Biz Buzz: Rigby couple invite you to ‘vamoose’ to escape rooms
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Do you want to know what’s happening in the eastern Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.
Rigby couple offering customers an ‘escape’ with new entertainment option
RIGBY – For many years, people in Rigby have wished for more entertainment options. Juelaine Ricks and her husband, Derek, are hoping their new business will grant that wish in a satisfying way for customers.
The Ricks recently opened Vamoose Escape Rooms at 198 North Yellowstone Highway in the old Intermountain Auto Recycling building. It offers one room, and two others are in the works.
Juelaine was introduced to escape rooms in Las Vegas where she grew up. She’s always enjoyed the interactive element they offer for large groups, and after visiting other escape rooms in eastern Idaho, she wanted to put her own twist into one of her favorite pastimes.
“We try to do multiple rooms instead of staying in just one room … and (our rooms are) non-linear, where (instead of searching for one clue at a time) you can be working on multiple puzzles to have the group all be engaged at once,” Juelaine says.
Juelaine is a fan of “The Office” and thought there was a storyline from Dwight’s character that was unique and made a great premise for an escape room. Get a look inside in the video above.
The plot of the second room, which is still under construction, is based on a video game where the player is stuck in a library and being hunted by a beast.
“We love (escape rooms), and it’s surprising that (they) haven’t really caught on here,” she says. “It’s a small market here … that could use some fresh ideas.”
Juelaine is hoping the business will continue to grow and evolve and be a place where families enjoy spending time together.
Vamoose Escape Rooms is open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Rigby couple’s apples are ‘selling like mad’ as business expands in eastern Idaho
RIGBY – Growing an orchard and selling apples to friends and neighbors started out as a hobby for Gary and Karen Blackham. But with the opening of a new venue at the Idaho Falls Farmer’s Market next weekend, it’s quickly becoming a full-time job.
The Rigby couple are the owners of Snake River Orchard at 682 North 3862 East. They started growing apple trees behind their house in 2015. Gary recently retired from the Idaho National Laboratory, and Karen is a part-time registered nurse. They’ve always enjoyed growing things and thought an apple orchard would be a fun retirement project.
“We didn’t know anything about growing apples. We like to be outside and work with our hands (and thought it would be something we enjoy). We’re about as far north as you can live and still grow apples,” Karen tells EastIdahoNews.com.
The fact that they’re able to grow apples is one of the business’s selling points. Over the last three years, Karen says they’ve had a lot of customers throughout the Teton Valley because people in that area can’t grow apples.
“It’s too cold,” Karen explains. “Once you get past Rexburg, you’re pretty much not able to grow apples. The growing season isn’t long enough. We barely do here … so they love our apples, and they’re excited to have us there. They call us all the time and ask if our apples are ready yet.”
Another thing that sets them apart is the type of apples they grow and how they’re produced. The Blackhams grow honeycrisp apples, which is one of the most sought-after apples throughout the U.S., according to Karen. It’s a red and green apple bred to be bigger and more juicy and crunchy than other apples.
While honeycrisp apples are fairly common in eastern Idaho, Karen says customers like the fact that they use natural processes to harvest them with no pesticides.
People from all over the country have tasted their apples at farmer’s markets in Teton Valley. This year, they’ve been invited to start selling them at the Idaho Falls Farmer’s Market for the first time. Snake River Orchard will be there on Oct. 8, and the duo is hoping to acquire more customers.
“This is the first year we’re in full production, meaning every tree is bearing fruit this year,” says Karen.
And with 150 trees in their orchard, they’re expecting to harvest about 10,000 pounds of apples.
“Two old people doing it by hand with no equipment, so that’s a lot to haul,” she says.
The Blackhams also sell a small portion of gala apples, along with several homemade apple products. Among them are dried apples and raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Karen says the vinegar is “selling like mad.”
Those who don’t make it to the farmer’s market can buy apples or other products from their new walk-in cooler at their house (pictured above) at 682 North 3862 East, Rigby.
“Anybody can come by between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. to walk in and get what they want and just use the honor system to pay,” Karen says.