BIZ BUZZ: Record-breaking zoo attendance, small business spotlight and more


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Do you want to know what’s happening on the east Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered.

Every Tuesday, we highlight grand openings, ribbon cuttings, new faces and all things business related in east Idaho. Send your tips and suggestions to Also, don’t forget to sign up for the Biz Buzz newsletter.


The Waffle Iron

The Waffle Iron celebrated their grand opening with a ribbon cutting Wednesday. The new waffle shop, located at 2631 South 25th East in Ammon, features gourmet Liege waffles and premium espresso, as well as catering options to fit the needs of any event.

The business will be offering grand opening specials all this week.

The Iron Horse Stadium

The Pocatello Chiefs held a ribbon cutting for the official opening and naming of the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25’s new athletic facility on Nov. 2.

According to KPVI, The Iron Horse Stadium will be used by Highland, Century, and Pocatello High Schools.

“Pocatello really needed something that we could call our own and put a stamp on it with this beautiful facility that we have,” District Superintendent Doug Howell told KPVI.

The athletic facility is located on Fairway Drive near Highland Golf Course.

The Batter’s Box

Carrie McCarty | The Batter’s Box

The Batter’s Box in Idaho Falls is currently open for business.

The Batter’s Box, located at 2296 N. Yellowstone Hwy., offers two indoor batting cages. People of all ages can improve their batting skills. Hours will be Monday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., all day Saturdays and one-on-one appointments on Sundays.

They held a soft opening Nov. 1 but plan to hold an official grand opening Nov. 17.


Museum of Idaho to hold ceremonial groundbreaking for major expansion

The following is a press release from the Museum of Idaho.

IDAHO FALLS – The Museum of Idaho will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking on Thursday, for the expansion of its facilities. The event will begin at 2 p.m. in the museum’s north parking lot. It is open to the public.

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The event will begin with brief remarks by the following individuals: MOI Board of Trustees Chair Linda Montgomery; Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper; Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham; philanthropist Greg Carr; U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson (written statement only); Bateman-Hall Construction’s Mike Clements; and Alderson, Karst & Mitro Architects’ Roxane Mitro.

An official groundbreaking ceremony will follow the remarks.

Finally, the Museum will encourage members of the public to support the creation of new exhibits through the purchase of legacy bricks on the new MOI front patio. Patrons may have their names or personalized messages engraved on the bricks for tax-deductible donations of either $100 or $500.

The Museum will also serve refreshments and unveil the architectural rendering of the addition.

Montgomery said, “This expansion is an expression of community support for the Museum of Idaho’s mission. The money for this expansion is from the community, grants, and local sponsors, and I am so thankful for the amazing level of support. This expansion will allow the Museum to remain open even during the change-out of traveling exhibits, which will allow us to more effectively bring the world to Idaho and Idaho to the world.”

Actual construction on the museum’s approximately 26,000-square-foot expansion – which will almost double the size of the current facility – will begin in spring 2018, as soon as weather permits. Among other things, the new wing will house a larger and more versatile education center, a larger traveling exhibit space, and a new collections workspace. This will free up the current exhibit area for new and improved permanent exhibits telling the stories of Idaho and the West. Interior construction will begin as early as this winter to enhance the flow between the three elements of the expanded facility: the Carnegie Library building constructed in 1916, the 2003 addition, and the new wing. Construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

Idaho Falls-based architecture firm Alderson, Karst & Mitro designed the addition, and Idaho Falls-based construction firm Bateman-Hall will serve as the construction manager/general contractor.


Family Dollar in Rigby | Google image

RIGBY – In last week’s Biz Buzz column, we told you about Family Dollar’s grand re-opening in Rigby.

Later that week, Family Dollar spokesperson Heather Briganti got back to us with more information.

She says the store was renovated in early October. Changes include an updated layout, expanded cooler section and updated signage.

Briganti explained how these changes will accommodate future growth.

“The changes we have made with our recent store renovation are intended to improve our customers’ in-store shopping experience and, as a result, we hope this will increase their frequency of visits to our local Family Dollar store.”

The store opened to the public on Nov. 2. It was followed by a grand opening celebration for the community on Nov. 4.


Idaho Falls Zoo announces second year of record-breaking attendance

The following is a press release from the Idaho Falls Zoo

For the second consecutive year, the staff and volunteers at the Idaho Falls Zoo are excited to announce a record-breaking season.

The 2016-17 total fiscal year (Oct. 2016 to Sept. 2017) attendance was 158,534, beating the 2015-16 total fiscal year attendance of 132,615 by 25,919 visitors.

Idaho Falls Zoo

The numbers include records broken during the Boo at the Zoo event as well as record attendance in May, June, July and August 2017.

Why the phenomenal increase in visitors this year? “All the new babies definitely were a big draw,” states Zoo Director David Pennock, “With more babies born at the zoo in a single year than ever before, particularly high-profile babies like lions and sloth bears, they really stole the show.”

In conjunction with the draw of new babies, the zoo launched an aggressive marketing campaign. Staff amped-up the Facebook page, introduced a zoo Instagram page and YouTube Channel, and communicated regularly with the public and local media partners.

Zoo staff and volunteers also enhanced their engagement with guests while at the zoo. During this season, staff and volunteers interacted with over 30 percent of zoo guests through informational stations (known as Exploration Stations) and daily presentations by zookeepers. This percentage is up from 10 percent in 2016.

While zoo staff saw an unprecedented numbers of new births, it was also the dramatic stories that really added to the excitement and impact that accompanied the young wild ones’ introductions to life.

Idaho Falls Zoo

The season started with a Great Pyrenees named Justice helping raise a lion cub. From there, zoo staff and volunteers embarked on a months-long effort to successfully hand-raise a baby Mueller’s Grey Gibbon named Sid. Last but definitely not least, an uncommon occurrence of multiple lion littersborn in a single year.

The energy and the challenges of dealing with so many unprecedented firsts at the zoo made the 2017 season very exciting.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of all the zoo staff and volunteers who helped this season,” says operations manager Linda Beard.

“Each week it seemed we were met with a new birth that posed a unique set of circumstances never before encountered at the zoo in my 25 years of experience. The team repeatedly stepped up to the challenge and turned it into an incredible success story.”

SUBWAY® restaurants in the Idaho Falls and Pocatello areas to help feed local families

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SUBWAY® restaurants in the Idaho Falls and Pocatello areas are pleased to announce their upcoming fundraising program for The Idaho Foodbank. This program aims to help feed local families in the area in time for the holiday season.

From Nov. 6 to Dec. 4, patrons of SUBWAY® restaurants in both Idaho Falls and Pocatello will have an opportunity to participate in the SUBWAY® Cares program to raise funds for The Idaho Foodbank. At checkout, customers will be able to donate by rounding up to the nearest dollar. All donations will go directly toward The Idaho Foodbank to help feed families in need. The program will conclude on Dec. 4.

“Being able to help feed local families who potentially don’t know where their next meal may come from is something local owners are very passionate about,” said Scott Sprague, a local owner of several SUBWAY® restaurants in Pocatello. “We are excited to be able to partner with the Idaho Foodbank to help feed our neighbors and the local community.”

According to The Idaho Foodbank, one in eight Idahoans face food insecurity, or not knowing where their next meal will come from. The Idaho Foodbank serves 179,000 people every month in Idaho.

Last year, SUBWAY® restaurants of the Idaho Falls and Twin Falls areas were able to raise more than $200. According to Sprague the hope is to increase that amount by $800.

“We encourage everyone in the community to give back to those that are in need by donating,” said Sprague. “Help us raise as much money as possible for our neighbors, family and friends. Our goal this year is to raise more than $5,000 for The Idaho Foodbank.”

Paisley Cakes holds drive through canned food drive to benefit Blackfoot Senior Citizens Center

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BLACKFOOT – To help out the dwindling food stores at the Blackfoot Senior Citizens Food Pantry and help beat the cold weather, Paisley Cakes in Blackfoot, is hosting a Drive Through Canned Food Drive!

Monday, Nov. 6th through Friday Nov. 17th, Paisley Cakes will be accepting any non-perishable food items in their drive through! Everyone who brings a can of food will receive a FREE hot chocolate to help warm them up during this frigid cold weather! Donations will be accepted during regular business hours from 11 to7, Monday through Saturday.

The Blackfoot Senior Citizens Center Food Pantry has been helping our community for many years, and Paisley Cake’s owners, Lanae and Michael Workman, feel that, at this time of year as food stores are being depleted rapidly, it is important to help those in need in our area! Hosting this food drive is a great way to do that.

Paisley Cakes would like to encourage everyone to come and donate generously! We can help those in need one can of food at a time. All donations, large and small, are greatly appreciated! So stop by and donate at the Paisley Cakes Drive Through Canned Food Drive! It’s easy, fun, you get hot chocolate, and you don’t even have to get out of your car!


Idaho Falls Police Department: Two Promoted to Captain

The following is a press release from the Idaho Falls Police Department

We are proud to announce that Lieutenants Steve Hunt and Bill Squires recently were promoted to serve as captains for the Idaho Falls Police Department.

Bill Squires

“I respect the talents, skills and dedication of these fine officers. Both are committed to excellent police work and to our community. Both are natural leaders,” states Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “Under the leadership of these two captains, I look forward to even more professionalized development for IFPD.”

Capt. Bill Squires started working for the Idaho Falls Police Department in 1995. Prior to that, he worked for the Department of Energy’s security contractor at the Idaho National Laboratory.

“I have been lucky enough to have worked with some great leaders and in a variety of positions within the department,” states Squires.

Capt. Squires has served as a patrol officer and a patrol supervisor for the majority of his career. He worked full-time in narcotics enforcement, both as a detective and a supervisor. Squires also had the opportunity to work as the manager of the Dispatch Center.

“This assignment taught me a great deal, and it was one that I loved,” says Squires.

Squires also has been a firearms and tactics instructor for most of his career and continues to manage the department’s firearms programs.

For more than 20 years, Squires has served as a SWAT Team Leader and recently began serving as an incident command for the Idaho State Region 3 Incident Management Team.

“The people of Idaho Falls, and the men and women that I get the privilege of working with every day, make my job great! I’m very excited about the future of our department and am so grateful to be part of it,” says Squires.

Squires holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Idaho State University in vocational teacher education and an MBA from Western Governors University in Utah.

“My wife and I have two great kids. We have lived in Idaho Falls, a city we love, for more than 30 years and wouldn’t consider raising our children anywhere else,” adds Squires.

Steve Hunt

Capt. Steve Hunt served for five years in the U.S. Marines, which included deployment to the Gulf War (Desert Shield and Storm). Hunt graduated from ISU’s School of Applied Technology for Law Enforcement and holds a Management Certification from the Idaho Peace Officer’s Standards and Training Academy.

Within the Idaho Falls Police Department, Capt. Hunt has served since 1993. He has held a myriad of assignments on the line, and supervisory and management in the Uniform Division, the Investigations Division, the Services Division and the Professional Standards Division.

Hunt has taken a special interest in meeting the needs of the mentally ill population. He has undergone specialized training as part of being on the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). And, he currently serves as an advisory board member for the Region 7 Crisis Intervention Team.

Hunt also serves on the Board for the Behavioral Health Crisis Center of East Idaho.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to serve in an executive leadership role in the Idaho Falls Police Department,” states Hunt.

“IFPD employees are wonderful to work with, and the future of the department looks bright. I hope that my contributions to the agency will be meaningful for both the citizens of Idaho Falls and our employees.”

The Bureau of Land Management in Pocatello welcomes new new field manager

The following is a press release from the Bureau of Land Management

Melissa Warren

POCATELLO – The Bureau of Land Management Idaho Falls District is pleased to announce the selection of Melissa Warren as the Pocatello Field Office’s new manager.

“We are thrilled to have Melissa on board in Pocatello,” said Lance Brady, acting district manager. “She has a strong background in lands and realty, and a solid grasp of how BLM functions in its day-to-day activities. She’ll be a great asset to the community.”

The field manager position has been vacant since April when Dave Pacioretty, the previous manager, retired.

Melissa joins BLM Idaho from Tuscon, Arizona, where she served as manager for the BLM Tuscon Field Office. Melissa has a diverse work history beginning with her service in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman during Desert Storm.

She sold insurance for years while going to college at night to earn a degree in business information systems.

In 2000, she accepted a position with the U.S. Forest Service as a business management assistant. She later moved to the BLM, working as a land law examiner, National Environmental Protection Act coordinator, realty specialist and project manager.

As the Pocatello field manager, Melissa is responsible for coordinating the activities of 25 personnel and overseeing land management for over 620,000 acres of land in southeast Idaho.

“I am excited to be in an office that has a true working landscape mission,” said Warren.

“Pocatello has a broad variety of resources to manage and an excellent staff to work with.”

In her free time, Melissa enjoys searching secondhand stores, finding old things to repurpose and give new life, or just exploring the local landscape.

“I am looking forward to making Pocatello my home and learning how to snowshoe,” said Melissa.

Her Shorkie, Daisy, may not be as excited to learn some new snow hobbies.


This week’s featured business is Connections Therapy Centers, a new therapy clinic being built on Elk Creek Drive in Idaho Falls. Read the full story here. If you own a business or know someone who does, we want to know about who you are and what you do. Send your suggestions to


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