Around Idaho: Economic Activity in August 2018

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

Boundary County

  • The State of Idaho auctioned 51 state-owned lakefront lots on Priest Lake for a total of $25.6 million. Forty-six of the 51 lots were purchased by the current leaseholders. Source: Spokesman Review

Kootenai County

  • A new transit center is in the works in the Riverstone development in Coeur d’Alene. Kootenai County Public Transportation announced that work on the facility is expected to begin in September, on track for completion no later than June 2019. Ridership on public transportation in Kootenai County has exploded in recent years as the county’s population has grown, and new developments have added to suburban sprawl in the region. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Coeur d’Alene-based fiber optic provider Fatbeam has acquired a division of Post Falls-based Ednetics Inc, which provides IT and technology solutions for schools. Fatbeam intimated that it is planning additional acquisitions, but declined to specify further. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Faced with increasingly tight inventories, Windermere Realty of Coeur d’Alene is building three new housing developments in Kootenai County. The three developments, located in different corners of the county, will provide a total of 273 new homes. Windermere ownership noted that inventory in Kootenai County is extremely low, creating aggressive inflationary pressure on home prices. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings:

  • Global Kitchen Tapas & Wine (Coeur d’Alene)
  • A&B Market (Coeur d’Alene)

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

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

Region

  • Harvest started about 10 days earlier than normal this summer and is completed everywhere except at the highest elevations. Yields are running about 20 bushels per acre above normal. Wheat prices are higher this August — around $5.60 a bushel — than the last two harvests, when prices hovered around $5. But they are way below their 2012 peak of $8.75 a bushel. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Moscow Pullman Daily News
  • The decline in wheat prices after 2012 encouraged many farmers on the Palouse to increase production of pulse crops, especially chick peas. As hummus became increasingly popular in recent years, American demand for chick peas has risen sharply. In addition, growth in India and Pakistan increased export demand. In 2000, the Palouse had 12,000 acres of chick peas. Today, more than 180,000 acres are planted. Last year, India imposed tariffs on pulse crops including lentils, dry peas and chick peas, depressing the price of chickpeas from 28 cents to 22 cents per pound. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Moscow Pullman Daily News

Clearwater County

  • Clearwater County Economic Development assisted six businesses with expansion plans, six people who are starting new businesses and five businesses considering locating in Clearwater County in July. It also got funds or products to provide more technological options for local businesses. With the help of USDA Rural Development grants, it is offering access to a 3-D printer for prototypes and Mac Books for Inspire ID app development courses and will offer a SolidWorks & 3-D printing workshop. The economic development group also submitted a workforce development funding proposal to help train certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in partnership with healthcare facilities in the community. It also landed a workforce development training grant to deliver workplace readiness skills targeting those enrolled in the problem-solving court program. USDA Rural Development also provided funding for a publication of a grant showing where local artisans are located, which can be used by tourists. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Riggins, a city with 420 residents, needs emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The town could lose its ambulance service if people do not volunteer to become qualified EMTs.  Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • The Idaho State Board of Education at its Aug. 16 meeting approved $785,000 to kick off project planning, programming and pre-design activities for two University of Idaho buildings. That will include a site evaluation and selection process for a tribal and diversity center facility, estimated to cost $7.5 million. The roughly 20,000-square-foot building would house the Tribal Center and The Women’s Center, as well as conference rooms and a shared computer lab. The other building would be an Engineering, STEM Education and Classroom facility with a minimum of 75,000 square feet. Estimated to cost $40 million, it would include a variety of maker spaces, classrooms, labs and fabrication and assembly space. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • A feasibility analysis of bringing high-speed fiber broadband to Potlatch shows it is technically and economically possible. In late July, city officials met with representatives from First Step Internet, Gritman Medical Center, Latah County, Latah Credit Union and the Clearwater Economic Development Association — organizations that financially supported the analysis. In addition to making the community more attractive to businesses considering relocation there, it also would benefit existing businesses and provide vital services for residents. The feasibly study estimated it would cost $1.3 million to build the fiber infrastructure. About 50 percent of Potlatch households would have to subscribe to the high-speed service for it to be economically beneficial for First Step to install. Once the funding is obtained and installation begins, it would take approximately one year for the community to have full access. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality in August approved a $42,500 grant to the city of Genesee to prepare a wastewater planning study and environmental reviewIt will evaluate the wastewater system, identify needed improvements and present several alternatives to complete an upgrade. Among the system’s problems is its spring runoff often overwhelms the capacity of the city’s system, resulting in discharge into Cow Creek. The plan is the first step to upgrade the 1950s-era sewage treatment plant. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • A record number of incoming freshmen at Washington State University has resulted in a housing shortage on the Pullman campus. A week before school started, 155 undergraduates still were on the waitlist for campus housing. The university welcomed 4,300 new freshmen in August. To house all of the freshmen, the school reopened a dormitory that closed in 2015 and converted single-student rooms in another dorm to house two students and other rooms in certain residence halls have been upped from housing two students to three. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Openings:

  • Shaheen Khan, a restaurant specializing in South Asian fare, opened on Second Street in Moscow.
  • Big Dan’s Nutrition opened a store next to the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center on Moscow’s Main Street. It sells sports nutrition supplements, vitamins and herbs.

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • The decline in demand for ammunition that followed the election of Donald Trump as president has taken a large toll on the area’s ammunition manufacturers. Howell Munitions & Technology in filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early this summer, and its employment has fallen to 70 from a peak of 400 two years ago. PNW Arms in Potlatch also filed for bankruptcy in July 2016. Vista Outdoors in Lewiston had nearly 1,400 employees at the time of the election. By March, it had 1,284 employees. The job loss has continued, and now Vista has slightly more than 1,200 employees. The soft demand is hitting rimfire ammunition, one of the products Vista manufactures in Lewiston, where it debuted a new $35 million plant for that type of cartridge last year. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Idaho Business Review
  • The Idaho State Board of Education at its August meeting approved $6 million to repurpose Lewis-Clark State College’s mechanical technical building. The remodel will occur after the auto mechanics program moves into the college’s new career and technical education center in the Lewiston Orchards, expected to open in 2020. The remodel will help keep up with the school’s growing need for classroom space. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Seekins Precision continues to expand. The manufacturer of rifles, rifle scopes and other rifle parts now has a product line of 150 items, sold through Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse, other big box stores, distributors, independently owned stores and its own website. Four years ago, it moved from the Port of Lewiston’s incubator into its own 25,000-square-foot building near the airport. At that time it employed about 25 people. Now, it employs nearly twice as many, and it plans to add another 15,000 square feet to its building. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Helicopters are bringing more patients to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston from rural hospitals including those in Orofino, Grangeville, Cottonwood and Pomeroy. The number of patients being transferred to St. Joe’s from area hospitals has doubled since last year to about 100 per month. The helicopter ride from Orofino or Grangeville is roughly 30 minutes faster than going to Spokane or Coeur d’Alene. As volumes grow, St. Joe’s has made changes in its facilities to accommodate more patients. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • A new hub for Asotin County Fire District No. 1 is under construction in the Clarkston Heights. Crea Construction of Lewiston is working on the first phase — including site work and utility hookups—estimated to cost about $868,000. The second phase — building bays to house fire trucks and equipment and remodeling the interior of the former church building there — will kick off this fall. 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

  • Phase two of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation Boise Whitewater Park began in August as McMillen Jacobs Associates began the initial staging for construction on the Esther Simplot Park side of the Boise River. Once the irrigation season is over, the entirety of the Boise River in that section will be diverted, leaving the riverbed dry for construction of the three wave features. The new wave-shaping features will provide more options for surfers and kayakers. In addition, a revamped river bank area will be for those that prefer to stay on dry land. The entire project, phase one and two, will cost $11 million, with the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation donating $4 million and the city paying the remaining $7 million. The goal is for riders to test the new park in May 2019 before the park is completed in July 2019. Source: Idaho Press
  • The vacancy rate for rental properties in Ada County was at 2.8 percent in July. The rate for so-called affordable housing has dipped to 0.88 percent. The National Low Income Housing Coalition figures that 27 percent of Idaho’s renter household qualify as “extremely low income, “ which means their income is at or below the federal poverty guideline or they make just 30 percent of the area’s median income. The median household income in Boise is $64,300, 30 percent of that is $19,290. Affordable rent – which does not consume more than 30 percent of a household’s annual income—would be $482 a month. But the fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is $629, a two-bedroom is $827. For every 100 extremely low income households, there are only 43 affordable and available homes. That in turn means that in Idaho there is a shortage of more than 29,000 units. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The median price of a home in Ada County in June was $324,547, an all-time high. Broken down, new homes reached a record median of $393,705, while median prices of existing homes also hit a record high of $299,900. Neighboring Canyon County also achieved record highs. The median home price was $224,900. The median cost of a new home was $262,736 and an existing home was $211,000. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Hilton Garden Inn, Boise’s newest hotel, opened July 26. The 132-room hotel also has a restaurant and 4,000 square feet of meeting space. It is the third component opening at Pioneer Crossing. The other components are a building that includes a parking garage and the offices of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, Boise Valley Economic Partnership and Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau and the recently opened Panera Bread. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Clearwater Analytics has a new chief executive officer, Sandeep Sahai. The company also plans to expand operations in its building on the Grove Plaza. Clearwater Analytics offers web-based investment accounting reporting software solutions and currently employs more than 650 people. Source: BoiseDev
  • The Knitting Factory is reconfiguring the 15,157 square-foot space to allow the number of attendees to increase. Currently, the capacity is 999 and the changes will allow another 196 people in the building. Source: BoiseDev
  • Good Burgers is opening its third location in Boise on Main Street in the fall. It will share space with a new beer bar called The Drop. The Drop will feature a pour-your-own beer wall with 24 self-serve taps. The businesses’ shared capacity should be around 100 people with another 50 on an outdoor patio. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The city of Eagle unveiled the expansion of Guerber Park in early August. The new splash pad includes a tot spot, a kid zone with squirt guns and a large dump bucket. It is also environmental friendly and energy efficient. The expansion also includes increased field rea by 2 acres, an extended trail circling the park, upgraded volleyball court and new playground equipment. Some of the older playground equipment was donated to other cities in need, including Marsing and Middleton. The cost to the city for the expansion was $1.2 million. Source: Meridian Press
  • Boise State University’s College of Innovation and Design is meeting with Treasure Valley business leader to share its Passport to Education program. This program would let employees or customers earn a bachelor’s degree online, paying month-to-month in a model that has raised comparison to the Netflix movie subscription service. Intended for part-time, working students, the program charges $425 to $550 per month for up to six to nine credits per term. Students can earn a bachelor of arts in general studies, or a bachelor of applied science degree, and they can “stop out,” or take a pause, and pick up again later, typically with no loss of credits according to Rebecca Morgan, director of the program. CapEd is the first business to participate and there are six people signed up with another 15 to 16 planning to enroll in January. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Iconic Betty the Washerwomen, a mechanized sign advertising local Italian and comfort food restaurant Cucina Di Paolo on Vista, will be featured for the second year in a calendar. Paul and Mary Jean Wegener created a calendar in 2018 using photographs of Betty dressed up in 12 elaborate costumes. The sale of the calendars raised $27,400 for Idaho Foodbank. Proceeds from the 2019 calendar will go to Idaho Humane Society, Pet Peace of Mind and the Fuzzy Paws Rescue. The calendar will be available in October for $20. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Simplot Co. announced an agreement with DowDuPont Inc. and Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, developers of nascent gene editing technology. Simplot is the first agricultural company to receive such a license. Gene editing could one day be used to help farmers produce more crops and make grocery store offerings such as strawberries, potatoes and avocados stay fresher longer. The technology allows scientists to make precise changes to the genome of living organisms and has wide-ranging applications for improving plant food production and quality. Source: Spokane Review
  • Boise’s Vista neighborhood was the first recipient of Boise’s Energize Our Neighborhoods initiative. The initiative seeks to improve neighborhoods in need of investment and resources. The project was funded by the city, nonprofits, outside grant funding and the Vista Neighborhood Association. The neighborhood added educational resources, a fire station, public art and 100 trees. Resources to support public health and local business have sprouted up, as well as new sidewalks and walking trails. The effort has taken three years. Now the city is expanding its focus toward South Boise Village, West Bench and the West End. These neighborhoods were chosen because they also host Community Schools programs, a Boise School District effort to offer social services for children and adults at school in areas of needs – parenting support, food and clothing, computer access and job-seeking assistance. The city is still in the planning stages of what type of projects will be completed. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed the first class on Aug. 15. The school is located in Meridian next to Idaho State University-Meridian off Interstate 84. Students will earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Osteopathic medicine emphasizes holistic care and preventative treatment. The first class has 162 students, 41 from Idaho. Source: Idaho Press

Adams County

  • New Meadows, like other communities in Adams and Valley counties, is facing an affordable housing shortage. The lack of workforce housing led to people living in RVs for months. West Central Mountains Housing Trust is building four affordable units. The city wants to partner with the trust to do another eight to 10 affordable duplexes. Source: KTVB

Canyon County

  • Construction on the Mercy Creek Senior Apartments in Nampa began in July. The apartments are located on the site of the original Mercy Hospital which had been vacant for several years and demolished after a fire in 2016. The 50-unit low-income apartments for residents 55 and older is estimated to cost $800,000. The apartments are scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2019. Source: Idaho Press
  • The nation’s only co-presidents have been on the job for more than three months at the College of Idaho in Caldwell. Presidents Jim Everett and Doug Brigham are optimistic about the future of the college. One goal is to turn around the declining enrollment experienced over the past several years, a loss of 187 students between 2014 and 2017, and boost enrollment to more than 1,200 students. The college also experienced financial challenges which were addressed by the previous president through a hiring freeze and 3 to 5 percent reduction in department budgets. Source: Idaho Statesman & Idaho Press
  • Elevate Academy, a career-technical charter school for middle and high school students, is planning to open in Caldwell in 2019. It will be a year-round public charter school focused on growing the labor pipeline for technical jobs and industry professionals. Source: Idaho Press
  • Burlington is moving from Karcher Mall to a new 40,000-square-foot store in the Treasure Valley Marketplace in Nampa. The new store will be open in the fall. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Idaho Press announced that it has purchased Boise Weekly, an alternative weekly newspaper in Boise. Publication of Boise Weekly, published since 1992, will continue under the new ownership. Boise Weekly joins the Idaho Press’s Treasure Valley sister papers: Meridian Press, Emmett Messenger Index and the Kuna Melba News. Source: Idaho Press
  • The annual Sunnyslope Wine Trail Festival was held at the newly opened Indian Creek Plaza. The festival brought together 12 wineries from the Sunnyslope Wine Trail, one local cider company and people from across the Treasure Valley. The event gives people an opportunity to taste what Idaho wineries have to offer and impact of the industry on Idaho’s economy. Because many of the Sunnyslope’s wineries are small and family-operated, they self-distribute their wines which makes it hard to sell in local restaurants. The farm-to-cork initiative encourages businesses to support local wines that will keep money spent in Caldwell in the local economy and the area. In 2013, the wine industry helped support nearly 1,226 jobs, paying $39.7 million in wages, according to an economic impact study. Source: Idaho Press
  • Caldwell City Council approved two new subdivisions. Each anticipates completion of one phase per year and fully completed in roughly five to 10 years. Boise-based Brighton Development is proposing 101-acre Arbor Subdivision with 475 single-family lots and one commercial lot. Providence Properties LLC is proposing 159-acre Adams Ridge Subdivision with 448 single-family lots, 13 commercial lots and an apartment lot. Source: Idaho Press
  • Fresca Mexican Foods moved from Boise to Sky Ranch Business Center in Caldwell. Fresca outgrew its manufacturing plant in Boise and decided to relocate to Caldwell. Fresca produces about 3 million tortillas a day. Source: Idaho Press
  • Price Pump Manufacturing broke ground on a 46,000-square-foot facility in the Sky Ranch Business Center. The company was founded in 1932 and is currently located in Sonoma, California, but relocating to Caldwell. The company makes centrifugal and air-operated diaphragm pumps. Source: Idaho Press
  • Canyon County commissioners approved a five-year, 75 percent property tax exemption for Owyhee Produce’s expansion in Parma. The company is investing nearly $14 million in new buildings and manufacturing equipment. Owyhee Produce announced plans to rebuild and move to Canyon County after several onion sheds collapsed from heavy snow in January 2017. The company currently stores 36 million pounds of onions in “state-of-the-art” buildings in Parma. Approximately 1,200 acres’ worth of onions will be packed at the facility, with room to grow. By the end of 2018, Owyhee Produce plans to employ 26 new packing line workers and 16 new sales, management and other support staff. The 26 packing line worker positions pay $10.50 per hour and the other six positions pay $133.50 to $14 an hour. Source: Idaho Press
  • Lifeways Inc. a behavioral health care provider, was selected to operate the Region 3 mental health crisis center planned for Canyon County in December. Although state funds were available July 1, Canyon County health officials are still searching for a location. Crisis centers are designed as a treatment option for adults experiencing serious mental health issues who would otherwise be arrested or taken to an emergency room. The facility needs to have room for at least 20 beds, adequate parking and be situated on a public transit route. The center will receive $200,000 in one-time startup costs from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, then $1.5 million for two years. The Region 3 center will serve Canyon, Adams, Gem, Owyhee and Payette counties. Source: Idaho Press

Elmore County

  • Aug. 1 was the last full print production of the Mountain Home News. Due to a computer hardware issue in production it became impossible to print the papers in house. The Mountain Home News will continue to report events and activities in the community. Source: Mountain Home News
  • The Mountain Home Urban Renewal Agency recently purchased property commonly referred to as “The Hub Building” and the vacant lot directly across the street. The purchase was made because the agency believes that the Hub has great potential to again become an anchor in the center of downtown. The city’s economic developers are working to find the right businesses to occupy the building. With some minor landscaping, the vacant lot will be available for free public parking. Electrical infrastructure is going to be installed for sound and lights need to support a gather place for events such as Boise’s Alive After Five food and music event. Source: Mountain Home News

Gem County

  • The New Leaf Thrift Store opened in Emmett. Source: Messenger Index
  • New Plymouth-based company, Cheeky’s, is ranked 356th on Inc. Magazine’s annual list of the 5,000 fastest growing private firms. This is one of 23 businesses in Idaho to make the list. Jessi Roberts started her retail shop in a 400-square foot store in New Plymouth. The clothing line is marketed to middle class women who live or admire a country lifestyle. Started in 2011, Cheeky’s has grown 1,400 percent. Cheeky’s employs 29 people at the Idaho headquarters and what started as a tiny shop has taken over about a quarter of the business space in downtown New Plymouth. Source: Boise State Public Radio
  • The Elderly Opportunity Agency in Emmett is now offering free transportation opportunities for seniors and disabled. The service is not limited to Emmett destinations only but to health and nutrition destinations throughout the Treasure Valley. The cars, vans and mini-buses are designed to “help connect residents in rural communities to critical health, social services and shopping opportunities by providing regular safe and dependable roundtrips.” The new service will reach from McCall to Boise. The new services were made available by grants from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, the St. Luke’s Health Foundation and state and federal government sources. Source: Messenger Index

Valley County

  • The Payette National Forest says approval of Midas Gold’s proposed Stibnite Gold Project 39 miles east of McCall could come as soon as March 2020. The proposed mine’s draft environmental study is slated for release in February 2019. The company needs to obtain 50 permits from 11 state and federal agencies as part of the project. The company currently has 34 employees in Idaho, six of whom work at the company’s office north of Donnelly. During the three-year construction period, the company expects to directly employ 400 people. Once the mine opens, it is expected to employ 500 people during its 12 years of operation. Source: McCall Star News
  • West Central Mountains Economic Development Council is courting high-salary workers in San Francisco and Seattle to move to the McCall area to do their jobs remotely. Through a Facebook advertising campaign that began in August, it is encouraging workers at tech companies, such as Amazon and Oracle, to consider moving to McCall. The Idaho Travel Council is paying $3,000 toward the campaign. The economic development group hopes to attract 10 to 20 people to move there and dozens of others to spend a few days in the community. It also seeks to attract people in the culinary arts and construction trades to move there. McCall Chamber of Commerce & Visitors is executing the plan. If the Facebook campaign proves successful, the economic development council might expand its advertising to Instagram and LinkedIn. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Builders, developers, appraisers, lenders and government representatives met at Idaho First Bank in McCall in August to discuss practical ways to build affordable housing for working families in Valley County and Meadows Valley. A possible solution to the area’s affordable housing shortage is shipping containers made into housing. IndieDwell, a Boise home manufacturer, offers both single-family and multifamily homes composed of as many as three 8-foot-by-40-foot shipping containers. West Central Mountains Economic Development Council sponsored the meeting. Creating more affordable workforce housing is an economic development priority. Source: McCall Star News
  • The McCall City Council decided in August to direct up to $60,000 of the city’s tourism local option tax to provide incentives to developers to build affordable housing. The funds could also be used as a cash match to secure grants to provide additional funding to address the affordable housing problem. Source: McCall Star News
  • Cascade recently received a grant for $600,000 to pave two miles of Cabarton Road. It plans to begin construction by late September and complete work by the end of October. Source: McCall Star News

Washington County

  • The Sunnyside Farm and Events and the Lazy Bear Ranch are expanding their businesses to cover wedding and events. Both venues are hoping to bring new visitors into the area to see what the Emmett Valley has to offer. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • The Grotto owners, Dennis and Sandy Cooper, are turning the old gym at the “Old Institute” into another music venues with stage, seating and sound. The Bee Tree Fold School will also be housed in this location. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • The Great Idaho Potato 2.0, which was built in Weiser, was unveiled in Boise and is ready to tour the country promoting Idaho’s most famous crop. The new potato is made out of fiberglass, a material that is lighter and more durable out on the nation’s highways. The first stop on the tour was in Seattle on July 26 for the SeaFair Torchlight Parade and Pro Football Hall of Fame Parade in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 3. The potato was in Kansas and Tennessee in August. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Pepper’s, formerly known as D & L Coffee Company, officially opened on Aug. 1. Source: Weiser Signal American

Openings:

  • Western Collective Beer opened “under construction” on July 27 in Garden City. The temporary taproom will have a single handle pour Guns & Oil American Lager along with a handful of other canned Idaho brews and Garden City wines. A new taproom will be unveiled in November.
  • Uncorked!, an extension of Boise Co-op’s Wine Shop, opened July 27. It has seating for 26, plus a standing drink rail.
  • QPR Precision Gunsmithing, a gun repair and customization business, opened Aug. 1 in Nampa on Second Street. The business does not sell firearms but focuses on repair and customizations.
  • Revitalized Juice Bar, opened its second location inside the Pioneer Tent Building on Aug. 4. It is a juice bar offering cold-pressed juice combinations, fruit bowls, protein shakes and smoothies. A second location is in the Village in Meridian.
  • Scandinavian Designs has a preview store in Boise in what was the OfficeMax store. Crews are working to remodel the rest of the building for a full furniture store. Currently, the preview center is open Wednesday through Sunday – the full store is set to open in the fall.
  • Agape Event Center at the Historic Owyhee is the new name for the event space in the Owyhee building in downtown Boise. It has three ballroom spaces that can be operated separately, or as one large room and can accommodate up to 350 people.
  • Columbia Sportswear will open its first Idaho store in the Village at Meridian in the fall. The store will feature a full line of Columbia outdoor wear.
  • Soft Surrounding is a women’s clothing and accessories, beauty and home décor that will open in the fall in the Village at Meridian.
  • Texas de Brazil, a Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse, is set to open in the Village at Meridian in the fall.
  • Urban Fox – Coffee & Boba opened in Meridian on Eagle Road.
  • Bi-Mart in Caldwell opened Aug. 30. The store is located in former Paul’s Market building on 10th Street.
  • Panera Bread opened its fourth Treasure Valley restaurant on Aug. 8 as part of Pioneer Crossing and near the Hilton Garden Inn on 11th and Myrtle in Boise.

Closings:

  • River City Coffee and Café located on State Street in Boise closed July 15. The airport location is still open.
  • Pho 79 located on State Street recently closed.

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 Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization hired Alexa Wilhelm to lead its rural efforts in Gooding, Lincoln, Twin Falls and Camas counties. Alexa relocated from Pennsylvania after graduating from Penn State with a bachelor of science degree in community/environment/development with a specialization in sustainable food systems. Source: Times-News

Blaine County

  • The Ketchum City Council approved a $23.7 million budget down from the previous year’s budget of $29.2 million. The difference is several capital projects undertaken in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Hailey leaders approved a tentative $13.6 million budget, up 4.25 percent from the previous fiscal year. The city employees’ salaries and benefits along with Planning and Zoning Commission salaries will see a bump. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Sun Valley Resort released new branding for testing. Two of the nine catch phrase:  Surprisingly Unaffected and Vibrant and Fun Loving. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Ketchum City Council directed $175,000 toward a new 18-unit housing project downtown. The in-lieu fee program’s purpose is to build-in supply to a market that has limited affordable housing. The units will be deed restricted. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Ketchum City Council voted to transfer control of a parcel of ground to the Ketchum Community Development Corporation. The KCDC will apply to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association for tax credit financing to build 28 units of deed-restricted units near the YMCA. The lease will be for 99 years and the rents are low with some going to certain income groups at $676 for a studio and $724 for a one-bedroom unit. The city is in need of this type of housing to support its lower and middle paid workers. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Safe Haven Health Care Inc., which owns and operates Bell Mountain Village and Care Center in Bellevue, has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Scott Burpee, the CEO, has publicly stated this should not adversely affect the residents of the assisted living and skilled nursing facility. The CEO has stated he hopes the court will release his payroll funds so he can pay his staff.  Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Minidoka County

  • Heyburn City Council unanimously voted to ‘move forward’ with a judicial confirmation on the waste water system improvements required by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Council has only two years to make improvements to the system — a short time period for the level of engineering needed for a large-scale project such as this. The cost estimate ranges between $7 and $8 million. The capacity must expand before any future projects in the municipality. Source: Times-News and Heyburn City Council minutes.
  • The Magic Valley Folk Festival held in Rupert featured dancers from Belarus, Bolivia, China, Peru and Slovakia. Parts of the multiple day event are free to the public with host families from the local area opening their homes to dancers during the festival. There is a free Youth Culture Day with a focus on the languages spoken, the traditional costumes and dances—hundreds of local children attend each summer. The wrap-up is at the King Fine Arts Center in Burley where the dancers perform and the host families share a slideshow of the dancers enjoying their off-time in the Magic Valley. Source: Times-News
  • The Mini-Cassia Domestic Violence shelter has reopened after closing in May for reorganization. It is opening under the name Crossroads Harbor, with space at the Burley office of the South Central Community Action Partnership Office. Source: Times-News
  • Sharps Fire near Bellevue caused an evacuation from Little Wood River Reservoir and the High 5 Creek Recreation Area. The fire grew to exceed 35,000 acres. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Pickle ball aficionados in the Mini-Cassia area are trying to raise $150,000 to change out a run-down tennis court in Heyburn into a new outdoor pickle ball complex. The group calling themselves Snake River Pickle Ball Club, travels to Twin Falls to play and has developed a passion for a game. It allows senior citizens to enjoy a game with a slower ball travel, more participation by players with pairs playing one another and they get physical exercise and social interaction. A contribution from businesses is also part of the fund raising.  Source: Times-News

Twin Falls County

  • Canyon Rim Creamery is opening in Twin Falls featuring Idaho Falls ice cream from Reed’s Dairy. The developer, Gerald Martens, estimated the store should open by the end of the year on the west side. Source: Times-News
  • The Magic Valley YMCA is bringing its after-school program to Jerome. The program allows students to work on homework with supervision and assistance if needed, as well as have a physical activity and a snack. The program works with students kindergarten to fifth grade and keeps the ratio of instructors to kids low — 15:1. The venue is Jefferson Elementary School. The YMCA partners with businesses to pull the program together with companies providing physical activity venues, snacks and sponsorship. Source: Times-News
  • Lippert Components is expanding its operations by building a new 18,000 square foot building adjacent to its existing building. The company is hiring welders and plant maintenance workers. It is part of the supply chain for Jayco RV in Twin Falls along with other trailer manufacturers in the Treasure Valley. It was originally Dexter Chassis Group located in Gooding. Later, Lippert Components, provider of myriad add-ons and parts for RVs, bought it out during a time when takeovers were part of its expansionary plan. Source: Times-News and Jan Roeser
  • Gerald Martens pulled permits for 16 new units billed as four ‘four-plexes.’ The rental market is always in need of new inventory – especially on the southeast side of town where there has been less housing growth over the past five years. Source: Times-News
  • Les Schwab plans to remodel its existing space to the tune of $1 million. It will continue operations as usual during the construction phase. Source: Times-News
  • Filer School District will take a bond to the voters next spring in the neighborhood of $9.5 million to $9.9 million. The bond will add classrooms, replace seats and lighting at the middle school, add parking and aid in a better traffic flow. It will also add a second career-technical building to the Filer High School campus. Source: Times-News

Openings:

  • Stricker Elementary School is finished with the construction phrase, moving on to welcoming students in Kimberly. 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

Bannock County

  • Lionchase Holdings, a private equity firm in Washington, D.C., announced the company’s plan to bring a new cold storage facility to Pocatello. The 280,000-square-foot facility will cost up to $40 million, is expected to be completed by fall 2019, and to bring 40 to 80 full-time jobs to the area. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Amy’s Kitchen plant in Pocatello held a grand opening for its new Amy’s Family Health Center late July. The Amy’s Family Health Center is a primary care provider directly on the premises of the Amy’s Kitchen plant that provides entirely free health care to company employees and their families. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Citizens Community Bank has broken ground on a sixth branch, which will be situated next to the Pine Ridge Mall in Chubbuck.The bank broke ground on Aug. 1, with hopes to be open by June 2019. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) announced that the expected completion date for the Interstate 15 Northgate interchange would be delayed until August 2019 at the earliest. The postponement would result in a cost savings worth millions of dollars, according to the ITD. Despite the interchange delay, work on the Northgate development is underway and on schedule with contractors building connecting infrastructure to the interchange site and preparing the surrounding 42,000 acres of land for commercial and residential development. Source: Idaho State Journal

Caribou County

  • The integration of Monsanto into the Bayer Group began this month following the completion of the divestment by Bayer to BASF of certain Crop Science businesses. Bayer already became the sole owner of Monsanto Company on June 7, 2018. Bayer expects that the acquisition will already make a positive contribution to core earnings per share starting in 2019, with a double-digit percentage from 2021 onward. Source: Bayer News Release
  • Air Idaho Rescue, a medical helicopter base in Soda Springs, held a ribbon cutting and provided a free picnic that drew an estimated 500 people to the community’s airport at the edge of town. The helicopter in Soda Springs, which is available 24/7, provided 20 medical transports. Overall, it has flown 40 to 50 transports since it opened on April 1. Source: Idaho State Journal

Oneida County

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to help finance a water system upgrade in Malad City. The city will receive a $7,650,000 loan and a $2,485,000 grant to finance the project. The system serves 793 users, including 611 homes. Malad will also receive $800,000 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, and $15,000 local contribution. Source: KIDK

Power County

  • Power County Hospital is set to undergo a $14.95 million renovation and 15,000-square-foot expansion that will reconfigure the American Falls hospital for the future. Power County Hospital has two doctors and two nurse practitioners. The hospital’s emergency room treats about 1,650 patients a year and the hospital houses about 400 to 450 inpatients a year. Source: Power County Press

Openings

  • EyeMart Express in Pocatello
  • Fashion 15 Below in Pocatello
  • Amy’s Family Health Center in Pocatello

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

  • Blaze Pizza and Costa Vida will be the next national tenants at the 40-acre Sandcreek Commons in Ammon, the second largest shopping center in eastern Idaho. These eateries will fill most of Sandcreek’s 12th structure, which is now under construction along Sunnyside Road, said Eric Isom, chief development officer at Ball Ventures, the Idaho Falls developer of Sandcreek Commons. Construction started at the beginning of June. Blaze and Costa Vida are expected to open in late fall. Source: Bizmojo

Madison County

  • This month the newest Wendy’s location was announced and a groundbreaking ceremony was held. This will be the second Wendy’s store in Rexburg. Construction Solutions Company is the general contractor for the project, and they will work with local subcontractors to get the Wendy’s building up by December. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • Biomat USA has announced another location in Rexburg. The new location is bigger than the Rexburg Main location and will have 60 beds and a daycare center inside for parents looking to donate plasma.Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Jefferson County

  • Construction of a new fire station in Menan is now complete, and a grand opening with free tours is scheduled Aug. 23 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the station, 3535 E. Menan Lorenzo Highway. Central Fire District contracted with Idaho Falls-based Dome Technology to build the station, a 11,300-square-foot structure with a dome roof system 100 feet in diameter built upon a 17-foot CMU stem wall. Source: Idaho State Journal

Openings:

  • Goodwill- Idaho Falls
  • Pitmaster BBQ- Idaho Falls
  • Caradamom Indian Restaurant- Idaho Falls

Closures:

  • Keefer’s Island Restaurant and Catering- Idaho Falls

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

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