Around Idaho: October Economic Activity

Information provided in this article has been gathered from various sources throughout the state, including professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

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

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

Kootenai County

  • Mountain Crest Development LLC plans to cut trees and begin laying road on its Canfield Mountain properties. While it is not clear at this time what plans are for the 96 acre parcels, Mountain Crest has previously sought to build a new housing development on the mountain. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The criminal justice infrastructure in Kootenai County may be expanding in two individual initiatives. The Kootenai County jail is overcrowded, and the Board of County Commissioners has begun a study to determine if jail expansion would be warranted. In a separate effort, the Post Falls Police Department has proposed creating a new substation on the west side of the city. The substation would ostensibly increase the efficiency of distributing police presence around Post Falls. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

  • The Post Falls City Council approved Avista Utilities’ plan to replace an aging gas line with a new line under the Spokane River. Avista will also install a new stormwater runoff system for the city as part of the project. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Farb Guidance Systems of Post Falls unveiled a system of automated and unmanned farm equipment it says will significantly boost productivity for farmers. The first platform is an unmanned Caterpillar Skid Steer, which is anticipated to be the first in a line of automated tractors. Farb is the first company in the world to demonstrate unmanned farm equipment. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Benewah County

  • Construction is set to begin in 2016 on two new bridges north of St. Maries on State Highway 3 at a cost of around $8.5 million. Source: St. Maries Gazette Record
  • St Maries taxpayers will likely be responsible for financing repairs to leaks and holes at the city’s water treatment plant. The cost has not been verified; the city council has indicated it has been given different estimates ranging from $25,635 to $125,000. Source: St. Maries Gazette Record
  • The Plummer City Council has proposed a water bond to raise $3 million to improve the city’s water system. Council members have stated that the city suffers from significant water distribution problems and that a bond represents the only realistic method of financing necessary improvements. Source: St. Maries Gazette Record

Bonner County

  • Bonner County Commissioners will hold a public hearing to evaluate the hours of operation for the Alpine Cedar sawmill. The mill’s former permits set no time constraints on hours of operation, which has led to opposition from neighboring landowners who cited obnoxious noise, light and emissions. Source: Bonner County Daily Bee, regional economist
(208) 457-8789 ext 4451

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

Clearwater County

  • The Orofino School District enrolled 32 more students this September than last. All the schools except Peck had small enrollment increases. Orofino Elementary added two teachers — for kindergarten and third grade. Enrollment at the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy exceeded 100 for the second time. The increase at the other schools in the district suggests that more young families are moving in than moving out.

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • The 70,000-plus-acre Clearwater Complex fires that burned across north central Idaho in August destroyed 50 homes and dozens of outbuildings. Now, construction is on the rise as replacement buildings are going up. For those buildings that weren’t adequately insured, a volunteer group in Kamiah is offering to mobilize labor, materials and money. The 2015 Wild Fire Unmet Needs committee hopes to restore private property in Idaho, Lewis and Clearwater counties to its former value. Idaho County commissioners held a meeting Oct. 7 at the Kooskia Fire Station, where government officials provided information about sources of help for land owners where fire destroyed buildings, timber stands and farm and grazing land. It also discussed ways of improving fire response and training from other fire districts.

Latah County

  • Quad Cities Nissan lot opened at the former Subaru dealership in Moscow in early October. Moscow has been without a new car dealership for two years. Nissan hasn’t had a dealership in north central Idaho or southeastern Washington after Nissan pulled its line from Joe Hall Ford Lincoln in Lewiston last winter. The new business sells new and used vehicles and repairs Nissans as well as other makes of cars and pickup trucks. The business’s owner promised Nissan they will construct a new dealership in two years.

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • From mid-September to mid-October, barges carried two million bushels of wheat from the three ports in the Lewiston-Clarkston area to Portland. Wheat is loaded in bulk rather than shipped in containers. The Port of Portland remains unable to handle containerized shipping, so lentils, garbanzo beans and peas have not been traveling on the barges as they normally do. They are being shipped by truck and/or train to ports in Washington. In the same period, five cruise ships brought more than 1,500 passengers to the Port of Clarkston.
  • A Spokane Valley company plans to assemble five structures for the U.S. Navy at the Port of Lewiston, then barge them to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash. American Alloy signed a seven-month lease on port property in October. It will use structural steel segments from its Spokane Valley plant to build the structures including coating metal exteriors, plumbing and electricity. The structures, which will be used for decommissioning submarines, will be too large to move on highways. About seven employees will come from Spokane Valley, and 20 to 30 contracted workers will be hired. This may be the first of several projects where American Alloy would use the port.
  • Interventional Pain Consultants in Lewiston plans to move into Tri-State Memorial Hospital in Clarkston this spring after the hospital completes a $2.6 million remodel of its medical office building. The pain clinic’s three doctors and most of its 20 employees will become Tri-State employees. The pain clinic’s absorption into the hospital is part of the national trend of hospitals to acquire more clinics.


  •  A Petco superstore near the Palouse Mall on Nez Perce Drive in Moscow, regional economist
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3984

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

Treasure Valley

  • Heartland Recreational Vehicles, based in Elkhart, Ind., plans to open a recreational vehicle assembly plant in a former Micron factory in Nampa. Production is expected to start by March with about 120 employees, growing to 275 employees by 2018. Company officials believe some suppliers may be interested in locating near the Nampa plant. Heartland is the 20th company to qualify for Idaho’s year-old tax reimbursement incentive. The Idaho Department of Commerce awarded Heartland a 20 percent tax credit over 10 years valued at $3.9 million. Average annual salary at the plant is $38,250. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area’s October job fair attracted job seekers for 500 positions for the upcoming ski and snowboard season, including instructors, chair riders, day care attendants, sales clerks, lift operators, ski patrol, plow drivers and parking lot attendants. Source: KTVB and Idaho Business Review
  • Growing business concerns about security and expanded software offerings led CradlePoint, a downtown Boise technology firm, to add 100 employees in the past 15 months. Today, it employs about 200 people in the Treasure Valley and is looking for a larger space for its growing workforce. Source: Idaho Business Review.
  • BioLife Plasma Services plans to open a collection center in Nampa in November. BioLife centers collect plasma from paid donors to help people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease and other conditions. The $5 million building under construction will employ between 50 and 70 people. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune
  • Terry Reilly Health Services plans to open a new clinic on the Boise Bench. The clinic will provide medical, dental and behavioral health services for adults and children when it opens this spring. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Reel Theatre, an independent theater chain, plans to open a nine-screen cinema playing first-run movies in Kuna in 2016. The company will build a 25,000-square-foot facility at North Meridian and Deer Flat roads, where it will employ 15 to 20 people. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Treasure Valley is home to a rapidly growing number of breweries. Barbarian Brewing, which makes a range of brews and specializes in barrel-aged beers, opened in Garden City in early October. Two Boise breweries won medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver this September. Boise Brewing took home a silver for its Black Cliffs American Stout and 10 Barrel Brewing earned a bronze for its Power to the People stout. Idaho’s largest brewery, Payette Brewing Co. of Garden City, plans to open a four-vessel, 60-barrel brewhouse in a 32,000-square-foot building in Boise this spring. Its eventual production potential could top 100,000 barrels annually. Payette Brewing produced 10,000 barrels in 2014. Sources: Idaho Business Review, Idaho Statesman
  • Wayne Brown Institute, a venture capital accelerator based in Salt Lake City, hopes to increase its presence in Idaho. Economic development organizations believe that access to venture capital in Idaho can help move the creation or expansion of some technology firms here. The accelerator hopes to add up to 40 Idaho mentors to counsel new entrepreneurs and find more startups seeking venture funding. WBI is partnering with Zions Bank’s Business Resource Center. Zions has sponsored WBI activity in Utah for more than 10 years. (Source: Idaho Business Review)
  • The Boise Airport received a $700,000 grant in early October that could help the airport add a nonstop flight to Atlanta or another eastern city. Dozens of local companies pledged $273,500 to support the added flight. Delta Air Lines, which might fly the Atlanta-Boise flight, supported Boise’s bid for the grant. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Idaho Youth Ranch has found a new home in Canyon County to replace its old location in Rupert. In November, it will begin bringing children in its programs to the new location, and by 2017, children involved in its outpatient programs will begin living on a 258-acre site near Middleton. The Idaho Youth Ranch is a nonprofit agency that offers emergency shelter, residential care, substance abuse treatment, job readiness training, alternative education, adoption services, family counseling and more for at-risk youth and their families. Lodges will also be built on the property to allow for children who require residential service. Up to 40 children will live in the lodges. Source: Idaho Press-Tribune
  • Mother Earth Brewery of Vista, California, has committed to a 30-year lease with Rocky Mountain Companies, taking on the space formerly occupied by Syngenta Seed in the I-84 Complex of Nampa. The craft brewer will be the largest in the state and have a tasting room opening in June 2016. The brewery plans to hire 25 employees to start, ramping up to 100 workers within five years. The craft beer will be distributed to Hawaii, Arizona, Washington, Florida, Nevada and Idaho while its California brewery will fill its own market needs. Nampa city officials worked closely with Boise Valley Economic Partnership to identify parcels of land and promote why the company should land here. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The College of Idaho inaugurated its 13th president – the first female – a day after celebrating its 125th anniversary. Charlotte Borst will take up her new position July 1, 2016. She has doctorate and master degrees in the history of science and medicine from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a master’s degree in history from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Boston University. Borst is currently vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Whittier College in California. Source: College of Idaho

 Boise County

  • The U.S. Forest Service has approved a request by Idaho CuMo Corp. formerly Mosquito Gold, to conduct more exploratory drilling near Idaho City. The mining company wants more information about the copper-molybdenum deposit it owns as it prepares a mining feasibility study and environmental impact statement. It estimates the mine contains $16 billion in ore, which would make it the world’s largest molybdenum mine. It could mean 1,000 long-term, high-paying jobs if the company can convince regulators the mine can be operated safely without degrading water that runs into the Boise River. Source: Idaho Statesman

Elmore County

  • Kreizenbeck Construction of Boise was chosen as the contractor to build a new, 23,000-square-foot community center in Elmore County. Late 2016 is anticipated for its opening. Source: Mountain Home News
  • Mountain Home hosted its second annual Highland Games featuring not only Scottish bagpipes but music and dance from other cultures around the globe. More than 90 athletes from Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Utah competed in nine events. Organizers plan future games based on the success of the event. Source: Mountain Home News
  • St. Luke’s Elmore is expanding its services and campus in Mountain Home investing $5.5 million in new modular clinics for visiting specialists and occupational health services. The business office and outpatient services department will also move into a modular building allowing the bricks and mortar facility to expand its emergency department. The ER currently provides services for 10,000 visits annually compared with the 5,000 visits originally intended. The St. Luke’s Elmore Foundation is fund raising to contribute $500,000 toward the total while St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center will provide the $5 million balance. Source: Mountain Home News
  • The average single family home in Elmore County is selling for $139,000 this year compared with $133,000 in 2014, an increase of 4.5 percent year over year, according to the Elmore County Board of Realtors. The number of sales for the first nine months of this year is up by 42 compared with 187 in 2014 over the same period, an uptick of 22.5 percent. The number of new building permits are moving at about the same speed as last year with 22 filed and three pending compared with 24 in 2014, according to Mike McCain, city building official. Source: Mountain Home News

 Owyhee County

  • The Homedale Farmers Market was awarded a $54,450 grant distributed over two years to increase the number of vendors, customers and children in the Sprouts program and to increase gross market sales and the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by children. It is part of a push by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Marketing Service to promote local access to agricultural products and develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations with the grant pool totaling $13.3 million.
  • The J.R. Simplot Co. has sealed a five-year contract with the Bureau of Land Management to feed and house wild mustangs that have been rounded up from public lands. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Sugar beet harvest is underway with above average sugar content declared in most samples. Amalgamated Sugar with its three plants in southern Idaho, Nampa, Twin Falls and Paul, produces 20 percent of the nation’s sugar. It is estimated there are 311 acres of sugar beets being harvested around Homedale, down 30 percent from last year’s 443 acres. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Marsing School District trustees approved a pay increase for substitute teachers, no longer differentiating between certified and classified substitutes. The district will now pay $70 daily to substitutes and $80 daily after 10 days – an increase from $55 daily for classified substitutes and $60 daily for certified substitutes. There is a shortage of substitute teachers across the southern part of the state as other full-time job opportunities and lower unemployment rates compete. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche

Gem County

  • Heart ‘n Home Hospice and Palliative Care was chosen as a “Top 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare” in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The designation is sponsored by Modern Healthcare who surveys employees annually. The company will be recognized at an awards gala in Nashville, Tennessee.

Payette County

  • An expansion at Alta Mesa’s Little Willow Gathering natural gas facility near New Plymouth has prompted an Idaho Department of Environmental Quality public comment period from Oct. 7 to Nov. 6, 2015. There was not a public comment period in place when the facility opened its doors because the emissions were low. The expansion is estimated to emit over 25 tons of volatile organic compounds, which is considerably higher than an auto body shop but considerably less than Idaho Power’s natural gas fired facility, Langley Gulch, which emits 75 tons of VOCs annually. DEQ stated that there should not be any pollution violations when the plant expands.
  • The apple crop has faced a triple whammy with a sudden November frost last year injuring trees, a frost and hail in the springtime negatively impacted buds and flowers and are now dealing with a shortage of labor. The National Agricultural Statistical Service estimates apple production for Idaho from 2014 to 2015 fell about 12 percent due to these issues. Source: Independent Enterprise
  • The Snake River Economic Development Alliance received a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development award from the International Development Council on Regionalism and Cross-Border Collaboration. Source: Independent Enterprise

 Under Construction

  • Idaho Self Storage near Boise State University. The 44,700-square-foot facility will have 432 units.


  • A Deseret Industries thrift store on Caldwell Boulevard in Nampa, replacing a smaller store on Holly Street. It employs up to 65 people.
  • A gas station, employing six people, at the Fred Meyer in Nampa.
  • H&M store selling clothing and accessories on Monarch Sky Lane in the Village at Meridian and employing about 30 people.
  • Popeyes, a fried chicken fast food restaurant, on Broadway in Boise.
  • Fur-Ever Pasture Pet Cemetery in Tipanuk between Mountain Home and Boise.
  • Walla Walla Clothing Co. selling designer-brand clothing in the Village at Meridian.
  • D & B opened a store in Emmett filling space formerly occupied by Kings Variety Store, a car dealership and an empty lot., regional economist
(208) 332-3570 ext. 3455

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


  • An estimated 120 new jobs have been created with new stores opening at Canyon Park West over the last six months, according to Brent White, manager of the Magic Valley Mall, the strip malls anchored by Target and Barnes & Noble, the new Canyon Park West and Canyon Park East. White estimates employment at these properties ranges from 800-1,000 due to seasonal swings.


  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture revised its forecast for 2015 net farm income, estimating a drop of 36 percent to $58.3 billion from $91.1 billion in 2014. This is the second forecast release and more grim than the 32 percent year-over-year drop projected in the first release. There are three forecasts issued annually by the federal department with estimates based on prices, yields, global climate patterns, global supply and demand along with other correlations such as implement sales.

Blaine County

  • The 19th Trailing of the Sheep Festival was held in Ketchum in October. Final numbers have not been reported, but last year’s event attracted an estimated 23,000 visitors from more than 30 countries. The four-day festival honors the history and heritage of Peruvians, Basque and Scottish sheepherders, the working dogs, the stories and the food. Source: Capital Press

Jerome County

  • An America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant was awarded to Jerome School District. Monsanto sponsors the grant, and the $10,000 award will be used to purchase a mobile computer lab to assist middle-school-aged students in honing their math skills.

Minidoka and Cassia Counties

  • Fabri-Kal hosted the grand opening of its new manufacturing facility in Burley. Workers at the Michigan-based food packaging company’s new facility will produce the million yogurt cups needed daily for the nearby Chobani Greek yogurt plant and Greenware product that uses plant matter, such as wheat straw rather than petroleum in its production. Mike Roehder, Fabri-Kal president, said the combination of interstate access, the nearby Chobani plant and the significant amount of wheat planted in the area drove the site selection. The 100,000-square-foot building will initially house 50 workers and was designed to double in size if needed. At its construction peak, 100 workers were employed; 90 percent were local contractors. The Fabri-Kal Foundation offers higher-education tuition assistance to young-adult children of all its employees. Source: Capital Press

 Twin Falls County

  • The Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization received a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development award at an annual meeting for the International Economic Development Council, based in Washington, D.C. Todd Schwarz, executive vice president and chief academic officer at the College of Southern Idaho, received the Institutional Leadership Award. Source: Times News

New Construction

  • DownEast Home and Clothing Outlet is being built by Datum Construction of Eagle. The more than 18,000-square-foot store will carry retail women’s clothing and furniture. It is expected to open early November in the Canyon Park West strip mall. Source: Times News
  • MacAlister’s Deli is under construction by Don Anderson’s Construction of Twin Falls. The 4,500-square-foot sandwich shop is located next to Home Depot and expected to open mid-November. Source: Times News
  • Trail Creek Village mall in Ketchum is being razed to make way for the construction of the five-star Auberge Resort. The mall was originally built in 1940 and continued to be vibrant until the Great Recession.

Openings/Ribbon Cuttings

  • Noodles & Company recently opened its fifth Idaho location in Twin Falls. The fast-casual restaurant features fresh ingredients with pasta, noodle and other dishes from around the world.
  • Ross Dress recently opened in Twin Falls, hiring about 50 workers for the newly constructed space at Canyon Park West.
  • Pizza Pie Café recently opened in the former Montana Steak House in Twin Falls.
  • Fantasia Event Center opened in Burley., regional economist
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

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

Bannock County

  • City Council members approved leasing 197.5 acres on the northern edge of Pocatello Regional Airport to Pocatello Solar One for a solar panel project. The rental fee will be $4,069 per year during the two-year developmental phase of the project, which will be boosted to $60,000 beginning the first year of full operation, increasing annually by 2.5 percent or the Consumer Price Index increase — whichever is greater — through the duration of a 20-year lease. Source: Idaho State Journal 2015
  •  The city of Chubbuck is considering designating the Pine Ridge Mall as a Tax Increment Financing district. In recent years the mall has struggled to grow and improve. Placing the mall property in a TIF district is aimed at providing investment incentives for property development and help draw tenants to the space to revitalize the area. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A third SkyWest Airlines flight between Pocatello Regional Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport has ended. The flight that ran between Aug. 17 and Sept. 27 was to determine if Pocatello could support three daily flights to and from the city’s airport. Now that the trial period is over, airport officials will await data and meet with SkyWest officials to determine if the third flight will return permanently. Source: Idaho State Journal 2015
  • The Bannock County Commissioners will be hosting public meetings to gather public opinion about a possible bond election to fund an expansion of the overcrowded Bannock County Jail. The bond was proposed in August after reports of overcrowding in the jail were made public. The current facility, which was built in 1994, also needs maintenance upgrades in plumbing and repairs to cracks in the foundation. Source: Idaho State Journal 2015

Bingham County

  • Good weather and good farming techniques have led to back-to-back record-breaking years for sugar beet harvest throughout Bingham County and much of southeastern Idaho. Farms in the county are averaging around 35 to 36 tons per acre with sugar content as high as 18.6. Approximately 37 thousand acres of sugar beets were planted this year in southeast Idaho. Source: Post Register 2015

Caribou County

  • Ben Ebron has been appointed to head a pilot educational program in farm and ranch management at the University of Idaho’s extension office in Caribou County. Ebron will offer workshops and classes throughout eastern Idaho in business management, marketing, succession planning and development of crop budgets to manage variable input costs to help offset market declines. Ebron has a master’s degree in agricultural economics from UI and formerly served as a Teton County Extension agent for 12 years before his appointment to the new regional position. Source: Post Register 2015
  • A Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration study is underway at the phosphate mines and associated processing facilities near Soda Springs. The study’s purpose is to identify the potential damage to the surrounding ecosystem by the release of hazardous substances from the mine site. Source: Caribou County Sun

New Business

  • Ribbon Retreat in Shelly


  • U.S. Postal Service Processing Center in Pocatello, regional economist
(208) 557-2500 ext. 3077

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

Bonneville County

  • The Technical Careers High School in Bonneville County recently added three new training programs to its curriculum. The high school, now in its fourth year of operation, has added agriculture, information technologies and an EMT program, bringing the school’s total program count to eight. Source: Post Register 2015
  • Following the successful lawsuit against legalizing instant racing in Idaho, Double Down Sports Bar and Grill has closed. Around 70 people lost employment as a result of the closure. Source: Post Register 2015
  • Early discussions have begun about possibly transforming Eastern Idaho Technical College into a community college. The move would require voter approval within a newly created community college district because creating a community college would require property tax support from the community. The idea is still in the discussion phase with a survey planned to measure local support. Source: Post Register 2015
  • Idaho Falls City Council approved the Idaho Falls Auditorium District plans to annex land for a new event center. In 2011, voters approved a 5 percent lodging tax to pay for the new event center. According to a recent news release, the District said it has raised $4.9 million for the $35 million project. Source: Post Register 2015

Butte County

  • North Custer Hospital District received a $1.19 million grant, which will allow the community’s only primary and urgent care facility to hire three additional mid-level providers. The New Access Point Award, a 22-month, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration grant will allow the Challis Area Health Center to increase on-call services with the added providers for a total of four. The added providers will likely be physician assistants or nurse practitioners. It will also allow the facility to add mental health and dental care services and operate as a federally designated community health center, according to an Idaho State University news release. Source: Post Register 2015

Clark County

  • Lendy Ross Elementary was awarded a $5,000 grant as part of the Idaho Commission for Libraries School Library Access Mini-Grant program. The grant will be used to increase access to books and better meet the needs of beginning readers. Source: Post Register 2015

Madison County

  • Madison Memorial Hospital can now offer emergent behavioral health assessments for its patients under a partnership with the Eastern Idaho Regional Behavioral Health Center. This will be provided through a process called Tele-Mental health – a new service that connects physicians in the Emergency Department to the Behavioral Health Center directly by teleconference. Source: Standard Journal 2015


  • Home2Suites in Idaho Falls
  • Papa Murphy’s in Ammon
  • Westmark Credit Union in Idaho Falls
  • Gama West Cancer Services in Idaho Falls
  • World’s Best Corn Dogs in Rexburg


  • Double Down Sport Bar and Grill in Idaho Falls
  • Gator Jacks in Rigby
  • Agritech in Sugar City, regional economist
(208) 557-2500 ext. 3077