Around Idaho: July 2017 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

Region

  • Northern Idaho witnessed at least 21 reported wildfires in July. While the actions of the forest service and other authorities prevented any of the fires from forcing evacuations or threatening structures, the number of fires was above average for July. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Kootenai County:

  • Construction work began on a new commercial complex in Athol, which will eventually include the town’s first grocery store as well as a hardware store, a hotel and additional light industrial and commercial space. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Idaho Transportation Department and North Idaho College are partnering to offer a free three-week heavy equipment operator course, which aims both to fill labor needs in the construction industry and offer career opportunities to veterans, women and minorities. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings – Coeur d’Alene

  • I. Java
  • Midtown Pub
  • Union Coffee Rosters
  • CDA Structures
  • White Pine Coffee
  • Relic Moon
  • Popeye’s
  • Riverstone Dental Care
  • Gyro Shack
  • Massage Envy

Openings – Post Falls

  • Aspen Dental
  • El Taco Loco

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

  • In the region’s lowest areas such as Tammany near Lewiston, harvest began in mid-July — about when it normally starts — despite the wet, cool weather from December through May. Hot, dry weather in June and July helped crops catch up. Harvests are expected to start around their normal times at higher elevations, from early August through early September depending on the location. The hot weather also created excellent haying conditions. Some farmers were unable to plant all of their fields with spring crops because of the high level of soil moisture this spring. With soft white wheat prices low ($4.50 to $4.80 per bushel), farmers planted more canola, garbanzo, other pulses (legume seeds) and hard red wheat, which is selling at a premium. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Canadian-based Hydro One announced in July it plans to buy Avista in a $5.3 billion deal. If approved by federal and state regulators, the deal is expected to close in the second half of 2018. Avista, an electric and natural gas utility based in Spokane and founded as Washington Water Power Co. in 1889, serves Idaho’s 10 northern counties and most of eastern Washington. No layoffs are expected. Avista would retain its name and headquarters after it becomes a Hydro One subsidiary. The combined businesses would be able to spread costs over a larger group of customers, which would save money. “Efficiencies will be realized through collaboration and sharing of best practices on (information technology), innovation and supply chain purchasing,” according to a joint news release from the two companies about the transaction. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Spokesman-Review

Clearwater County

  • The Clearwater Historical Museum broke ground on a new 3,000-square-foot building off Bartlett Street near the Orofino Elementary School in July. The current museum on College Avenue has grown too small to display its growing collection of artifacts. The new museum, will provide more space, both inside and out. Source: Window on the Clearwater)
  • Clearwater County Economic Development (CCED) is taking many approaches to promoting economic growth. In June, it gave a site tour to a business considering relocation to the county. CCED assisted seven existing businesses with facility expansion planning, government contracting, market research and product/service diversification resources. The organization also worked with three startup ventures on business planning, product development research and entrance to a toothless ‘Shark Tank’ business fundraising event, sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Idaho National Laboratory has helped fund a CCED project, Igniting Innovation, which fosters entrepreneurs by holding monthly gatherings where business owners and would-be businesses can network, brainstorm, hear from experts and learn how to connect ideas and products with global marketplaces. Sources: Window on the Clearwater; Clearwater Tribune
  • The Clearwater Basin Collaborative recruited 33 teens for its Youth Conservation Corps this summer. The collaborative is a team of forest stakeholders — including environmentalists, loggers, off-road vehicle enthusiasts, economic developers, the Nez Perce Tribe and government officials — providing recommendations to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. The eight-week program provides youth with the opportunity to earn money while learning more about natural resource careers. Crew members in the Orofino area helped build a new trail bridge suitable for horses over Canyon Creek at Dworshak Reservoir, cut brush along trails, repaired boundary fence, learned about elk habitat and rehabilitated campsites along the reservoir. The other crews are based out of Grangeville, Kamiah, Kooskia and Pierce. In addition, two corps members joined the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness trail crews and one worked at the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests’ Supervisor’s Office in Kamiah. Source: Window on the Clearwater
  • Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Pierce welcomed the second class of 2017 in July. The class of 128 youth from all over Idaho came to the boot camp-style program to help them complete high school and connect to their communities. Cadets have averaged academic improvement of more than two grade levels during their 22-week stay and donated tens of thousands of hours of community service. About 50 people work at the academy, which opened in January 2014. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Pacific Cabinets Inc., a Ferdinand manufacturer, has added more than 30 jobs since 2014. Its annual sales now exceed $17 million, and its payroll is expected to exceed $6 million in 2017. It expects to add about a dozen new positions in the next few months. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Downtown Cottonwood is thriving. Ryan and Heather Uhlenkott opened a coffee shop, the Habit, in July. They also own the Tire Guy, which opened Nov. 1 in the former Shell station across the street. Harman Agency, which sells insurance and real estate, and Northwest Farm Credit will trade locations once Pepper Harman finishes work on a shop a block away. Source: Cottonwood Chronicle
  • Logging activity will increase in Idaho County as the result of three events in the past two months:
    • A U.S. Forest Service salvage logging project administered by the Idaho Department of Lands was sold by the state in July. Idaho Forest Group bid nearly $2.2 million for the rights to harvest 7.1 million board feet of dead and dying timber from the Woodrat Salvage Sale north of Syringa. The 345-acre area was burned in the summer of 2015. The Woodrat Sale follows the nearby Wapiti Sale that was auctioned last fall. Logging on both could begin in the next few weeks. Source: Lewiston Tribune
    • A federal court cleared the way for logging in the Orogrande timber sale south of Elk City, and Friends of the Clearwater, an environmental group, dropped its case against the sale. The project involves removing trees to reduce fire hazard on about 300 acres of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest about 40 miles southwest of Elk City. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Latah County

  •  The University of Idaho’s planned basketball arena will be constructed of wood, showcasing one of the state’s key industries. Cutting-edge work for long-span structures will be made from wood. Mass timber construction, used in Canada in recent years, is relatively new in the U.S. “It ties in with our land grant mission. It ties in with the timber industry. It ties in with our need for a facility. This is really resonating with people,” UI Athletic Director Rob Spear told the Spokesman-Review. The $30 million basketball venue to be built on the north side of Kibbie Dome will include a 4,700-seat performance court, a practice gym, conference rooms and offices. The arena will also serve as a gathering place for academic events, concerts and meetings. It’s scheduled for completion in 2020. Source: Spokesman-Review
  • Brown Contracting & Development of Spokane is building a $19 million apartment complex near the University of Idaho campus in Moscow. The Identity on Main apartment development will have 132 units ranging from one-bedroom to five-bedroom units for a total of 397 bedrooms. It will primarily serve as rental housing for university students. The complex will include a 3,000-square-foot retail building as well as the four four-story apartment buildings. It is scheduled to be completed in fall 2018. The project is part of Moscow’s long-term development efforts for the industrial blight along the railroad between downtown and the university campus. Sources: Spokane Journal of Business; Moscow Pullman-News
  • New Saint Andrews College, a Christian college in Moscow, plans to add a music conservatory that could bring in 300 more students. The Moscow Board of Adjustment approved a conditional use permit July 18 allowing the college to expand into the former Cadillac Jack’s building on North Main Street. The conservatory would include five classrooms, a multipurpose room, nine offices and a 680-seat auditorium. It would create jobs for up to 44 people. Source: Moscow Pullman-News
  • Moscow needs more affordable housing and a new subdivision may help. The Moscow City Council unanimously approved a bid July 17 from the Moscow Affordable Housing Trust for the creation of the Palouse Prairie subdivision located just north of Sunnyside Avenue. It will contain 13 parcels ranging from 2,084 square feet to 2.36 acres Source: Moscow Pullman-News
  • Faster, higher quality internet connections could be the magic ingredient when it comes to enticing new businesses and residents to settle in Potlatch, a city of 813, Mayor David Brown told a June meeting on telecommunications sponsored by Clearwater Economic Development Association. The lack of options and speed has cost the city in business growth. At least two businesses have left the community to move to Moscow for faster internet connections, and at least one business has decided not to relocate there for the same reason. The quality of internet connectivity is a challenge for many small towns as speeds in Idaho are ranked the slowest in the nation according to the “State of the Internet” report by Akamai Technologies, a content delivery network based in Cambridge. Massachusetts. CEDA and the city want to commission a feasibility study to examine existing infrastructure, estimate both construction and ongoing costs, create a network design and share the results with the city and public. The study is expected to cost $16,000. CEDA completed a similar study for Kendrick that determined a fiber network would cost roughly $350,000 to build and would be financially feasible if at least 40 percent of homes and businesses subscribed at prices of $50 to $75 per month. Kendrick now is moving forward with creating a fiber optic network to be provided by Moscow’s First Step Internet. Source: Moscow Pullman-News
  • A trampoline park is under construction at the former Staples building in Moscow. It will house 10,000 square feet of interconnected floor-level padded trampolines, a trampoline dodgeball stadium, basketball dunk centers, Olympic foam pits, a slack line and obstacle courses. Planet 3 plans to open its Extreme Air Park — designed for children and adults — by mid-August. Source: Moscow Pullman-News

Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, Counties

  • The Lewiston-Clarkston metropolitan area ranked No. 2 in the nation for percentage increase of construction job growth in May over the prior year, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Between May 2016 and May 2017, the metro area added 300 construction jobs, increasing construction 23 percent. Only Lake Charles, Louisiana, with a 24 percent increase, outpaced Lewiston. This May, about 1,900 people worked in the Lewiston metro area’s construction sector. That’s the highest level of construction employment ever in Nez Perce and Asotin, Washington, counties, which make up the metro area. Three industrial projects contributed to the growth. Clearwater Paper is completing a two-year, $160 million upgrade of its Lewiston mill, while ammunition maker Vista Outdoor is constructing a new $70-million rimfire ammunition plant near the airport and is expanding two other Lewiston facilities. P. Kay Metal, based in Los Angeles, built two 45,000- square-foot structures for the lead processing plant it’s opening in August. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Vista Outdoors cut eight positions at its Lewiston ammunition manufacturing operations in July in reaction to the drop in ammunition purchases following November’s presidential election. The affected workers were salaried employees in operations support and customer service. Industry experts believe that ammunition purchases may begin to rebound this fall. The latest cuts follow other actions to reduce employment. Vista laid off 25 employees in February and March, and 100 Lewiston employees participated in a month-long furlough in March. Vista also is losing employees through attrition. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Port of Lewiston

  • The Lewiston area hosted wheat purchasing teams from five different countries this summer. First in mid-June four purchasing managers from flour mills in Taiwan toured Bill Flory Farms in Culdesac, Lewis-Clark Terminal and the Port of Lewiston dock. The following week, Idaho wheat growers played host to four executives from major wheat purchasing and flour producing companies in Chile. The visits were arranged by the Idaho Wheat Commission. The Columbia Snake River System, which connects to the Pacific Ocean, is the top wheat export gateway in the United States, and the third largest grain export gateway in the world. Last year, nearly 10 percent of all U.S. wheat exports moved through Lewiston and the Columbia-Snake river system. Source: Port of Lewiston news release
  • The Port of Lewiston’s commissioners approved a lease agreement at its business incubator with Hells Canyon Armory in July. The custom rifle maker is relocating to Lewiston from the Wenatchee area. The business currently employs two people and makes 35 to 50 custom rifles a year, as well as carbon fiber barrels for rifles. It expects to expand over the next few years. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Openings

  • Erber Automotive, an auto service and repair center, opened on Main Street in Moscow. It employs three full-time mechanics.
  • The Melting Pot Café opened in early July on Main Street in Grangeville, replacing Hong Fa, a Chinese restaurant. The new restaurant serves Mexican and Chinese food.
  • Sissy’s Thrift opened on Pine Street in Grangeville.

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

Region

  • Southwestern Idaho counties received money from the federal government’s annual payment in lieu of taxes program. The program compensates counties for public land within their borders with a compensation formula that pays an amount per acre based on each county’s population. For example, Owyhee County receives 34 cents per acre, while Ada County, which has more people but less federal land, $4 per acre. The distribution policy allows elected government officials wide discretion to use funds. The amount received and the number of acres for each county:
    • Ada County -$789,086 for 297,379 acres
    • Adams County – $208,457 for 544,399 acres
    • Boise County – $325,918 for 883,386 acres
    • Canyon County – $50,531 for 19,141 acres
    • Elmore County – $2,363,976 for 1,353,951 acres
    • Gem County – $292,134 for 133,309 acres
    • Owyhee County – $1,340,027 for 3,635,503 acres
    • Payette County – $133,396 for 64,067 acres
    • Valley County – $753,277 for 2,048,595 acres
    • Washington County – $803,622 for 339,648 acres

Source: Owyhee Avalanche

  • Onion growers in the west end of the Treasure Valley are having challenges this year. Wet spring weather delayed planting the onion crop three to four weeks. A few growers got a head start on the season by purchasing onion transplants started in Arizona, and while more expensive they will be ready to harvest in August. Onions are grown commercially in 20 states, and the top three onion-producing areas are California, Idaho-Eastern Oregon and Washington. Idaho-Eastern Oregon plants about 20,000 acres of onions, which produces about 1.4 million pounds. Source: Weiser Signal
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for financial assistance to help agricultural producers rehabilitate private land affected by severe flooding across the state. Severe winter storms and melting record snowfall created substantial widespread flooding which caused significant damage to private property as well as public infrastructure. The funds, provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, can be used to help address damage to agricultural infrastructure as well as streambank erosion and landslides. Source: Weiser Signal
  • The Snake River Alliance (SRA) is re-energizing Solarize the Valley, a program to help Treasure Valley businesses and homeowners convert to solar energy. In 2017, the SRA hopes to install enough solar panels to generate more than 350 kW of electricity, translating to nearly 60 home installations. The popularity of Solarize the Valley, which pairs homeowners with contractors specializing in solar panel installation, stemmed in part from the decreasing cost of the technology. The quickest return on investment went to homes with the highest power bills. There was several workshops in June. Source: Boise Weekly
  • The North American Beer Awards held in June in Idaho Falls awarded 14 Idaho breweries 29 medals. Winners in the southwestern area were:
    • 10 Barrel Brewing of Boise – Night Ryed’r (bronze) and Puff Puff Pass (bronze)
    • Boise Brewing of Boise– Black Cliffs (gold) and Winnowing Wheat (bronze);
    • Mother Earth Brew Co. of Nampa – Fantasy Island (gold)
    • Payette Brewing Co. of Boise – 12 Gauge Mexican Chocolate Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (gold) and Sophie’s Choice (silver)
    • Ram Restaurant & Brewery of Boise – Oktoberfest (silver) and Mellow Out Stout and Boise Brown (bronzes)
    • Salmon River Brewery in McCall – Dark Villain (gold) and Idaho Gold (silver)
    • Sockeye Brewing of Boise Power House Porter (silver) and High Lakes Session IPA (bronze)
  • The 2017 grape crop harvest is expected to be down significantly as a result of a bitter cold winter in southwestern Idaho. Temperature fell in Caldwell to as low as 18 below zero, and many vineyard growers were forced to cut most of the vines to the ground and retrain them, diminishing the production of grapes this year. Wine grapes in northern, eastern and south central Idaho were OK. The Treasure Valley, where the majority of Idaho’s vineyards and wineries are located, experienced severe damage. The roots were not damaged because of the record or near-record snow cover that blanketed most of the region acted. The good news is the 2016 wine grape harvest was a bumper crop and what’s in the tank is hopefully going to be able to carry the industry through. Source: Spokesman Review

Ada County

  • A new parking garage is in the works for downtown Boise on Front Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. The development is still in the planning phase and there is no concrete date as to when the project will be finalized or when the garage will break ground. Boise State Public Radio reported June 23 that Old Boise LLC developer Clay Carley said the garage will have 700 spaces for cars and 50 spots for bike parking. (Source: Idaho Business Review)
  • The St. Luke’s master plan started to become a reality in June 15 when crews from Texas-based Environmental Design Inc. dug up and moved a century-old, 98-foot-tall sequoia on the St. Luke’s campus and moved it to Fort Boise Park. The $300,000 project is part of the master plan, which includes building a new children’s medical center, a 375,000-square-foot medical tower, a new parking garage and 100,000 square feet of new office space. The hospital also plans to move its main entrance from Bannock Street to First Street. In addition, $5 million worth of changes to roads in a 12-block area around the hospital has begun. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • A little over a year after reaching a development agreement with the city of Boise, Los Angeles-based LocalConstruct has come up with a conceptual plan to fulfill the city’s desire to extend downtown further west. The conceptual plan includes 223 apartments in a six-story building wrapping around two sides of a 335-space parking garage, 223 bicycle parking space, and 16,500-square-feet of street-level commercial space. As required by the development agreement, 29th street will extend through the property between Main and Fairview. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Alturas Capital of Eagle acquired the Adelmann Building in Downtown Boise. The multitenant 17,000-square-foot building is directly across from Boise City Hall and a block away from the Capitol. Current tenants include Boise Fry Co., Dharma Sushi, Press & Pony, Space Bar and Capital City Event Center. It was last remodeled in 2015. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise is one of 21 new cities that Frontier Airlines will begin serving in spring, the airline announced July 18. The Boise move is part of a Frontier network expansion that will increase the number of cities served by the airline to 82 and provide more than double the routing options to more than 1,000 routes. Source Idaho Business Review
  • CS Beef Packers LLC, a joint venture between Amarillo, Texas-based Caviness Beef Packers and J.R. Simplot, is building a new beef processing plant near Kuna. The plant will offer another place for local ranchers to sell the cull cows and bulls from dairy farms and cattle ranches. It is estimated there are more than 600,000 dairy cows and more than 600,000 beef cows in the region. The plant will also include hide and rendering processing and the ability to process niche-fed beef programs. The facility, which is nearly 300,000 square feet, is expected to process a maximum of 1,700 head per day. The final product will be prepackaged boxed beef that will be primarily marketed to food-service suppliers and retail outlets. Source: Weiser Signal
  •  Boise hosted its first The X Games qualifier this summer at the Rhodes Skate Park. The games featured men’s and women’s skateboarding and men’s BMX riding. An estimated 7,000 people watched the event over the two days. The skate park reopened in August 2016 after $1.3 million in renovations. It was cited as one of the best skate parks by many of the competing athletes who came from across the U.S. and internationally. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Construction began in late June on an 81-unit apartment building in Old Boise. Studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and lift units, 66 underground parking spaces and 11 surface parking spaces will be available. The ground floor will have retail space. There are no income limits on the apartments and they will be offered at market rate. ESI Construction of Meridian is the general contractor and Hummel Architects of Boise partnered with GGLO of Seattle as the architects. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Micron Technology Inc. set a sales record in its last quarter ending June 1, reporting revenues of $5.57 billion, up 20 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. Profits, totaling $1.65 billion, was good news compared to a $215 million loss in the comparable 2016 quarter. The Boise memory-chip maker credited affordable market conditions, including higher prices for dynamic random-access memory and effective cost-reduction efforts. The revenues enabled the company to retire $1 billion in debt. Micron is the Treasure Valley’s largest for-profit employer with about 6,000 workers here, mostly at its headquarters in Southeast Boise. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Hot Desk HQ is a new Boise business incubator with a 2,300 square-foot building including open space, two conference rooms, a kitchen, a front lobby and a media room. In August, the company will host regular networking and media events for its members to learn about search engine optimization, social media accounts, marketing and consumer segment targeting. The owners have 20 years of experience they want to share with freelancers and remote employees about media needs. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • American Airlines began nonstop service in July between Boise and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The new service operates on a Bombardier CRJ700 that holds up to 70 passengers with one daily flight in each direction. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Kuna city leaders expect population to double within the next 10 to 15 years. Kuna’s official area of city impact has grown from 7.5 square miles to 78 squares miles. With several active housing projects on the drawing board, rapid growth appears to be on its way.  More than 20 housing developments are under construction or pending construction, with as many as 3,500 anticipated home listed according to city records. The homes will range in price from $180,000 to $325,000. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Avimor, a planned community north of Boise, continues to grow. An additional 33 homes are under construction with 13 more starting this month with a total for the year projected at 75. Avimor has built 300 homes in the price range of $175,000 to $800,000 plus. The new homes will average about $340,000. Avimor has 900 entitled acres destined for 785 single-family homes. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Retail is coming to Avimor. Construction will begin this summer on a On the Fly convenience store/Mobil fuel station. This will be the first retail development in the planned community with an opening planned by the end of the year. Construction on Spring Creek Brewing Co brewery and pizzeria will begin this fall with a planned opening next spring. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise-based Covr Financial has been hiring developers and support staff since receiving $5 million in funding from investors on both coasts. The company is a digital platform that helps financial institutions see and underwrite life insurance policies and helps customers find secure plans. Covr Financial works with more than 20 insurance companies and 50 financial institutions to better streamline the process when clients purchase a plan through a bank, credit union or broker. The increased funding will be used to bolster its staff of 77 to more than 100. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Marriott, one of the world’s best known hotel companies, is partnering with Guerdon Industries, a modular construction company in Boise. Guerdon is one of three companies that Marriott is expected to sign deals with to build 50 prefabricated hotels this year. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • WinCo foods is the first confirmed big-box tenant at the Linder Village, an 81-acre commercial project in Meridian. Source: Idaho Statesman

Canyon County

  • Nampa City Council supported postponing a construction project planned for the Karcher interchange on I-84 due to time constraints. The city of Nampa has more construction projections in process than any other area in the Treasure Valley so contractors are too busy to take on other projections. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • A third Flying M Coffeegarage will open in Caldwell in 2018. The new coffeegarage will occupy the space that Story & Co will vacate.
  • Story & Co is closing its Caldwell location and moving to Nampa in mid-August. The new store will be in the Dallan Woods shopping center. Story & Co is a consignment clothing boutique that carries high-end brands. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
  • After moving out of city limits for a span of more than 10 years, the Shaffer Buck Agency is returning to downtown Caldwell with the goal of growing business and becoming more involved the community again. Source: Idaho Business Review

Gem County

  • Woodgrain Millwork Emmett will is preparing to open the end of August or early September. The mill is in the process of hiring maintenance, millwrights and electricians. Although some salvage log work is being done, the mill will not be fully operational for another six to eight weeks. It will employ about 50 workers. Source: Messenger Index
  • Honco Lumber Inc. has proved the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention” really works. The Emmett company transitioned from a retail lumber yard to a pallet and customized shipping components business. A sawdust waste buildup led to an idea of a pellet production mill using the sawdust. The owner, Jake Gorbet, developed a machine that would move the sawdust from the pallet production shop to the pellet plant. Using only kiln-dried fir sawdust, the company manufactures a pellet that burns cleaner and hotter. Composed of over 90 percent red fir and up to 10 percent white fir, the sawdust never hits the floor, the secret for a clean, premium pellet. The company employs 10 full-time workers and plans to expand. Source: Messenger Index
  • Gem County was awarded federal funds under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. The county received $6,819 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs. A local board will determine how the funds are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies. Source: Messenger Index

Washington County

  • A 17,000-square-foot rock-wood-and-window home in McCall has been converted into a clubhouse for the Whitetail Club private community adjoining Shore Lodge. The lakeside clubhouse offers a restaurant with outdoor patio, an indoor/outdoor bar, a lounge and library, a business center as well as a kids’ room and teen center. Master suites were converted into private dining and meeting rooms. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Weiser Area Rural Fire Department is replacing its old building that collapsed in January following an unprecedented snowfall. The new steel building will cost about $150,000. The structure will be ready by the end of September with the interior being finished this fall. Source: Weiser Signal

Openings

  • The Flame Broiler opened on Chinden Boulevard in Meridian in June – its 10th restaurant outside of southern California. The Flame Broiler has 176 eateries in southern California in addition to one in Las Vegas, three in Arizona, one in Tulsa, Okla., and four in Florida. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Bi-Mart will begin construction on a new store in Star with a projected opening in spring 2018.
  • Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co opened its second office in Nampa.
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Boise Airport on Elder Street in Boise.
  • Escape This Live Boise is an interactive game designed for up to 10 people who have 60 minutes to figure out a series of puzzles to find the key to escape the adventure.
  • Washington Federal opened a new branch on Federal Way in Boise.
  • Jelli, the technology that power the programmatic platforms for the $40 billion radio industry, opened an office in Downtown Boise that will focus on customer success and support.
  • Fresh Healthy Café offers a fresh and healthy alternative to typically unhealthy fast food opened in Boise’s BoDo.
  • A.S., a Connect Wireless store, located on Caldwell Bouvelard in Nampa.
  • Murray’s Chevron, a gas station, opened on Franklin Road in Boise.
  • Fort Street Station opened in Boise’s North End. The pub features local craft beer, burgers and sandwiches.
  • D & B Supply will open a new store in the Eastgate shopping center in Boise. The new store will have more of an urban feel than the other stores. The store’s opening will be in October.
  • Primary Health will occupy the former Discount Tire store on Happy Valley Road near the Nampa Gateway Center.
  • The Iyengar Yoga Center of Boise recently opened in Boise’s North End.

Closings

  • Karcher Ranch Market in Nampa closed June 30 after 42 years of business.
  • 20th Century Lanes in Boise closed after 57 years.  Treasure Valley Skate, a roller rink and fun center, plans to move into the building this fall. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Children’s clothing seller Gymboree Corp. is closing 350 stores, including two in Idaho, as it works to restructure in bankruptcy. The San Francisco-based company said it’s mostly closing Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores, including a Gymboree in Boise and Crazy 8 in at the Magic Valley Mall in Twin Falls. It also operates Janie and Jack stores. The company will have more than 900 locations after the stores are shut down. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • MacLife Store in Boise’s BoDo area closed. MacLife focused on sales of computers and accessories.

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

Janell.Hyer@labor.idaho.gov, senior economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 2330

 

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

Region

  • The Department of the Interior announced payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) for this next fiscal year. PILTs compensate local governments for federal lands that cannot generate property taxes and has been an ongoing program since the 1970s. South central Idaho received 28 percent of Idaho’s PILT distribution at almost $8.5 million in comparison to its population at 11.5 percent of the state’s total. The total regional increase from the previous fiscal year was 3.3 percent. The following is a breakdown of the region’s PILT by county:
    • Blaine County – $2,061,773
    • Camas County – $163,668
    • Cassia County – $2,247,018
    • Gooding County – $668,430
    • Jerome County – $256,927
    • Lincoln County – $892,886
    • Minidoka County – $474,546
    • Twin Falls County – $1,692,593

Source:  Times-News

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded 23 south central Idaho schools Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program grants for this next academic year. The percentage of students qualifying for either free or reduced price lunches determined the award. The total grant received regionally was about $466,200 with the awards ranging from $2,500 to $36,000. Source: Times-News

 Blaine County

  • The Allen & Company Conference in Sun Valley, the annual media finance conference, went off without a hitch for the 35th year in a row. “It’s like an adult summer camp. It’s great for the mind. It’s inspiring.”  – Tim Cook, Apple CEO. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Cassia County

  • A transitional housing option will be available in Burley for six women. This is a first for the area and BPA Health is the certifying agency. It provides substance-use disorder services throughout the state. The women can remain in the housing for six months but the organizers are hoping to get that extended to 18 months. Community mentors will help them in the adjustment back to community life. There will be a garden and fruit trees on the property with canning, cooking and cleaning as part of the life-skills residents will learn. Source: Times-News

Gooding County

  • Idaho Power is constructing a fish ladder for wild rainbow trout to travel in both directions around the diversion dam for its upper Malad hydroelectric project. The deep Malad Gorge has a canyon-rim view for watching the progress of engineers and construction crews. Idaho Power has developed automated video imaging software to count the species of each fish, its length and the direction it is traveling once the ladder is in place. The camera and computer are in hardware the size of a soda can. The upper fish ladder is a requirement of the 30-year federal relicensing agreement and has been in the planning stages for some time. Source: Times-News

Lincoln County

  •  Shoshone School District has a $6 million school bond on the August voting docket. The bond requires a super majority or 66.67 percent voter approval. The bond would replace a previous building bond paid off a year ago. The bond would fund construction of a new multi-purpose building to include a stage and gymnasium, a new vocational building and a small building that will provide classrooms for the alternative school. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • The College of Southern Idaho Office on Aging’s program that provides home-delivered meals and on-site at regional senior centers, accounted for 37 percent of last year’s budget, according to Suzanne McCorkle, the office’s executive director. The senior centers served more than 100,000 meals the past two fiscal years, up about 10 percent compared with the annual average of previous years. While there was a spike in fiscal year 2016 to 86,000 for home deliveries of meals, the demand has returned to an average of about 74,500. The Office on the Aging reported a $70,000 surplus at the end of June, rolling over into the next fiscal year’s budget. There is an anticipated $20,500 cut in budget by Congress and Idaho legislators that would affect serving high-risk populations. Source: Times-News
  • The College of Southern Idaho estimates a loss of $900,000 income from the voter approval of the College of Eastern Idaho. It can no longer assess out-of-district tuition for students from Bonneville County. An estimate of associated expenses that will mitigate the loss has not yet been determined. Source: Times-News
  • The Idaho Division of Public Works will install LED lighting across the College of Southern Idaho campus in an effort to save energy and enhance student safety. The cost is covered by the state of Idaho. Source: Times-News
  • There were 17 single-family construction permits pulled in the city of Twin Falls during June, down about 26 percent from the previous year. The year-to-date figures are similar from the previous year – hovering near the 120 mark. Single-family housing carries a greater impact on jobs and the economy than other sub-sectors of construction. Source: City of Twin Falls
  • Lamb Weston employees voted against representation by the Teamsters Union Local 483. An estimated 92 percent of workers voted and the results were an 80/20 mix against the union. Examples of other regional food processors with union representation include Amalgamated Sugar, McCain Foods and Independent Meats, and all report employee membership is not robust since Idaho is a Right to Work state. Source: Times-News
  • The Urban Renewal Agency (URA) has sold the Historic Ballroom in Twin Falls to a group of developers who also own the canyon rim restaurant, Elevation 486. Summit Creek Capital, based in Ketchum, specializes in historic preservation and plans to invest $3.5 million to remodel the building. The new tenants will include a pub-style restaurant and patio, Cycle Therapy with spinning and a fitness area in the basement and professional office space above the main floor. The URA will spend up to $350,000 to reconstruct the sidewalk and fill in part of the basement beneath the street. The building renovation should be completed and ready for tenants around the spring of 2018. Source: Times-News
  • Eagle Financial has offered $2 million to the Urban Renewal Agency in a bid to purchase the C3/CustomerContactChannels call center facility. It has indicated that should the URA accept the offer, it would attempt to renegotiate a long-term lease with C3. The company also announced plans to recruit an additional 445 customer service representatives over the next four to six months in Twin Falls. C3/CustomerContactChannels saidit currently has more than 500 current workers and the facility can handle up to 1,100 workers over various shifts. Singapore-based Everise purchased C3 last December, and the company has a client base that includes health care, financial services, telecommunications, energy and utilities, media, travel, hospitality and government services industries. It operates U.S. call centers in Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. It also operates overseas call centers in the Philippines, Bulgaria, Guatemala and China. Source: Times-News
  • Idaho’s Workforce Development Council met for its quarterly meeting in the Herrett Center on the campus of College of Southern Idaho. The recommendations from the Governor’s Workforce Development Task Force were unveiled, much of which require legislative action in 2018. Increasing opportunities for apprenticeships, externships – defined as when teachers go into the workplace to understand the environment and skill requirements – along with additional career counseling and awareness are included in the full report.
    • Regional representatives provided an update to the council on varying projects. Chet Jeppesen of Idaho Department of Labor reported on a micro-grant funded by Workforce Development Training Funds that takes idle manufacturing equipment into Minico High School for training of students on maintenance mechanics at 7 a.m. daily (zero hour class).
    • Executive Director Connie Stopher reported on Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization and its latest emphasis on talent attraction, Operation Facelift to upgrade store fronts and marketing south central Idaho to those businesses wanting to relocate.
    • Travis Rothweiler reported on the downtown Twin Falls renovation of its streets, the new city hall and Downtown Commons. He also highlighted the new marketing material designed to entice the youth back to the area and attract new residents. Source:  Times-News

Openings

  • Vie Active retail store opened in Ketchum. The Australian active wear brand for women relocated its U.S. corporate headquarters from Los Angeles to Ketchum in 2016. Source: Times-News
  • Carl’s Jr. announced plans to construct a new fast food restaurant in Twin Falls. Source: Times-News

Closure

  • Toy Orphanage and Things is closing its shop in the downtown core of Twin Falls. Source: Times-News

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

Region

  • Idaho counties will receive a total of $30 million in payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) funding for 2017, according to the U.S. Secretary of the interior. Power County is set to receive $778,031 for 293,333 acres and Bingham County will receive $797,261 for 300,736 acres. PILT are federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable federal lands within their boundaries. Source: Morning News

Bannock County

  • Two new residential subdivisions are being proposed to the Bannock County Planning and Zoning at the end of the month. The first subdivision, Jaxon, will be located at the intersection of Philbin and Siphon roads. The second subdivision, Bentel, will be located off of Rio Vista Road just south of Tyhee. The two proposed subdivisions would add 25 new homes in Bannock County in the near future. A third, Rio Estates, is already in the works, adding 14 more home-building lots. Source: KPVI
  • A ribbon cutting celebrated the completion of the Great Western Malting plant expansion in Pocatello. The project, which started in the fall of 2015 cost roughly $100 million and expands the existing capacity of the plant by 120 percent. It will add capacity of 120,000 tons of barley per year that can be processed. The expansion will also add 10 to 12 new jobs on site. Source: KIDK
  • Idaho State University (ISU) has formed a recruiting partnership with Buchanan & Edwards, a major, national technology-based company. The partnership will allow ISU IT students to land either a professional internship or even a permanent job with Buchanan & Edwards. Some of the fields included in IT would be information systems, computer science and software development. Source: KIDK
  • A ribbon cutting was held on in July for the new Fairfield Marriott Hotel in Pocatello. This second Marriott property in Pocatello features 83 guest rooms, two meeting spaces, a 24-hour fitness center, pool & spa, along with a corner market and business center. Source: Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce

Bingham County

  • Doctors in southeastern Idaho who specialize in treating cardiovascular and renal diseases have partnered with Bingham Memorial Hospital to bring The Cardio Renal Centers of America to patients struggling to find coordinated care. The center opened about two months ago in Blackfoot. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The fiscal year 2018 budget for the East Idaho Regional Waste Water Authority includes $1.6 million in money saved for a possible upgrade to its plant to remove phosphorus. The organization, which handles sewage from the city of Shelley, the city of Ammon, as well as parts of Bingham and Bonneville counties, also is proposing a 25 percent increase in its monthly fees to help pay for upgrades and operations for phosphorous removal. Source: Morning News
  • The city of Shelley plans to construct a new 800,000-gallon water tank on the butte outside town. The required conditional use permit was approved unanimously by the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission. The project is being funded by a $400,000 Idaho Department of Commerce grant and money saved by the city for water projects. The city hopes to have the tank completed in 2018. Source: Shelley Pioneer
  • A highly anticipated project to repair Shelley’s Main Street, which is also U.S. 91, began this July. The construction costs are estimated at $1.48 million and is expected to be completed by Aug. 18 in anticipation of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse and the Eastern Idaho State Fair in the first week of September.

Caribou County

  • Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. announced that once the anticipated merger transaction closes, the new company will be named Nutrien. Parties expect closure of the transaction to take place in the third quarter of 2017. Source: Caribou County Sun

Franklin County

  • Architects at VCBO Architecture of Salt Lake City were instructed to begin the approval processes required by Preston City, Franklin County and required state agencies for an extensive addition to the Franklin County Medical Center. The project scope includes a 17,225-foot addition to the current hospital and 2,200 feet of remodeling and repurposing of the existing building. Construction costs for the project is estimated at $10.8 million. Source: Preston Citizen
  • DL Beck has begun construction work for the bridge replacement on SH-36 at milepost 130.9 over the Bear River, west of Preston. The major work activities for the 2017 construction season will be primarily confined to the in-water work of building the center pier. The bridge reconstruction will be completed in the 2018 construction season. Source: Preston Citizen

Openings

  • Family Dollar Store in Franklin.
  • Vazquez Mexican Restaurant in Blackfoot.
  • Fairfield Hotel and Suites in Pocatello.
  • Collecting Americana in Blackfoot.
  • Pappy’s Premium Ice Cream and Country Kitchen in Blackfoot.
  • The Cardio Renal Centers of America in Blackfoot.
  • Fairfield Marriott Hotel in Pocatello.

Closing

  • B & L Floral and Gifts in Riverside.

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

Bonneville County

  • Visitation to Yellowstone National Park during June was down 4.8 percent from a year ago, but was still the second-busiest June on record in the nation’s first national park. The National Park Service counted more than 803,000 visits in June. In June 2016, the park welcomed more than 838,000 visitors, a record for the month. During the first six months of this year, the park has hosted about 1.3 million visits, down 5.5 percent from the same period in 2016. Source: Post Register
  • A new C-A-L Ranch Store in Ammon celebrated the grand opening of its flagship store in July. It offers 70,000 square feet of retail space, more than double the size of its long-time store on Anderson Street. In addition to the new retail facility, C-A-L Ranch is constructing a 30,000-square-foot office space on Curlew Drive that will serve as corporate headquarters for the 25-store company. The store was built by Tom Stuart Construction and the office, to be completed later this year, is being built by Guardian Homes. Source: Bizmojo
  • Mark Richardson and Mark Hargis have opened Studio M, a new large format studio in Idaho Falls at 255 B Street, Suite 207. Source: Bizmojo

Teton County

  • Tetonia, Driggs and Victor now each have a K-3 elementary school before kids transition to Rendezvous Upper Elementary (RUES) in Driggs for 4th and 5th grade. The other option the board considered would be to build new K-5 schools in Victor and Driggs, expand Tetonia Elementary into a K-5 and close RUES. The board put out a survey requesting feedback about configuration from the community and didn’t get a significant number of responses. The results were almost evenly split, with K-3 receiving 51.3 percent and K-5 receiving 48.7 percent of the vote. Source: Post Register

Madison County

  • Madison County celebrated the opening of the 5000 South road this month. The new road, a mile and half long, cost an estimated $1.9 million and came in under the original projected budget of $2.3 million. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Openings

  • Big Dog TV & Internet held its grand re-opening of its new location in Ammon in July.  The Drink Shop, a new local coffee chain, has begun moving in next door. Source: Bizmojo
  • Culver’s, a burger and ice cream restaurant, opened at Taylor’s Crossing. This is the fourth Culver’s in Idaho. The first was opened in Twin Falls in 2014 by Eugene Smith, a fourth-generation Wisconsin dairy farmer who left agriculture and moved west to open a franchise. As an alumnus of Ricks College, where he studied dairy farming, Smith had some experience with eastern Idaho. Source: Bizmojo
  • Eagle Rock Indian Motorcycle opened this month and sold its first bike the same day. Indian is a company that dates back to 1901, when it was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts. In the 20th century it was a longtime competitor with Harley-Davidson in the U.S. motorcycle market. Source: Bizmojo

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

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