Around Idaho: October 2016 Economic Activity

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern
Eastern Idaho

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Kootenai County

  • Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls announced the opening of a new digestive surgery center. The new center – formally called the Northwest Institute for Digestive Surgery – will give patients the ability to receive all their digestive consultations, diagnostics and treatment options in one location. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Post Falls Outlet Mall – which was formerly mostly vacant – continued its streak of new openings over the last month. Escape Adventures, SNR Costume Rentals and Ace Industrial Supply recently opened in the outlet mall. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Shoshone County

  • Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg has been purchased by a Seattle-based real-estate investor. The resort was purchased for $5 million. The new owner will announce improvement plans at a later date. Source: Spokesman Review

Bonner County

  • Solar Roadways – a Sandpoint-based company – has unveiled the first public installation of its product: solar panels installed in place of concrete and asphalt to augment electricity generation. The demonstration in Sandpoint includes 150 square feet of panels installed in pedestrian and bike paths. Solar Roadways hopes to demonstrate that the solar panels have the strength and traction to replace asphalt and concrete. Source: Spokesman Review

Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext 4451

NORTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties

Clearwater County

  • Clearwater County lost its last major mill Oct. 4 with the closure of Tri-Pro Forest Products near Orofino, putting 55 people out of work. A lack of logs forced the closure, according to company officials. In a press release, Tri-Pro’s owner Steve Linton, explained, “The restriction of federal timber availability and the limited availability of state and private cedar, has forced us to make this very difficult decision.” Tri-Pro purchased 3 million to 4 million board feet of cedar from a salvage sale after the 2014 Johnson Bar Fire along the lower Selway River. That would have provided most of what the mill needed to run for six months. This summer, litigation initiated by Friends of the Clearwater and Idaho Rivers United against the U.S. Forest Service stopped the transaction. The Idaho Department of Labor is working with the laid-off Tri-Pro workers to find them new jobs or upgrade their skills. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Shopko opened a hometown store in Orofino in early October. Located at the site of the former Orofino Junior High on Michigan Avenue, the 30,000-square-foot store offers clothing, furniture, toys, consumer electronics and lawn and garden products. Shopko acquired the former Glenwood Pharmacy a year ago, and that Shopko pharmacy now has moved into the new store. More than 30 people work at the new store. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College plans to move its Outreach and Adult Learning Center from the Coon Building into the same building as the Idaho Department of Labor. The outreach program, which has served Orofino since 1997, offers adult basic education, GED and community courses and coordinates customized training for businesses, as well as offering college-level classes. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • The Pierce Community Center broke ground on its biomass project in October. Partnering with Clearwater County Economic Development, the community center hired Wisewood, a biomass energy design-build firm based in Portland, in 2014 to investigate the potential of biomass. It expects to save more than $17,000 per year on heating costs by converting from fuel oil to wood pellets. The conversion will cost about $180,000. The U.S. Forest Service awarded $140,000 through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act, and the Idaho Department of Commerce awarded the City of Pierce $40,000 for the conversion. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Clearwater County Board of Commissioners gave the Clearwater Historical Society a $20,000 check for the new museum under construction behind Orofino Elementary School. The museum will celebrate the history of the area and supplement the county’s tourist attractions. Source: Clearwater Tribune
  • Dworshak Dam near Orofino will make a multimillion investment over the next few months as contractors refurbish the dam’s largest hydroelectric turbine. That will make the dam’s powerhouse unavailable in early spring when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers usually releases water to make room for spring runoff. The agency will release more water from the spillways, which could raise the levels of dissolved gas in the North Fork and the Clearwater River, potentially endangering salmon and steelhead including those at the Dworshak Hatchery and the Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery at Cherrylane. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Orofino school district’s enrollment grew from 993 last spring to 1,019 this spring.  Those numbers do not include the 110 students presently attending the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Idaho County commissioners met in October with a representative of a company considering developing a wind turbine farm at the top of White Bird hill. Eight years ago, the company obtained leases from the Spencer Ranch for about 8,000 acres to erect the turbines. The $645 million project could begin as early as next spring. The wind farm could produce as much as 145 megawatts of energy, 35,000 gallons of synthetic diesel and 60,000 gallons of distilled water a day. It could create 45 or more jobs. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Clearwater Basin Collaborative is working to develop a 243-mile motorized trail from Elk City to Avery. The GEM – Grand Exploration Motorized – Trail will provide a route for all-terrain and utility task vehicle riders and mountain bikers. The potential of attracting more visitors to the region’s beautiful forests and colorful history could result in new business and employment opportunities in the small communities along the trail. The collaborative has been working to formalize agreements among all the stakeholders as well as develop signage, a process which can take years. The first phase of the trail mostly will run across Forest Service land using the historic Elk City Wagon Road. The second section will cross Kidder Ridge from Kooskia onto the 100 Road to Weippe and Pierce. From there it will go to Elk River with the final leg traveling up to Avery. The first phase of the trail, from the Elk City trailhead to Kooskia, could be completed next summer. Source: Clearwater Progress
  • A $900,000 water distribution line project in Kamiah began in early October and will end in early December. Work began on Hill Street and will continue on Crest Drive. A $730,000 grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is helping to pay for the project, whose major contractor is Meridian-based Cascade Pipeline Corporation. Source: Clearwater Progress
  • Grangeville celebrated the opening of The Veterans Outreach and Community Center in October. The 1,500-square-foot building contains an assembly area, a private office, a space for a future kitchen and a large storage area that can also be used as a meeting space. The center plans to offer live music and dancing, meetings, classes, bingo and counseling, besides operating as a gathering place to visit, watch television or play games. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Six months after the February landslide that closed the road to Elk City, it recently reopened to regular traffic. The clean-up of State Highway 14 cost about $3.5 million. Federal emergency relief funds paid for the project, which involved hauling away 15,500 truckloads of mud and debris. Some residents said curiosity about the slide apparently increased tourism to Elk City this summer. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Two Riggins businesses that serve tourists are undergoing major renovations. River Adventures converted the former Rodeo Club into an office for its river guide business and a clothing store. The Idaho Banana Company is building an addition to its store on Main Street. The retailer features local art works, antiques, jewelry, historical posters, postcards, wine and cheese. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Eight former WaterOz employees recently opened Clearwater River Supplements outside of Grangeville near Stites. Located behind the WaterOz building that was destroyed by fire last year, the new company makes a variety of dietary supplements featuring pure liquid minerals. It uses a seven-stage water purification system. Source: Idaho County

Latah County

  • The University of Idaho’s enrollment increased 3.6 percent, from 11,371 in October 2015 to 11,780 students this October, in the first increase since 2012. The number of first-year freshmen at the university grew 4.5 percent, while transfer student numbers were up 4.4 percent. Under the Direct Admission program, UI President Chuck Staben’s brainchild, acceptance letters are sent to high school seniors throughout the state detailing which Idaho colleges may be the best fit for them. Staben also credited Enroll Idaho for an increase in freshmen. The program involves town halls and high school visitations around the state to make students aware of the programs UI offers. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Over the next decade, the University of Idaho has set ambitious goals to excel as a leader in research that benefits Idaho. Its strategic plan, laying out a path to 2025, seeks to expand access to higher education for more students and increase enrollment 50 percent. It will develop facilities that adapt to changing needs, such as the renovated College of Education, remodeled library and new facilities for medical education in Idaho’s WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) Medical Education Program. “When I look at UI in the next decade, I see a university that reaches more people, changes more lives, and accelerates innovation and discovery on a new scale,” said President Chuck Staben. Source: Here We Have Idaho, University of Idaho
  • A Wall Street Journal ranking of schools by student engagement found that the University of Idaho and Washington State University ranked among the highest in the West. Engagement primarily is based on the results of a survey of students, which measured views on topics such as interactions with faculty and other students, the effectiveness of teaching and whether students would recommend their school. Engagement also takes into account the breadth of subjects colleges offer. Source: Wall Street Journal

Top Schools in the West for Engagement

  1. Brigham Young University-Provo
  2. California Polytechnic State University,  San Luis Obispo
  3. Stanford University
  4. California Baptist University*
  5. University of Wyoming
  6. University of Arizona
  7. University of California, Davis
  8. University of Idaho*
  9. University of Utah
  10. Arizona State University
  11. Point Loma Nazarene University
  12. Washington State University
  13. Weber State University
  14. Western Washington University

Source: WSJ/THE College Rankings

  • Washington State University’s enrollment increased 1.5 percent to 30,142 this fall. The school has locations in Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver and Everett in addition to its main Pullman campus. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Moscow Food Co-op plans to open a satellite branch at the University of Idaho Campus Christian Center in Moscow before the end of 2016. It will sell espresso, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items, cold beverages, frozen entrees for those with dietary restrictions and a few packaged grocery items in the 260-square-foot location. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties

  • Lewis-Clark State College President Tony Fernandez introduced tentative plans to build a professional-technical center with Lewiston High School in his annual progress report. The goal would be to prepare students for living-wage jobs in the community and to meet the needs of local manufacturers. The school district plans to build a new high school, and the $24 million career-technical center would be its centerpiece. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewis-Clark State College’s enrollment jumped 8 percent from 3,635 last fall to 3,924 students. More than 3,000 LCSC students are from Idaho, and two-thirds of the students are first-generation college students. The college’s most popular programs continue to be nursing and health sciences, followed closely by business, natural sciences and education. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Hilton opened a 100-room Hampton Inn on Nez Perce Drive in Lewiston in September. Offering a sweeping view of the Lewis-Clark Valley, it also provides offers meeting space, an indoor pool, a fitness center and free wireless internet. A complimentary shuttle ferries guests to locations within a three-mile radius of the hotel. The inn employs 25 full-time workers. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Renaissance Marine Group, a Clarkston jet boat builder, continues to grow with employment rising from 80 in March to 110 today, and it currently is recruiting workers for another dozen jobs. The company is adding a fifth production line and recently added a second paint booth. Rising demand for boats with outboard motors that can be used in the Columbia River, Puget Sound, Pacific Ocean and other large bodies of water is driving the growth. Now that the operation is under one roof, it is more efficient. Finish work that was once done at the Port of Wilma three miles away is now housed with regular production. The company’s biggest difficult is finding qualified workers. Moving elsewhere could compound that problem since Lewiston-Clarkston area has many residents with expertise in building welded aluminum boats. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Developer Mark Alexander, who has refurbished properties throughout Lewiston, acquired the historic Lewis-Clark Hotel on the western edge of downtown Lewiston last month. The same deal included three other downtown properties: the 10,000-square-foot Kettenbaugh Building, the 5,600-square-foot Dahmen House and a parking lot on the northwest corner of D and First streets. The 72,000-square-foot hotel, built in 1922, today contains professional offices and small retail shops. Its first floor contains a large space used for weddings and galas. The top three of its five stories are unoccupied. The building was last remodeled in the late 1980s. Development of the Dahmen and Kettenbaugh buildings will follow the model of Alexander’s other downtown Lewiston holdings — retail on the street level and apartments on the upper stories. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The National Association of Development Organizations recognized north central Idaho’s economic development district for its innovative work with the Lewis-Clark Valley wine alliance at its annual conference in mid-October. Since 2009, CEDA has offered technical assistance and support to the grape growers and wineries in their efforts to establish an American Viticultural Area and to promote and market the region’s wine. Source: CEDA in Motion
  •  Lewis-Clark State College is restoring the AmeriCorps program that a lack of federal funding forced it to end two years ago. The college had hosted the program for 19 years. A three-year grant from Serve Idaho, the state program that administers Idaho’s AmeriCorps grants, allowed it to hire people to coordinate the program. The Lewis-Clark Service Corps will place people over 16 years old at public or alternative schools in grades kindergarten through 12th grade in northern and north central Idaho, where they tutor and mentor economically disadvantaged students, students with special needs or underachieving students. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Openings

  • Rue 21, a national clothing store chain for teenagers, opened near Pier 1 Imports at Nez Perce Plaza in Lewiston in September. About 30 people work at the 6,500-square-foot store. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Ampersand Oil & Vinegar Tap House opened in October on Main Street in downtown Lewiston. It features cooking gear. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Kathryn.Tacke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3984

SOUTHWESTERN IDAHO – Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley & Washington counties

Canyon County

  • Vision Charter School announced it will build an expansion to its existing building. The project is financed by a $6.5 million loan from Banner Bank and a tax-free bond secured with help from the nonprofit Building Hope and the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. The expansion will add 28,000 square feet of additional space and provide a permanent facility for the Caldwell school’s 400 elementary students that are currently using portable classrooms. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune
  • Veterans have been working hard to solicit donations and provide countless volunteer hours to transform Caldwell’s old Carnegie Library built in 1914 into a state-of-the-art center for veterans. The center, the first of its kind in Canyon County, is scheduled to open in 2017. Source: Idaho Statesman

Ada County

  • According to Wallethub.com, Boise and Nampa have ranked first and second respectively as the best run cities in the United States. Wallethub based its ranking on long-term debt per capita, highest high-school graduation rate, hospital beds per capita, violent crime and unemployment rates to name a few. The report can be found at https://wallethub.com/edu/best-run-cities/22869/. Source: Wallethub.com
  • The new Kuna City Hall opened in early October after a whirlwind renovation of the former Creekside Steakhouse to serve as the new home of municipal government. The city of Kuna bought the Creekside building for $800,000. The sale closed July 13 and the $210,000 renovation work started shortly after. The project was funded with tax income from population growth. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Roper family has made a deal to sell the retail portion of the Boise Capital Terrace building after more than a year on the market. The buyer is Alturas Capital of Eagle, with hopes to renovate the downtown building and give it a modern updated look. Source: Boisedev.com
  • Micron Technology reported a loss of $170 million in its fourth quarter ending Sept. 1. For the year, Micron said it lost $276 million. Source: Idaho Statesman

Elmore County

  • More companies are looking at Mountain Home to expand and grow their businesses, according to the city’s economic development director. Interested companies are focusing on the strengths of Mountain Home that include its available workforce and land, as well as access to rail lines, the interstate and high-speed internet. There have been five site visits from interested companies in the past two months. Source: Mountain Home News

Gem County

  • Demand for property in Gem County has developed a sellers’ market, with multiple parties bidding for the same property. The average price has been recovering from the low in 2011 of $104,029, almost half the average price high of $185,962 that was set in 2007 during the height of the housing bubble. Source: Messenger Index
  • About 400 people attended a STEM event hosted at Shadow Butte Elementary. The event was targeted toward students and families to provide hands-on educational experiences that highlight science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields. It was held in partnership with Micron, Title One and the school’s parent-teacher organization. Source: Messenger Index

Washington County

  • Companies in the Weiser area are experiencing challenges to growth due to the tight labor market in the valley, making it difficult to fill new positions and to replace workers who have retired. One manufacturing company has lifted its starting wage to $11.50 per hour in order to attract more workers. Source: Weiser Signal American

Openings

  • National pizza chain Pizza Hut is underway on a rapid expansion in the Boise area by building three new carryout/delivery hubs. According to permits, each location is designed to provide service without an indoor dining area. Source: Boisedev.com
  • Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria opened a new restaurant in Eagle. This is the fourth Treasure Valley location for the burgeoning local chain. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Dawson Taylor owner Dave Legard has filed to open “Roast Coffee Shop” adjacent to his existing production facility in Boise. The small space would feature pour-over coffee with seating for a handful of patrons. Source: Boisedev.com
  • UpCycle Studio has applied to remodel the former Jos. A. Bank space in Boise’s BoDo development. The $240,000 remodel will transform the former clothing store into a modern cycling studio with stadium-seated bikes with a “hi-def video and audio experience.”  The project will feature locker rooms, a coffee & kombucha service and an iPad bar. Source: Boisedev.com
  • Eureka!, a California-based chain of upscale burger restaurants serving craft beers and whiskeys, opened in a former yogurt shop in downtown Boise. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Longdrop Cider plans to open its first tasting room soon in a 900-square-foot space in downtown Boise. Source: Idaho Business Review

Closing

  • The Dish, a casual/fine dining restaurant in downtown Boise, closed in September after three years. Owner Brian McGill says he’s working on a new concept for the space that will open around the first of the year. Source: Idaho Statesman

Craig.Shaul@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist supervisor
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

SOUTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties

Blaine County

  • The Trailing of the Sheep Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. The five-day festival takes place in Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey. In 2015, the festival drew 26,000 people from 36 states and other countries, up from 23,000 in 2014. The 2016 festival numbers has not bee finalized yet. It has been named one of the top 10 fall festivals in the world by msn.com among other top recognition from other publications and organizations. The festival started as a compromise between recreationists and the sheep producers over conflicting uses of the trail between grazing areas for both groups, expanding to a celebration of both the history and the present. Historians estimate the first sheep came to the Wood River Valley during the 1860s and quickly grew to 14,000 heads. Driven by demand from the escalation of miners in the area, by 1890 the number of sheep reached 614,000. By 1918, the population was 2.65 million and the area was a top exporter of sheep competing with Sydney, Australia. Source:  Idaho Mountain Express
  • Sun Valley has dropped from #2 last year to #10 ranking with Ski Magazine’s reader survey. Its strengths are lifts, grooming, character, on-mountain food and dining.  Those traits needing attention include accessibility, value and snow. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Sun Valley Economic Development held its fifth annual Economic Summit with the theme “The Intersection of Housing and Talent Attraction.”  Housing was highlighted versus talent attraction although it was discussed whether housing was a deterrent to new recruit prospects. Groups of panelists discussed business, developer and regulatory perspectives. The keynote speaker, Jon Roberts of TIP Strategies, returned after his initial consultation five years ago on strategies to improve the health of the economy in the Wood River Valley. Roberts said he was impressed with the new Ketchum Innovation Center in Ketchum. Based on panelist recommendations, Blaine County’s future may include Planned Unit Developments with retail on the first floor, office space on the second floor and residential space on top, construction of tiny homes, involvement of students, potential for transfer taxes and local option taxes to subsidize housing. Source: Jan Roeser
  • Construction started on the Auberge Hotel, a five-star hospitality property in Ketchum. The project is led by local developer Jack Bariteau who stated he has acquired a loan of $40 million to cover construction costs. The 62-room, 12-residence hotel is estimated to open in 2019. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Gooding County

  • Wendell School District received nearly $180,000 in a grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. It will administer an after-school program to K-8th graders for up to 90 students. The program is free and offers a physical activity, snack, social time, homework, tutoring and enrichment, such as puppetry, computer coding and snap circuits. Nearly 80 percent of the 1,200 students in the Wendell School District are considered economically disadvantaged. Source: Times-News

 Jerome County

  • Valley Wide Cooperative will open its largest store in January 2017 at Crossroads Point in Jerome. The store will be 11,000 square feet employing approximately 40 workers. While a typical store sells fuel and feed with a convenience store and restaurant, this store will not carry farm and feed supplies. Source: Times-News

 Twin Falls County

  • Chobani recently announced a new benefit that provides six weeks paid time off for new mothers and fathers. The benefit provides coverage to both parents, pays 100 percent of wages, applies to both hourly and salaried workers and is available to new parents inclusive of foster and adopting parents. Source: Times-News
  • Twin Falls School District Superintendent Wiley Dobbs has announced he will retire next year. The school board has hired a consultant to attract applicants nationally and locally. Dobbs, a Twin Falls High School graduate, has been with the school district in this capacity for 14 years after teaching and working in administration. Source: Times-News
  • The Magic Valley office of Idaho Department of Labor hosted a job fair in collaboration with the Magic Valley Mall. The turnout from both employers and job seekers was robust. Jobs were seasonal, part-time and full-time in all sectors of the economy. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • The city of Twin Falls reported single family residence permitting is at its highest level since September year-to-date since 2007. Commercial construction value is down by 35 percent from the previous September-year-to-date information coming in at $57 million. Additions and remodels are up by 40 percent to $32.2 million from the same previous September year-to-date. In contrast, permitting fees and revenues collected year-to-date through September are up 6.1 percent from the same period last year at $1.2 million.  Source: City of Twin Falls

City of Twin Falls Single Family Residence – Historical Permits

single-family-stats-by-month-1997-to-2016_page_1Openings

  • Taste of Hawaii opened in Twin Falls offering a menu that includes drinks and food from Hawaii and Asian fusion options.
  • Escape Twin Falls offers an experience to those interested in solving puzzles to exit a themed room. The room holds groups of two to 10 and lasts about an hour and 20 minutes. Source: Times-News
  • Element Restoration, a construction company specializing in remodeling after a disaster, hosted a ribbon cutting to commemorate its grand opening in Burley. Source: Mini-Cassia Chamber of Commerce

Jan.Roeser@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext 3639

SOUTHEASTERN IDAHO – Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida & Power counties

Bannock County

  • Cyber security and data company Buchanan & Edwards opened offices in Pocatello in October, bringing with it 50 new jobs. The Arlington, Virginia, based company provides technology services to federal contractors, including the FBI in Pocatello. According to Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad, the new jobs are both high-skilled and high-paying. Salaries begin in the range of $60,000 per year. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The leaders of Grace Lutheran in Pocatello recently dedicated their new high school facility after some construction delays. The $4 million dollar project will house 200 students at the high school. Source: KPVI
  • Great Western Malting’s malt manufacturing plant in Pocatello is increasing its workforce from 32 employees to 44. The Pocatello site received a $39,685 training grant from the Idaho Department of Labor. The full-time, permanent positions will average $22.84 per hour, plus employer assisted medical benefits. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The number of those flying to and from Pocatello Regional Airport is continuing to climb. According to the airport, 41,273 passengers took off from or landed at the airport from March to September of 2016. That figure is up 45 percent from March to September of 2015. Since the beginning of 2016, 48,924 passengers used the airport, up 37 percent from 2015. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Allstate’s Contact Center will add about 30 positions over the next three to six months. Allstate currently employs more than 450 people at the Chubbuck center. Entry-level positions offer a starting salary of $15 per hour. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Construction work is ongoing at the intersection of Benton Street and Second Avenue – an intersection where many of Pocatello’s accidents happen. The $313,000 project is being paid mostly through federal sources and is set to be finished by mid-November. Source: KIFI/KIDK
  • Harper’s Homemade bread was recently acquired by Aberdeen-based Driscoll Management Company. Harper’s Homemade Bread began in 2001 in its current Pocatello location. Driscoll Management Company operates many business interests across southeastern Idaho. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Bully dog, a long-time American Falls Business, is moving to Pocatello. Bully Dog is a brand that operates under Derive Systems Inc., a company that specializes in software and electronics for the automotive aftermarket. The company will be able to move approximately 50 jobs — nearly all of its current staff — to Pocatello and it hopes to grow the business there. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bear Lake County

  • Bear Lake County Airport has completed construction for a mandated maintenance and upgrade of its facility. The $1.2 million project was funded almost entirely by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Idaho Transportation Department. The airport is now one step closer to becoming an all-weather facility. Source: The News Examiner

Bingham County

  • A new multiple-family construction near Park Avenue is underway in Shelley. Several multi-unit homes are planned for the city of Shelley. Source: The Shelley Pioneer
  • The Fort Hall Business Council passed a resolution approving funding for a new $35 million Casino Expansion Phase II Project. The project includes a 72,984-square-foot casino and an 8,084-square-foot bingo hall. It will be directly attached to the existing Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center. About 90 jobs in Fort Hall and southeastern Idaho will be created for the 16-month construction period. The official ground breaking took place Oct. 17. Source: Morning News / Idaho State Journal

Caribou County

  • Monsanto has announced a planned merger with Bayer. The total value in the Bayer takeover is $66 billion, including about $10 billion in debt. The companies said $1.5 billion is expected to be saved after the third year due to cost and sales synergies. Closing is expected in late 2017. Source: Caribou County Sun
  • A new 1,200-square-foot addition to the Soda Springs Public Library had its official ribbon cutting this month. The new wing, at a cost of $165,000, will be used to house the children’s collection and programming. Source: Caribou County Sun

Franklin County

  • The city of Preston approved three new business licenses this month. The licenses were for Clint Matthews Construction, Roper Buildings and West Motor Ford. Source: The Preston Citizen

Power County

  • The University of Utah Medical Center and Power County Hospital have announced a strategic affiliation between them. A key component of this affiliation is a new technology called “telehealth” where doctors in Utah are able to observe and make recommendations to patients in American Falls remotely. Power County is the eighth hospital in the region to have this sort of affiliation. Source: The Aberdeen Times
  • After years of hoping Magnida would build a new fertilizer plant in Power County, the county commissioners are now asking voters to buy the water rights Magnida holds that initially were held by the FMC Corporation at its phosphate plant in eastern Power County. The Magnida fertilizer plant project has been in the works for seven years. Magnida had hoped to turn natural gas into ammonia nitrate fertilizer. If the plant was built, Magnida had planned to hire 1,500 workers during construction and employ 170 workers permanently. Source: Idaho State Journal

Openings

  • Fit Factory in Preston
  • West Motor Ford, Preston

Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

EASTERN IDAHO – Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison & Teton counties

Region   

  • Yellowstone visitation increased by 3.17 percent in September compared with last year, and overall visitation to the park was up 4.1 percent over the first eight months of last year. That’s a total of 3.9 million tourists so far this year. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • The Fairfield Inn and Suites on W. Broadway Street in Idaho Falls recently completed an extensive $1.7-million renovation. The work was done in phases of about 20 rooms at a time, enabling the staff to keep the bulk of its 81 rooms open during one of the busiest tourist summers in the hotel’s history, fueled in part by heightened interest in Yellowstone National Park tourism. The inn had a 78 percent occupancy rate throughout the summer even accounting for the rooms taken out of commission during the remodel. Source: Post Register
  • Pinecrest Events Center opened this month at 1515 Northgate Mile in Idaho Falls. This 26,000-square-foot building will have multiple reception halls and plenty of rentable space for events. Source: Post Register

 Madison County

  • Enrollment at Brigham Young University-Idaho continues to grow. The university’s fall campus enrollment totaled 17,890 students this year, a 2.4 percent increase over last fall’s total of 17,562 according to a university news release. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • The Sky Meadows subdivision is showing signs of life after eight years. Development of this subdivision was halted by the recession in 2008. Within the next 30 days construction will begin on three new homes. There are 87 building lots in the subdivision. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Teton County

  • A kitchen incubator project is underway in Driggs to help develop small food service businesses in the valley. The goal is to provide commercial-level kitchen equipment, required by law, at a subsidized cost for potential business owners. Food and agricultural business development were noted as an important goals in the Teton County Economic Development plan. The incubator will provide an early foundation in business courses and kitchen capital for would-be entrepreneurs. Source: Post Register

Fremont County

  • Henry’s Fork Foundation has purchased the former Ashton Hospital to renovate and convert into a new Interpretive Center for the foundation. It will cost around $1 million to renovate 10,000 square feet of the 15,000-square-foot building. The foundation will use this new space to provide a place for people to learn about what the foundation provides the community, along with extra office and work space. Source: Post Register

Openings

  • Four Generations Old, a new collectables store, opened late September on a 100-year old farm in between Sugar City and St. Anthony.Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • The Jacob Spori Art Gallery opened Oct. 29 at Brigham Young University-Idaho. The current exhibit “Connections and Observations: Shushana Rucker” closes Nov. 11. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Closures

  • Madsen’s in downtown Idaho Falls is closing after 40 years in business. The store carried specialty playground equipment, trampolines and repaired trampolines. Source: Post Register
  • McPherson’s Dry Goods Company, a 114-year-old family department store housed in a historic brick building in Salmon, is closing its doors for good. Source: Post Register

Hope.Morrow@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 525-7268 ext. 4340