Friday, August 10, 2012

Sarah's Candy Cottage owners to open Boise store

Mike Swendsen and Liz Yasaitis of Sarah's Candy Cottage 
Plenty of people would say you can never have too much chocolate, which is something Mike Swendsen understands.

Swendsen and his daughter, Liz Yasaitis, who own Sarah's Candy Cottage in Idaho Falls, are opening a new store, Saroli Chocolat, in Boise later this month. "It's a capacity issue," he said. "We make more chocolate here than we can sell. When you consider that the population base here is 80,000 and the population base in the Boise area is over 800,000, it makes sense to expand there."

Saroli Chocolat will be at 755 W. Broad Street, in the BoDo District, across the street from the Edwards Downtown Stadium 9. The property is being remodeled in the style of the Woodruff Avenue store in Idaho Falls. It is about 800 square feet, compared to 1,500 in Idaho Falls. "We didn't need any manufacturing space there, so a smaller space would do," Swendsen said.

The chocolate used at Sarah's comes in slabs from Belgium. While Boise has a few good chocolate stores, Swendsen said their artisanal approach should set them apart. "This is more like something you would find in Belgium," he said.

In addition to chocolate, Sarah's offers more varieties of licorice that most people can imagine, a huge selection of what used to be called "penny candy," and Gelatto.

Since Sarah's began in 1998, its policy has been to give each customer a free truffle or piece of fudge. This will be the same at Saroli. "We want people to have a good experience when they come in," Swendsen said.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

GM invests in INL spinoff company, NanoSteel

Earlier this summer we wrote about NanoSteel, a company with its roots in the Idaho National Laboratory and its research and development office in Idaho Falls. NanoSteel has developed an alloy that can be used in the fabrication of lightweight steel, critical to automakers in achieving higher fuel efficiencies and meeting rigorous new U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

This week, General Motors Ventures LLC announced it has invested in NanoSteel. The company joined lead shareholders EnerTech Capital and Fairhaven Capital Partners and five existing investors to complete the Series C financing round. Terms of the GM Ventures investment were not disclosed.

"Over the next several years, light-weighting of vehicles will be a major focus area to improve fuel economy," said Jon Lauckner, GM's chief technology officer, vice president of Global R&D and president of GM Ventures. "NanoSteel's nano-structured alloys offer unique material characteristics that are not available today, making them a potential game-changer."

Through the development of patented alloys, NanoSteel has created a new class of steel that allows automotive engineers and designers to reduce weight through the use of thinner, higher strength gauges while maintaining the structural integrity needed for safety. NanoSteel's new steel design is an alternative to other light-weighting materials which may cost more, require new investment in parts production and have performance limitations.

"GM Ventures investment in NanoSteel demonstrates its confidence in our company's potential to achieve widespread impact on the auto industry through our proprietary steel designs," said Dave Paratore, president and CEO of NanoSteel.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ISU Credit Union breaks ground on Sunnyside Road branch

ISU Credit Union has broken ground on its sixth full-service branch location, at 2255 E. Sunnyside Road. When it opens in 2013, it will be the credit union's second full-service Idaho Falls location.
The branch will do away with teller lines and windows and replace them with what are called "teller pods," designed so there is less of a barrier between the customer and the teller and allowing the customer to see everything that takes place during a transaction.

"The idea is to automate the actual banking transaction and focus more on personal relationships," said President/CEO Robert Taylor, in a news release. "It helps us connect with our members, so they know they're more than just a transaction to us."

More information is available at www.isucu.net.

Fishing pond dedication set for Friday morning

Kids fishing at Idaho Falls' Ryder Park. 

The Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be hosting the dedication of Becker Pond in Ryder Park on Friday at 11 a.m. 

Parents and kids are encouraged to bring their fishing poles and enjoy this free event. There will be a ribbon cutting and mayoral proclamation, the dedication of a plaque and remarks from dignitaries.

The pond is located at 2001 West Sunnyside Road, on the west bank of the Snake River.

Ryder Park, 57 acres south of Sunnyside Road, opened in August 2011, and Fish and Game have been stocking it with fingerling rainbow trout since then. "If you want to give your little kids a chance to catch a fish, it's a good place to start," said Brad Huerta, spokesman for the city of Idaho Falls.

The pond is named in honor of contributions made by Gerry Becker and her daughter, Emily. Her husband, Bill, and her two sons, Andy and Ben, were killed in an airplane accident seven years ago. She approached the City Council in December 2011 about having the pond named after them because of their love for fishing. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Celt grand opening set for Aug. 24-25

The grand opening of The Celt, 398 Broadway (at the corner of Park Avenue and Broadway) has been set for Aug. 24-25, featuring the Irish rock band  Swagger from Park City, Utah. There will be food, wine, cocktails and 24 beers on tap. The door open at 8 p.m.

Here's some YouTube footage of Swagger, in case you're interested: