Around Idaho: Economic Activity in August 2021

Information provided in these news updates is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

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


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

Kootenai County

  • Fire restrictions across northern Idaho were rescinded on Aug. 27 after cooler weather and moisture abated the summer fire danger. The Coeur d’Alene Dispatch Zone, which includes all five northern counties, announced the end of fire restrictions and lowered the fire danger rating from extreme levels, easing restrictions on recreationists. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Amid rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, institutions are reinstating public health measures. North Idaho College renewed its mandatory masking policy, while Kootenai Health announced changes to its visitation policy amid rising COVID hospitalizations. Source: KHQ News


Coeur d’Alene

  • CDA Auto Body Supply
  • Mending Muscles Massage
  • Two Lakes Inn
  • Sand Trap Indoor Golf
  • Inland Café & Tea
  • Nspire Tours
  • Axes and Arrows
  • Jitterz Espresso
  • UGM Thrift Store
  • Oxyfresh

Post Falls

  • Invisible Fence
  • Splash Rentals
  • Bruchi’s Eatery


  • Dairy Queen in Hayden
  • Vogel Massage in Dalton, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

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

Latah County

  • Moscow has adapted city code to allow for an entertainment district covering a several block grid downtown. This will allow for open containers and more pedestrian-friendly exchanges between outdoor entertainment, downtown restaurants and drinking establishments for events such as the popular Artwalk. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The Idaho Inn in Moscow is undergoing a major renovation by Fortify Holdings, LLC of Beaverton, Oregon. It converts from an extended-stay motel to a mixed use project offering 90 upscale studio apartments finished with contemporary surfaces and common areas such as a barbeque area and congregating space. Its new name is ‘The Empire’ and the remaining motel space will be leased to commercial entities. This meets demand by college students and young professionals working downtown who are not ready to invest in buying a home. The motel originated as a Travel Lodge in the mid-70’s, then the University of Idaho purchased it to provide graduate housing, moving to an extended-stay prior to this most recent purchase. Source:  Lewiston Morning Tribune
  • While the city of Moscow is going to get its new police station using part of the taxpayer-approved $9.64 million bond that passed in 2019, the plan for how to get there has changed. The pandemic and subsequent mounting cost of construction increased the cost for the new police station by $1 million. The plan to renovate the old police station into offices was certain to have increased in cost, as well. The solution to achieve the objectives while spending what was originally budgeted involved some building swapping. Now, the city has purchased the Haddock Building from Gritman Memorial to remodel it for city departments earmarked for the renovated police station, costing considerably less. The University of Idaho is buying the soon-to-be former police station with plans to repurpose it as a retail outlet for Vandal gear and a new location for the Pritchard Art Gallery, which was closed in 2020 due to budget cuts. Now the city is only renovating one building (the Haddock building) at a much lower cost and completing renovations to city hall. Combined with money made from the sale of the police station, the city will still get its new police station and renovations will be within the original bond budget. Source: Idaho Business Review

Nez Perce County

  • Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) opened its new health clinic for employees — The SEL Lewiston Health and Wellbeing Center. The former clinic at the manufacturing plant was 1,225 square feet and needs had outgrown its capacity and is part of the manufacturing facility. The new 15,460-square-foot clinic is off-site and improves its offering with state-of-the-art gym equipment, fitness classes, training and support from wellbeing specialists employed by SEL. The family-oriented facility also offers physical therapy, mental health services and has gender and mobility inclusive restroom facilities that address its diverse workforce needs. The company estimates approximately more than 750 employees will use the new facility. The company is in the process of constructing a new office building in Moscow with a completion deadline of the end of 2022. The company is employee owned and designs and builds digital products and systems to protect power grids. It has facilities in Idaho, Indiana and Washington. Source: Idaho Business Review
  •  The fall Chinook salmon season opened mid-August in Idaho and Washington lasting through November. It is predicted there will be 24,500 Chinook reaching the Lower Granite Dam. Counts are down for both steelhead and Chinook salmon as the fish journey back from the ocean. Steelhead disperse more geographically and take a much longer journey back, lasting through spring in some cases. Just 22,569 steelhead had been counted at Bonneville Dam, the worst on record for the time frame of July 1 to Aug 18. In 1943, 22,662 steelhead were counted at Bonneville Dam through the same time, but steelhead harvest below the dams was much higher then. During the first half of August, 6,738 Chinook had been counted at Bonneville Dam. That compares to a 10-year average of 13,882. At Lower Granite Dam the Aug.1 through Aug. 17 count was 344, compared to a 10-year average of 801. The Nez Perce tribe has taken a proactive stance ensuring hatcheries are stocking the anadromous fish that have historically fed their community members. Source: Lewiston Morning Tribune
  • Clearwater Paper announced a dip in second quarter earnings for 2021 were driven by the drop in tissue purchasing across the nation as hoarding of toilet paper declined and households used stored inventory instead of buying more. The company temporarily halted production to allow inventory levels to adjust. The company experienced a net loss of $52 million compared with earnings of $22.8 million in the second quarter of 2020. The Lewiston plant manufactures tissue, paper board and pulp. The paper board and pulp net sales were $227 million in the second quarter of 2021 compared with $216 million for the same period last year. “Demand for food packaging products and retail paper plates has remained healthy throughout the pandemic,” CEO Arsen Kitch said. Source: Lewiston Morning Tribune


  • Journey’s End Café opened in Moscow providing a varied menu of food and drinks. Its draw is its offering of board games, gaming events, and tournaments. The proprietor also owns a similar gaming café at Camano Island, Washington. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

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

Ada County

  • Cole Valley Christian Schools announced plans to build a new school and sell its existing facility after experiencing growth of 29% adding 260 students in the past year. The new school is to be built on a newly-acquired 72-acre parcel of ground near the new Owyhee High School in Meridian. The school will be a one-stop for parents with kids pre-K through grade 12 on-site and handling up to 1,800 students. The current school has a waiting list of 250 with 1,160 registered students. The administrator reported that 80% of the new students are from California who attended private school before relocating to Idaho. The nondenominational school serves more than 100 churches across the Treasure Valley. The timeline for opening the new school is by the fall of 2024 or 2025. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Meridian’s Urban Renewal Agency is reevaluating its mix of districts. One of its more deteriorated districts ‒ Northern Gateway ‒ carries a sunset clause occurring in five years. It has not attracted developers to the 106-acre area north of downtown Meridian over the past 19 years. The Meridian Development Corporation requested Kushlan Associates study a new mix of districts to determine the challenges and potential solutions to future development. One potential solution is breaking the districts into smaller areas to more specifically direct tax increments. The study found 56 properties or 34% of the properties in the Northern Gateway district are deteriorating and 28 acres in the study are vacant — a situation referred to as economic underdevelopment. The city leaders will review the information in December. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • A portion of Boise’s Table Rock Road is permanently closed, with no access to the area by vehicle. The Idaho Historical Society oversees the popular spot that receives an estimated 160,000 visitors annually. The closure of the parking lot occurred earlier this spring and the truncated roadway is an action to alleviate the graffiti and vandalism that has occurred in greater frequency over the past decade. Many vehicle visits have occurred during the night and early morning. Five years ago, fireworks near the main gate started a wildfire that burned more than 2,600 acres including a home. The trails continue to be open to the public. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s report stated Idaho has lost about $479 million due to the dearth of child care in the state. Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children and the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry are collaborating on the issue and seeking solutions. The report follows a survey of 332 Idaho parents with one out of four reporting childcare affected their employment. Among those surveyed and earning less than $50,000 annually, almost one in three reported having to quit a job, not take a job or change jobs because of child care. Only 5% receive any federal or state assistance for childcare. Source: Idaho Capital Sun
  • The city of Boise reviewed a Housing Needs Analysis that cited the average median income (AMI) was $67,800 for a household. The report rounded up the average household size to three persons. Those earning 30% or less of the AMI needed 821 units annually versus an estimated two approved. Those households earning 31-60% of the AMI need 862 units annually versus 61 approved. Those earning 61-80% of the AMI need 463 annually versus 124 approved. Those earning greater than 80% of the AMI need only 627 but approval has occurred for 1,744. The conclusion by city experts on housing were that lower income household needs are unresolved in Boise and the issue requires more than city resources to close the gap. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Idaho Department of Labor hosted a hiring event at the Holiday Inn in Boise with about 30 employers participating. The employers’ job openings totaled in the hundreds while an estimated 70 job seekers attended the event. Source: Idaho Department of Labor

Canyon County

  • Wilder Cattle Feeders, a feedlot in Wilder, received approval to expand from 6,000 head of cattle to 12,000. The Canyon County Commissioners received public feedback from both sides and ultimately approved the expansion of the property from nine parcels of land to 13 parcels. Conditions include timing and adding a sprinkler system to take care of dust issues affecting neighbors. The expansion must start within three years and be completed by the five-year deadline. The land zoning is agricultural, and the feedlot has existed since the 1960s. Source: Idaho Press
  • Valley Wide Cooperative, headquartered in Nampa, merged with Ag Link of Reardon, Washington. Valley Wide includes 70 locations, employing about 1,000 while Ag Link operates seven stores with about 100 workers. The merger should be complete by Sept. 1. Source: Idaho Business Review

Owyhee County

  • The Homedale School District is bringing a $14 million, 15-year general obligation bond to the voters to upgrade the high school. The bond must receive super majority approval or 66 2/3 of the voters must pass it. The bond will cost the property owners about $212 per $100,000 of net assessment. The money would fund a second gymnasium so fine arts can use the existing space. There will be additional classrooms and renovations to existing classrooms, upgrading the HVAC and alarm systems, lighting upgrades, new restrooms and replacement of the track at the stadium. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche

Valley County

  • Mining company Perpetua Resources signed an agreement with Ambri, Inc. for the long-term supply of antimony. Perpetua Resources owns the Yellow Pine Stibnite Mine and is working toward approval of mining antimony and gold. Ambri owns the rights to manufacture a liquid metal battery to store power. Part of its supply chain requires antimony as an integral component. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Billionaire Texans Farris and Dan Wilks are selling off some of the 172,000 acres of Adams and Valley County property they purchased in 2016. Wilks-owned DF Development is the entity holding the property previously acquired from Potlatch, a timber harvesting company. The company has proposed to the Valley and Adams County Commissioners a plan to sell 30-acre parcels, citing a fast timeline. Commissioners have asked for more details before moving on the proposal. Source: The Star-News 

Washington County

  • Pacific Fiber Products Inc., headquartered in Longview, Washington, said it plans to create a facility in Weiser at the former site of Four Rivers onion processing plant. The property is to be purchased out of foreclosure proceedings. The site comes with a railroad spur which the company reported will be used to ship out materials and bring in raw goods. The company intends to hire approximately seven workers the first year with most positions starting near $20 per hour with benefits, which is the same as it pays workers in Washington and Oregon, according to the company. The Snake River Economic Development Alliance was an active participant in attracting the business to Idaho. It provides services to counties on the Idaho-Oregon border. Source: Idaho Business Review


  • LeanFeast opened in Meridian offering healthy meals prepped and packaged for take-home cooking and dining at home.  The franchise is the first in Idaho but is gaining recognition nationally with 15 locations. The choices are whole foods with lean proteins and lots of vegetables. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • A grand opening was held by the West Ada School District as Owyhee High School opened its doors for the first time in Meridian. The school will house 1,500 students alleviating overcrowding at Eagle High School and Rocky Mountain High School. A marching band and a dance team were part of the celebration. Up to the COVID-19 pandemic, student growth within the school district was occurring at about 2% annually. The growth disintegrated during the pandemic — it is an unknown whether those students will return eventually. The tax patrons approved a $95 million bond in 2018 to build the new high school, a new elementary school and to expand two other elementary schools.  Source: Idaho Press
  • A ribbon cutting was held to commemorate the opening of Jules on 3rd, a mixed-use project close to Julia Davis Park. It offers 173 apartments, 394 structured parking spots and 3,000 square feet of public and retail space. Amenities include its rooftop pool and sundeck, a fitness and wellness studio, a dog park and a club room.  The downtown, eight-story apartment complex is two-thirds leased and its market includes a wide range of age groups. Source: Idaho Business Review


  • Eight Twelve Main closed its Indian Creek brewpub in Caldwell. Plans are to open a food truck next spring in Caldwell. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Methodist Thrift Store closed its store in Caldwell due to the sale of the property. Source: Idaho Press

In-Person Events

  • Albertsons Boise Open was a go this year at Hillcrest Country Club. Last year, it was also held, but without the fanbase that accompanies the well-known golfing event. This year’s event allowed fans to attend and held concerts over three nights by performers such as Sammy Hagar, Rick Springsteen and Old Dominion. This year, the donations to Treasure Valley charities reached a record $2.9 million. Over its 32 years, the Boise Open has generated $30 million in charitable donations. Source: Idaho News 6
  • The Caldwell Night Rodeo returned after a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last summer. Nearly 800 cowboys and cowgirls participated in the eight events. Source: Idaho Press
  • Boise Soul Food Festival returned in early August after taking a break for COVID-19. Source: Idaho Press
  • Kuna Days held its community gathering with a theme of ‘America the Beautiful.’ The Chamber of Commerce has been running the weekend-long celebration for the past seven years. For the previous 48 years, a big BBQ and potluck connected the farming families together. Source: Idaho News 6
  • The Boise Bicycle Project held the Boise Goathead Fest Aug. 28, its fourth annual pedal parade, fashion show and block party.  This year, costumes were encouraged while masks were a requirement. Source: Boise Weekly
  • The Western Idaho Fair held its usual activities this year complete with concert artists and entries for fair judging. The attendance is still an unknown, but lines were longer due to the workforce shortages reported among many employers, even after increasing wages. Source: Idaho News 6, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

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

Blaine County

  • Family Health Services plans to open a medical, dental and behavioral clinic with pharmacy services in Bellevue. The medical and counseling services will be available five days a week with one late night, and dental services will be open four days a week with 10-hour days. The pharmacy will start as tele-pharmacy and will change to a full-time pharmacy as the clinic grows. There will be a discount on care for patients living below 200% of the federal poverty level. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The city of Sun Valley is seeking to approve a budget of approximately $13.65 million for the fiscal year 2022. The proposed budget estimates expenditures of approximately $6,713,000 through the city’s general fund. The plan calls for spending increases from the current fiscal year in all departments of the government. The city has also opted not to take the 3% annual increase in property taxes allowed under state law but instead plans to defer the automatic allowance. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Bellevue City Council approved a final budget of $5,319,393 for the fiscal year 2022, marking a 53% increase in spending over last year’s budget of $3,472,915. The proposed budget includes a $139,000 or 63% increase in the streets budget, an $11,921 or 37% increase in the parks budget and a $47,643 or 25% increase in the community development department budget. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Ketchum City Council members are seeking to approve the city’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget of approximately $32.2 million. The budget includes staff pay increases, funding for capital improvement projects and establishing a fund that the mayor and city council can use for special initiatives, including support for community housing. It allocates approximately $12.8 million to the city’s general fund. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Cassia County

  • The Burley Boathouse restaurant and bar are open for business along the Snake River west of Burley. The restaurant offers indoor seating overlooking the river and outdoor lighted patio seating. It has a varied menu including items for children. – Times-News
  • High Desert Milk, one of Idaho’s leading dairy processors, is undergoing a $50 million expansion at its Burley facility. The expansion will allow the facility to increase its annual butter output from 45 million pounds to 85 million pounds and add a new milk-powder product called MPC-70 to its lineup. The facility currently receives 2.2 million pounds of milk per day and the expansion will increase that total to 4.7 million pounds. Source: Times-News

Jerome County

  • Scoular has announced its plans to open a 15,000-square-foot plant in Jerome to produce a barley protein concentrate for use in aquaculture and pet food. The proposed Jerome facility is on 4 acres south of the existing plant. The plant is scheduled to begin operation by early October. It’s expected to initially create about 13 new jobs and process about 1.9 million bushels of barley annually for the company’s Emerge protein concentrate. A liquid feed supplement for cattle feeders will be co-produced. Source: Capital Press 

Twin Falls County

  • A ransomware attack has been identified as the source of computer issues the Twin Falls county dealt with during August. The ransomware attack shut down the county’s internet and access to some computer systems on Aug. 7 and has forced many departments to subsequently operate on a limited basis. The county’s phone lines were also down for a few days. Source: Times-News


  • Albion Mercantile Albion
  • Lincoln County Youth Center in Richfield, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 3820

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


  • The highly contagious delta variant has now emerged as the predominant COVID-19 strain in southeastern Idaho. As of Aug. 30, all counties in the region were considered by the CDC to be at the highest risk level for community transmission. Source: CDC COVID Data Tracker
  • Idaho State University started its school year with vaccinations front of mind, as an effort to fend off COVID-19 has turned to cash incentives for vaccinated students and weekly testing for the unvaccinated. The new incentive program “Vax Cash” offers $100 in cash to any ISU student who gets vaccinated against COVID-19 on campus or can prove they already have been fully vaccinated elsewhere. The weekly testing program only applies to asymptomatic students who live in the residence halls and not to those who live in other on-campus housing, such as the apartments or townhouses. There are about 800 students who live in the dorms, half of whom are vaccinated already. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho State University’s Holt Arena will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation, funded entirely by Idaho Central Credit Union. Over the next 24 months, the arena will undergo improvements to existing facilities, including new seating and entryways, as well as the addition of donor hospitality suites, club space and new premium seating, according to a news release from the university. A branded turf playing surface is being designed to the latest specifications and standards and is expected to be installed before the 2022 football season. Source: East Idaho News
  • A building manufacturing facility is scheduled to land soon at Pocatello Airport’s industrial park. The Pocatello City Council approved a 30-year lease Aug. 5 for the Morton Buildings of Morton, Illinois, on 35 acres at the airport industrial park, with right of first refusal on an additional 15 acres. Morton is a leading manufacturer and builder of post-frame structures for multiple uses, ranging from commercial to residential. The manufacturing plant will be Morton’s seventh. Morton will bring approximately 25 jobs to the area, paying a competitive wage with a full benefits package. Source: Idaho Business Review

 Bannock County

  • Officials with C-A-L Ranch Stores confirmed the company will be moving from its current location in the former Macy’s building at the Pine Ridge Mall in Chubbuck and into the former Shopko building sometime in the first quarter of 2022. The company would be sharing the space with Big Deal Outlet, which just announced it would be occupying half of the building. Big Deal Outlet is planning for a mid-October opening this year. Source: Idaho State Journal; Big Deal Outlet Facebook Page
  • The Chubbuck Police Station will soon get a long-needed upgrade. With the new city hall completed, development can now begin at the former city hall site. The police station, which occupied a wing of the old city hall, will soon take over the entire building — nearly tripling in size — from around 6,000 square feet to almost 18,000. Plans for the space include the development of an animal control center. Ground will be broken on that building, in the same lot as the police station, in the coming weeks. Both are expected to be completed early in the spring of 2022. Source: East Idaho News
  • The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 Board of Trustees approved a $1 million partnership with Lookout Credit Union to fund a new outdoor facility. The Lookout Credit Union Field at Pocatello High School Stadium will be at Hawthorne Middle School, replacing the current field. This project is part of a five-year facilities plan, approved by the board last September. Along with the addition of turf surfaces and improvements to existing bleachers, lights and scoreboards, the board is also exploring options for the addition of portable, seasonal dome field houses — providing year-round sports and community options. Source: East Idaho News

Caribou County

  • An agreement has been signed to transfer the county hospital property to Caribou Medical Center Inc., a nonprofit hospital corporation. The group can now move forward to obtain financing for a potential new hospital facility. Source: Caribou County Sun
  • P4 Productions LLC is now an intervenor defendant in the lawsuit seeking to halt development of P4’s Caldwell Canyon Mine. The three environmental action groups who are the plaintiffs claimed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed the Environmental Impact Statement process for the mine. The proposed Caldwell Canyon Mine along Schmidt Ridge in Caribou County intends to deliver phosphate ore to P4’s phosphoric acid plant north of Soda Springs, formerly owned by Monsanto. The new mine would extend the life of the plant 40 years. If allowed to go forward, the mine will eventually replace the Blackfoot Bridge Mine at the northern end of the Caribou Range. Source: Idaho Business Review

Franklin County

  • In response to the increasing numbers of the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, the Franklin County Medical Center began issuing a COVID-19 Update in July. It reported 17 positive cases during June and 37 cases in July. It also reported several other respiratory diseases being identified, such as parainfluenza. Source: The Preston Citizen

Power County

  • Officials with Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. have announced plans to add a new French fry processing facility at its plant in American Falls. The new facility will represent a $415 million capital investment and will have the capacity to produce more than 350 million pounds of frozen potato products per year, according to a press release. Construction is expected to be completed by mid-2023, and the facility should bring 130 new jobs to the community. The total investment also includes funding for additional modernization of the plant, which was built in 1961. Source: Idaho State Journal


  • Great Wall Express restaurant in Pocatello, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

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


  • Grand Teton National Park statistics show July 2021 had the highest number of recreation visits on record for any single month in park history. The park hosted an estimated 828,777 recreation visits in July 2021. This is a 9.7% increase from July 2020 (755,766 recreation visits) and a 6.8% increase from July 2019 (775,788 recreation visits). Source: East Idaho News
  • Brigham Young University Idaho released its COVID-19 plans for the fall semester. Students and staff will be required to wear masks in all campus buildings including Sundays for at least the first two weeks. Classes begin Sept. 13. After, that the policy will be reviewed. Source: KPVI

Bonneville County

  • Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the new Alturas Preparatory Academy next to the Grand Teton Mall in Idaho Falls. More than 300 students from Idaho Falls School District 91, Bonneville Joint School District 93 and Shelley Joint School District 60 began school in the 73,000-square-foot building on Aug. 30. The new building inside the former Sears location nearly triples the size of its previous location in the O.E. Bell building at 151 North Ridge Ave. Kindergarten through fifth grade will remain at the old location and grades 6-10 will attend the new building. Grades 11 and 12 will be added in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Source: East Idaho News

Madison County

  • Governor Brad Little addressed the Rexburg community during his Capital for a Day event on Aug. 19. The main topic was statewide growth. Rexburg is currently the fastest-growing city in the state. Many of the questions regarded the governor’s stance on the state’s response to the pandemic including vaccines, mask mandates in schools, the state legislature re-gathering for a special session and businesses requiring employees to be vaccinated. Little reaffirmed his stance that he wanted to allow local community leaders to govern how they best see fit for residents in their areas and allow businesses to choose what was best for their operations. Source: KPVI, Rexburg Standard Journal


  • Blue Cross of Idaho office in Idaho Falls, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331