Around Idaho: August 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

Kootenai County

  • A lumber mill in Athol owned by Vaagen Brothers Lumber suffered significant damage in an Aug. 9 fire. Although more than 50 percent of the facility was consumed, none of the mill’s employees were injured. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Post Falls City Council approved a new budget with no increase to property taxes and a fee increase which will affect water and wastewater fees. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • North Idaho College hosted the annual Art on the Green event. The art fair, which featured more than 160 artists, drew an estimated 50,000 patrons in its three-day run from Aug. 4-6. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Bonner County

  • Sandpoint’s new fiber network has begun expanding to business, including Timberline Helicopters and Tamarack Aerospace. Fatbeam, the fiber provider, cited the projects as examples of how public/private partnerships can work, while Sandpoint city officials noted that the fiber will help companies in need of better connectivity to keep their headquarters in Sandpoint. Source: Bonner County Daily Bee

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 National Science Foundation awarded an $839,809 grant to Lewis-Clark State College in August for the Northwest Intermountain Metal Manufacturing Career Development Program. Created by a collaboration of Lewis-Clark State College, Clearwater Economic Development Association and the University of Idaho, it will teach up to 90 high school students skills needed by the region’s metal manufacturers — including ammunition and firearms makers, machine shops, a foundry, jet boat and trailer builders, and equipment manufacturers. The two-year program will provide online and hands-on training that complements the entry-level skills needed by local manufacturers and includes soft skill development. Half of the students will receive training in mechanical computer-aided-design, and the others will learn electro-mechanical technician skills. Students will be provided with mentors and opportunities for internships with area manufacturers. College credit may be awarded to program participants through Idaho’s SkillStack® program. The students will come from 19 school districts in north central Idaho and southeastern Washington. Source: Clearwater Economic Development Association news release
  • After gathering feedback from tourist-oriented businesses throughout north central Idaho, Clearwater Economic Development Administration applied for a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant to design five travel loops in the region. The loops will be developed on specific interests such as cultural history, food, wine and outdoor adventure. The$9,560 USDA Rural Development grant and a $5,000 contribution from CEDA will pay for the design of the loops, which will be featured on the North Central Idaho Travel Association website and the regional visitor guide. Source: CEDA in Motion 

Clearwater County

  • Clearwater County began work on 18 projects to repair more than $7 million in damages to roads and bridges caused by this spring’s excessive moisture in July. Clearwater County was one of eight counties in northern and central Idaho that received a federal disaster declaration after rain and mudslides caused several roads to slough and cave in. Federal funds from the disaster declaration will not cover all the costs. Some projects require a monetary match from the county to complete the grants. The first project is repairing Dent Bridge Road. The final project may begin in a couple of years. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Nightforce Optics, the Orofino riflescope manufacturer that is Clearwater County’s largest private-sector employer, recently entered a partnership with Bass Pro Shops that will expand retail and digital distribution of premium riflescopes. The Bass Pro partnership may lead to further job increases at the Orofino manufacturer that employs more than 100 people. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Whitewater Market will move into a building on Main Street in Riggins this December. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Harpster residents celebrated the grand re-opening of the Harpster Store and RV Park in July. Michelle and Will Sherriffs bought the operation on the South Fork of the Clearwater in April. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Idaho County commissioners formally requested on July 25 the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests to begin a suitability evaluation to narrow down the list of rivers that could eventually get Wild and Scenic protection. The combined forests contain 89 rivers totaling nearly 900 river miles that Forest Service planners now say may be some of “the best of the best” candidates for Wild and Scenic protection. In a July 25 letter to the forests’ supervisor, the commissioners said potential for Wild and Scenic River eligibility impacts highway transportation, timber salvage, livestock grazing outfitters and guides. The Clearwater Basin Collaborative is also moving to support completing the suitability process during the current revision of the forest plan. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • The Idaho Department of Labor relocated its Grangeville office to 158 E. Main St., Suite 1A on Aug. 16. Staff at the new office continue to offer services to businesses and job seekers in Idaho and Lewis counties. For information, contact the Grangeville office or visit the Department of Labor website at labor.idaho.gov.

Latah and Whitman Counties

  • Passenger boarding at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport grew 21.5 percent from 50,883 in 2015 to 61,833 in 2016, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. That growth followed a 20 percent increase between 2014 and 2015. Despite the increased activity, it is unlikely that the number of flights from the airport will increase from three per day to four per day in September, as it typically does each fall. Horizon Air, owned by Alaska Airlines, is facing a pilot shortage. As Alaska grows, the airline is pulling pilots from Horizon, leaving Horizon with a shortage – an industry-wide problem across the country. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • While in the midst of its $110 million runway realignment project, the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport took on some smaller construction projects. Quality Contractors of Deary will redo the airport’s terminal baggage claim area for $376,222. An engineer’s estimate was $250,000. Germer Construction of Moscow won a bid to make $300,000 in improvements in the passenger terminal’s parking lot including paving and installation of light fixtures. After the realignment, expected to be completed by October 2019, larger aircraft, such as Boeing 737s, will be able to land there without special waivers. The improvements to the airport are expected to enhance economic development by making the airport more attractive to emerging businesses, such as technology firms, that depend on airports for access to customers all over the globe. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • TerraGraphics Environmental Engineering has split its operations so the Moscow office now operates as Alta Science and Engineering. TerraGraphics grew from a small home office in 1984 to a firm with more than 100 employees and several satellite offices in the Pacific Northwest. By splitting from TerraGraphics, the Moscow office no longer does work for the Department of Energy and instead will focus all its efforts on other clients. It will remain at its current location and keeps its 20-plus employees. It offers civil engineering, infrastructure planning, environmental restoration and construction oversight. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Plaid & Pearls Bistro & Gifts moved from downtown Lewiston to Genesee, a town of 500 near Highway 95 between Lewiston and Moscow. The owner Vicki Fountain wanted to work where she lives. She closed her business in Lewiston in May, when she began to fix up the former Genesee Exchange Bank. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties 

  • Vista Outdoor celebrated the opening of the high-tech addition to its ammunition manufacturing plant on Lewiston’s Southport Avenue in August. During the grand opening ceremony, Vista Outdoor presented a $20,000 check to Lewiston High School for the career-technical training center it plans to build. The $35 million addition allows for continuous flow that will substantially reduce the time needed to complete an order. It also reduces heavy lifting by employees, decreases exposure to explosives and upgrades industrial hygiene facilities. It was the first phase of a multi-phase project planned over the next five or so years. Eventually, the company plans to move its operations on Snake River Avenue to Southport, so that all its 1,400 Lewiston workers are located at the 350,000-square-foot Southport facility. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Golfers West featured the Lewiston-Clarkston area in its August edition. A group from the Northwest Golf Media Association visited the several area businesses in April, enjoying both the golf courses and the wineries. The article said, “One big takeaway: There’s a huge sense of cooperation amongst the six wineries in the area. While they know it’s a competitive industry, they want all of them to succeed. Instead of fighting for the same pie, the winemakers are trying to make winemaking a bigger pie so that everybody can eat heartily.” Source: Golfers West
  • The Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport soon will break ground on an operations building southwest of the terminal. It awarded a $4.32 million bid to Ginno Construction, based in Coeur d’Alene. When construction is completed in a year, the new facility will house two fire trucks and snow removal equipment. Airport administration offices will be moved to the building from the terminal’s third floor. A nearly $4 million Federal Aviation Administration grant will help fund the project. At its August meeting, the airport’s board agreed to spend up to $51,000 to contract with Hubpoint Strategic Advisors to examine ways that airport can increase commercial passenger service. Horizon Air, one of two commercial passenger airlines serving Lewiston, cut a key late-night flight from Seattle and due to pilot shortage. Despite those problems, air traffic in July soared to levels not seen since 2007, with more than 3,500 landings and takeoffs – 22 percent higher than a year ago. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Harbor Freight Tools, a chain of more than 750 tool stores, is opening a store in Lewiston in September. The store — offering hand tools, power tools, generators, automotive, motorcycle, lawn, garden and welding equipment — will occupy 15,000 square feet of the former North 40 Outfitters building near Kmart. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lohman Helicopter may move out of Lewiston, because the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport, where the company has been located for three years, is blocking its attempts to expand. The company specializes in aerial spraying of crops, forests and rangeland. It also sets air conditioners on buildings, puts up power poles, carries salt blocks or fence posts out to remote locations for cattle, and surveys game animals and power-line patrols. Lohman, which currently employs 18 people, first proposed constructing a new building to house all of its helicopters, equipment and administrative offices. Those plans were rejected by the airport board. Then the company tried to purchase a hangar, but its owner say it ran into all sorts of delays caused by the airport authorities. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Jimmy Johns is building a 4,100-square-foot restaurant near the Red Lion Hotel in Lewiston. It’s expected to open in mid-October. 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

  • A 14-unit luxury townhome proposal, Waterhouse Row, began construction in early July. The townhomes will be located on a 0.9-acre lot in Garden City. Waterhouse Row should be ready for tenants in spring 2018. Two commercial sites measuring 1,600 and 1,700 square feet are also available. An additional 17 townhomes are set to be added next year in the same area. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Idaho business law firms Hawley Troxell and Moffatt Thomas joined forces Aug. 1 to create a 75-lawyer firm. The new company believes that “having a deeper bench and strength in numbers will enable us to compete” with existing out-of-state firms that have large offices in Boise, according to Nick Miller, Hawley Troxell managing partner. Moffatt Thomas lawyers will move to the Well Fargo space in downtown Boise over the next few months. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Summit Development will begin a new housing development project in Boise in mid-September near Overland and Maple Grove roads. Completion of the 18 four-plexes, one six-plex and a duplex will be in February. The Cimarron Townhomes will rent from $950 to $1,000 per month. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Bishop Kelly High School in Boise began construction on a new STEM wing that will move physics, chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering into the $6 million, 25-000-square-foot Father Wilson Science and Technology Wing for the 2018-19 school year. The new wing will have 12 teaching labs, four biology teaching labs, three chemistry teaching labs, two physics teach labs, two computer science labs, one engineering/robotic teaching lab, five independent research labs, five material labs, a 954-square-foot student commons room and Senior Hall with seating and tables to double as a gathering space or study space for the students. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Verraso Downtown are luxury apartments with a new twist in Boise. The eight-unit, short-term vacation/transitional apartment building is located in the shadow of The Connector and within view of Rhodes Skate Park. The homes will be available for rent for as little as one or two days to several weeks. Rents will be on a per-night basis with a discount for longer stays. Verraso Downtown will have one four-bedroom unit at 1,800 square feet; three three-bedrooms at 1,600 to 1,700 square feet and four two-bedroom at 1,300 square feet. Each unit will have a garage. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Construction began in early July on the Verraso Village rental townhomes adjacent to The Village in Meridian. It is the first set of 32 townhomes with an anticipated completion date of the spring 2018. The second set of 64 townhomes will started in late July with move-ins expected in the spring of 2018. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Two large apartment complexes are planned on East Overland Road between Linder and Ten Mile in Meridian. They will add 922 housing units to Meridian, more than three times as many apartments under construction or newly opened in downtown Boise. Southridge Apartments will have 476 apartments in 43 buildings for two and three stories and 110 in a second phase. The first phase will have 118 one-bedroom units and 238 two-bedroom units and 120 three-bedroom units. The Linder and Overland Apartments could house about 600 people in its 336 units, with 150 one-bedroom apartments and 186 two- or three-bedroom units spread among 14 three-story buildings. Meridian is the second largest city in Idaho and the 13th fastest-growing city in the nation. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Flying Pie in Boise on Broadway recently reopened after a two-week closure to remodel, train staff and reinvent itself. The restaurant had metamorphosed into Flying Pie Pizzaria & Bistro, a full-service, sit-down restaurant with an expanded menu. Nearly two years ago Flying Pie moved to the former location of Busters sports bar. Customers provided feedback and the new, reinvented Flying Pie was born. Customers who still want to order at a counter can visit Flying Pie in two other locations, on Fairview Avenue in Boise and Main Street in Meridian. Although the Broadway location won’t have Tuesday gourmet pizza night or an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, there will be baked sandwiches, pastas and new options like spiced ribs. Flying Pie recently celebrated its 39th year in Boise. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Meridian company Verified First landed on Inc. Magazine‘s prestigious list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the country. The company, which provides background screening services for employers, placed 198th. That was the highest ranking of Idaho companies that landed on the list. Verified First experienced revenue growth of 2,000 percent over the past three years. It started in 2013 and now employs 103 people. It provides software that allows users, typically human resources departments, to request information including drug test results and security clearance for prospective employees. Unlike similar programs from other companies, its product integrates with applicant tracking systems providing virtually seamless use. The software also attempts to speed up the background check process including drug testing. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Micron Technology Inc. opened its $200 million research and development fabrication unit in August. The new 100,000-square-foot building doubles the size of the R&D operation. As smartphone manufacturers continue to add more dynamic-random access memory, the company’s market has grown and requires a larger array of specialized products. Micron has become the key supplier for some of the biggest mobile device makers. The company also is preparing to take advantage of improvements in artificial intelligence, which requires enormous amounts of data. This requires intensified research and development efforts. Since its founding in Boise in 1978, Micron has filed more than 26,000 patents. Micron currently employs 6,800 people in Boise, and its employment is expected to grow in the next couple of years. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Micron Technology Inc. submitted plans to the city of Boise in July to erect a 225,000-square-foot office building at its East Boise campus off Federal Way. In addition to providing more office spaces for the growing company, it also will house an auditorium and a customer center. Micron hopes to break ground this fall and compete the project about 12 months later. At the same time, the company plans to add 12,000 square feet of space at its cafeteria, which will link to the new building by a sky bridge. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise State plans to build a four-story building for the School of Public Service on University Drive across from the Micron Business and Economics Building. The estimated cost for a 50,000- to 70,000-square-foot building is $15 million to $21 million. Construction is likely to begin in early 2019. The building will house offices for criminal justice, environmental studies, global studies, military science, political science, public policy and administration, urban studies and community development programs, which are now scattered around campus. The Andrus Center for Public Policy, Frank Church Institute, Idaho Policy Institute, and the Center for Idaho History and Politics will also be located in the building. This summer, the university started construction on the College of Fine Arts building on the other side of the Micron Business and Economics Building. It also is completing a $40 million, 236,000-square-foot Honors College. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The University of Idaho law school in Boise started classes Aug. 21. This is the first year that the school, which opened in 2015, is offering all three years of law school. Attendance at the Boise law school is approaching 300. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Kuna voters in March approved a $40 million bond to build a new high school. In August, the Kuna School District revealed plans for the new school that will sit on near the intersection of Columbia and Linder roads. The new school is expected to open in 2020. Rapid population growth in the past 10 years resulted in overcrowding at local schools. Once a small farm town 30 minutes southwest of Boise, Kuna grew from nearly 600 residents in 1970 to more than 18,000 today. In the past four years, more than 1,000 new homes have been built there. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Sunrise Café opened its fifth restaurant in the Treasure Valley on Fairway Avenue in Boise in August. The original Sunrise Café is the Meridian restaurant that opened in 1988. A sixth one is expected to open on Overland Road near Majestic Cinemas in Boise this November. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Smith & Wesson Corp. is purchasing Gemini Technologies in Eagle. The company known as Gemtech is one of the world’s leading companies for design and sales of gun silencers. It sells its products in 24 countries. It’s not known how it will affect Gemtech’s employment or its plans to build a larger headquarters. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Retail development is beginning to occur at a planned community on Highway 55 a half-hour north of Boise. Avimor, where the first houses rose in 2008, now contains about 300 homes, and retail now follows. It is building an On the Fly convenience store/Mobil fuel station, expected to open before New Year’s. This fall, it plans to break ground on a 5,600-square foot Spring Creek Brewing Co. brewery and pizzeria. The developer intends to start building more homes for less than $200,000. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Graeber & Company salon opened a satellite salon on the Boise Bench Aug. 15 at Vista Avenue and Kootenai Street. It will have five hairstylist stations and seven to 10 stylists. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Harris Ranch area has a new place to get food and drink. A 50-seat coffee shop serving beer, wine, and food, as well as coffee — opened July 15 on Warm Springs Avenue in Boise. The Coffee Mill also offers seating on an outdoor patio. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Urban Outfitters closed its 10-year-old clothing store on Eighth Street in downtown Boise Aug. 5, as it prepared to open a 10,000-square-foot at The Village at Meridian. Also opening at the Village in August was Make-Up Art Cosmetics. Revitalize Juice Bar, a locally owned business, was preparing for its opening there in late September. It will serve cold-pressed juices and fruit bowls for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The three new tenants bring the total tenant count to 81. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Boise Spectrum on Overland Road across from Edwards 21 Cinemas plans to add a public marketplace providing a new way of dining and beverage-sipping. Under development in four vacant Spectrum spaces recently converted into a 7,200-square-foot suite, the marketplace is expected to open next spring. Modeled on the trendy marketplaces in several cities across the U.S., it offers a place to relax and find different food choices. Around a bar, five to six individually built-out restaurants and several smaller food and gift vendors will be stationed around the perimeter. Pop-up vendors might appear on weekends or during holiday season. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Andersen Construction, a Boise general contractor, is working on The Fowler apartments in downtown Boise. When it’s completed in November, the seven-story building at Fifth and Broad streets will include 159 apartments, a pizza restaurant and a coffee shop. The developer LocalConstruct, based in Los Angeles, also is building the Watercooler Apartments in downtown Boise. It also proposes to build the 223-unit Whitewater Project on Boise’s West End and may develop a sister building to The Fowler across the street. LocalConstruct has seen strong interest in the apartments and its amenities including gym, community hub, co-working space, outside grill with patio and fireplace, and concierge services such as dry cleaning and dog walking. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Costco Wholesale proposes to build a store at Ten Mile Road and Chinden Boulevard in Meridian. If approved, construction is likely to start early next year and end that fall. The 34-acre site has 10 other commercial lots, along with six acres of high-density housing. Brighton Corporation owns almost 33 acres just west of the site, where it hopes to build Bainbridge North, a senior living community, in two or three years. Source: Meridian Press
  • A company in Eagle says it is the first and leading seller to retail stores of premium, “veterinarian grade” pet medications and health products that you could buy previously only through veterinarians. Founded seven years ago as True Science, it began selling stock to the public for the first time in July on the Nasdaq Global Market, making it just the eighth Idaho company whose shares now trade on a major exchange. It employs about 40 people at its Eagle headquarters, and 210 people at its three factories and an office outside Idaho. In the fiscal year that ended March 31, it reported $215 million in sales. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Gymboree — a retailer of children’s clothing and accessories — closed its store at the Boise Towne Square mall in August when it closed about 350 stores nationwide. The Gymboree Outlet at the Boise Outlets shopping center did not land on the list of store closings. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • After a six-year absence, Frontier Airlines is returning to Boise Airport. Boise is one of 21 new cities that Frontier Airlines will start serving in spring. The carrier will offer nonstop roundtrip service between Boise and Denver, its hub where passengers can connect with many other flights. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Two buildings are under construction at Ten Mile Crossing, a new business park on the northeast corner of Ten Mile Road and Interstate 84 in Meridian. The park developed by Brighton Corp. and Gardner Co. has four tenants on line already. AmeriBen/IEC Group will soon relocate its 500 or so employees from the Silverstone Plaza in Meridian. Paylocity, a Chicago-based payroll and human resources software company, plans to open next July with roughly 400 jobs and expectations of growth. Brighton Corporation is moving its Boise headquarters with 50 employees to Ten Mile Crossing next summer. Horrocks Engineers will lease space at Ten Mile Crossing starting next summer. Brighton and Gardner are also developing a retail and office park to the north on the corner of Ten Mile and Franklin roads. Ten Mile Creek’s first tenants will include Primary Health and Epic Shine Car Wash. The vision for this area includes restaurants, a path along the creek, retail and potentially multifamily housing. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Boise Bench is becoming home to an artist colony as an office building is being reinvented to the Gem Center for the Arts. The owners are planning to build at least 30 artist studios and are calling it Vivide Artist Spaces. Studios will range from 50 to 600 square feet. The 50-square-foot spaces are open and communal. The 100-square-foot spaces and assorted studios have a door-and-lock for tenant artists. As of mid-August, 14 artists have signed up for Vivide. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • UberEats, a food-delivery app from ride-sharing company Uber, made its Idaho debut in late August. The service coverage includes downtown Boise, the North End, parts of southeast Boise, Eagle and Meridian. UberEats isn’t the first food-delivery service in Boise. Food to You, which allows ordering through a website, has been in business for several years. Restaurants set the food prices and UberEats tack on a $5.99 booking charge. Currently an estimated 36,000 people in the Treasure Valley already have the Uber app on their phone making a built-in market already. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Norco broke ground on a two-story 86,000-square-foot Meridian office and retail building near Overland and Eagle roads in late August. This will be the largest building among the 78 locations that Norco has in seven states. The new building is expected to be completed in May 2018. It will have the capacity for 300 employees, but will open with about 175 employees and 25 to 50 in the retail and distribution center. Norco will consolidate medical billing operations that are now carried out at the company headquarters in Boise, Meridian and Nampa. The ground level will have a retail store that will take the place of the current Meridian store located at Eagle and Ustick roads. Source: Idaho Business Review

Adams County

  • Five counties have agreed to create a regional landfill in Adams County in coming years that include Adams, Clearwater, Idaho, Lewis and Valley counties. They plan to upgrade the site about 10 miles south of Council in the Goodrich area west of U.S. Highway 95. The 40-acre site sits in the middle of a 200-acre area away from nearby residents or other possible conflicts. The clay and sand soil profile would allow garbage pits as deep as 50 to 60 feet and forecasted to be usable for 100 years. It will take about five years to pay off the start-up costs of $1.3 million. After that, the counties should see big dividends from no longer having to haul waste to Missoula or Payette. There is no definite start-up date yet. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Canyon County

    • Capitol Distributing plans to move from Meridian to Caldwell. In July, the state approved a tax reimbursement incentive valued at $1.18 million, and Caldwell City Council members cleared the way by agreeing to annex and rezone land on East Linden Street. The new distribution facility at the southwest corner of KCID Road and Skyway Drive that will be almost twice the size of its current location. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
    • Mill 95 is building a hops processing and storage facility on Highway 95 near Greenleaf about 40 minutes west of downtown Boise. The emphasis is on the processing and cold storage. Eventually, the operation will include a small brewery and tasting room and space for research. Currently, area hops farmers must send their crops to Yakima, Washington, for processing. Transportation increases the cost for farmers and causes quality control problems. The hops facility will employ about 10 people when it’s operating at full capacity. Source: Idaho Business Review
    • A Flying M Coffeegarage will open in Caldwell in early 2018 in the space that Story and Company previously occupied. Story and Company moved and opened its store in the Dallan Woods shopping center in Nampa in August. Source: Idaho Press Tribune
    • Two new eateries are also coming to Nampa and a remodel. Blaze Pizza is planning to open a pizzeria at on North Merchant Way while Habit Burger Grill will open in Nampa on North Marketplace Boulevard. Brick 29 bistro held its grand opening in August on the third floor of the newly constructed Masonic Hall, while the original location ion the first floor will be turned into a lounge area. Source: Idaho Press Tribune

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

State Agriculture

  • The weakening of the dollar has opened opportunities abroad for U.S. exports. After two quarters of export value declines for Idaho, the first quarter of 2017 increased 1.3 percent while the second quarter of 2017 soared by 11 percent to $420 million. Reviewing the categories, “higher milk prices were a big factor,” according to Doug Robison of Northwest Farm Credit Services. Higher milk prices and greater production levels have contributed to a jump of $43 million for cheese exports and $30 million for whey exports. Canada, Mexico and South Korea continue to be the largest importers of farm products out of Idaho. Source: Capital Press

Regional Education Industry

  • The shortage of teachers is not a new trend but the number of open positions in south central Idaho is a revelation. This summer the Times-News newspaper tracked 47 unfilled job openings that yielded 82 applicants. Twin Falls School District oriented 80 new teachers this year, due in part to a newly constructed middle school. This is 10 more than last year when two new elementary schools were built then staffed. Source: Times-News

Blaine County

  • Fly Sun Valley Alliance reported United Airlines will offer a direct flight between Chicago and Hailey starting this winter. United depends on minimum-revenue guarantees funded by the non-profit FSVA and the Sun Valley Resort. Voters support the cause of FSVA with a local option tax recently renewed at the polls. It will expire at the end of 2023. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Gooding County

  •  Idaho Parks and Recreation has plans to develop Billingsley Creek, a part of Thousand Springs State Park. The estimated cost is $8 million for this long-term project that depends on various sources of funding with infrastructure redevelopment topping the list. The design includes a full-service, 50-site RV campground with dumping station, a campground, amphitheater, arboretum, large picnic shelter and a concrete pump track for bicycles.  Thousand Springs State Park incorporates Malad Gorge, Ritter Island, Kelton Trail, Niagara Springs, Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Nature Preserve and Crystal Springs. Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Glanbia donated a new van to Twin Falls Safe House, a nonprofit that helps abused, neglected, homeless and abandoned children. This replaces a van the cheese manufacturer had donated 16 years previously. Glanbia’s annual donations to area nonprofits are funding partially from golf tournament proceeds. This year almost a $150,000 went to myriad groups rendering needed services. Those receiving the largest distributions were Idaho Youth Ranch, Magic Valley Rehabilitation Services, the Walker Center, Oregon Trail Parent Teachers Association, the Fifth Judicial District Court Appointed Special Advocates, Wendell Housing Association, Idaho Future Farmers of America Foundation, Saddle Up Lincoln County and St. Luke’s Magic Valley Health Foundation. Source: Times News
  • Saint Alphonsus Medical Group acknowledged it is reviewing the Twin Falls area as potential for a new hospital and emergency room. The city has not issued a building permit and news of a property purchase has not emerged. Source: Times News

Openings

  • Ross’s Dress for Less announced a store opening in the space previously occupied by JC Penney’s in Burley.
  • Newly constructed South Hills Middle School has opened its doors to the public and its students. The middle school will immediately fill with about 500 students. Source: Times-News

New Construction

  • Construction has started on a dye manufacturing operation in Burley. Standridge Color Corporation has broken ground on a facility that will provide dye and pigment to companies in the Burley area. Source: City of Burley
  • Chobani is beginning construction on its administrative offices that will be in a separate building near the Greek yogurt plant. The building’s cost is an estimated $25 million. This project will transport office staff out of portable buildings that have been in place since 2011.  The city of Twin Falls reported that Chobani is paying the Urban Renewal Agency an additional $4 million annually above the amount needed to make the bond payment. This translates to a bond payoff nine years earlier than projected. Source: Times-News
  • Valley Club is starting a $7.5 reconstruction of its 27-hole golf course this fall. The aging irrigation system is to be replaced increasing water efficiency, aesthetics will be enhanced, playability will be heightened without making it more difficult and the course will have wider and shorter and more user-friendly for the youth set, beginners and the aging demographic. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Closures

    • Macy’s announced it is not renewing its lease at the Magic Valley Mall in Twin Falls next spring. The national retailer has announced closures during the past eight months, acknowledging online shopping is supplanting brick and mortar stores. Source: Times-News
    • JC Penney’s closed in Burley at the end of July.

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

  • Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas says he will retire next summer after more than a decade at the school. Vailas made the announcement Aug. 9 during a monthly meeting of the Idaho State Board of Education. The Idaho State Board of Education will begin the search for a new president immediately, with hopes of announcing the next president by the end of March 2018. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • A financial audit of what once was known as Idaho State University’s Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering (RISE) Complex resulted in a press conference during which one of the university’s top officials alleged violations of state law. University officials declined to say exactly which state laws were broken or by whom, and they admitted that no information regarding the RISE Complex has yet been provided to the Pocatello Police Department or Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office for investigation and the filing of possible criminal charges. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A new joint-venture between Driscoll TopHay and Canada-based TopHay Agra-Industries was announced this month – a new Hunterwood hay press located near the Pocatello Airport. With this new hay press, about 110,000 metric tons of hay per year will soon be traveling overseas to places in China, Japan, Korea and the Middle East. Aside from California, Idaho is the largest producer of alfalfa hay in the nation. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A ribbon cutting was held Aug. 16 for Idaho State University’s new Research Data Center. The center provides state-of-the-art computer servers and virtual machines and will be freely accessible to the university’s entire research community including students, faculty and staff. Source: Morning News
  • The Pocatello Veterans Health Administration clinic relocated on Aug. 29 to the office complex west of the old Portneuf Medical Center hospital building in Pocatello. The new facility is three times larger and can treat an additional 800 veterans in southeastern Idaho. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • Spudnik Equipment Co., a German-owned company, recently partnered with Idaho State University’s Continuing Education and Workforce Training to create a registered apprenticeship program and hired Blackfoot youths who are recently out of high school. The apprenticeships would provide training in different areas such as welding, assembling and painting. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Blackfoot City Council officials approved a request for a $5 million bond to make some significant renovations to the local swimming pool. The bond request will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Aug.10 marked the grand opening of the Rahim Pavilion which houses the Cardio Renal Center in conjunction with the Fresenius Kidney Center. This new facility is located just north of the Bingham Memorial Medical Plaza and offers the latest technology in the region for coordinated treatment of heart and kidney diseases under one roof. Source: Morning News
  • Snake River School District patrons will vote on a plant facility levy Nov. 7. Trustees voted unanimously to approve seeking a plant facility levy that totals $750,000. Source: Morning News
  • The City of Firth is laying the groundwork for a new wastewater treatment facility by hiring a bond attorney and publishing an ordinance for a $3.7 million November bond election. The anticipated treatment plant capacity of 110,000 gallons per day would include 90,000 gallons from Firth and up to 20,000 gallons from Basalt. A bond election requires a simple majority to pass. Source: Shelley Pioneer
  • Plans for Blackfoot Fire Station 3 are underway. The city of Blackfoot purchased ground at the southwest corner of the State Hospital South. From this location, firefighters would handle all the calls on the east side of Blackfoot as well as north and south on Highway 91 to Firth and Fort Hall. The estimated cost for this project is $1.5 million. Construction is expected to begin by summer 2018. Source: Morning News

Caribou County

  • Grace school district #148 passed a $5 million bond issue with a 71 percent margin Aug. 29 for a new elementary school to replace the current Grace and Thatcher elementary schools. Source: Caribou County Sun

Franklin County

  • The Preston city council approved a preliminary plat for the Arbor View subdivision, which will be developed near 4th East and 1st North. The plat, which had also been approved by the planning and zoning commission, was approved by the council pending the required public hearing. The new subdivision will have approximately 28 lots. Source: Preston Citizen

Oneida County

  • Michael Corbett has been hired as the new Malad High School principal. Corbet was previously the principal of Oakley High School in Cassia County. Source: The Idaho Enterprise

Power County

  • A large wildfire which started on Aug. 4 burned for about a week, consuming 52,000 acres of lands managed by the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Lands, and Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The Powerline Fire caused minimal property damage, thanks largely to the efforts of local farmers. Source: Capital Press, East Idaho News

Openings

  • Family Dollar Store celebrated renovated store openings for two stores – one in Preston and the other in Montpelier.
  • The Soda Barn, a specialty soda pop and cookie shop in Chubbuck.
  • The Rahim Pavilion, a new renal-cardio center in Blackfoot.
  • Artisan’s Corner Shoppe, a boutique in Blackfoot.
  • Olive & Jo, a new gift boutique on State Street in Preston.
  • Lewiston State Bank opened a new Preston branch.
  • Pocatello Sunrise Lions Club Disc Golf Complex.
  • Aberdeen Family Clinic in Aberdeen.

Closings

    • Staples in Pocatello.
    • Thomas Mercantile in Swan Lake.

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

August Developments

Eastern Idaho

  • More than half way through the calendar year, Yellowstone National Park has seen about 5 percent fewer visitors so far this year at more than 2.31 million visitors. That is down 4.6 percent from the same seven months in 2016, when a record 2.4 million visits were recorded. Source: Local News 8

Eclipse

  • ​Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve was an eclipse viewer’s paradise Aug. 21. Percentage-wise, the increases in traffic in the area were higher there than anywhere else in the state. Roughly 2,000 cars passed through the park’s entrance daily Aug. 20-21 compared with a normal summer-day average of 400 to 500 cars. Source: Post Register
  • Businesses and local residents in Stanley were prepared for an anticipated influx of eclipse tourists beyond anything the town had seen, but on Aug. 22, locals were grappling with what many described as an unequivocally underwhelming weekend. Their frustration stems from patronage falling far short of previous estimates, which foretold inundation by as many as 30,000 people. Some business owners said the weekend fell short of even a typical mid-August weekend in Stanley and that their bottom lines suffered dearly. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Idaho Falls officials estimate about 300,000 people visited eastern Idaho during eclipse weekend. Downtown Idaho Falls, in particular, was a hotspot for visitors staying in nearby hotels. Villa Coffeehouse Owner Chip Langerak said eclipse weekend brought more customers than any other comparable timespan in the Park Avenue business’ 12 years of operation. Aug. 19 was Villa’s best day of the year with a 63 percent increase in normal traffic. Aug. 20 overtook that as the coffeehouse’s best day ever with a 274 percent increase; then Aug. 21 shattered that with 365 percent more business than usual. Source: Post Register

Bonneville County

  • The Idaho Falls branch of McAfee laid off 30 people in August and is slated to completely close by December, laying off upwards to 90 people. The company is said to be downsizing nationwide. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • The Idaho Falls School District 91 board of trustees will present a $110 million bond resolution to its patrons Nov. 7 to pay for a rebuild of Idaho Falls High School and modernization of Skyline High School. Source: Post Register
  • Idaho Falls’ newest charter school, Alturas International Academy moved into the former O.E. Bell building in downtown Idaho Falls in August. Source: Post Register
  • Los Albertos reopened in August in Idaho Falls, nearly a year after a fire destroyed the restaurant’s building at 1471 Northgate Mile last October. Originally, the plan was to rebuild, but owner Sofia Gomez decided to open in a new building. Source: Post Register
  • Officials gathered recently to break ground on The Broadway, a two-building business development project that will be constructed at the corner of West Broadway Street and Memorial Drive in downtown Idaho Falls. Construction is expected to last 18 months. Source: East Idaho News
  • The State Board of Education approved the College of Eastern Idaho’s associate of arts degree in liberal arts. Students can now register for the 60-credit, two-year degree, which contains the general education courses needed to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Source: Post Register

Teton County

  • The city of Driggs and University of Idaho Extension have partnered to host a series of workshops for entrepreneurs interested in starting or growing a food business. The workshops will focus on other useful topics for food businesses, including ingredient sourcing, nutritional analysis, labeling, packaging and distribution, and health and safety requirements. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Butte County

  • Several hundred people gathered at the Naval Reactors Facility to watch the ceremonial groundbreaking for a new spent nuclear fuel handling facility. All spent fuel from the U.S. Navy’s nuclear fleet is brought to the U.S. Department of Energy’s desert site west of Idaho Falls for testing, packaging, temporary storage and eventual disposal. The new handling facility, slated to open in 2024, will better equip workers to handle spent aircraft carrier fuel. The facility is expected to serve storage needs until 2060. Source: Post Register

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

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