Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Longhorn Steakhouse planned for former Famous Dave's location

Famous Dave's on West Broadway is now just a memory.
We've had a few questions about Famous Dave's on West Broadway, which is undergoing a remodel and will no longer be Famous Dave's. Before long, it will be a Longhorn Steakhouse.

Famous Dave's closed its doors in September 2019. On Jan. 13 this year the city of Idaho Falls approved the building permit application filed on behalf of Jim Powell Darden Restaurants of Orlando, Fla., which also owns the Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains. The remodel value is estimated at $1.25 million.

While you were chowing down on ribs and cornbread at Famous Dave's, the company was in trouble. In 2017, with profits sliding and five CEOs in as many years, the Minneapolis-based chain announced plans to refranchise its entire company footprint. It trimmed corporate stores from 35 to 16, and had just 17 at the end of fiscal 2018. “We intend to strategically refresh the stores in these markets and believe that higher efficiencies at these locations will result in higher cash flows from previous levels while under franchise ownership,” CEO Jeff Crivello said in a press release.

More information can be found at this link: https://www.fsrmagazine.com/chain-restaurants/famous-daves-buys-back-stores-profit-slips.

In June last year, the company announced a partnership with Beyond Meat and plans to launch a test of plant-based protein menu items in Colorado and Minnesota.

Longhorn Steakhouse currently has one restaurant in Boise.

Thanks to BizMojoIdaho reader Brent Colborn for this heads up and also reports that the old Puerto Vallarta on Hitt Road is being remodeled into Cosmo Professional Beauty Supply.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

INL to set up commercialization center, 'Trailhead East,' in Idaho Falls

By Sharon Fisher
Reprinted from Idaho Business Review

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has received a one-year grant to set up a center to facilitate the creation of commercial products from technologies developed from research at the lab, modeled after and partnering with Boise’s Trailhead incubator space.

In homage, the space will be called Trailhead East @ Idaho National Lab.

“There’s not a huge innovation ecosystem in Idaho Falls,” said Jim Keating, commercialization and entrepreneurial programs manager for INL. “We want to play an integral role.”

How the project came about
The project is receiving funding through Practices to Accelerate the Commercialization of Technology (PACT) from the Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions, after a call for proposals about six months ago. The project received $175,000 from PACT, plus INL and Trailhead are contributing $96,000 of in-kind contributions, for a total budget of $271,000.

While the grant will last for only this year, the lab is looking on this as a pilot in the hopes that it will attract industry partners and become self-sustaining, Keating said, adding that it was the only project of its kind to receive PACT funding.

The initial cohort – for which the lab is now taking applications – will be five teams, each of which will receive $15,000 to begin to identify customers or industrial partners, Keating said. That amount largely pays for the staffers’ time to be away from the lab to conduct customer interviews and refine their business model, using the Stanford University Lean Launchpad method, he said.

“It’s a really effective approach,” he said. “Instead of spending millions to develop technology, first you validate that there’s a market.”

The program itself is considered a continuation of the Energy Innovation Corps. (I-Corps.), a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy that is intended to help engineers and scientists from national labs commercialize technologies they have developed, Keating said.

Of the five cohorts, two teams will be chosen, each of which will receive $28,000 to continue the process of developing a market for the technology. Part of that process will be to attend a pitch competition in Boise in early December.

“We’re hoping with one of the two teams that at least one will land an industrial partner,” Keating said.

Teams could also attend Boise Startup Week, he added.

Dana Briggs
Effect on Idaho Falls
Keating said the center is also expected to help expand Idaho Falls’ economic development opportunities.

Dana Briggs, economic development director for Idaho Falls, said she is happy that INL received grant funding “to move forward projects that help the technologies developed at INL serve market needs.”

“I personally have been impressed with the work Trailhead Boise does and am excited that Idaho National Laboratory will be partnering with them to foster our local innovation ecosystem,” she said in an email message.

While Idaho Falls already has the Idaho Innovation Center, which is currently in the process of raising money to construct a new building, this project is different and complementary, Keating said.

“This isn’t done in exclusion,” he said. “Any time you’re building an ecosystem, the more the merrier. We need all efforts.”

Keating also noted that the INL workers intended to be participating in Trailhead East are different.

“These are not your typical entrepreneur who can quit their job and start a company,” he said.
Much of the work they will be doing at Trailhead East will be customer validation and interviews with people from industry.

“A lot of technology requires considerable effort transferring it from the lab to business,” he said.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Local home prices increase, outpacing national numbers

The Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistic Area shows normal valuation on CoreLogic's map.
Looking at the CoreLogic HPI report for November 2019 and comparing it with data from the Snake River Multiple Listing Service, home prices in Bonneville County increased at nearly three times the national rate.

CoreLogic, out of Irvine, Calif., reported home prices increased for the year by 3.7%. Snake River MLS’s marketing statistics show the median home price in Bonneville County through November was $221,050, up from $196,820 — an increase of 12.31%.

Idaho ranked first in home price change, registering 10.2%. And while Bonneville County showed up on the map, the hottest market in the state remains Treasure Valley. To the south, Utah showed an increase of 6.7%

The CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that home prices will increase by 5.3% on a year-over-year basis from November 2019 to November 2020. On a month-over-month basis, home prices are expected to increase by 0.2% from November 2019 to December 2019. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast is a projection of home prices using the CoreLogic HPI and other economic variables. Values are derived from state-level forecasts by weighting indices according to the number of owner-occupied households for each state.

During the second quarter of 2019, CoreLogic, together with RTi Research of Norwalk, Connecticut, conducted an extensive survey measuring consumer-housing sentiment among millennials. The study showed that a significant number of older millennials (ages 30-38) are strongly considering moving within the next 12 months, with 64% of this cohort expecting to purchase a home, reinforcing this group’s interest in the housing market. Meanwhile, 57% of younger millennials (ages 21-29) plan on renting their next home. Despite the purchase intent among older millennials, nearly half (43%) still view homeownership as unaffordable and out of reach.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Commercial real estate firm TOK launches rebranding

Signs around town on properties listed by Thornton Oliver Keller, the Boise-based commercial real estate firm, are going to be getting a new look soon. The 29-year old firm announced Thursday that it is rebranding, shortening its name to TOK and changing its logo.

The firm has enjoyed rapid expansion over the last several years and is positioning itself for further growth with the new look, a company press release said. The aim of the rebranding is to eliminate complexity and dated iconography and offer TOK a fresh identity for its signage, advertising, websites and social media channels.

“It seemed like a logical time to take this step. We wanted to have a branding platform that was able to reflect our growing size and scale,” said TOK Managing Partner Michael Ballantyne. “Thornton Oliver Keller’s name and logo has long enjoyed tremendous brand recognition and value, but increasingly has served as a source of confusion, as we are now most commonly referred to as TOK.”

While still in the beginning stages of the rollout, thus far TOK has shared key pieces of information about the repositioning effort through a dedicated website, an internal email campaign, and its social media channels and hashtag (#ItsTOK).

From tenant and landlord representation to acquisitions, property management, and advisory services, TOK brokerage and property management teams operate out of Boise, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls and serve clients in several western states, including Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Nevada and Utah.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

First 2020 building permit, site plans filed in Idaho Falls

Back in the day, newspapers made a big deal over the first baby born in the new year, with local merchants contributing useful and playful things to help the parents welcome their new offspring into the world.

We have no gifts, but in the same spirit BizMojo Idaho is happy to present the first Idaho Falls building permit application of 2020. Named Permit #COM20-0001, it is for remodeling of the Teton Home Health Wellness Center at 2470 Jafer Court, off 25th East, just north of MorningStar Senior Living of Idaho Falls. The application was made Jan. 2 at 12:47 p.m.

Based on square footage, the job value is estimated at $500,000. Total fees amount to $5,339.12. The owner is listed as Hansen and Harper LLC of Ammon, and the remodel is being done by Tallman Construction and Design, also of Ammon.

Teton Home Health has been around since February 1993, when it was certified as a Medicare and Medicaid services provider. Its Medicare certified services include nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology and home health aides.

The first site plan of 2020 was filed Jan. 3 by OE Connect Engineering of Idaho Falls for Freeman Apartments. The owner is listed as Teton Vista Homes of Eagle, Idaho. The complex is planned for the property south of Bowl-ero Lanes and Planet Doom and east of the U.S. Post Office on Fourth Street. The plan shows six buildings, each roughly 4,725 square feet in size and containing eight units.

So there you have it. It's a new decade. Best wishes for a prosperous and exciting 2020.