Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Making Golf a Year-round Thing | Bob Gretz, Bob's Indoor Golf

Bob Gretz and his children enjoying
a nice day in eastern Idaho.
When Bob Gretz's wife informed him that they were moving from Washington, D.C., to Idaho Falls to be closer to family, he immediately investigated what eastern Idaho would offer him in the way of golfing.

Learning that there were only about seven months of the year in which golfing was feasible he started to panic, wondering what he'd do without his daily golfing “fix.” This led to him to investigate the availability of indoor golf facilities, and he found the area lacking.

“One of the reasons it's so cool is because of this market. I started looking at some numbers and there are 6,000 regular golfers in Idaho Falls, and the number of rounds they put in the seven-month season is really big. I figured there had to be a need to put in an indoor golf facility,” he said.

Gretz's prior career was in corporate America, in the waste management business. He admits he didn't see himself doing this at this point in his life. “It's fun,” he said. “I have really gotten more people who are saying thanks for doing this instead of 'Why are you doing this?' The people are fun,” he said.

The facility is for anyone, novice to expert. “The worst part about public golf is the constant feeling of someone behind you, staring you down. It's stressful,” he said. "This facility allows new learners to practice and get comfortable with the game before getting on the real course. It also allows experts to come and perfect their game."

Opening the business was a leap of faith, he said. Although he didn't have financing secured he went ahead and signed a lease on the space. He was able to find a bank that supported his vision. “Sink or swim,” he said.

Gretz is grateful that he has had a lot of family and friends who have pitched in and helped, from his wife painting the wall murals to his daughter taking care of the books and his son-in-law coming from Colorado to put together the putting green.

“The first winter was better than we anticipated," he said. By mid-February we were seven days a week, pushing 12 hours. And then COVID hit,” he said. “We are doing a day at a time things right now.”

He believes that that the pandemic has really pushed people to buy local. He's seen individuals really supporting local business.

The facility not only houses golf. The East Idaho Cornhole Association uses the space for cornhole practice and events. It is also a place where you can bring your business associates and do team building events with the simulators or putting practice. There is a conference room available, too.

There were unanticipated challenges starting the business. Gretz said there were unanticipated price points he bumped up against, as well as challenges with his beer and wine license. The advantage of it just being him running the business means he's been able to make adjustments quickly.

Gretz has also faced physical challenges. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 10 years ago. “I don't let it be a barrier," he said. "When the end of the day comes around I'm pretty worn out. I have to pace myself. Everyone here knows it and understands it. This is one of the most unbiased populations I've ever lived in. They watch out for me. It's nice. It's a pain in the butt dealing with any kind of handicap, but it gives you a look into how other people have to live. There are people worse off than you.”

Although the corporate world is steady, Bob wishes he would have left it long ago and started a business. He believes in being involved in the business and being present for the customers to see him. His vision for the business is to continue to grow his clientele and be here for those starved for golf all year round. 


For more information on Bob's Indoor Golf go to their website at https://www.bobsindoorgolf.com/ or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bobsindoorgolf/.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Idaho Falls-based business receives DOE Small Business of the Year Award

The Marcom team, CEO Marcella Medor second from left.
MarCom, LLC, a small business headquartered in Idaho Falls, has won the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Small Business of the Year Award for Fiscal Year 2019.

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) nominated MarCom for this award, in large part due to their  support of INL’s recent award-winning project, the Remote-Handled Low-Level Waste (RHLLW) Disposal Facility. This facility enables safe disposal of low-level radioactive waste.

MarCom delivered technical and software development support for RHLLW, allowing productivity and efficiency gains to support the start of operations and the recovery from a six-month construction delay due to inclement weather and equipment failures. With the support of the MarCom team, the facility was completed for $4.7 million less than the baseline cost estimate and six months ahead of schedule, despite the earlier delays.

“The software MarCom built and all the work they did for RHLLW was fantastic,” said Sadie Butler, an INL project manager on the RHLLW team. “They are a great resource, and we are lucky to have them supporting us here at the lab.”

RHLLW is just one of many projects where MarCom has supported INL and other DOE labs. Founded in 2003 by Marcella Medor, MarCom is a Small Business Administration-certified, Native American-owned and woman-owned business with offices in Idaho Falls, Butte, Montana, and Fort Collins, Colorado. They supply management, administrative, engineering, nuclear operations and health-and-safety services to DOE sites around the nation, with 90% of their work coming from INL.

“Being a successful small business is all about your people,” Medor said. “The people that work with you make the difference between a business that can flourish and one that stays stagnant. Here at MarCom, we have some truly excellent staff.”

“MarCom definitely deserves this award,” said Stacey Francis, INL’s Small Business Program manager. “They have always been able to provide unique services to the lab, with their critical staff augmentation support and strong quality assurance background.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

CAES unveils new fellowship, names inaugural fellow

Veronika Vashnik
The Center for Advanced Energy Studies has announced its first Idaho Science and Technology Policy/CAES fellow. The fellowship is one of two offered through the newly launched Idaho Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program, a collaborative effort among three CAES entities: University of Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University.

Idaho Science and Technology Policy fellows spend a year embedded in an Idaho state government agency, developing and implementing solutions that address challenges in areas such as energy, cybersecurity, water, public health, and economic development. The program is modeled on the national American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science & Technology Policy Fellowship Program, initiated to bring scientists and engineers into a policy context where their technical knowledge and networks can inform people in government, a CAES news release said.

Sarah Hendricks
UI’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research leads the program. Nearly $300,000 was raised to launch the 2020 Idaho Science and Technology Policy Fellowship cohort.

The 2020 Idaho Science and Technology Policy fellows are:

Veronika Vazhnik, Ph.D., was selected as the inaugural ISTP/CAES Fellow.  She recently completed her doctorate in BioRenewable Systems with a minor in Operations Research at Penn State University. At INL, she has been leading Sustainability engagement programs for employees and the community. In energy research, her interests are in energy system sustainability assessment, and the technology and policy for a bio-based economy. A native of Belarus, she completed her bachelor's degree from the University of Freiburg, Germany, focusing on Earth and Environmental Sciences, with an exchange year in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hong Kong. She will begin her fellowship in August.

Sarah Hendricks, Ph.D., has been named an ISTP Fellow. She earned her doctorate in bioinformatics and computation biology at the University of Idaho, her master's in ecology and systematic biology at San Francisco State University, and her bachelor's in biological sciences and women’s and gender studies at DePaul University. In 2019, she participated in a San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research program analyzing white rhino genomes in an effort to keep the species from going extinct. Hendricks developed an interest in species conservation as an undergraduate at DePaul University while working on butterfly genetics. This interest continued and eventually lead her to work on the Channel Islands off the coast of California where she learned about the gray foxes of these islands.Presently, she is a postdoctoral bioinformatics researcher at the University of Idaho.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Your Local Milkman | Alan Reed, Reed's Dairy

Alan Reed
The Reed's Dairy legacy started with farming and worked its way to adding the dairy through three generations. Alan Reed's uncle added milk cows to their operation and sold milk to the public in the 1950s. In 1962, they added their own processing equipment and started packaging it themselves. They also had a home delivery service at that time. “We packaged our milk and delivered it to the door,” he said.

Reed's Dairy has always been in milk delivery. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many dairys were having to dump their milk. Reed's Dairy didn't experience the same impact, and that was primarily due to their home delivery service. Already having that infrastructure in place, they were able to increase their home delivery customers. “We were gathering new customers quickly. We have great people and they stepped up to meet the need and put in a lot of hours,” he said. They have maintained about two-thirds of the customers who signed up for home delivery during the start of the pandemic.

In the beginning, Reed didn't see himself as being a milkman. “I was raised on the farming side and I didn't really do much with the cows,” he said. He had attended Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) and studied accounting. His father asked him to help his uncle with the dairy side and be involved in running the business. When spring came and he wanted to go back to farming, his father asked him to stay and help in the dairy. “When the brothers divided their operation up, I stayed on the dairy side,” he said.

Eventually taking over operations and positioning himself as the fourth generation of the legacy, Reed felt like it made sense to expand and use their cream to make ice cream. The famous ice cream is Reed's Dairy's own special recipe, and he even attended special training to learn how to make ice cream to perfect the Reed's formula. “That's been a lifesaver for Reed's Dairy -- to have that ice cream business -- because it has become really popular,” he said.

Another favorite product that people come miles for is Reed's Dairy chocolate milk. “We have a lot of out-of-state license plates in our parking lot during the summer, and I see them packing out multiple bottles of chocolate milk and putting it in their cooler,” he said. Reed's Dairy has multiple specialty milk flavors that are produced and sold at various times during the year.

Around 1986, Reed added cheese to their line of products. That included cheese curds. Again, he went back for special training. “Most of our cheese is sold as fresh cheese curds,” he said. “It's very popular.” Wanting to improve his cheese sales he also added grilled cheese sandwiches, to complement the ice cream that was sold to customers at their stores.

Reed's Dairy has continued to grow. They opened a store in Ammon around 6 1/2 years ago, and are also in Boise, with two store locations and robust home delivery. Alan's son Sam has joined the business, and has been the catalyst for opening the stores in Boise.

Family is very important to Reed and he feels a deep responsibility to honor the name. “I've grown up with a really deep commitment to family,” he said.

Reed prides himself on the quality of Reed's Dairy products. “I would rather make the best than just make something,” he said. He feels his business is successful due to integrity built over the years. “Your brand is your promise to your customer. If you break that promise you have no brand. Understand your brand and fulfill it every day,” he said.

When feelings of doubt enter his mind, his approach is to plow forward -- with caution. “I let it evolve, if it naturally comes around and everything falls into place, we move ahead. If it easily comes together it's probably going to be OK,” he said. He said his biggest risk was expanding to Boise, because it was hard to be so far away and he believes in a very hands-on approach. But risks are worth taking if you know you have a strong team.


For more information on Reed's Dairy or to set up home delivery, visit their site at https://reedsdairy.com/. You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ReedsDairy/.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Commercial real estate transactions | Idaho Falls, Ammon

TOK Commercial reports the following real estate transactions in Idaho Falls and Ammon for the last two weeks of June 2020:
  • Craig Counseling leased 125 square feet of office space located at 1070 Riverwalk Drive in Idaho Falls. Dustin Mortimer of TOK Commercial facilitated the transaction.
  • Summit Spine and Sport Chiropractic, PLLC leased 2,737 square feet of office space located at 1515 Ashment Avenue in Idaho Falls. Dustin Mortimer of TOK Commercial facilitated the transaction.
  • Firehouse Subs leased 1,900 square feet of retail space in Sandcreek Commons, located at 3417 S. 25th E. in Ammon. Brent Wilson and Brian Wilson of TOK Commercial facilitated the transaction.
  • Gaches Family Flooring leased 2,100 square feet of retail space located at 1352 Lincoln Rd. in Idaho Falls.  Dustin Mortimer of TOK Commercial represented the landlord. Darren Puetz of High Desert Commercial represented the tenant.
  • Colling Pest Solutions, LLC leased 6,555 square feet of retail space at 1615 N. Woodruff Ave. in Idaho Falls. Dustin Mortimer of TOK Commercial represented the landlord. Darren Puetz of SVN High Desert Commercial represented the tenant.
  • Thomsen Holman Wheiler, PLLC leased 3,527 square feet of office space in Taylor Crossing, located at 1000 Riverwalk Drive in Idaho Falls. Brent Wilson and Brian Wilson of TOK Commercial facilitated the transaction.