Morgan Construction. Matt’s talented team will have the full support of ESI’s resources so we can continue to complete great projects for our clients.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Bank of Idaho opens wait list for Paycheck Protection Program applicants

Jeff Newgard
Bank of Idaho has announced the opening of a wait list for Idaho businesses interested in securing funds as part of the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) included in the COVID stimulus package passed by Congress.

Businesses affected by the pandemic are eligible to receive low-interest loans under this program and can submit their waitlist application at https://www.bankofidaho.com/cares. PPP loans may be eligible for full or partial forgiveness if the money is used for qualifying costs and depending on the specific rules of the program. As soon as this program goes live, Bank of Idaho will start assisting clients on its waitlist.
In the first round of PPP funding, Bank of Idaho secured $96 million for more than 1,000 Idaho business owners.

“The PPP is a true lifeline for small- to mid-sized businesses,” said Jeff Newgard, Bank of Idaho
president and CEO. “With the pandemic still in full force, now’s the time for businesses to take steps to secure their futures. By joining our waitlist now, business owners will be able to submit their applications as soon as the program goes live. Even if business owners worked with another institution for Round 1 funding, they can choose any bank they like for Round 2.”

Bank of Idaho has been committed to community – and Idaho businesses – for more than 35 years.
With total assets of $551 million and growing, the Idaho Falls-based bank presently has 10 full-service branches in operation across southern Idaho. In addition to retail and commercial banking, Bank of Idaho also offers a full spectrum of trust and investment services, along with mortgage lending. For more information, please visit https://www.bankofidaho.com or call (208) 524-5500.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Fall River Electric Co-op mails cashback checks

This week Fall River Electric Cooperative mailed cashback checks to more than 6,200 of its owner-members (customers) totaling just over $1 million dollars as part of its patronage capital program. Because Fall River Electric operates as a nonprofit cooperative, it is in fact owned by the customers it serves which the co-op refers to as owner-members. When revenues collected by the co-op exceed operating costs, those extra revenues become patronage capital, which is then disbursed to its owner-members on an approximate twenty-year cycle. This retirement cycle helps the cooperative achieve its ideal equity level which also helps the co-op obtain loans at lower interest rates which helps to keep electric rates to members lower.

Unlike an investor-owned utility that pays profits to stockholders, Fall River Electric’s patronage capital is a customer’s investment in the cooperative and is used in building new or maintaining existing infrastructure, including generation facilities, poles, wire, transformers, and substations. These cash back payments will be especially beneficial to members who have been impacted by this year’s pandemic and can be likened to an infusion of capital into our area’s economy just in advance of the holidays.

The amount of cash back that a member receives is based on how much electricity they purchased during the years being retired. This year, members are receiving patronage capital earned in 1999 and a portion of 2000.

According to Fall River Electric’s CEO/General Manager Bryan Case, “Cashback payments made
to our customers are a unique and tremendous benefit of being a member of our cooperative. It is made possible with the approval of our elected board of directors. They analyze the financial health of our cooperative and only pay out patronage capital when it is in the best interest of our entire membership.” Case added, “Fortunately our staff and management continue to do an outstanding job of managing our financial and physical resources, so our equity has dramatically improved in recent years, now at 45 percent, which is a significant contributing factor to the board’s ability to retire patronage capital to our owner-members.”

To learn more about Fall River Electric’s patronage capital program, visit http://www.fallriverelectric.com/patronage-capital-2/.

Idaho Falls YMCA receives $5,800 from Arby's Foundation

The local Arby’s affiliate has committed to allocate $5,800 from Arby’s national Make a Difference campaign to the Idaho Falls YMCA. The funds will go toward underserved youth and families through the YMCA's Scholarship Fund in its Early Learning, School Age, STEM, Summer Day Camp, Big Elk Creek Camp, and Youth Sports programs.

“Our Arby’s Foundation fund-raiser helps to ensure that every child in our community has the opportunity to reach their full potential.” said Arby's Franchisee Amanda Roberts of Kona Inc. “We’re thrilled to be able to give back and reinvest funds in Idaho Falls for such a significant cause.”

The donation is coming at a crucial moment for the Idaho Falls YMCA in this pandemic-wrought year.
“We feel so fortunate for the generosity of the Arby’s Foundation. The timing aligns perfectly with our Light Their Future fund-raising campaign,” said Idaho Falls YMCA CEO Monica Bitrick. “This year has been especially tough for our families, and because our typical, in-person community fund-raisers could not take place this year, we're grateful that benefactors like Arby’s have stepped in to lift us up.”

As part of the annual the Make a Difference in-restaurant fundraising campaign, Arby’s restaurants brought in more than $4 million this fall to support national organizations dedicated to providing kids the future they deserve. In 2020, the Foundation will grant more than $6 million to over 300 youth-serving non-profit organizations across the country. Nearly half will be reinvested locally in communities across America. Additional funds will be granted to Arby’s Foundation national non-profit partners: Big Brothers Big Sisters, No Kid Hungry and Junior Achievement (3DE) to support programs focused on childhood hunger, youth leadership and career readiness. The Arby’s Foundation will celebrate a major milestone this year – hitting the $100 million mark in total grants given since inception.

Chamber names 'Distinguished Under 40' award winners

The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce has announced the 2020 recipients of its Distinguished Under 40 Award. This is an annual awards program exclusive to eastern Idaho that honors 10 young professionals who have gone above and beyond to accomplish great things in their careers, community, and education. The winners will be presented their awards at their place of business, and the Chamber will provide photos of presentations upon request.

The 2020 Winners of the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce “Distinguished Under 40” are:

Anthony Hernandez, Teton Volkswagen
Beth Swenson, Idaho Falls Public Library
Brennan Summers, Office of Rep. Mike Simpson
Derek Moss, Premier Technology, Inc.
Jeff Carr, Museum of Idaho
Jordan Cammack, Thunder Ridge High School Drama Teacher
Josh Bristol, Rich Broadcasting
Katie Gasser, Visiting Angels
Kiersten Landers, Divinia
Mike Walker, College of Eastern Idaho

Friday, December 4, 2020

Pioneer League to remain in Idaho Falls

The old grandstands at Highland Park, which were destroyed by fire in 1975. (Museum of Idaho photo)
You can call it wishful thinking, but it is good news that Pioneer League baseball will continue in Idaho Falls.

Major League Baseball and the Pioneer League jointly announced this week that the Pioneer League has been designated a “Partner League” of MLB. Starting in 2021, the Pioneer League will transition from affiliated status to an independent professional MLB Partner League that continues to provide high-quality baseball to the states of Idaho, Montana, Utah and Colorado. All eight members of the Pioneer League – the Billings Mustangs, the Grand Junction Rockies, the Great Falls Voyagers, the Idaho Falls Chukars, the Missoula PaddleHeads, the Ogden Raptors, the Northern Colorado Owlz and the Rocky Mountain Vibes – will continue participating in the league and will maintain their existing team names and brands.

Idaho Falls' relationship with the Pioneer League dates back to 1940, when the Russets, a New York Yankees farm team, began playing home games at Highland Park, where wooden grandstands had been built by the Works Progress Administration the year before. Over 80 years, a dozen Major League organizations have had a farm team here. After Pearl Harbor the Yankees pulled out and the Russets became a co-op team, according to an account in digitalballparks.com. The Brooklyn Dodgers came in 1949 and stayed for one season. They were succeeded in 1950 by their the crosstown National League rivals, the New York Giants, who stayed three seasons.  There was a two-year gap before the Detroit Tigers came in 1954 and remained through 1958. The Pirates came in 1959, followed by the White Sox in 1960 and 1961. The Yankees made a triumphant and brief return for 1962 and 1963, changing the name of the team to the Idaho Falls Yankees, before the California Angels settled in 1964. The Angels remained through 1980, the longest continuous stretch for any one organization.

A spectacular fire destroyed the WPA grandstands in 1975, but a community effort led by Post Register Publisher E.F. McDermott and Club President Eugene Bush, a prominent attorney and state legislator, kept the Angels and the Pioneer League in Idaho Falls. Games were played at McDermott Field until Melaleuca Field was built in 2006-2007. After the Angels left, the club was affiliated with the Oakland A's, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and since 2004, the Kansas City Royals.

As a Partner League, the Pioneer League will collaborate with MLB to provide organized baseball to communities throughout the Western U.S. and Canada. MLB will provide initial funding for the league’s operating expenses, as well as install scouting technology in Pioneer League ballparks to provide MLB Clubs with first-class scouting information on Pioneer League players. The agreement will also include a procedure for player transfers to MLB Clubs. The Leagues also will explore joint marketing, ticketing and fan engagement opportunities.

The Nov. 30 MLB press release followed the late September announcement of the Appalachian League’s evolution into the premier college wood bat league for the nation’s top rising freshmen and sophomores, as well as today’s unveiling of the new MLB Draft League in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Ohio. These are both part of MLB’s broader efforts to modernize player development while preserving baseball in the local communities in which it is currently played.

Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said: “Over the past year, we have worked closely with Pioneer League owners and elected officials to ensure the continued success of baseball in the Mountain West. We’re excited to support this new initiative and look forward to Pioneer League baseball returning in 2021.”

The Pioneer League joins the Atlantic League, the American Association and the Frontier League as an MLB Partner League. Each Partner League covers a different geographic area in the United States and Canada and attracts players of varying levels of experience. All Partner Leagues provide communities with high-quality professional baseball and share MLB’s goal of growing participation and engagement with baseball and softball.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Creating custom wraps | Brandon Seger, Seger Built Signs

Brandon Seger and his father, Merl, of Seger Built Signs

Partnering with his father, Merl, Brandon Seger always knew that one day the two of them would have a business together. While the family still lived in Kansas, Merl Seger owned his own auto body shop and then became a shop teacher at the local high school. He expanded his services in auto body painting to include airbrushing and purchased a stencil machine to cut vinyl. Word got out that they had this capability and they started putting vinyl on windows and other spaces.

Seger Built Signs specializes in custom graphics creating vehicle wraps and signs. Brandon Seger says they are not currently doing pylon signs but the hope is to expand into that service sometime in the future. They also can change the appearance of a vehicle by adding accents, something that used to only be done with paint.

“There's a lot of social media movement around #paintisdead. They are changing the colors of their vehicles and it's all, for lack of a better word, a sticker,” Brandon sid. Vinyl can be used to personalize a vehicle but also to protect it. He explained that he wrapped the bed of his truck in vinyl to protect the paint job. The warranty for vinyl is five to seven years, and when the vinyl comes off the paint will still be fresh.

Some of Brandon's training was learning on the job but he has also had specialized training by 3M and is a preferred installer for that product. He feels that this sets him apart and it also provides him an avenue for a referral from 3M. This doesn't make them exclusive to 3M, but it does verify their expertise.

Brandon's beginnings were in education, and he taught shop in Kansas like his father. “I loved my job as a teacher. My first two or three years was bliss. I loved what I did. Starting a business was always in the back of my mind,” he said. In looking at businesses that were already in the space, it gave them the confidence that they could do it.

“We wanted to come out here (east Idaho). I have family here and I went to school here. I'd always wanted to come back,” Brandon said. He saw the potential for the business in the area and so he moved his family here.

Brandon admits that he has learned lessons along the way. Although his father came to the table with business experience, starting the business full time has brought its own unique challenges. “If I could go back, I'd change (some things). It was eye opening, humbling, and a teachable moment,” Brandon said. He shared how this has changed his perspective going forward and has helped them improve.

“It's been a huge investment for us, and technically I haven't had any income yet. A lot of people are nervous to jump into business. Just go for it,” Brandon said. His advice to others going into business is to do your due diligence and have some savings but take the risk.


For more information on Seger Built Signs visit their website at https://segerbuilt.com/. You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/segerbuiltsigns.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Experts agree ... If you care about local business, wear a mask

Bonneville County's 7-day moving average incidence rate this morning was 97.7, one of the highest in the state. Excluding sparsely populated Clearwater County, Madison County leads Idaho with a rate of 151.1.

The following is a column submitted by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit America, it devastated our economy. Millions of jobs were lost. Small businesses closed their doors. Domestic retail spending dropped. Industrial production declined. Many of our friends, family members, and neighbors struggled to pay their bills and put food on the table.

Things improved this summer, but we now find ourselves experiencing a spike in cases, locally and across the country. And, once again, the economy is suffering the consequences.

On the day America saw its biggest spike in cases, the Dow dropped hundreds of points. The correlation between the coronavirus and the economy is undeniable.

That is why we are urging all eastern Idahoans to practice COVID-19 safe behaviors: staying home if you are sick, washing your hands, physical distancing from those outside your household, and wearing masks in public places.

Public health experts say wearing a mask is one of the best things we can do to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

It’s important to take these same precautions in the workplace as well as when gathering with extended family and friends, where we tend to let our guards down.

And yet, too many in our communities choose not to wear masks, even as infection rates increase, local hospitals run short on resources to care for all patients needing care, and businesses struggle. As a Chamber board, we’ve heard that many visitors from other states bypass Idaho, customers stay home, and employees in greater numbers are forced to quarantine.

All of us care about our fellow citizens. All of us want a strong economy that allows everyone to prosper. All of us want to be safe, healthy, and happy.

Wearing a mask is easy. It is effective. And it is good business.

That is why the leaders of two of eastern Idaho’s biggest employers have been such vocal advocates for mask wearing. And it’s why so many other local business owners are encouraging citizens to wear masks.

In a recent interview with East Idaho News, Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot talked about how preventive measures, including masks, have helped his company limit the spread of COVID-19.

And VanderSloot emphasized that masking up will help us avoid the worst-case scenario, even wider spread and a lockdown on local businesses.

“Let’s wear masks so we don’t have to close businesses,” VanderSloot said. “Let’s be safe so we can keep the economy running.”

Mark Peters, director of Idaho National Laboratory, has consistently delivered a similar message, telling his employees that INL’s ability to perform its vital national security and clean energy research depends on limiting the spread of COVID-19, in part by adhering to company policies, including wearing masks in INL facilities.

And, as he wrote in a column published earlier this year by the Post Register, all of us can do so much good with a simple gesture of goodwill to those we interact with, including employees at the businesses we frequent.

“If all of us, including INL’s 5,000 employees and their families, committed to wearing a mask when we go out, we would show respect to essential workers and do our part in preventing a new wave of COVID-19, which carries devastating health and economic implications,” Peters wrote.

Unfortunately, a new wave has arrived. It is here. And how we handle it may determine the state of our economy as 2020 turns into 2021.

A mask is a small inconvenience that helps protect our businesses and the people who depend upon them to support their families.

We know this virus is deadly. We know how it spreads. We know that masks are effective in slowing transmission. We know that when COVID-19 cases spike, our economy suffers.

So please, if you care about the local businesses that drive our economy, wear your mask.

Let us all resolve to do the right thing. This is about keeping Idaho open for business.

Signed, Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors including:

Sara Prentice, Idaho National Laboratory

Chip Schwartz, CEO, Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce

Adam Frugoli, Leavitt Group

Frank VanderSloot and Tony Lima, Melaleuca

Chris Sheetz, Harris Publishing

Staci Matheson, The Hartwell Corporation

Elsje R. Johnson, Blue Cross of Idaho

Robert Couch, Parsons Behle & Latimer

Mike Walker, College of Eastern Idaho

Marvin K. Smith, Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley

Geri Rackow, Eastern Idaho Public Health

Catherine Smith, Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation

Rebecca Casper, Mayor of Idaho Falls

Ray Gordon, Apple Athletic Club

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Chamber kicks off 'Hope Lunches' campaign

The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce and Elevation Labs have announced a new initiative for supporting underserved families this holiday season, “Hope Lunches.” They are asking businesses and individuals to support the Community Food Basket by donating the cost of a Hope Lunch.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has doubled the number of families the Community Food Basket is serving this year. Realizing that many have had to cancel lunches and meetings, this year, the idea was that canceled lunches could be sent to hungry people.

The Chamber recently cancelled its “Out of the Box” lunches. "We asked our sponsoring businesses and prepaid attendees if they would donate the cost of their lunch or sponsorship to the Community Food Basket and were overwhelmed by the positive responsem" said Chamber CEO Chip Schwarze. "So much so that we decided to reach out to all businesses to support the Community Food Basket."

Michael Hughes, president and CEO of Elevation Labs, volunteered with a $3,000 donation on behalf of his company. "Our hope is that other businesses and individuals will join in and help," he said.

Cash, not cans

By asking for cash donations instead of canned goods, the Community Food Basket can purchase $5 of food for every $1 donated. In other words, a $12 Hope Lunch donation can be turned into $60 worth of groceries. "By giving dollars instead of cans, we can maximize the number of families served," Schwarze said.

All donations will be given directly to the Community Food Basket. Businesses can collect donations from their employees and then call, bring in their donations, or mail a check to the chamber office.  Individuals also can go to this link -- “Hope Lunches” -- to make an online donation.

For more information please contact Schwarze at ceo@idahofallschamber.com or call (208) 589-8888.

Monday, November 16, 2020

For the Love of Powersports | Brandon & Brittany Quinton, H2O Industries

Brandon and Brittany Quinton of H20 Industries
Brandon Quinton got into free-standing jet skis after having a 4-wheeler accident. With a wife and new baby he felt the sport was too risky, so he sold his 4-wheelers. He needed an outlet for his energy, however, so he turned it toward stand-up jet skiing, much like motocross freestyle.

After falling in love with the sport, he saw there was room for improvement with some of the aftermarket products. “Initially I was just riding and it wasn't enough adrenaline, so I moved into the aftermarket jet skis and wanted to do more aerial tricks and stuff which then introduced me to the idea that there's no cover options for these guys,” he said.

One idea for improvement was an electric conversion for the jet ski to increase instant power. It was an expensive venture, so he decided to start with something smaller and build up. That's when he began making covers. “Let's take business plan A and change it to business plan B and do the covers,” he said.

Starting out, he took his idea to a local canvas shop where they made the first cover and also created a pattern for him to make one on his own. Once they got it right, his wife, Brittany. encouraged him to make the cover and take it to market. She has turned out to be a perfect partner, taking care of the finances and acting as a sounding board. Quinton admits that she has brought forward good ideas that he wouldn't have thought of on his own. They do all this with three small kids, each just about one year apart in age.

“The market in Idaho is budding. You're starting to see more stand up jet skis,” he said. It plays naturally into the backcountry snow machine riders, since they can ride the jet ski in the summer when their sleds are put away.

Brandon admits he has no problem talking to people and the collaborations he has made have been from reaching out. “I want to see the sport grow. I'm all about helping the sport grow. I've pushed locally, getting people to ride jet skis,” he said. As a result of developing his knowledge base, people now come to him when they have questions.

In stand up jet skiing, there are competitions where money and prizes are won and there are all ages that compete. H2O Industries even sponsors professional riders that are from Idaho.

Earlier this year they partnered with a company that made the covers, but due to COVID-19 that business shut down. Brandon got word while he was driving home from a vacation with his family.

“By the time I got home, I'd made the decision I was taking my engine out of my jet ski, selling it, selling the rest of the covers, and buying an industrial sewing machine,” he said. He now owns two, and just moved into a new space where he sews the covers himself.

“I have a tendency to overcome whatever issues come my way,” he said.

Quinton's personal life has presented him with challenges over the years and demonstrated his level of tenacity. Growing up, he had to navigate his parents' divorce and the challenge of ADHD, which caused him challenges in school. To cope, it helped to find work where he's able to focus. “If I set tiny goals for myself, I work until that goal is done and then move on. It's the most efficient way for me to go through life,” he said. Still, learning that came only with time.

When he was 18 he was homeless from November through February, living in his vehicle. Some days he had to retreat to a public bathroom hand-dryer for heat. Wrong choices led to him being incarcerated over the course of seven years.

“It was awful," he said. "I finished (my) parole term and then worked. Work is what really got me through it all. While I was in there I had a lot of time for self-introspection.”

The time he served was a catalyst for him to change his core beliefs from failure to success. “It taught me a lot about myself -- when I got out I was different,” he said.

The future for H2O Industries has expanded to include snowmachine covers, with covers for high-end exotic cars to follow. When asked what advice he has for others interested in self-employment, Quinton says do market research and go for it. “Do it better and show people you can do it better," he said. "Just because you're small town doesn't mean you have to stay small town with your ambitions. It's not a small town anymore, because everyone's connected.”


To learn more about High Octane Industries (H2O) visit their website at https://h2oindustries.com/. You can also find them on Instagram and Facebook.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Cupbop Korean Barbecue to open location in Idaho Falls

The Cup Bob Combo

Broulim's customers may already be familiar with its fare, but Cupbop Korean Barbecue is scheduled to open its first standalone location Thursday at 3460 South 25th East, formerly the home of Soda Tsunami.

“It’s a unique offering. It’s a great flavor profile,” said Michael Bevans, one of the owners, in an interview with EastIdahoNews.com. “It’s going to be a great place for anyone looking for something that’s out of the normal offering of sandwiches and that kind of stuff.” Bevans said a grand opening is in the works for the first week of December.

He described Cupbop (Korean for "steamed rice") as a “Korean barbecue spin on a fast-food concept.” The menu includes kimchi and a variety of cup combo meals with a rice/cabbage mixture and sweet potato noodles. It also includes a choice of meat, ranging from barbecue chicken, Korean-style beef, spicy pork, or a tangy, deep-fried or regular deep-fried chicken, and it’s topped off with a sweet or spicy sauce.

Business growth throughout eastern Idaho is what prompted him to open a location in Idaho Falls. Cupbop got its start as a food truck in 2013 when Junghun Song and two of his friends attended a food convention in Salt Lake City. The first storefront opened two years later and has since grown to include locations throughout the west, including locations inside Broulim’s in Ammon and Rexburg.

Bevans says he’s planning to open another location on the west side of Idaho Falls soon and a store in Rexburg. Cu[bop Korean Barbecue will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Salt Lake Tribune: Cupbop serves up a winning combo for success in Utah and beyond 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

INL offering tech-based economic development grants

Idaho National Laboratory is taking applications from non-profit organizations for its 2021 technology-based economic development grants.

INL’s Economic Development mission is to stimulate economic development, support new business growth, recruit new talent and support entrepreneurship throughout Idaho. To achieve these goals, grants are offered to support economic development efforts. Proposals will be evaluated based on:

• Their ability to support the growth of businesses in our region, especially those related to energy, the environment and national security.
• Expected return on investment and impact to the community.
• Level of innovation and outreach to impact underserved areas or populations.

Organizations must be 501(c)(3) non-profit entities. Successful applicants must provide a copy of their IRS tax-exempt letter to receive funding.
The deadline for grant requests is Nov. 30, 2020. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be included in the review process. Decisions will be made by Jan. 15, 2021. Notifications will be sent to requesting organizations informing them of funding awards. Funds are for projects for the period of Jan. 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2021.
For full details on all programs, visit www.inl.gov. Links can be found by clicking on Partner With INL in the top right corner of the page, then choosing Economic and Workforce Development.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Mo' Bettahs restaurant slated for Sandcreek Commons

Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian-style restaurant is scheduled to open at the end of April 2021 at the Sandcreek Commons shopping center in Ammon.

The restaurant will occupy approximately 2,600-square-feet of the new 7,600-square-foot building currently under construction in the Sandcreek Commons shopping center. It will share the space with Firehouse Subs and America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, according to a press release from Ball Ventures, the company that owns the building jointly with Woodbury Corp. of Salt Lake City.

The regional fast-casual restaurant chain was founded in Bountiful, Utah in 2008. The Ammon location will be the 22nd restaurant for the chain and the second location in Idaho.

Founded by Kalani and Kimo Mack, two brothers born and raised in Hawaii, Mo’ Bettahs aims to “transport you to a Hawaiian island experience” and strives to bring the authentic flavor of Hawaiian dishes to all who step in their restaurants.The menu features teriyaki chicken, teriyaki steak, kalua pork, and a breaded and deep-fried chicken katsu. Mo’ Bettah’s offers drive-thru, dine-in, delivery and catering service.

Interview with Kalani and Kimo Mack from 2017

“Mo’ Bettah’s Hawaiian Style is unlike any other restaurant in the Idaho Falls/Ammon area,” said Eric Isom, Ball Ventures' chief development officer. “Working with Mo’ Bettah’s management has been a pleasure. We can’t wait for the community to enjoy their delicious menu.”

“We are excited to be joining the thriving community of Ammon, Idaho,” says Andrew Smith, General Partner of the Savory Restaurant Fund where Mo’ Bettahs sits as one of their portfolio brands. “The state of Idaho and its communities have been a great place for us, the public loves our food and we are thrilled with this new project in Ammon.”

Companies involved in the design and construction include Wind River Construction, HK Contractors, Horrocks Engineers and Dixon & Associates. Brent Wilson with TOK Commercial is the listing broker for Sandcreek Commons.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

INL small business subcontracting, purchasing hit new high in FY 2020

Despite being an incredibly challenging year, FY 2020, which ended Sept. 30, saw Idaho National Laboratory’s highest-ever levels of small business subcontracting and purchasing.

The lab spent around $352.5 million with small businesses, which made up over 66% of the spend on goods and services. INL also exceeded all five of its specific small business spending goals, including small disadvantaged, HUBZone, women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and Idaho-based businesses.

This unusually high spend for goods and services occurred in large part due to the success of INL’s growing missions, including a thriving construction portfolio, expanding cybersecurity research and a heightened business need generated by the advanced nuclear projects slated for the INL desert site.

Along with these exciting new mission developments, the lab’s high attainment is especially impressive in light of the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presented to businesses. Standard spending habits decreased significantly during the beginning phases of the pandemic, and efforts instead shifted toward purchasing items necessary to keep the lab safe, including hand sanitizer, disinfectants and cleaning supplies, and masks, in addition to filling consistent PPE needs not related to COVID-19.

This shifted focus allowed the lab to support several local small businesses in their extraordinary efforts to provide innovative solutions to overwhelming need during the pandemic. Even as COVID-19-related needs die down, these lasting partnerships will continue to benefit INL and the southeastern Idaho community.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Moms Supporting Moms | Chynna Hansen, Little Mama Shirt Shop

Chynna Hansen, her husband, Tyler, and their three sons, owners of the eBusinees Little Mama Shirt Shop

On an initial investment of $400, Chynna Hansen started an online shirt shop as a way to make extra income to help pay household bills while her husband, Tyler, went to school. “I think I didn't know I was an entrepreneur, maybe even when I was,” she says now about the decision.

Chynna saw that graphic tees were gaining popularity but that most of them did not have a flattering fit. “It struck me one day. The name came to me first,” she said. She started with seven designs and worked with a local screen-printer. Starting on Etsy and then announcing it on Facebook live, the idea was a success. “It was a lot of hustle. We dumped everything into the business for the first seven months,” she said.

 Chynna is known for the saying "Bringing Up Boys" and has trademarked the saying as her design.
“I was meant to be my own boss -- even if that came with a lot of heartache and a lot of struggle, it was what I was meant to do,” she said. She admits that she hadn't really accepted that she has a business until last year. There wasn't a ton of pressure on the business and Chynna was able to focus on the LMSS community, which has since changed as her husband has left his full-time job and joined the company.

LMSS has a VIP group of around 8,000 members. Considering the group, Chynna admits that she's scared to grow it because she likes the intimacy of the group as it currently is. The VIP group provides early access to sales, advice, and general mom “stuff.” It's important to Chynna to be active in the group every day, and she feels the personal touch has made all the difference. She likes showing that they are truly a family business and look just like their customers.

“We have worked hard to build a reputation of always moms supporting moms,” she said. “We always say it's more than shirts.”

A lot of the moms resonate with the need for community. Looking back, Chynna recognizes that she was lonely as a mom raising her kids. It took courage to say to the world, but she knew she needed to do it for herself and for others who felt the same way. That made her want to create a place where mothers could share information and lift each other up with without judging each other.

Although followers and customers don't see everything that is happening behind the scenes, Chynna works hard to show her business model is pretty transparent. She came from an entrepreneurial family, but never really understood the impact that had on her. She admits she has had good mentors in her parents, and they have always been there to answer her questions based on their own experiences. Still, a lot of what she has learned has been by trial and error and by just diving in.

When asked about working with a spouse, Chynna admitted it can be difficult but said she loves it. “He has a lot of good ideas and has phrases for shirts too,” she said. When her husband recently left his full-time job it was a risk but she admitted she needed him to help grow the business.

Chynna said that they have a supportive community but it has not come without some critics. “With eCommerce, people forget that there is a person operating behind the screen. You can't please every person, but you can try,” she said. She has worked through it by just figuring it out, knowing she's not alone because she has the whole community of LMSS behind her. “We have to choose every day to go in the positive direction that works,” she said.

Scaling was more difficult than starting, she said. She and her team are working hard to find resources to solve the problems that arise, and even though that can be intimidating their team is committed to LMSS success.

The future of the business is always on Chynna's mind, and she and her husband are looking to bigger plans for the future. She says she's not looking for giant warehouses and hundreds of employees, but anything is possible.


For more information on Little Mama Shirt Shop, visit their website at https://littlemamashirtshop.com/. You can find LMSS on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/littlemamashirtshop and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/littlemamashirtshop/.

Business Leadership Moment

Job descriptions and role clarity. Are you experiencing a different role than what your job description says? Does it say leader and yet you are acting like a job support staff? Time to self examine!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Lindstedt earns Credentialed Cooperative Director certificate

Anna Lindstedt
Fall River Electric board member Anna Lindstedt of Driggs recently earned her Credentialed Cooperative Director certificate (CCD) from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which represents over 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric providers in the United States.

This first part of NRECA’s three-part Director Education Program, the Credentialed Cooperative Director program, consists of five courses that focus on basic governance knowledge and the essential skills required of cooperative directors. The CCD prepares directors to fulfill their fiduciary duty as elected officials serving on behalf of their membership. Now that Lindstedt has completed her CCD, she can pursue the Board Leadership Certificate available through NRECA.

Fall River Electric’s by-laws require all board directors to complete certification as a cooperative
director which provides them with the essential skills required of co-op directors. “Our board has been impressed with Anna’s knowledge and at how dedicated she has been in accomplishing the training that is beneficial to the entire board,” said Dede Draper, president of Fall River’s board of directors.

Lindstedt is employed by Friends of the Teton River and has been in Teton Valley since 2004. She was elected last year from District 4, which includes the northeastern portion of Driggs, including the Alta area and then north along Highway 33 and east of N 500 W.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Idaho Women's Business Center to open office in Idaho Falls

The Idaho Women’s Business Center will be opening an office in at the Idaho Innovation Center in Idaho Falls, with a ceremonial kickoff event scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. Due to social distancing, a limited number of attendees will be able to participate live, but anyone interested in participating virtually can do so at www.IdahoWomen.org.

Launched by the U.S. Small Business Administration in July 2019, IWBC's mission is to support innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic empowerment for women across the state. Since its inception it has intended to have a statewide presence. In addition to the Idaho Falls office, another office will be opening in Moscow. The Idaho Falls office comes as a result of an technology innovation grant from Idaho National Laboratory. "After several meetings with INL, we knew that even though the pandemic has delayed our projections to open, we needed to push forward to be closer to our clients, said Megan Bryant, IWBC Director of Communication & Connections.

Cheryl O’Brien, a former INL senior executive, is the IWBC associate director for eastern Idaho. She brings a variety of experience to the position and her community connectivity to stakeholders locally will enhance IWBC's ability to leverage the existing ecosystem of resources.

Located at 2300 N. Yellowstone, the Idaho Innovation Center is a business incubator providing resources to small, fledgling companies, where entrepreneurs can confidently and aggressively start and grow their small businesses through collaboration, education, mentoring and shared resources. Resources onsite include the IIC, the Idaho Small Business Development Center, the Service Corp of Retired Executives, the Idaho Manufacturing Alliance, the University of Idaho, and Idaho State University.

Local, state and national leaders have been invited to the ceremony Tuesday, including Governor Brad
Little, U.S. Sen. James E. Risch, U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper and Ammon Mayor Sean Coletti.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

DOE picks two companies for advanced reactor demonstration funding

The Natrium system from TerraPower and GE-Hitachi features a 345-MWe reactor and can be optimized for specific markets. For instance, its thermal storage has the potential to boost the system’s output to 500-MWe of power for more than five and a half hours when needed.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Tuesday it has selected two U.S.-based teams to receive $160 million in initial funding under the new Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP). ARDP, announced in May, is designed to help domestic private industry demonstrate advanced nuclear reactors in the United States.
DOE is awarding TerraPower LLC of Bellevue, Wash., and X-energy of Rockville, Md., $80 million each in initial funding to build two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational within seven years. The awards are cost-shared partnerships with industry that will deliver two first-of-a-kind advanced reactors to be licensed for commercial operations. The department will invest a total of $3.2 billion over seven years, subject to the availability of future appropriations, with industry partners providing matching funds.
“The awards are the first step of a new program that will strengthen American leadership in the next generation of nuclear technologies,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “These partnerships will help maximize DOE’s investment in advanced reactors, which play a vital role in our clean energy strategy.”

As DOE's lead laboratory for nuclear research and home of the National Reactor Innovation Center, Idaho National Laboratory will play a role in the projects' development.

"I congratulate TerraPower’s Natrium reactor and X-energy’s xe100 reactor for receiving the DOE's advanced reactor demonstration pathway awards," said INL Director Mark Peters. "Today marks a tremendous step forward in bringing advanced fission systems from concept to reality."
“Congratulations to all the innovators selected for their Advanced Reactor Demonstration Proposals,” said Ashley Finan, director of the National Reactor Innovation Center. “NRIC looks forward to working with each of you to deliver successful outcomes. These projects contribute to a diversity of designs, which will help achieve our commitment to demonstrating advanced reactors.”

GE Hitachi, TerraPower Team on Nuclear-Storage Hybrid SMR (Powermag.com, Sept. 3, 2020)

Specifically, TerraPower will demonstrate the Natrium reactor, a sodium‐cooled fast reactor that leverages decades of development and design undertaken by TerraPower and its partner, GE‐Hitachi. The high-operating temperature of the Natrium reactor, coupled with thermal energy storage, will allow the plant to provide flexible electricity output that complements variable renewable generation such as wind a solar. In addition, this project will establish a new metal fuel fabrication facility that is scaled to meet the needs of this demonstration program.
X-energy will deliver a commercial four-unit nuclear power plant based on its Xe-100 reactor design. The Xe-100 is a high temperature gas-cooled reactor that is ideally suited to provide flexible electricity output as well as process heat for a wide range of industrial heat applications, such as desalination and hydrogen production. The project will also deliver a commercial scale TRi-structural ISOtropic particle fuel (TRISO) fuel fabrication facility, leveraging DOE’s substantial investment in development of this highly robust fuel form.

The Xe-100 high temperature gas-cooled pebble bed modular nuclear power plant has a small physical footprint, only 200 meters by 100 meters with a small emergency planning zone, and a reduced water requirement which means it can be installed in a much wider range of potential locations compared to other clean energy solutions.

Both projects incorporate a range of design features that will not only enhance safety, but make them affordable to construct and operate, paving the way for the United States to deploy highly competitive advanced reactors domestically and globally.
“DOE and U.S. industry are extremely well-equipped to develop and demonstrate nuclear reactors with the requisite sense of urgency, which is important not only to our economy, but to our environment, because nuclear energy is clean energy,” said Dr. Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy.

X-Energy Steps Into The Ring With Its Advanced Pebble Bed Modular Nuclear Reactor (Forbes, March 27, 2017)

Congress appropriated $160 million for the Fiscal Year 2020 budget as initial funding for these demonstration projects. Funding beyond the near-term is contingent on additional future appropriations, evaluations of satisfactory progress and DOE approval of continuation applications. In addition, the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriation also provided initial year funding of $30 million for two to five Risk Reduction for Future Demonstrations projects and $20 million initial year funding for at least two Advanced Reactor Concepts-20 (ARC-20) projects. Awards for these projects are expected to be announced in December 2020. 
More information on the Office of Nuclear Energy and its programs can be found here.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Abracadabra's owner plans French restaurant for old Cellar location

At left is the property at 3520 East 17th as it appeared in the early 20th century, and at right, the building as it appears today.

For years it was The Cellar and regarded as one of the more upscale places to eat in the Idaho Falls/Ammon area. For a brief stint this year it was Rustic Vine, specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. And now, the property at 3520 East 17th Street is being refashioned into Cast Iron, with an opening set for November.

East Idaho News reports that co-owner Josh Swain plans to open sometime around Thanksgiving. “It’s going to be French cuisine with a rotating menu,” he said. “There’ll be a staple of six or seven items, but we’re going to have daily specials. It’s peasant food reinvented for (modern) times.”

Swain owns Abracadabra’s in Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Twin Falls, and is the former owner of Stockman’s Restaurant. He said he and his partners felt inspired to purchase the property last month when Rustic Vine, the previous occupant, closed after six months of operation.

“I didn’t want to open another restaurant, but I’ve always been in love with this place,” he said. “I think I have a concept that’s going to make people fall in love with it the way that I did.”

He said it will be a standalone location and that his goal is to open without fanfare this November. “We’re just going to turn the lights on and say, ‘We’re open,'” he said.

Wind River Construction is doing the remodeling, and Launie.com is a consultant on the project.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Idaho National Laboratory plays key role in 'green hydrogen' research

Dr. Dong Ding (right) and his GEM fellow student, Joshua Gomez (left) examine a lab-made solid oxide electrolysis cell, which will be used for hydrogen production through high temperature steam electrolysis.

Idaho National Laboratory is a member of two new Department of Energy research consortia charged with exploring new methods and technologies for hydrogen production. Hydrogen can effectively store excess electricity, which can be harvested later via fuel cells. These consortia – H2NEW and HydroGEN 2.0 – were formed to discover how “green” hydrogen can be produced more efficiently and less expensively.

“DOE has a strong interest in hydrogen generation,” said INL researcher Gary Groenewold, who is leading the lab’s involvement in the H2NEW consortium. “They’ve got technology they feel can be pushed from mid-range research to the pilot plant level.”

INL and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will co-lead H2NEW, which will advance state-of-the-art hydrogen production using low temperature electrolysis and high temperature electrolysis. The program will conduct research, development and demonstration of large-scale, affordable electrolyzers — devices that use electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The end goal is to be able to produce hydrogen at a generalized cost of $2 per kilogram. Today, carbon-free hydrogen from electrolysis costs about $5 to $6/kg to make assuming electricity prices of $0.05/kWh to $0.07/kWh.

The second consortium, HydroGEN 2.0, is led by NREL. It will focus more on fundamental science questions by facilitating collaborations between national laboratories, academia and industry. The consortium’s steering committee has representatives from DOE and each of the six member labs. Dr. Richard Boardman is INL’s representative.

Both consortia are funded by DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Collectively, these efforts support EERE’s H2@Scale vision for affordable hydrogen production, distribution, storage and utilization across multiple applications.
INL is widely known for its expertise in solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs). For years, INL researchers have experimented with solid oxide electrolysis stacks, splitting water molecules at lower temperatures and reducing stress on SOEC materials. In 2018, INL researcher Dong Ding and his colleagues demonstrated high-performance electrochemical hydrogen production at a lower temperature than seen before. In a paper published by the journal Advanced Science, Ding reported on a highly efficient proton-conducting solid oxide electrolysis cell (P-SOEC) that incorporates a 3D ceramic steam electrode. During testing, the cells operated below 600 degrees Celsius at a highly sustained rate for days.

In 2020, Ding led a team of INL researchers to pioneer a reversible electrochemical cell that efficiently converts excess electricity and water into hydrogen but also, when called for, can convert hydrogen back into electricity for the grid. The hydrogen can be used as fuel for heat, vehicles or other applications. The results appeared in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

“The people in his group are working at a very high level,” Groenewold said.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Closings this week in the Greater Idaho Falls area

Here's a rundown of closings this week from SVN High Desert Commercial:

Odyssey Rehabilitation leased 3,645 sf of office space located at 756 Oxford Drive in Idaho Falls. Randy Waters of SVN High Desert Commercial represented the landlord and Shane Murphy of Venture One Properties represented the tenant.

Christensen Insurance agency leased 766 sf of office space located at 1820 E 17th Street in Idaho Falls. Randy Waters of SVN High Desert Commercial represented the landlord and Tina Miller of Assist to Sell represented the tenant.

Boomers Audio leased 3600 sf warehouse in Ucon. Randy Waters represented the landlord and tenant.

Mi Casa Properties LLC purchased a 1,960 sf medical condo at 2065 E 17th street. Randy Waters of SVN High Desert Commercial represented the seller and Jason Grider of Morgan Grider Peterson represented the buyer.

Alphagraphics purchased an additional acre next door to their current location on Bentley Way in  Idaho Falls. Randy Waters of SVN High Desert represented the buyer and seller.

Boam and Associates leased 1,306 sf in the Exchange Plaza. Randy Waters represented the landlord and tenant.

Kone Properties Purchased a 1.313 acre lot in Andersen Business Development slated for a 6,000 sf warehouse. Randy Waters of SVN High Desert Commercial represented the buyer and seller.

Boost Mobile leased 1,200 sf located at 563 South Woodruff. Randy Waters of SVN High Desert Commercial represented the landlord and tenant.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

INL wins three R&D 100 Awards

Three Idaho National Laboratory technologies have won R&D 100 Awards in 2020. Since their inception in 1963, the R&D 100 Awards have celebrated research and development from across the public and private sectors and are a prestigious distinction for inventors. Laboratories and companies across the nation submit nominations, and a panel of more than 40 industry-leading experts ranks the entries based on technical significance, uniqueness, and applicability across industry, government and academia. Typically, the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories have dozens of finalists every year.

Including this year’s winners, INL has won 25 R&D 100 Awards since 2005.

This year, due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 R&D 100 Awards ceremony was held virtually.


Carbon CURE (Carbon Capture & Utilization through Reduction Electrolysis)

Researchers: Luis Diaz Aldana (principal investigator), Ningshengjie Gao, Tedd Lister, Birendra Adhikari, Aaron Wilson, Eric Dufek

Description: Decarbonizing energy production through carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a popular idea that has been plagued by operational and economic challenges, but integrating carbon capture with reuse to make high-value products could offer an operational advantage. The Carbon CURE process provides a solution by using recyclable solvents as a carbon capture medium that can be fed directly to an electrochemical cell. The cell converts carbon dioxide to syngas, the building block for a raft of high value products. The process will help to achieve economical carbon capture at an industrial scale.

The Carbon CURE process aims to achieve economical carbon capture at an industrial scale.

CoDeAc (Colorimetric Detection of Actinides)

Researchers: Catherine Riddle (principal investigator), Rick Demmer

Description: In responding to an accident or attack, handheld detectors may provide adequate screening for some radiation sources but they lack the sensitivity to detect alpha emitters such as uranium and plutonium in dusty, outdoor environments. CoDeAc can help responders quickly detect actinides at any disaster or accident scene. CoDeAc's color change in the presence of very low concentrations of uranium and plutonium gives a go/no-go result in seconds, allowing these professionals to make decisions based on actual data instead of assumptions on-site. These decisions impact everyone and can mean the difference between evacuating hundreds of thousands of people within square miles or just 100 people within a square block during a radiological event.

Crop Artificial Intelligence Quotient (Crop AIQ)

Researchers: Mike Griffel (principal investigator), Damon Hartley (biomass analysis), M. Ross Kunz (data analytics)

Description: Crop AIQ provides a vital function: agricultural performance assessments that allow land managers to make more informed decisions about how they grow plants for food, feed, fiber and fuel. The tool gives farmers the ability to generate an accurate yield map without having to rely on harvester data, the only other way to produce such a map. A yield map is fundamental to precision agriculture and integrated land management. It is also basic to maximizing agriculture productivity and profitability, while minimizing environmental impact.

CoDeAc can help responders quickly detect actinides at any disaster or accident scene.


CellSage-KTA (Kinetic & Transient Analyses)

Researcher: Kevin Gering

Description: CellSage-KTA is an advanced computational tool that gives insight into a battery cell’s age. It employs physics, electrochemistry and thermodynamics to diagnose battery health in real time on a standard personal computer or laptop. It also can be used to predict battery performance and track aging characteristics through multiple mechanisms.

High-Moisture Pelleting Process

Researcher: Jaya Shankar Tumuluru

Description: High-Moisture Pelleting Process helps produce biofuels and biopolymers for roughly 60% less compared to the cost of current practices, making these bioproducts cost-competitive with petroleum-based alternatives. The method efficiently dries and pellets high-moisture biomass, significantly reducing energy consumption for preprocessing materials such as agriculture leftovers or municipal solid waste.


Researchers: Briam Johnson (principal investigator), Michael McCarty, Rishi Chatterjee, Kristopher Watts (Gravwell Group)

Description: The OpDefender, an intelligent software-defined networking switch, protects electric utilities, oil and gas infrastructure, water systems, and other critical infrastructure from cyberattack. OpDefender uniquely monitors and protects industrial control systems at the application protocol layers, reducing the cyberattack surface by as much as 99% compared to standard industrial switches.

Route Operable Unmanned Navigation of Drones (ROUNDS)

Researchers: Ahmad Al Rashdan (principal investigator), Michael L. Wheeler, Dakota Roberson (University of Idaho), Roger Lew (University of Idaho)

Description: ROUNDS is a cost-effective method for drones to navigate a course inside a building or structure where a strong GPS signal is absent. Self-navigation is achieved by determining the drone’s location from the visual angle of QR codes placed along a desired course, then dynamically adjusting trajectory accordingly. Self-navigating drones using ROUNDS could gather instrument data, check inventory, perform security rounds or do other tedious tasks, saving time and money while increasing operational efficiency across a range of industries. Likewise, automated movement of drones could improve safety by eliminating the need for people to enter areas that are hazardous due to elevation or the presence of chemicals or radiation.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Chicken and donuts and subs, oh my! Three new food options coming to Ammon

Who knows when things will ever get back to normal, but regardless of that lunchtime options for students at Hillcrest High School are about to become more varied with the developments at 2671 E. Sunnyside Road.

This is Hillcrest Plaza, the strip mall near the new Dutch Bros, and this week’s list of real estate transactions from TOK Commercial shows three transactions: Super Chix Idaho, LLC has leased 3,044 square feet; Hole Foods, LLC has leased 1,200 square feet; and Snake River Restaurant Group, LLC has leased 1,646 square feet.

Word is the latter two will be home to Duck Donuts and Jersey Mike's Subs.

No opening dates have been announced. Bonnie Wetsel, who is opening Duck Donuts with her husband, Wyatt, told EastIdahoNews.com in September that the buildout will depend on availability of materials. Likewise, Bill Hawes, who is opening Super Chix, said an opening won’t be for several months.

Duck Donuts was founded in North Carolina in 2007. Since then, it has expanded to more than 200 stores, mainly on the East Coast, with scattered locations in Utah, Arizona and California. The Ammon store will be the first in Idaho.

Super Chix is owned by Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut. The first restaurant opened in Texas in 2014. It bills itself as “a premium, fast-casual dining experience devoted to fresh, high-quality offerings and a great customer experience.” Besides chicken sandwiches and fries, the menu also features hand-dipped frozen custard, served in cones, cups, milkshakes and fusions (concretes). Two franchises opened in Utah earlier this year.

Jersey Mike’s
dates back to 1956, when 17-year-old Pete Cancro, with help from his high school football coach (also a banker) opened a shop in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. Since then, the chain has expanded to more than 1,600 locations, with major expansion in California and the Western United States.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Sara Prentice selected to chair Chamber of Commerce board

Sara Prentice
The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors has selected Sara Prentice as its new chair.

In addition to having served on the board since 2016, Prentice is manager of Mission Enabling Communication Services at Idaho National Laboratory. In that role, she oversees a staff of communications professionals focused on supporting the INL laboratory director and deputy laboratory directors with executive communications. Her organization also includes employee communications, visual communications, digital media, and protocol and hospitality. Prentice was previously the protocol officer for INL and enjoyed showcasing the eastern Idaho community to VIP visitors.

“Sara is a great connection between the business community and the INL," said Chamber CEO Chip Schwarze. "Her leadership, event planning, tourism, and community awareness make her an ideal representative of our diverse business community. I am eager to work with her and serve our great business community.”

Since it started as the Idaho Falls Club of Commerce in 1904, the chamber has grown to include 656 member businesses representing more than 27,000 employees in the greater Idaho Falls region. Member businesses represent more than 30 different business sectors. The chamber works to create and protect competitive advantage for business in the region. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A little bit of history for today ...

Researching my weekly history column for the Post Register, I  found an interesting ad on the financial page of the Sept. 7, 1920, Portland, Ore., Daily Journal. It might be of interest some of my commercial real estate friends. The copy reads as follows:

“Per Capita — Idaho Falls is One of the West’s Wealthiest Cities ... The fact that Idaho Falls’ immense wealth is based on agriculture and it is the trading center of a vast irrigated region makes it unusually solid and places its bonds in the class of PREFERRED INVESTMENTS ... ONE TO TEN-YEAR 6 1/2% IMPROVEMENT BONDS ... INCOME TAX EXEMPT PRICE TO YIELD 7%”

Bonds could be bought in denominations of $100, $500 and $1,000. The ad was posted by Lumbermens Trust Co., under supervision of the Oregon State Building Department.

Good news from Google -- and how to stay in the Big G's good graces

Oh my gosh, after eight years it looks like BizMojoIdaho is out of the doghouse with Google! My AdSense account has been reinstated.

I don’t know what got me banned in the first place, a mildly satirical column on the blog or the mistake of clicking a Google-sponsored ad that appeared on my page (a bigger no-no than I had any idea, obviously). Whatever the case, my appeals fell on deaf ears for years until this past week.

For the education and edification of any publisher with a web page who wishes to stay in Google’s good graces, here is a rundown of do’s and don’ts from the email I received Monday afternoon:

  • It is against our program policies for publishers to click on their own ads or to encourage others to do so. In addition, the use of automated techniques to generate clicks, such as robots or scripts, is prohibited.
  • Use the Google Publisher Toolbar if you want to click an ad to check the landing page or other details. It will allow you to check the destination of ads on your page without the risk of invalid clicks.

The email contains a few cautions as well:

  • Please be assured that we are logging all the clicks, so do not click your ads to make sure the clicks are reported in the Performance reports. However, there may be reasons that you don't see the clicks right away as it may take up to 24 hours to finalize clicks and impressions in your reports.
  • Please note that if ad serving does not resume after your account is reinstated, there may be other issues needing resolution.

So I guess we wait and see. I'm curious to see how the ads appear and whether they generate any significant money. This blog turned nine years old earlier this month, and a lot has changed since I started it. I really appreciate the people who've followed it, the people who weigh in with questions and suggestions and tips, also my faithful advertisers. Thanks so much!

Chamber seeks Distinguished Under 40 nominees

The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations from the community for its annual Distinguished Under 40 Awards. This is an awards program that honors 10 young professionals who have gone above and beyond to accomplish great things in their careers, community, and education. To be considered, young professionals can be nominated by co-workers, managers, and business associates. The nomination process will open this Thursday and the deadline is Oct. 30

Since it started as the Club of Commerce in 1904, the chamber has grown to include 656 member businesses representing more than 27,000 employees in the greater Idaho Falls region. Member businesses represent more than 30 different business sectors. The chamber works to create and protect competitive advantage for business in the region. For more information about becoming a member, contact Aaron James at marketing@idahofallschamber.com, or Stacy Butcher at programs@idahofallschamber.com Or call (208) 523-1010.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Finding the right fit | Mike Taylor, Taylored Fit

Mike Taylor
Mike Taylor's college education started with studying business until an economics class brought him to the realization that it might not be the right career for him. After moving on to performing arts and finding out that his lack of piano proficiency would be a big stumbling block, he turned to his physical education professor and asked, “How can I do what you do?” He changed his major to sports science and went on to get his master's degree in health education.

“I figured out I can work with people, I can talk about exercise and biomechanics and things that I'm interested in and teach people to help them feel better, look better, and just be happier with themselves and their lives,” he said.

Taylor's approach is holistic and takes in nutrition, behavior modification, and activity in a way that is enjoyable for the clients he serves to help them meet their fitness goals. “One of the things people like about me is that they don't feel judged. We have that accountability factor but they know me, they know my story. I've been through the ups and downs of weight loss and healthy lifestyle management, so I'm no stranger to the self-shame and the self-loathing we go through,” Mike said, “I try to find out where they are at and go from there.”

Since college, Taylor has worked full-time at the health department as well as providing personal training. “The last few years I've noticed that I've been trading time for money. I was running short on time. I've been working well over 60-plus hours a week. I decided I've got to do something different,” he said. As an answer to this, he has developed an online coaching program. COVID-19 has sped this up and now Taylor has a fully virtual program for his clients where anyone can visit any time during the day.

The vision is to grow his business and create a platform that anyone across the globe can access. He continues to see clients one-on-one as well as provide his virtual program and some small groups. When asked what he thinks sets him apart he said, “Personal training. I develop and design your program just for you. I'm the type of trainer you need.” He feels that his experience and training allow him to create a program that leads his clients to success.

He shared that an uncle once told him, “Mike, if you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space. I really like that, the edge is the defining moment of what happens. You either stay on the edge or fall off.”

He admits that one of his biggest challenges is believing in himself daily. Although he does that for other people, he still needs that for himself. He feels strongly that you need to have your own support system and that is what helps to get you through the tough times. “We have setbacks, we have to learn self-reflection. Don't stew on the negative, learn from it and move on,” he said.

Taylor's family is active in sharing the story of fitness. They have recently started a YouTube channel called Taylored Fit Fam to share their own lives and how to fit fitness into everything a busy family of six kids has to do.

When considering self-employment, Taylor advises others who love to serve customers and are willing to have integrity in your business to go forward and follow their dreams.


Check out Mike's website for a free eBook and for more information on Taylored Fit at https://mikethetrainertaylor.com/.

Follow the Taylored Fit Fam on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSEy9EliKpQXdihkJh6o0rQ.