Around Idaho: December 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

  • STCU credit union opened a new branch in downtown Coeur d’Alene after remodeling a former Bank of America Location. The new location, which offers business services and consumer and commercial lending, is STCU’s 20th branch overall and its third in northern Idaho. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Coeur d’Alene Planning Commission approved a permit for Lake Drive Apartments to build a 30-unit, five-story apartment complex in the underdeveloped East Sherman neighborhood. Lake Drive expressed hopes that construction could be completed in the summer of 2017. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The city of Coeur d’Alene relaxed its rules governing child care business licenses and will now grant licenses to applicants with marijuana charges more than five years old. The change was made to address a serious local shortage of child care providers. The city expressed optimism that the relaxed rules will help address the shortage. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings

  • Advance Auto Parts (Coeur d’Alene)
  • Sweet Lou’s Restaurant and Tap House (Coeur d’Alene)
  • Entertain Mart (Coeur d’Alene)
  • Caramel Kitchen (Coeur d’Alene)
  • Riverstone Apparel (Hayden)
  • My Big Fat Greek Deli (Post Falls)
  • Gross Donuts, which offers a 24/7 donut drive-through. (Coeur d’Alene)

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

Region 

  • The Idaho Transportation Department approved new rules for megaloads — oversized truck loads that take up both sides of the road — traveling between Kooskia and the Montana border on U.S. Highway 12. The proposed rules, if approved by the Idaho Legislature in January, would restrict their use of recreational turnouts, require ambulances to accompany the shipments and allow only one megaload at a time to travel the 100-mile section of highway that winds through two designated wild and scenic river corridors. No megaloads have traveled that route since a September 2013 injunction from a federal judge closed the route “to any Omega-Morgan megaload” until the Forest Service has conducted a corridor review and consulted with the Nez Perce Tribe. That is currently on appeal to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which has ordered mediation. Sources: Spokesman-Review; Lewiston Tribune

Clearwater County Year in Review

  • Clearwater County, which experienced many economic troubles over the past 40 years, underwent another wrenching loss in 2016 when Tri-Pro Cedar closed its 55-employee mill near Orofino in October. It was the last major mill in the area. At its peak in the late 1960s, more than 1,600 people worked in the forest products industry. Today fewer than 20 people work in wood products manufacturing, and logging provides about 140 jobs. Tri-Pro’s closure pushed the county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from 6.5 percent in May — its lowest level since 2007 — to 8 percent in November. That was the highest rate among Idaho’s 44 counties. The long-term decline in forest products jobs eroded the county’s economy, leading to out-migration of young families making the county’s population smaller and older. The Tri-Pro closure may increase out-migration over the next couple of years.
  • Employment in federal and state agencies — including the Forest Service, federal fish hatcheries, state mental hospital, state prison and Idaho National Guard’s ChalleNGe Academy graduates — held steady in 2016.
  • Nightforce Optics, a manufacturer of high-quality riflescopes that opened near Orofino in 2004, added about 10 jobs, bringing its employment to more than 110.
  • An increase in tourism allowed the leisure and hospitality sector to add an estimated 20 jobs in 2016, growing 10 percent. Increased tourist activity and rising incomes — before the Tri-Pro closure — helped the retail sector add about 40 jobs between the end of 2015 and the end of 2016.
  • Shopko opened a 30,000-square-foot hometown store in Orofino in October. Many locals believe the store will reduce the amount of shopping local residents do outside of the county.

Clearwater County Current Updates

  • Idaho Department of Labor’s Orofino location moved into a new office across the street from its former office in November. Three other agencies also moved into the building: Vocational Rehabilitation, Health and Welfare and Lewis-Clark State College Outreach Center. Businesses needing assistance with recruitment, hiring, training, along with job seekers and people exploring career choices can find assistance at 416 Johnson Ave. The department’s Orofino phone number remained unchanged: (208) 476-5506.

Idaho and Lewis Counties Year in Review 

  • 2016 was a so-so year for Idaho County’s economy. Nonfarm payroll jobs remained unchanged around 4,230 with some sectors adding a few jobs and other losing a few. The county’s unemployment rate edged down from 5.9 percent in November 2015 to 5.7 percent in November 2016, while the labor force grew 1.2 percent. One mainstay sector — forest products — added a dozen jobs in 2016, while the other — agriculture — dealt with depressed wheat prices, cattle prices dropping from record levels to low ones and “falling numbers” reducing the quality of wheat yields. Falling farm incomes will result in less spending on farm equipment, motor vehicles and consumer goods.
  • The county’s acclaimed scenery, whitewater rafting, fishing, hunting, hiking and camping attract growing numbers of visitors. Leisure and hospitality — a sector that includes recreation, lodging, restaurants and bars — added an estimated 16 jobs, growing 5 percent in 2016.
  • Manufacturers added a few jobs in 2016. Pacific Cabinets, a cabinet maker near Ferdinand, opened a new 20,000-square-foot building near its manufacturing facility this fall. This October, eight former employees of WaterOz — a Stites area manufacturer that closed in 2015 following a fire — opened Clearwater River Supplements to make dietary supplements.
  • Construction employment grew 13 percent in 2016 as new houses were built; a $4 million project realigned the runway at the Idaho County Airport in Grangeville; a six-month, $3.5 million project cleared the road to Elk City from the landslide that blocked it in February; and Advanced Welding & Steel, a Grangeville company that makes iron skeletons for buildings from beams and columns to stairs and handrails, increased its employment.
  • Idaho County commissioners met in October with a representative of a company that is considering developing a wind turbine farm at the top of White Bird Hill. The $645 million project could begin as early as next spring and create 45 or more jobs.
  • The year of 2016 brought a mix of troubles and blessings to Lewis County. Farm incomes plummeted as wheat and cattle prices fell, and the county’s second largest manufacturer — the Blue North Forest Products mill in Kamiah — closed in June putting 66 people out of work. The county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 6.3 percent this November from 5.9 percent the previous November. But tourism and transportation added jobs, and nonfarm payroll jobs grew about 2 percent.
  • In the past 10 years, the county enjoyed stronger growth than average, but now with reduced farm incomes and the closure of Blue North, that growth rate is not expected to continue.
  •  The brightest spot in Lewis County’s economy in 2016 was the tourism industry. Employment at restaurants, inns, outfitters and guides, the Nez Perce Tribe’s casino in Kamiah, and the Flying B Ranch, an exclusive hunting lodge near Kamiah, grew 16 percent from 160 in 2016 to 186 in 2016.

Idaho and Lewis Counties Current Updates

  • The Tire Guy opened Nov. 1 in the former Nuxoll Shell Service in downtown Cottonwood. In addition to operating the gas station, the new business sells tires, offers wheel alignments and provides full auto repair and care services. The new owner Ryan Uhlenkott kept the former staff of three and hired two more people. Nuxoll Shell Service opened in 1929 and has remained in the Nuxoll family for the following 87 years. Only Hoene Hardware, which has been in the Hoene family for more than 110 years, has a longer history of family ownership in Cottonwood. Source: Cottonwood Chronicle; Idaho County Free Press
  • Ida-Lew Economic Development Specialist Jessica Austad is becoming certified to serve as the Idaho Small Business Development Center’s agent for Idaho and Lewis counties. As a certified agent, Austad will offer a variety of free consulting services to businesses including potential start-ups. The SBDC’s mission is to improve competitiveness, business skills, sales and profits and Idaho’s economy in general. Austad hopes the local businesses and people who are considering starting any type of business will ask for help. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • The Historical Museum at the Monastery of St. Gertrude near Cottonwood has started a five-year remodeling project. A team of volunteers and museum employees recently completed the first phase, which shows the history of the Benedictine nuns in Idaho. The next phase, which is expected to be completed in April, will be to create a replica of the original museum started in the 1930s by Sister Alfreda Elsensohn in the attic of the old St. Gertrude’s Academy. That museum, which was one of the first in Idaho, was more of a science lab and included artifacts used by Elsensohn to teach her students. Future displays will cover the broader scope of Idaho County history. Grants from the state historical society, the Idaho Humanities Council and Northwest Farm Credit Services helped make the remodel possible. Every year more than 6,000 visitors from around the world visit the museum at the Monastery of St. Gertrude. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Latah County Year in Review

  • Latah County’s economy performed fairly well in 2016. Total nonfarm payroll jobs grew about 2 percent. No sector stood out, but most added a few jobs. In October, Latah County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 2.9 percent, its lowest level since February 2008. It edged up to 3.1 percent in November, but that was lower than the 3.5 percent 12 months earlier.
  • Enrollment at the University of Idaho is a major driver of retail, tourism, construction and service jobs in the Moscow area. The university’s employment and enrollment stayed roughly the same. Other drivers include the agriculture industry, which is suffering from lower prices of wheat and cattle, and enrollment and employment growth at Washington State University and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman. Moscow is the major retail center for the Moscow-Pullman region so population growth and higher incomes in Pullman increases retail activity in Moscow. In addition, retailers benefit from increased employment in Pullman providing more job opportunities for Idaho residents.

Latah County Current Updates

  • The Partnership for Economic Prosperity — an economic development organization serving Latah County — selected Gina Taruscio as its first executive director. Taruscio, who currently serves as the executive director of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce, will begin work for PEP in January. PEP was formed as a partnership among the City of Moscow, Latah County, the University of Idaho, Moscow Chamber of Commerce and area businesses to assist in job creation, business growth, retention and attraction. It seeks to develop innovative and sustainable solutions that improve the economic vitality of communities in Latah County. Source: Partnership for Economic Prosperity news release
  • The Idaho State Board of Education, meeting in December, added the Idaho Arena athletic venue to its six-year capital plan. The University of Idaho will build a 4,700-seat basketball and volleyball facility north of the Kibbie Dome. The 70,000-square-foot arena would include a performance court, conference area, offices, concession stands and locker rooms. It also would be used for community gatherings, academic events, concerts and meetings. The $30 million project is slated to start in February 2018 and be completed two years later. In March, UI students voted to impose an additional $15 fee per semester to fund a roughly $5 million bond for the proposed arena. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The state board approved a request by the University of Idaho to sign an agreement with a Navitas North America, a company that recruits international students to American campuses and helps them acclimate. The program could bring 1,200 international students to Moscow over the next five years, boosting enrollment. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Idaho Transportation Department plans to straighten a mile of state Highway 6 near Potlach, reconstruct the curve near City Hall, realign Sixth Street to improve safety and replace a 60-year-old bridge over Gold Creek just east of town in 2018 or 2019. The newly designed roadway will have two 12-foot lanes and two 6-foot shoulders. The new bridge will be wider and capable of handling larger loads. The $2 million project is expected to take about four or five months to complete. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Moscow’s urban renewal efforts led to the recent opening of a new building on the corner of Sixth and Asbury streets. The new building contains Stax, a sandwich shop that was previously located in a small building at the site, retail space and six two-bedroom apartments. An adjoining gravel parking lot will be paved next fall after the city tears up part of Sixth Street to replace sewer pipes. The Moscow Urban Renewal Agency plans another mixed-use development project in the area, as soon as the environmental remediation meets Idaho Department of Environmental Quality standards. The development to be located at Sixth and Jackson will contain the Sangria restaurant. Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Varsity Diner, currently under construction at Third and Jackson streets, is expected to open next month. The city of Moscow recently made street frontage improvements there, including curbing, sidewalks and lights. This spring, it will plant new trees along the street and create 18 parking spaces on the street. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The University of Idaho recently installed Moscow’s first charging station for electric vehicles. The charging station on the side of the new Integrated Research and Innovation Center provides two spaces where electric or hybrid cars can park, plug in an extension cord and feed a parking meter that regulates the amount of time and charge being used and records that data. The station is open to the public 20 hours a day. The school plans to construct a second charging station near the Administration Building. The charging stations represent the university’s increased emphasis on sustainability in recent years. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Sojourners’ Alliance hopes to reopen its homeless shelter in early January. The shelter, which is the only one in the region that provides services for single men, closed in September after it lost federal funding. Its transitional housing program provided shelter to families and single individuals for as long as they needed to secure incomes and permanent residences. It also offered additional services if needed, including treatment for mental health conditions and substance addictions. Sojourners’ executive board agreed to accept funding from the Idaho Department of Correction to house only felons at the shelter. It is working to secure additional funding. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties Year in Review

  • 2016 was a good year for Nez Perce County. Its nonfarm payroll jobs grew an estimated 3 percent, adding 700 jobs. In October, Nez Perce County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down to 3.1 percent, its lowest level in nine years.
  • The county’s manufacturing sector, which enjoyed exceptional growth in the past few years, continued to grow. Vista Outdoor, Howell Munitions and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories added more than 200 jobs in the past year, allowing manufacturing employment to grow an estimated 6 percent, from 3,564 in 2015 to 3,769 in 2016. Vista Outdoor committed to a $70 million expansion project for its Lewiston ammunition-making operations that will create at least 130 jobs over the next few years. P. Kay Metal, a supplier to Vista Outdoor, hopes to open a plant near the Lewiston airport in November. It would supply lead that ammunition manufacturers need. A $160 million upgrade of Clearwater Paper’s Lewiston complex began in October 2015 and will continue until September 2018. Over the course of the project, dozens of local contractors and hundreds of people will work on the project. After installation of the new equipment, pulp production should soar, generating more demand for chips and logs while increasing work for loggers and truckers throughout the region.
  •  Tourism activity has been on the rise. Employment in leisure and hospitality — a sector that includes amusement, recreation, lodging, restaurants and bars — grew 6 percent, from 1,840 in 2015 to an estimated 1,958 in 2016. Hilton opened a 100-room Hampton Inn on Nez Perce Drive in Lewiston in September. The inn employs 25 full-time workers.
  • For the second year in a row, retail jobs in Nez Perce County grew at a healthy pace. They grew about 4 percent from 2,534 in 2015 to 2,637 in 2016. The opening of a Rue21 clothing store at the Nez Perce Plaza in Lewiston contributed to the increase.

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties Current Updates

  • The Idaho State Board of Education at its December meeting put a $20 million career-technical education center on the approved list of Lewis-Clark State College’s construction projects for the next six years. After the center opens, the college would move all of its vocational training programs from its Normal Hill Campus to the Lewiston Orchards. Growing demand for skilled workers has sparked interest in career-technical programs making the current facilities too small. Diesel, welding and machining classes have waiting lists. If voters approve the Lewiston School District’s bond for building a new high school this March, the new high school would go up next door, and it would have a career-technical facility next to the college’s. Students at the high school could move seamlessly to the college level, earning credits along the way. Eventually, the center might also serve high school students from surrounding communities. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The board also approved the planning and design phase for the college’s proposed $17 million Living and Learning Complex, which would increase the number of on-campus housing slots from 340 to 495. The top three floors would house students, the main floor would contain classrooms, student affairs offices and a student health center. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • A $2.3 million construction project began in November on the second floor of the Lewiston City Library. Quality Contractors of Deary is the major contractor for the work on the 123-year-old building, where the library opened in 2013. The 15,000-square-foot addition will provide a conference room, class and study rooms, as well as room for more books. Construction is expected to wrap up by April. 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

Ada County

  • Saint Alphonsus Medical Group is planning a new clinic adjacent to the Boise hospital. The 13,000-square-foot facility will be built on a portion of the former West Junior High location on Emerald Street and joins a corridor dotted with health facilities, including a new skilled nursing complex to be built to the east on another part of the former junior high site. The clinic will feature 30 exam rooms, lab facility, X-ray room, plus various offices and staff areas. The new facility is valued at $2.7 million and will break ground soon. Source: BoiseDev.com
  • ReStyle Animal Rescue Thrift has expanded to a location on Vista Avenue in Boise – the longtime former home of The Benchmark sporting goods. ReStyle also has a location in the Hillcrest Plaza in Boise. The thrift store directs a portion of its proceeds to helping animals in need. The Benchmark on Vista Avenue closed earlier this year after 32 years. Source: BoiseDev.com
  • Boise fine-dining icon Chandlers will close Jan. 1 to remodel, expand and give the restaurant a “facelift,” owner Rex Chandler says. The downtown Boise steakhouse and seafood eatery is scheduled to reopen Feb. 7. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Roseville, Oregon,-based Umpqua Bank will move its downtown Boise branch to the former Bank of America/Washington Federal Bank building at Front Street and Capitol Boulevard. The move will happen in the second quarter of 2017, Umpqua spokeswoman Sarah Robinson said. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The State Board of Education approved up to $32 million in bonds for the new Boise State University Fine Arts building near the Morrison Center just south of the Towers Dorms. Boise State President Bob Kustra says the building will feature a World Museum with technology developed at Boise State allowing visitors to virtually tour museums like the Louvre, Guggenheim or National Portrait Gallery. The space will also house the school’s Department of Art. Source: BoiseDev.com
  • Developer Corey Barton Homes has been given the green light by the Boise City Council to start work on the first phase of the 600-acre, 2,000-home Syringa Valley subdivision in southwest Boise. The development, which will be built in open land off South Cole and Lake Hazel roads, will include homes, schools and a shopping center. Before home construction starts, CB Homes must extend Lake Hazel Road from Cole Road to Orchard Road. It will then extend Orchard Road north from the Lake Hazel extension to Gowen Road. Ada County Highway District, which controls public roads throughout the county, plans to upgrade the Cole-Lake Hazel intersection and build a bridge over the New York Canal, which sits just east of Cole Road. Sources: Idaho Statesman, KTVB
  • Another project owned by CB Homes is in the works for southeast Boise. Rush Valley would put 420 homes on about 110 acres in an area off Columbia Road east of Micron Technology’s Boise headquarters campus. A pool, clubhouse, parks and open space are part of the plan. The developer also is setting aside an area for commercial development, but will hold off for four years to see what happens with surrounding landowners before adding any stores or restaurants. Source: BoiseDev.com
  • Two proposals were submitted for a workforce housing project released by the Capital City Development Corporation in the River Street/Myrtle district, one by a group that includes GGLO and deChase Miksis, and another from a team led by Gardner Company. The site is near the Boise River and sits on the Pioneer Pathway which links the Boise greenbelt and Ann Morrison Park to downtown Boise near JUMP. It also is near the Giraffe Laugh nonprofit early learning center. Source: BoiseDev.com
  • Bodybuilding.com, the Boise online retailer of nutrition and weightlifting supplements, laid off at least 90 workers in late November. The e-commerce company employed between 450 and 500 workers in the Treasure Valley. It reported having about 575 employees in the Valley last February, when incoming CEO Richard Jalichandra was named by owner Liberty Interactive Corp. to succeed founder and minority owner Ryan DeLuca, who resigned. At the time, Jalichandra told the Statesman that the company was more likely to hire workers than to cut staff. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The owners of the Vista Village retail center want to build five apartment buildings on 7.4 acres along the railroad tracks on the north side of Kootenai Street between Robert Street and Federal Way. The two- and three-story buildings would feature 91 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Also planned is a two-story clubhouse with a fitness center. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The plaza in front of the entrance to Boise’s City Hall is getting an upgrade. Demolition of the existing version of Boise City Hall’s plaza will start in March, said Karen Bubb, the city’s public art manager. The rebuilding process should start sometime in late spring or early summer, Bubb said. The first phase, on the plaza’s south side, is scheduled for completion by June, with the second half wrapping up by early December, she said. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Micron Technology Inc. says it will get leading-edge technology and financial benefits from its purchase of Taiwan-based memory chip manufacturer Inotera Memories Inc. Micron has had a piece of the company for eight years. It bought 36 percent of Inotera in 2008 from a German firm headed into bankruptcy, and it bought all the dynamic random-access memory chips that Inotera produces. On Tuesday, Micron bought the rest of the company for $4 billion from Taiwan’s Nanya Technology Corp., ending their joint venture. Inotera’s purchase will help Micron’s DRAM profitability, said Mark Durcan, Micron CEO. “We are excited to finalize the Inotera acquisition, which will generate significant financial and strategic benefits for the company,” he said in a news release. Source: Idaho Statesman

Adams County

  • New Meadows Mayor Tony Koberstein on Monday vetoed an earlier action by the New Meadows City Council to place a local sales tax before voters next May. Koberstein’s action drew sharp criticism from city council members, but a motion to override the veto failed to get a second. Source: McCall Star-News

Canyon County

  • Trolley Square, one of Caldwell’s signature downtown redevelopment projects, could start construction in spring, developer Gardner Company said. The first stage of construction will be an 11-screen, two-story Reel Theatres building featuring first-run movies. Trolley Square at Main Street and Ninth Avenue will include two other retail buildings that are about 5,000 to 8,000 square feet. Gardner believes restaurants will fill both. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Brick 29 Bistro in downtown Nampa is expanding. The restaurant is in the city’s historic Masonic Temple building and will expand beyond its current basement location there. Source: BoiseDev.com

Payette County

  • The Payette County Municipal Airport completed a 500-foot runway extension project. The $400,000 project brings the runway’s total length to 3,500 feet. The extension was a safety improvement and also allows slightly larger aircraft to land at the airport. The primary taxiway was also paved as part of the project. Source: Payette Independent-Enterprise

Valley County

  • A new shower house at the University of Idaho McCall Field Campus is the first project underway in a planned $40 million renovation of the field campus. The $825,000 shower house is being built at the McCall Outdoor Science School located on the field campus adjacent to Ponderosa State Park. The 1,300-square-foot building will replace the current 900-square-foot building that is more than 50 years old. The shower house is the first of what is expected to be 22 new buildings erected at the field campus over the next 10 to 15 years. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Homeowners at Tamarack Resort have paid $650,000 in past-due property taxes for parts of the resort important for operation of the ski area. However, the homeowners did not pay past-due taxes for parcels that are not considered vital for operation of the resort. Those parcels were seized by Valley County and will be sold at auction in February. These parcels include the Blue Mountain Subdivision, 14 hotel units in the Lodge at Osprey Meadows, the former medical clinic, the former Crane Creek Market as well as the water and sewer infrastructure. Source: McCall Star-News

Washington County

  • Weiser Memorial Hospital has signed a 10-year lease for office and records storage space in the former King’s retail building in Weiser. Several of the current human resources and administrative branches of the hospital will be consolidated into the new location. Source: Weiser Signal American

Openings

  • Pioneer Federal Credit Union will open a new branch in northwest Boise.
  • Idaho Central Credit Union plans to build a new branch on Fairview Avenue in Boise.
  • LED Boise – a performing arts studio project launched by a former member of the Trey McIntyre Project – will open a studio on Broadway Avenue.
  • A yet-unnamed coffee shop will open adjacent to the Tailgate in the Lusk Street neighborhood.
  • Dawson Taylor’s Roast coffee bar has opened at the Dawson Taylor headquarters in the Lusk Street neighborhood.
  • Black Rock Coffee Bar will open its fourth location in the Treasure Valley on Ustick Road near Cloverdale Road. The project is still in the initial phases.
  • Creekside Coffee opened in downtown Caldwell in the ground-floor space at Treasure Valley Community College.
  • El Tenampa Mexican Grill will open its third local location in the Boise Spectrum at Overland and Cole roads.
  • FRESH Healthy Café will open after renovations are complete in Boise’s BoDo area in the former Helly Hansen space.
  • Pesto’s Pizza has opened in a former drive-through coffee shop near Capital High School on Goddard Road.
  • Pizzeria Sazio will open on the Boise Bench.
  • The Shed will take over the space formerly occupied by The Lift 2 in the Lusk Street neighborhood, but will remain under the same owner.
  • Panera Bread has opened near the Boise Towne Square mall.
  • Penny Lane Toys, a kids’ toy & book store, opened on West State Street in Boise.
  • Customedica Pharmacy opened on 19th and State streets in Boise.
  • The Rag Co., a microfiber towel supplier, has opened a new store on West State Street in Boise.
  • The Sandbar, a restaurant in Marsing, has reopened after an extensive renovation.

Closings

  • Pollo Rey, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Boise, is closing but no final date has been set.
  • The Canyon County Co-op is closing its doors after being in business for just 11 months.

Ethan.Mansfield@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 3455

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

Blaine County

  • An Australian clothing manufacturer that makes active wear for women announced it will move its operations to Ketchum. Vie Active was founded in Bondi Beach near Sydney, Australia, three years ago and has decided to base its corporate headquarters in Ketchum because of its reputation for outdoor recreation. The Idaho Department of Commerce has offered a tax reimbursement incentive to the company, allowing a tax credit of 10 percent for five years. The company intends to hire 43 staffers at an average wage of $51,900 annually. Vie Active is currently leasing office and retail space in Ketchum. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The nexStage Theatre has presented a design for a new theatre to be constructed where the existing theatre is, directly across from the new Limelight Hotel. The design is for daily use rather than an occasional show. The new facility will have three stories with two different-sized theatres, a café, event space and offices for now. The new parking ordinance will not require payment of in-lieu parking fees for organizations such as nexStage. Planning and Zoning provided a “first-glance,” informal, positive review. Construction will not begin until next year following more formal review by P&Z and Ketchum City Council. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Cassia County

  • Doug Manning was awarded the Bob Potter Economic Development Professional of the Year award by the Idaho Economic Development Association (IEDA). Manning is the Burley economic development director. “Doug Manning was chosen for this award because of the impressive economic development efforts he has been a part of this year for Burley and Mini-Cassia,” Dave Thornton, community and customer relations coordinator for Idaho Power and IEDA member, said. Thornton nominated Manning. “Doug has been instrumental in several new business recruitments to southern Idaho including Dow Chemical and Watco, and is a deeply committed leader and advocate for economic development,” Thornton said. Manning will take over as President of IEDA from 2017 to 2018. Source: Times-News
  • Oregon Trail Investments, LLC, Intermountain Management and Holiday Hospitality Franchising LLC announced construction will start next spring on a new Holiday Inn Express in Burley, likely opening in 2018. The property will be four stories with 90 guest rooms plus conference areas. The hotel will be located near the existing Fairfield Inn and Suites. Source: Weekly Mailer

Gooding County

  • North Canyon Medical Center recently held a ribbon cutting for its new medical plaza. The hospital is overseen by a nonprofit, Partners in Healthcare, which received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Idaho Health Facilities Authority totaling about $38 million. The new medical center houses a wound center, rehabilitation services, general surgery and offices for the family physicians. With this new addition, there is room to expand business operations and the specialty clinic. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • The new 24-hour Crisis Center of South Central Idaho recently held its grand opening with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter speaking about the history of the three crisis centers throughout Idaho, currently funded by the state. ProActive Advantage has the contract to oversee the mental health facility which operates out of a former medical office building. The crisis center takes pressure off of the criminal justice system and the hospital’s emergency room. When approved, the long-term plan is for the three facilities to eventually be self-supporting. Source: Times-News
  • Magic Valley High School is currently leasing its facility but plans to implement a lease-to-buy agreement when the lease expires July 2017. Meanwhile, plans are being made to add a cafeteria and meeting room, along with the possibility of expanding the science classrooms and adding vocational training opportunities. The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and welding programs have proven popular at the other high schools in the area. There is a $1 million set aside from various funding sources to complete the project that could be in place by fall 2017. Magic Valley High School is the alternative high school and while enrollment fluctuates, it averages between 160 and 185 students. Source: Times-News
  • The College of Southern Idaho announced the start of a new associate’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. The program will pilot in the fall of 2018 with the expectation that some of graduates will go on to obtain a bachelor’s degree and/or a master’s degree in the field. Nationally, the median wage in 2015 for dietitians and nutritionists is $27.84 per hour or $57,910 annually. Source: Times-News

Closures

  • Canyon Rim YMCA in Twin Falls
  • Moxie Java Canyon Springs in Twin Falls

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

    • The Chubbuck Company, Inergy Solar, is well into another crowdfunding campaign and is hoping to match last year’s success. The new Indiegogo campaign is the company’s second in the last year. In November 2015, Inergy launched a campaign for its portable solar generator, the Kodiak, which reached its $50,000 goal within 24 hours and has now sold $760,000 worth of generators. The new campaign is marketing a smaller solar generator capable of powering mobile devices with USB ports. The device, the Raptor Pro, weighs 10 ounces and can charge its battery pack with nine hours of sunlight. Source: Idaho Business Review
    • After years of sitting empty, the old Hotel Yellowstone in Pocatello is now the new home of “The Bridge” restaurant. The grand opening event was held Dec. 16. Source: KIDK
    • Chute Trainer, a Pocatello-based company which develops products that use wind resistance to improve sports performance, has been granted a patent for its devices. Their devices attach to the back of golf clubs, tennis rackets, baseball bats, hockey sticks and hands, creating wind resistance and developing the fast-twitch muscle fibers being used. The patent, which took about 18 months to attain, allows Chute Trainer to market itself to licensing from larger companies. Source: Idaho State Journal
    • Teton Honda — which had originally set up shop at the intersection of Yellowstone Avenue and Pearl Street — has moved its location to 1945 Hurley Drive in Pocatello, just east of Wal-Mart. The new, bigger location will warrant the hiring of nine more employees, bringing Teton Honda’s employee count from 34 to 43 over the next 12 months. Source: Idaho State Journal

Caribou County

  • The Caribou Memorial Hospital broke ground on an ambitious $3 million project. Five phases of the project are planned that include a multi-pronged approach to renovate, remodel and expand the hospital to meet new and changing needs. Funds for the project will come from hospital funds. Source: Caribou County Sun

Franklin County

  • The foundation has been poured for a new Family Dollar store located in Franklin, on the corner of Highway 91 and Legacy Drive. The mayor is optimistic about growth in Franklin and opportunities for businesses to build in the city. Source: The Preston Citizen

Closings

  • Mountain West Research Center in Pocatello
  • Farmers Insurance in Pocatello
  • Basic American Ingredients in Blackfoot

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

  • The Navy and U.S. Department of Energy announced recently they are moving forward with construction of a $1.65 billion eastern Idaho facility that will accept spent nuclear fuel from the nation’s nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers over the next 50 years. The structure will go on the northeast side of the existing Naval Reactors Facility property. Site preparation will begin late next year, with construction starting in early 2019 and completion expected in late 2024. The project is expected to create 360 construction jobs. The new facility will replace the Expended Core Facility that has been in use since the late 1950s when Navy fuel first began traveling to the Idaho site from shipyards around the country. Source: Post Register
  • The U.S. Department of Energy’s yIdaho National Laboratory has teamed with Dynexus Technology of Boulder, Colorado, to provide the energy storage industry with first-of-a-kind technology for advanced battery health diagnostics. Under an exclusive licensing agreement, Dynexus will commercialize INL’s embedded wideband impedance technology for analyzing and forecasting the health, aging and safety characteristics of advanced energy storage devices. Source: Bizmojo

Madison County

  • Carlow Senior Apartments, a 48-apartment complex for people 55 and over, opened in Rexburg in October. The new senior living center complex includes a 24-hour gym, new washers and dryers in every apartment, raised garden beds, covered parking/ garages, a community room and ample storage. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Jefferson County

  • Traffic is now moving on the completed construction on the Thornton Interchange, finishing a series of projects designed to improve the safety of motorists on U.S. 20 between Idaho Falls and Sugar City. This large multi-project effort started in 2000. During the past 16 years, the Idaho Transportation Department has replaced 18 dangerous intersections with seven interchanges. To date, these projects have allowed for a 115 percent increase in traffic while decreasing the rate of serious-injury crashes by 75 percent and cutting fatalities by more than half. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • A nearly $10 million mixed-use project named The Broadway is slated to be built in downtown Idaho Falls, overlooking the Snake River. The project is expected to include a single-story, 9,600-square-foot retail building adjacent to Broadway. On the other end of the property, next to A Street, developer Oppenheimer Development Corps has proposed a 28,800-square-foot building that would include retail on the first floor, office space on the second floor and residential units on the third. The developer plans on a plaza area between the buildings that would serve as a “community gathering place,” and might host a winter ice rink, a water feature and would be capable of hosting concerts and other entertainment. Source: Post Register
  • Construction is underway on the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott. The project, adjacent to the Snake River, includes building an access road off Utah Avenue and upgrades to the River Walk. It is expected to be finished by late spring. Source: Post Register
  • A new Deseret Industries store in Ammon is construction stage. This store will replace the existing downtown Idaho Falls location and will include office space for the welfare and employment offices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The building permit for the 48,605-square-foot building was issued about a month ago. Nearly 9,000 square feet will be dedicated to office space. The project is being built on 6.45 acres. Source: Post Register
  • The 10-year-old Book City will close Saturday. The store’s catalog of around 100,000 books is being liquidated by Angie Payne. Payne, hired by the bank to liquidate the books, said she’s found some books that are well past 100 years old and are being sold for less than $10. Source: Post Register

Fremont County

  • Tim Ryland opened Last Shot Coffee, a drive-thru coffee shop in Ashton. Ryland said that even though there aren’t a lot of coffee drinkers in Ashton his main focus is 1.5 million cars that drive this route to Yellowstone. Last Shot Coffee is located across the street from Big Judd’s on Whitepines Street. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Custer County

  • Construction is underway on Heart of Idaho Animal Sanctuary north of Challis. The board members are hoping for a grand opening this spring. The building can house 20 dogs and 40 cats. Source: Challis Messenger

Openings

  • D.L. Evans Bank will open a full-service branch in Rigby in January. Source: Post Register
  • Quality Home Fitness has opened in Idaho Falls. The business is a certified dealer for Icon Fitness and carries a large selection of refurbished, near-new and discounted home exercise equipment. Source: Post Register
  • Idaho Martial Arts Academy in Rexburg had a grand re-opening following a ribbon cutting ceremony Dec. 2. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

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