Around Idaho: Economic Activity in February 2022

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

  • The Regional Housing and Growth Issues Partnership completed a multi-month study on housing shortages in northern Idaho and is preparing to present its recommendations for local housing policy. The study, recently published on the organization’s website, concluded that a lack of affordable housing cost over $220 million in gross regional product by reducing the available workforce. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

 Openings – Coeur d’Alene

  • Sportsman and Ski Haus
  • Garnet Café
  • Good N Baked
  • Lyfe Coffee
  • Schmidty’s Burgers
  • Aunt Stephanie’s Child Care
  • Soda Love

Openings – Hayden

  • Dairy Queen
  • Lone Mountain Farms & Brewery Taphouse, regional economist
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

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


  • In 2021, 16 of Idaho’s high schools had a 100% four-year graduation rate. Of those 16 schools, five graduated 100% of their seniors in each of the past three years – including two in north central Idaho: Nezperce School (Lewis County) and Culdesac School (Nez Perce County). Statewide, Idaho’s four-year graduation rate was 80%, while most schools in north central Idaho saw >90% graduation rates. Source: Local 8 News, Idaho SDE
  • All seven of the north central Idaho projects funded by Idaho Broadband Grants totaling $6.6 million, have been completed, are operable and reimbursed as of Dec. 31, 2021. Of the seven projects, six were awarded for household service expansion to provide broadband connectivity to 5,753 local households, including 1,000+ households in Lewis County — 60%+ of Lewis County total households, 16 wireless sites improved. Throughout the state, Idaho Broadband Grants were awarded to 83 projects totaling $36.3 million to improve/provide broadband connectivity to households, public safety and government organizations. Source: Idaho County Free Press, Idaho Broadband Grant

Nez Perce County

  • Lewis-Clark State College collision repair program renewed its ASE accreditation for an additional five years through 2027. The program is the only one located in north central Idaho and one of three statewide accredited programs of its kind. The other two are offered by the Dennis Technical Education Center in Boise and Idaho State University in Pocatello. Sources: Lewis-Clark State College, ASE
  • Lewis-Clark State College will begin offering a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity management for the fall 2022 semester after receiving approval from the Idaho State Board of Education. Previously, LC State offered a 10-credit cybersecurity certificate. Both degree and certificate will be available fully online and combines computer programming, business management and cybersecurity classes. In October 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expected a 32% growth in hiring for cybersecurity over the next 10 years. Currently, three Idaho public institutions provide a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity as Centers of Academic Excellence – Idaho State University, University of Idaho and Boise State University. Source: Lewiston Tribune, Lewis-Clark State College,
  • Lewiston’s Boys & Girls Club has secured a $3.2 million donation from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and owners Ed and Beatriz Schweitzer. This donation, along with $1 million received in 2021 from the DeAtley Family Foundation and additional local donations, will be used to help complete $7 million in renovations of the land/buildings the club acquired from the Lewiston School District to create a “kid friendly and family-centered 7-acre campus.” Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • As a result of the Lewiston Tribune and Moscow-Pullman Daily News unable to find contracted newspaper carriers for 30 of its 105 delivery routes, the papers temporarily suspended home delivery to 2,200 print subscribers beginning mid-February. Subscribers were offered the choice of subscribing online or receiving their paper by mail. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Latah County

  • The city of Moscow is accepting grant applications for local small businesses and nonprofits affected by COVID-19 after allocating $750,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for two grant programs:
    1. Small Business Program – Grants up to $15,000 to businesses that experienced increased expenses or loss of revenue compared with pre-pandemic operations.
    2. Community and Social Services Nonprofit Grant Program – Grants up to $25,000 for nonprofits focusing efforts on behavioral health services, nutritional assistance or education services.

Source:  Moscow-Pullman Daily News

  • Micron Foundation awarded more than $1 million in grants to Boise State University and the University of Idaho to support targeted engineering programs and prepare students for productive careers. The grants are a result of statewide efforts in Idaho to attract more engineering students while counteracting a projected sharp decline of high school graduates attending higher education, beginning in 2025. University of Idaho’s Micron Student Center offers professional and ethical skill building and inclusive leadership training. The grant will provide scholarships as well as enhance mentorship, access and outreach programs. Source: University of Idaho, Micron Gives
  • Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) is on track to begin producing printed circuit boards in its new Moscow facility in January 2023, which is slated to be completed by mid-2022. SEL first broke ground on the162,000-square-foot facility in June 2021. Currently, SEL engineers design the circuit board used in SEL products, but they are fabricated by several U.S. suppliers. The completed project is estimated to employ 12 people to help design and operate the facility along with sourcing 25 additional individuals to perform other tasks in the plant. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News, SEL


  • House of JuJu, a gourmet burger restaurant, opened in Orofino in late January. This is the company’s third restaurant and the first to open in Idaho. Source: House of JuJu
  • Chick-fil-A on the University of Idaho’s Moscow reopened in February after closing in September 2021 due to staffing shortages. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Leaded Rose Coffee Co plans to open a mobile coffee trailer in Lewiston in March. Source: Leaded Rose Coffee
  • Rel-Axe N’ Smash, a mobile axe-throwing range and smash room will soon be opening in the Lewis Clark Valley as a new entertainment option. Source: Rel-Axe N’ Smash
  • The Food Yard, a new outdoor food truck venue, is opening in Lewiston as a casual, outdoor family-friendly dining option. Source: The Lewiston Tribune
  • Knotted Fringe, a new hair salon, opened in Lewiston. Source: The Lewiston Tribune


  • Wingers in Moscow closed in January 2022 after operating for 23 years. Many factors influenced the decision, but the recent difficulty in finding workers was one of the main ones cited by the owner. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3849

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

Ada County

  • Meta plans to build a 960,000-square-foot data center by the end of 2025. The company, formerly known as Facebook, will invest $800 million into the new facility, create 100 permanent job and build a new wastewater and sewer system that will recycle the immense amount of water necessary to cool the server farm. The company intends to support STEM education, community action grants and will start to even out the tax base in Kuna, which has been residential heavy. The site was owned by Gardner Co., which was instrumental in obtaining annexation of the parcel into Kuna city limits during 2021 and changing zoning from agriculture to light and heavy industrial use. The Meta site and Gardner’s industrial park will be part of an already approved urban renewal district. Source: Idaho Press
  • Idaho Department of Labor hosted a job fair in Boise in mid-February with both large and small companies recruiting workers. The event drew 23 employers and 65 job seekers. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • The outlook is favorable for the Boise Airport’s future, which boasts seven commercial airlines serving non-stop flights to 27 destinations in Idaho and across the nation. It reported 3.6 million passengers traveled through its gates in 2021. This is an uptick from its anemic 2020 count of under 2 million travelers — down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, record enplanement continues to be 2019 with 4.1 million passengers using the regional airport. Two new parking garages carrying a bond price tag of $56 million are under construction at the airport and expected to be completed in 18-24 months. The first garage will provide 700 spaces for employees of all the businesses within the airport. The other garage will provide 1,150 spaces for passenger parking and includes a pedestrian bridge into the airport. The uptick in parking revenue will help fund a new terminal with up to a dozen gates which is planned to open in 2025 or 2026. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Boise-based Snake River Seed, founded in 2014, recently converted to an employee and grower-owned cooperative entity. It includes 54 seed producers across the Intermountain West producing locally adapted seeds. The seeds are sent to Boise for packing and sale. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The omicron variant of COVID-19 is still causing illness across the state but the crisis standards of care designation for hospitals in 18 counties across southern Idaho has been lifted due to declining positive testing trends. Source: Idaho Business Review 
  • Boise School District trustees voted to phase out a mask mandate since the myriad attempts to return to normalcy in the classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic officially started March 13, 2020, in Idaho as a state of emergency. Source: Idaho Education News
  • Suntree Language Academy is a new language school opening this summer in Boise offering Basque, Spanish and French as their foundation courses. The next tier of courses, based on demand, is English as a Second Language, Mandarin, Arabic and German. The two co-founders will provide immersive, after-school instruction from 3 to 6 p.m. for kindergarten through sixth grade students offering transportation from school. In the evenings, all ages can pick up a language skill. During the summer, there will be half-day programs for the younger students and summer camps in grades third through 12. The school is hoping to enroll 60-80 students and employ 12-18 teachers. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Wells Fargo awarded $345,000 to Economic Opportunity by Jannus, a nonprofit that educates and helps underserved Idahoans develop their small business ideas or expand an existing business. Wells Fargo also contributes expertise through technical assistance from the local team providing financial knowledge tools, materials, and education on banking products and services. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Roaring Springs Water Park will start a 10- to 15-year expansion increasing the size of the park by 40%, spreading operations and parking onto the contiguous 12 acres. New amenities will be built over seven phases beginning this spring. Phase 1 will include an interactive play structure with seven slides, an activity pool, a new restaurant, the water park’s first bar, 16 luxury cabanas and additional parking. This will be its 23rd summer in Meridian. Source: Idaho Press
  • PlexTrac, a Boise-based cybersecurity software start-up, received $70 billion in financing from a New York global venture capital firm, Insight Partners, along with existing investors Madrona Venture Group, Noro-Moseley Partners and StageDotO Ventures. Source: Idaho Statesman

Canyon County

  • A groundbreaking was held at the former Karcher Mall site where Rhino Investment Group of Henderson, Nevada, plans to build a multi-family housing complex. Called Project 208, the mixed-use project will include retail and storage units coupled with the housing complex. The general contractor is ESI of Meridian and the architectural firm is CSHQA of Boise. The layout is comprised of 12 buildings with 252 one to three-bedroom units on 10 acres, leaving another 27 acres for additional development. Amenities for the apartment complex include a clubhouse, community pool and playgrounds. Source: Idaho Business Review

Elmore County

  • The housing crunch is impacting military personnel assigned to Mountain Home Air Force Base. Base housing is 98% full so another 100 personnel live in the city of Mountain Home, which is attracting spillover from the Boise metro area’s high-priced housing market. Elmore County’s median home price soared 32% from 2020 to 2021. Multiple bids are being placed on properties, adding $10,000 to $15,000 over the asking price. The Air Force has increased housing allowances for off-base personnel, but it does not keep pace with the growing housing prices. The city of Mountain Home reported seven new subdivisions or multi-family complexes approved, including:
    • Thunderbolt Landing – 174 single-family homes for sale.
    • Turner House Depot – 288 units for sale.
    • 8th Street Station – 43 attached townhome units for sale.
    • The Mitchell Townhouses – 33 attached townhome units for sale.
    • Silverstone North Division – 56 units for rent and 49 single-family homes for sale.
    • Paitue Place Townhomes – 64 units for sale.
    • Leap Charities Project – 60 units for rent based on income.

Source: KTVB News, US Census Bureau QuickFacts/2015-2019 American Community Survey

Valley County

  • Natural Grocers announced it will remodel the Pancake House in McCall for a grocery story. The 14,600-square-foot building will be renovated with a checkout area, shelving, coolers and new office space for the interior while the exterior will add a ramp for access and install sliding glass doors. The city requires the business to add sidewalk, curbing and gutters to its frontage. Source: McCall Star News
  • Watkins Pharmacy in Cascade is closed after a fire leveled the business. The cause of the fire is being investigated. Residents must now travel to McCall to fill prescriptions since Watkins was the only pharmacy in Cascade. Source: KTVB News


  • Mountain Mike’s Pizza opened in Meridian at a space formerly occupied by Rumbi Island Grill. The franchiser plans to open four more restaurants across the Treasure Valley. The pizza company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and has 250 restaurants in eight states. It reported over $250 million in sales in 2021, an uptick of 24% from 2020. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Albertsons opened its 38th store in Idaho, its first store in Star. The new store is 63,500 square feet. Source:  Idaho Statesman
  • Coldstream Wealth Management opened an office in downtown Boise. The employee-owned company is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. Source: Idaho Statesman


  • Another Choice Virtual Charter School in Nampa will close June 30. The closure impacts about 500 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Source: Idaho Education News
  • Ed’s 50’s Café has closed its doors in Meridian after 9 ½ years of operation. Tipsy Chef Café has taken over the space according to the sellers but has not released an opening date. The new owner is a French and Michelin-trained chef who has provided catering and private chef services throughout the Boise area. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Emmett’s Cherry Gulch Academy, formerly Novitas Academy, is closing its doors in March. It was founded in 2015 as a boarding school for high schoolers from across the nation struggling in the traditional learning environment. The enrollment ranges between 17-25 students paying tuition of $100,000 annually. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a drop in enrollment, one of the challenges cited by the board as leading to the closure. Cherry Gulch’s middle school will continue operations and 15 of the 25 staff will transfer to that location. Source: Emmett Messenger-Index
  • Pho Tay Vietnamese Noodles of Boise closed recently after challenges meeting its lease escalation clauses. The restaurant opened in 2017. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Sage Café, a mainstay in Caldwell for 28 years, closed its doors inside the Sage Travel Plaza. The fuel and C-store remain open. Source: The Idaho Statesman, 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

  • The city of Hailey has approved the first draft of a housing ordinance aimed at retaining local workers, increasing housing stock and incentivizing developers to build more affordable units. The ordinance imposes new standards for planned-unit developments in exchange for density bonuses starting at 25%. The code change specifically requires developers of future planned-unit developments to reserve 10% of units for households making between 70% and 120% of Hailey’s area median income — that is, anywhere between $35,800 and $61,400 — and set aside at least 30% of all units for full-time Blaine County residents. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Twin Falls County

  • The Filer School District is seeking to pass a supplemental levy in the March 8 election. This would be an extension of the current supplemental levy which has been in place since 2012. The levy would be for $500,000 per year, which would make up 4% of Filer’s yearly budget. Supplemental levies will be used to help fund school programs and educational opportunities for students the district may not be able to afford otherwise. Source: KMVT
  • The city of Murtaugh has been awarded a grant by Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to conduct a water quality study. The $37,000 award will be used to look at the water system’s shortcomings and come up with solutions for improvements. Source: Times-News


  • High Country Coffee Company, Buhl
  • Magic Valley Elite All Star, Burley
  • Bigelow, Heyburn


  • The Cookie Basket, Twin Falls, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 788-3526 ext. 3820

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


  • There were an estimated 827 job postings in the southeastern Idaho region in January, with heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (48), registered nurses (37) and customer service representatives (25) being the largest occupations represented. By industry, the largest volume of job postings was in health care and social assistance (172). Most job postings (557) were in the Pocatello metropolitan statistical area. Source: Burning Glass

Bannock County

  • The Capell Park ice skating rink in Chubbuck opened for the 2022 season under new management after closing three years ago. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • C-A-L Ranch opened its new Chubbuck location, having moved from its Pocatello location in the Pine Ridge Mall. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A former Bannock County politician negotiated deals to sell his smart toilet seat called Washie, which he introduced in 2018, with major sports arenas after successfully reaching agreements with the Pocatello Regional Airport, the Brigham Young University Marriot Center in Utah and the Boise Centre among others. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Fitch Ratings placed Pocatello as the sixth-most overvalued housing market in the United States, joining three other Idaho cities – Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls – in its top 10 list. Fitch analysts put Idaho Falls’ homes at being 22.8% overvalued. Sources: Teton Valley News, Idaho State Journal, Post Register
  • Bannock County Commission is considering how to invest $17 million in pandemic relief funds, with upgrading water and sewage infrastructure, broadband investments, creating an Eastern Idaho Forensics Lab and a Disaster Response Center as possibilities. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Lava Hot Springs hosted its annual Fire & Ice Winterfest with events ranging from a wine tasting and Pulling of the Ice Relay Race to the Parade of Lights and Polar Bear Float down the Portneuf River. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A Courtyard by Marriot hotel is under construction in Pocatello with anticipated opening in spring 2023. Concurrently, two existing hotels in the city, the Grand Idaho Inn & Suites and the Days Inn, are undergoing major upgrades. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A Salt Lake City couple finished renovating the historic Rosewood building in downtown Pocatello and have begun leasing apartment units. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe held an event to remember missing and murdered loved ones as well as to call the public’s attention to the issue of unsolved disappearances and deaths in Native American communities. Source: Idaho State Journal

Franklin County

  • Leaders of the Shoshone Nation hosted an event in commemoration of the 159th anniversary of the Bear River Massacre and are currently in the process of restoring several acres of land as well as raising funds for their Boa Ogoi (Big River) Cultural Interpretive Center. Source: Preston Citizen

Power County

  • The Portneuf Unit of the American Fisheries Society, a student-run organization at Idaho State University, held a fishing derby at Sportsman’s Park near Aberdeen to fundraise for its organization. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The city of American Falls has partnered with Direct Communications to install 300,000 feet of fiber optic broadband which will increase internet speeds for nearly 1,500 homes. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Power County Sheriff’s Office recently investigated reports that a phony tractor trailer business scammed farmers from throughout the country with fraudulent ads for farm equipment, with some victims having lost upward of $50,000. Source: Idaho State Journal


  • Old Navy opened a new Pocatello location this month, employing about 40 staff. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Shokota Pow-Wow Supply opened its brick-and-mortar location in Chubbuck, having previously been located between Pocatello and American Falls. They offer a selection of Native American arts and craft supplies and much more. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Sodamix is set to open its newest location in Pocatello, offering specialty beverages made from soda, energy drinks and water as well as gourmet cookies and ice cream. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A local mother-daughter pair plan to open a clinic-pharmacy in Chubbuck this year called Inclusive Care. Offering easier access to diagnoses and medications, it would be the first of its kind in southeastern Idaho. Source: Idaho State Journal, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4249

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


  • There were an estimated 1,712 job postings in the Eastern Region in January, with registered nurses (144), heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (57), and retail salespersons (50) being the largest individual occupations represented. By industry, the largest volume of job postings was in health care and social assistance (519). Most postings (1,391) were in the Idaho Falls, ID metropolitan statistical area. Source: Burning Glass
  • Attendance to Yellowstone National Park hit new records in 2021 with 4.86 million visits, straining park employees and services. Source: KTVB News
  • Several public schools were forced to cancel classes in February amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and ongoing staffing issues. Source: Teton Valley News, Post Register
  • The Eastern Idaho Health District is offering free vaccines against the human papillomavirus (HPV) for people ages 11-26 as part of a cancer-reduction campaign. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho National Laboratory’s Sample Preparation Laboratory has partnered with area small businesses to complete project goals. Once completed, the Sample Prep Lab will be a national center for the INL and outside researchers investigating how materials perform in nuclear environments. Source: Post Register, Idaho State Journal

Bonneville County

  • The commercial real estate market in eastern Idaho saw strong growth in 2021, owing to strong retail growth and growing demand for office space. Sources: Post Register, East Idaho Business Journal
  • Fitch Ratings placed Idaho Falls as the third-most overvalued housing market in the United States, joining three other Idaho cities – Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Pocatello – in its top 10 list. Fitch analysts put Idaho Falls’ homes at being 25.5% overvalued. Sources: Teton Valley News, Idaho State Journal, Post Register
  • The city of Idaho Falls has signed a five-year lease with a local nonprofit to operate the Idaho Falls Speedway. The raceway was closed two years ago due to lack of money in the municipal parks and recreation budget. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho Falls Regional Airport surpassed its passenger record in 2021 by about 100,000 passengers, with almost 450,000 commercial air passengers using the airport in 2020. Source: Post Register

Lemhi County

  • As demand for minerals needed to build electric vehicles grows, the largest deposit of cobalt in North America situated west of Salmon is being eyed by mining operators, with battery minerals company Jervois already beginning operations. Source: Idaho Statesman, The Atlantic

Madison County

  • Triangle S Livestock, a Madison County ranching family, is considering building a new U.S. Department of Agriculture meat processing plant to fill an unmet demand from local ranchers. Source: Teton Valley News

Teton County

  • Lodging sales in Teton County nearly doubled in 2021 compared with the previous year, rising from $22.7 million to $41.1 million. Source: Teton Valley News
  • The Nature Conservancy in Idaho acquired 1,000 acres around Driggs as part of the Teton Creek Land & Water Project, intended to improve streamflow in Teton Creek. The area is tied to the Teton Creek Corridor Project, a collaborative effort with plans for expanding an adjacent wastewater treatment plant, preserving some of the natural wetlands as well as agricultural lands and even building new housing. Source: Teton Valley News
  • The Education Foundation of Teton Valley has launched its Bound for Success program. In partnership with the Teton Middle and High Schools, the program provides professional college and success services, one-on-one and group support through mentors and a peer support model for students. Source: Teton Valley News, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4249