Beyond Boise

Edmark returns: Former GM dealer takes stake in nearby car lot

The former Tom Scott Toyota has been rebranded as Edmark Toyota - with new signage and a revamped Facebook page. The dealer was purchased last year as first reported on BoiseDev. 

PREVIOUS STORY - JUNE 7, 2017: In October of 20167, Dave Edmark sold his stake in the dealership that bears his name.  Now, he owns at least part of another car lot that sports the name of someone else.

Kendall Auto purchased Edmark Superstore and Edmark Kia from Edmark Auto Inc. in October, and early this year announced the change and rebranded the dealership as Kendall at the Idaho Center Automall - acquiring the assets, employees and dealership location.  

According to filings with the Idaho Secretary of State, Edmark Auto Inc. has assumed a stake in Tom Scott Toyota along with owner DH Moss.  DH is the son-in-law of Tom Scott, who founded the Nampa dealership. Scott died in 2009.

The Tom Scott Toyota dealership on Can-Ada is not to be confused with Tom Scott Honda on 11th Ave. N in Nampa. That dealership was also founded by Tom Scott - but is currently owned by stepson Richard Scott and is not part of the deal.

The July, 2018 news of the rebranding was first noticed by the Idaho Statesman.

Is The Griddle coming to McCall? An update

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In late 2016, Boise Weekly reported The Griddle had won a fight with McCall City Council to relax rules on chain restaurants.

Now - more than a year-and-a-half later, The Griddle still isn't serving up breakfast in the mountain town.

"Regarding our potential location in McCall, we have been looking to open a Griddle location in the McCall area for quite some time," The Griddle General Manager Ashley Ferguson said. "When we are looking to open in a new location, there are many factors that we consider.  While we do hope to eventually open in McCall, all of those pieces are not yet in place."

Ferguson said a possible location hasn't yet been solidified, and they do not have an estimate on when a restaurant could open in McCall.

"We love the community of McCall and hope to open a location there when the time is right and the pieces have fallen into place," she said. "As with most of our other expansions, if it is right for us as a company, the time and the location will work itself out."

Iconic McCall breakfast restaurant listed for sale

If you've been to McCall, you've probably had a meal at the Pancake House. Pancakes, eggs and cinnamon rolls the size of a plate are all on the menu.

Now the iconic Central Idaho eatery is for sale.

For $3.1 million, the business and real estate it sits on are for sale.

The current building was constructed in 2002, replacing a smaller restaurant on site. The large 16,000 square foot building hosts the restaurant and a variety of associated businesses - including The Christmas House, which is also for sale.

The marketing flyer for the property says the Pancake House has a "20-year history" of financial growth.

The flier doesn't list a reason for the sale, and an attempt to contact the owners George and Bonnie Bertram was not successful.

Header photo: Don Day/BoiseDev.com

Cafe 6 three 4 serves up breakfast, lunch and more

A new breakfast and lunch joint is now open in McCall's Roosevelt Arts area on the east side of the lake north of Downtown.

 

Cafe 6 three 4 opened on June 8th. Its name is a nod to the main phone prefix for the McCall area.

It features service for both breakfast and lunch. Items like the Idaho waffle (made of shredded potatoes with sausage) and heuvos con-cheros (a jalapeno cornbread muffin with eggs, bacon and more) highlight breakfast. For lunch, 6 three 4 features five choices, including The 208 (ham or turkey on artisan bread with fixings and a mustard aioli). 

Brown rice bowls, salads and soups round out the menu.

The cafe also serves up coffee drinks, wine, beer and tea. Nitro coffee and a nitro berry hibiscus tea are on tap.

The eatery is open 7am-3pm Tuesday-Sunday.

Header photo: Don Day/BoiseDev.com

New Albertsons store gives McCall shoppers an upgrade

During the summer of 2017, visitors to the former Paul's Market might have felt like they were shopping in a construction zone. After being acquired by Albertsons Companies, a new store was built literally over the top of the old supermarket - and remained open for business nearly every day.

Related: Ridley's McCall gets total overhaul

Now complete, the new store features greatly expanded selection, as well as new bakery, produce, beer and fresh meat departments.  New fixtures and finishes are seen throughout the store.

The portion of the building that used to house a small amount of variety goods like clothing has been removed and replaced with an expanded two-story structure. New exterior architectural detailing matches the "log cabin" look of many buildings in the resort town.  

The store under construction last summer.

The store under construction last summer.

The expanded store feature a pharmacy for the first time, after Albertsons acquired McCall Drug and Blue Grouse Books on nearby 2nd Street. 

The store also has McCall's first Starbucks location (Shore Lodge serves a small selection of Starbucks products in its gift shop), as well as a second-floor mezzanine with outdoor seating.

Shore Lodge swaps Narrows restaurant and bar

McCall's Shore Lodge shut down completely last fall. Every room, every restaurant... everything.

Crews swooped in and knocked out a number of projects - including renovating the restaurants and an update to woodwork throughout the nearly 70-year old lodge on Payette Lake.

Crews moved the existing bar to the space where The Narrows restaurant was - and pulled the dining room into the old bar space.

The restaurant has been renamed Narrows Steakhouse with an updated menu.

"A definitive Idaho steakhouse where the singular focus is to distinctively serve the finest food and drinks in one the most stunning dining environments anywhere," in Shore Lodge blog speak.

The revamp gives the restaurant a more cozy feel, while the bar has sweeping views of the lake. The project took several months to complete, and is now in place for the summer season.

"We are excited for this project, as it will give a fresh new look to our common spaces," Lodge officials said in an email blast about the project.

New Cutwater restaurant starts first full summer Shore Lodge

Shore Lodge has a new restaurant to start the summer season, with The Cutwater.

The restaurant first opened late last summer in a space on the lower level of the lodge building.

The centerpiece of the new restaurant is a 2,000 gallon saltwater aquarium filled with tropical fish and a living coral reef.  Officials say the tank will weigh about eight tons when filled.  Crews used a crane to hoist the tank over the Lodge last summer.

The restaurant features American fare with pricepoints for meals under $30.  

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served with indoor and outdoor lakefront seating.

Header photo: Don Day/BoiseDev.com

Whiskey business: Famous Sun Valley-area bar on the block

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Nearly ten years after a massive fire gutted Whiskey Jacques on Main Street in Ketchum - the rebuilt business is for sale.

Listings for the business indicate a $4.7 million price tag for the bar and restaurant, noting that the current owner is hoping to retire.

The 10,500 square foot business was reconstructed in place after the fire destroyed both Whiskey's and a vacant building next door that once housed a vacant Dirty Little Roddie's offshoot.

The business listing calls Whiskey's a "trophy" and plays up the potential:

Whiskey Jacques has been an iconic fixture in downtown Ketchum, for the past 60 years. Sale is ''turn-key'', including, lot, improvements, liquor license, all F,F&E, Copyright name and logo. Buy the history, invest in the future. Designed with options to keep up with the growth of town and new technology.

 

 

 

Company fed up with California moving to Treasure Valley

Bob Piazza has spent all of his 74 years living in California - married for 53 of those, and operator of a business for 46.

His roots in the Sonoma Valley north of San Francisco are as deep as those of the nearby grape vines that define surrounding wine country.

California State Senator Mike McGuire visits with Price Pump President Bob Piazza in Sonoma in 2016. Courtesy Price Pump 

California State Senator Mike McGuire visits with Price Pump President Bob Piazza in Sonoma in 2016. Courtesy Price Pump 

But soon, Piazza, his wife and many of his employees will pull up those roots and transplant to the Treasure Valley.

When the dust settles, Price Pump Co. will be a proud part of the Idaho business economy, with a plant in Caldwell and 36 employees who are residents of the Gem State.

Piazza said he decided to leave the sunny days of Sonoma due to growing dissatisfaction with what he calls "irresponsible progressive decisions" across California. From restrictions on water use from private wells to what he sees as a conflict between California's 'sanctuary state' status and Federal Law - he says his company is the latest part of a manufacturing exodus over the last 30 years.

What's more, the cost of wages has been weighing on the company's bottom line.

"It's difficult to attract employees (to Sonoma), particularly from out of state," he said. "They can’t afford to live here. Labor makes up about one-fifth of my sales dollars."

Those high wages can make it harder to be competitive in the market, he said.

This November, Price Pump will move to a new facility in Caldwell.

According to the Idaho Press-Tribune, the company signed a $486,129 deal with the city’s urban renewal agency for about 6 acres of land in the Sky Ranch Business Center. 

And in a surprise to Piazza, half of his California-based employees will come along.

"Six months ago when we made this decision I thought we’d only get one to go - and that one is me. We got 18."

Piazza thought the Treasure Valley could sell itself - so he made it easy for employees to check it out.

"I said, 'anyone who wants to go to Idaho - I will pay for you to go up there for three days come back and you tell me if you want to go or not. If you want to go, I will give you a $12,500 moving allowance'."

Twelve employees took him up on the trip offer - but 18 folks are going to make the move. Price Pump will hire another 18 people locally to round out his workforce.

One employee had worked for the company for 46 years, and at 66 will be one of the new Idahoans.

“I’ve had a lot of business people from both Boise and Sonoma tell me we’re making the right call.”
— Bob Piazza, Price Pump President

"He said 'I looked at finances living in California, I can’t afford to live here. At 66 I’m not going to find another house. I'm going to have to sell my house and move… Boise is just as good as any.'"

Another employee lost his house in the 2008 housing crisis, and feels like this is a chance to start over - and with the Boise area's comparatively lower housing cost he will again be able to own a home.

 "It makes sense for me to take these people who know this business up there - helps me move product to my customers without disruption," he said.

One of his business partners is based in Boise which put the area on Price Pump's radar. They looked at other locations - Texas, Reno, Las Vegas.

Ultimately Idaho has what Piazza sees as a business-friendly climate won the business. Lower income and sales taxes help, plus more modest market values for property mean lower overall property tax.

Steve Fultz, Economic Development Director with the City of Caldwell said Price Pump has been offered a number of incentives to relocate - including a 5-year property tax exemption of up to 75% and a job creation grant of up to $200,000. The new Price Pump plant in Caldwell was previously owned by the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency and was sold at a below market price "in exchange for the private investment and job creation." Price Pump could also qualify for incentives at the state level.

"The City of Caldwell is excited to have Price Pump as a corporate neighbor," Fultz said. "It is a long-standing business with an impeccable reputation in the industry.  The addition of this new business to Caldwell means great job opportunities for our residents with a quality business, and continues to build Caldwell's reputation as an excellent option for locating a manufacturing business."

Piazza is excited about the change of venue.

"Labor laws in California are onerous," Piazza said. "You don’t need a union in the state of California, the state IS your union. Even though it’s a right to work state, it’s really not - whereas Idaho is."

He said the decision has been backed up since it became public.

"I've had a lot of business people from both Boise and Sonoma tell me we're making the right call."

New local business puts a twist on the sno-cone shack

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The sno-cone is a staple if Idaho summers, and a new chain is getting ready to give the treat a twist with locations around the Treasure Valley.

Trailhead Ice will open four locations in three Treasure Valley cities, with the first, at Glenwood St. at Chinden Blvd. next to Starbucks, set to cool off customers on May 1st.

Three more huts are set to open later next month:

  • 1522 W. State St, next to the 76 gas station
  • Eagle Sports Complex in Eagle
  • 9105 W. Overland Rd. near Maple Grove St.

Flavors like Idaho huckleberry, cherry, mango, pina colada, blueberry, root beer and more will be served up.

Marketing Director Deidre Zobel says the Trailhead concept is a bit different than traditional sno cones:

"Italian ice is a sweetened frozen dessert containing only water, mostly natural flavors with some artificial flavors, & sugar," she said. "Similar to a snow cone or sorbet but different as it is dairy & egg free, and the ingredients are frozen & mixed together rather than pouring flavor on shaved ice."

Trailhead is a locally-owned chain.

Leaders hope massive expansion could increase bus usage 800%

  • Plan would revamp system across Ada & Canyon counties.
  • Feedback sought from public on concepts.
  • Funding an open question

The Boise area is booming. Crazy, faster-than-anywhere-else booming.

But transit service in the metro area is, to put it mildly - wanting.

If you’d like to get around without a car, your options are essentially your feet, a bike (as long snow isn't piled up in the bike lanes) or a limited bus system that doesn't run frequently enough for the tastes of many.

A ValleyRide bus turns on the Main Street in Boise last summer. If Valley Regional Transit autorities get their way, many more buses will roll down local streets.

A ValleyRide bus turns on the Main Street in Boise last summer. If Valley Regional Transit autorities get their way, many more buses will roll down local streets.

But the area's transit authority, Valley Regional Transit, wants to solve it.

The road ahead for the bus system could be complicated though.

VRT is asking for public feedback through March 15th on ValleyConnect 2.0 - a set of ambitious ideas to revamp and remake public transit in Ada and Canyon Counties.

"(One thing) we are trying to do with this plan is be more intentional about promoting transit as a vehicle toward freedom of movement.  So there is a kind of 'if you build it, they will come' mentality," VRT Principal Planner Stephen Hunt told BoiseDev. "The underlying core is helping people get to more places in less time at lower cost. "

The plan lays out three scenarios - do nothing, implement an intermediate plan or tackle the growth.

ALSO READ: 
Bigger than a streetcar. A vision for transit in 2040 

Where we stand

Presently, VRT spends about $10 million per year for its bus operations around the area. It spends $15 million on capital costs and improvements.

That money gets the public a somewhat-limited set of bus routes that don't operate on Sunday, don't run much past 7 p.m. and leave large swaths of land without easy access to a bus route.

Ridership is also declining. 

"If you take all our services in aggregate number - there has been a slight drop over the last several years," Hunt said.  The ridership dips follow a national pattern of declines in fixed-line service.

ValleyRide ridership

Data via Valley Regional Transit

The number of people using the bus in Ada County has been increasing however, with declines in less dense Canyon County bringing usage down on the whole.

VRT ridership compared to average gas prices. Data provided by VRT

VRT ridership compared to average gas prices. Data provided by VRT

VRT community relations manager Mark Carnopis attributes the ridership figures to a cyclical pattern with gas prices. When the pain at the pump increases, more people hoof it to the bus. When prices decline - folks opt for their cars.

But Carnopis and Hunt note the cost of using a private vehicle can add up.

VRT number crunchers say the average Treasure Valley household spends $6,400 per year on their car or cars - for things like gas, taxes and insurance (not including the car itself). Over a year, that adds up to $1.5 billion per year at scale.

"If you ask someone who is used to driving around to use transit, they are going to experience this loss of 99% of their freedom," Carnopis said. "But - transit doesn’t come early enough, late enough, often enough on the weekend.  It’s all limited because of transit operation spending."

Map shows current network. Via Valley Regional Transit. Click to enlarge.

Where VRT hopes to go

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If the numbers hold true and $1.5 billion is coming from consumers' pockets to use their car - VRT hopes folks will see proposed plans to expand bus system as affordable in comparison.

And the goal that goes along with the plan is big.

"Our target is to increase ridership 800% - that’s kind of a big number," Hunt said.

With as much as a 400% increase in service, an 800% increase in usage would in theory make each dollar more efficient than the current set up.  

Two proposals are outlined in ValleyConnect 2.0.  

Intermediate

The first would double the current operating cost to $20 million per year. That would in turn amp up service hours - also doubling to 200,000 per year.  The scenario would pour $98 million into capital costs, which includes taking care of $23 million in deferred projects.

Here's what the extra cash would buy:

  • Increased service
    • All-day frequency to every 15 minutes on major transit corridors
    • Run all routes until 8 p.m., with "many past 9 p.m." on weekdays
    • Increase Saturday service from four routes to six
  • Expand fleet of buses and build up infrastructure
  • Focus on 40 miles of "premium high-frequency" corridors.
  • Upgrade passenger amenities
    • New or expanded transit centers, park & ride lots and "real-time passenger information."
  • Invest in tech to help coordinate specialized transportation - like vanpool, carpool, bike-share, parking and buses. 

Map shows proposed Intermediate network. Via Valley Regional Transit. Click to enlarge.

Growth

This plan is even more aggressive. It would quadruple current spending to $40 million, which would also quadruple the number of service hours to 400,000.  It would put in $191 million in capital upgrades.

For the growth plan, here's what the dollars would fund:

  • Increased service
    • All-day frequency to every 15 minutes "expansive transit network"
    • Add connections through Meridian and central part of two-county region
    • New inter-county connections to Boise Airport and Micron Technology campus
    • Run all service until 9 p.m. with most service until 10 p.m. weekdays
    • Increase Saturday service from four routes to 11.
    • Add first-ever Sunday service on eight routes.
  • Expand fleet of buses and build up infrastructure
  • Focus on 100 miles of "premium high-frequency" corridors.
  • Upgrade passenger amenities
    • New or expanded transit centers, park & ride lots and "real-time passenger information."

“The intermediate and growth scenarios are aggressive plans for growth that will dramatically improve transit service by connecting more people to more places, more often," report authors wrote.

Map shows proposed Growth network. Via Valley Regional Transit. Click to enlarge.

Big rail, small rail

A RegioSprinter train like this one rolled down the tracks of the Treasure Valley as a test in 1997 for ten days. Photo via  Alupus  

A RegioSprinter train like this one rolled down the tracks of the Treasure Valley as a test in 1997 for ten days. Photo via Alupus 

In 1997, then-Boise Mayor Brent Coles spearheaded an effort to consider rail in the transit mix for the Valley.  A ten-day trial brought passenger rail service from the Boise Depot with Idaho Center, with stops at the Boise Towne Square and elsewhere. More than 18,000 residents hopped aboard for the test. But the plan went nowhere and has not been a visible priority for Coles' eventual successor David Bieter - with a decade-long push for a downtown Boise circulator taking precedence. 

ValleyConnect does not specifically plan for use of the existing rail line that runs in the population center from Micron on the east through Nampa in the west, but does advocate building a system that orients to the possibility of using the rail line for passenger trains at some point in the future.

The Growth plan would put about 45,000 hours of service along I-84. If leaders instituted a rail service, those buses could be redirected off the freeway, providing even more service in neighborhoods. 

Rendering of possible Boise circulator. Courtesy City of Boise.

Rendering of possible Boise circulator. Courtesy City of Boise.

The plan doesn't, however, mention the idea from City of Boise leaders to build a $100-million streetcar that covers Downtown Boise and Boise State University.

"The Circulator is a City of Boise project," Hunt said. "That is something the city is pursuing on its own."

With VRT working to tie all forms of non-car transit together, would it make sense to be involved in the Circulator plan?

"The ball is in their (City of Boise’s) court for that," Carnopis said. "We are available and we could talk. We would be happy to help them on that."

The estimated cost to build a streetcar in Downtown Boise is $73.4 million according to an analysis from Leland Consulting. That compares to a $98 million capital investment for VRT's "Intermediate" concept which would operate across both counties.

Where will the cash come from?

Donald Trump won Ada County by nine points.

He took Canyon County by nearly 23 points.

Across Idaho, he won by 31 points.

There is little reason to believe that negative legislative attitudes... will change any time soon
— Dr. Jim Weatherby

While the metro area may be becoming increasingly progressive - and though Boise has a democratic mayor and several democratic representatives in the state legislature, the state as a whole is still very conservative.

Any group that proposes to spend more than $200 million in public money is going to face an uphill battle.

"We felt that it was important to lead with the public on an aspirational plan on what this could mean for the Valley," Hunt said. "There’s been a pretty consistent effort to get funding authority."

The idea to put forth a local option tax is one Treasure Valley leaders have been hoping for for quite some time. But longtime Idaho political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby says this path isn't easy.

"There is little reason to believe that negative legislative attitudes toward a feared patchwork of new local taxes and rural hostility toward granting local option to Idaho’s larger cities will change any time soon," Weatherby said.

He notes that proposals have popped up for more than 40 years in the legislature - and outside of some exemptions for resort cities and auditorium districts, local option taxes haven't been a popular notion with legislators.

Carnopis says his agency just wants the ability to let voters decide.

 "Give us the ability to take a referendum to the people, through our role to educate," he said. "We are not asking for taxation without representation"

"A vision without a plan is just a dream," Hunt said. "A plan without funding is hallucination."

Sun Valley clothing co. eyes Boise amidst Fox News flare up

The tight job market in the Wood River Valley is pushing one company to branch out towards Boise.

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The founder of SCOTTeVEST, a maker of clothes with special pockets for gadgets, says his company is exploring a satellite office and retail space in Boise.

But the announcement comes just a few weeks after controversy prompted the company to distance itself from the same founder.

“Recruiting in Sun Valley/Ketchum has proven to be very difficult over the years, and has held us back,” Scott Jordan wrote on LinkedIn. “You don’t typically consider moving to a ski town for a career.”

Jordan says he is set to be in Boise to find office and retail space.

“We will maintain an office here in Ketchum as that is where we love to live and play, but we have hit a bit of a wall on our ability to recruit talent here.”

Jordan points to brands like Scott, Smith and others that have left the Sun Valley area.  

“To be clear, we are not leaving the valley, but expanding," he wrote.

Jordan generated some bad press last month for a recent Facebook post. 

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer:

He called Fox News viewers gullible and idiots in the Facebook post.

A blog devoted to the television show Shark Tank on Friday posted a screen grab from Scott Jordan's Facebook page.

Jordan, in the post, was recounting how many people tell him they see his ads on Fox News. 

"I laugh to myself, and tell them that we primarily advertise on Fox because we find their viewership to be extremely gullible and much easier to sell than other networks," Jordan wrote in the post. 

He added in the post:  "I get to tell them they are fucking idiots while getting rich off them."

Despite his LinkedIn post this weekend about the Boise outpost, just last month his company said he stepped down from the eponymously -named endeavor. More from the Enquirer:

The Ketchum, Idaho-based company quickly distanced itself from the comments, noting Jordan stepped down in 2017. 

In an emailed statement to The Enquirer and posted on the company's website, SCOTTeVEST spokesman Luke Lappala said the company strongly disagrees with Jordan's views. 

"We are extremely sorry for his unacceptable comments," Lappala said in the statement. "Mr. Jordan's post was impulsive and inappropriate for too many reasons to list, and rightfully offended so many people."

The story caught the attention of the right-leaning media, including Breitbart, Washington Times and others.  

Broadcasting fans plan history museum in old Nampa radio building

Courtesy History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation

Courtesy History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation

One of the first radio station buildings in the Treasure Valley is about to get new life.

The History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation has agreed to purchase the former KFXD building on 12th Avenue South in in Downtown Nampa.

The building has hosted a number of businesses since KFXD moved elsewhere (and was late consolidated with Boise sister stations under the Townsquare Media banner).

Art Gregory runs the radio group - and plans the Idaho Broadcasting History & Education Center, which could tap into his group's large collection of material about radio and television around the state.

The group has launched a capital campaign to pay off the building.

No sunset just yet: Holdings holding on to Sun Valley

Sun Valley last winter. Photo by Don Day/BoiseDev.com

Sun Valley last winter. Photo by Don Day/BoiseDev.com

The ski resort industry is going through a wave of consolidation - with two big Colorado players gobbling up the competition. Vail Resorts now owns Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Whistler Blackcomb and more.  Aspen Ski Co. now owns Snowmass, Steamboat, Blue Mountain, Mammoth among others.

Last year, Aspen opened the Limelight Hotel in Downtown Ketchum - setting off a wave of speculation that it was a way to dip its toe into the Sun Valley market - with its eye on a bigger prize.

Industry publication Skift recently looked at consolidation and where the Sun Valley Company fits in - particularly with Aspen on its doorstep.

The move raised some eyebrows, as Ketchum is a mere mile down the road from the privately-held Sun Valley Resort. Could a move into the greater Sun Valley real estate market be a harbinger of things to come?

After Earl Holding's death in 2013, his family has continued to invest in the Sun Valley Resort - with a complete revamp of the historic lodge complete and a revamp of the Sun Valley Inn under way.

Skift says neither side is eyeing a deal for now.

Sun Valley is not for sale, nor is Aspen Skiing Company setting its sights on it. Kelli Lusk, Sun Valley’s public relations and communications manager, says the Holding family is holding onto ownership and has no plans to sell. All Alinio Azevedo, chief operating officer for Aspen Skiing Company’s hospitality division, will say is that “we have a great relationship with Sun Valley at corporate levels–and the families are good friends.”

 

Shore Lodge to close for construction; new dining options coming

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McCall's Shore Lodge will fully shut down operations for a week, starting November 13th.

Crews will swoop in after breakfast that day and knock out a number of projects - including "renovation of our two new restaurants," as well as updating detailed woodwork throughout the nearly 70-year old lodge on Payette Lake.

"We are excited for this project, as it will give a fresh new look to our common spaces," Lodge officials said in an email blast about the project.

Shore Lodge will open back up on Saturday November 18th at 7am.

Two other dining options at Shore are also being updated.

After launching the new Cutwater restaurant this summer, the resort will also reconfigure its Narrows Bar and Narrows restaurant offerings. 

The restaurant will move into the former bar space, and the bar will slide into the old restaurant space.  When it reopens in January, 2018 - the restaurant will be renamed Narrows Steakhouse. "A definitive Idaho steakhouse where the singular focus is to distinctively serve the finest food and drinks in one the most stunning dining environments anywhere," in Shore Lodge blog speak.

Progress underway on Sun Valley Inn revamp

Sun Valley Resort is working on the previously announced renovation and expansion of a portion of the Sun Valley Inn.

The project will update some guest rooms, as well as revamp the old Bald Mountain Pizza into a new concept, plus reworking the Ram and Ram Bar. From a news release:

Remodeling of the Sun Valley Inn guest rooms began this fall with the first 25 of the 105 of them undergoing renovations, with the remaining 80 scheduled for the Fall of 2018. New furnishings and amenities, combined with some existing features, will retain the classic ambiance of the historic hotel. Some of the rooms are being connected to make expanded guest suites, meeting the needs of today’s sophisticated traveler and what guests have come to expect from Sun Valley Resort. Once completed, the inn will have 98 guest rooms.

Construction crews hope to have this phase of the project done in time for the December ski season.

Sun Valley to revamp three restaurants

Bald Mountain Pizza in the Sun Valley Village closed for the final time Sunday, with the resort giving the space an extensive makeover.

BoiseDev first reported on the updates to the Sun Valley Inn building earlier this year - but resort officials have released a few additional details.

Bald Mountain will be revamped and renamed The Village Station when it reopens in December.  A menu of pizza, pasta and salads will be featured in the new restaurant, and it will retain its family-friendly vibe.

Renderings show a new patio space relocated around the corner from the current spot, with larger windows and a new corner entrance.

Next-door neighbor The Ram restaurant will be remodeled as well with an overhauled display kitchen serving as the centerpiece.

The Inn Lobby Lounge will be renamed The Ram Bar and will also be updated. The remodel there will featured "wooden floors, a new fireplace, new seating, and new big screen televisions."

Sun Valley Company spokesperson Kelli Lusk says they will expand operations at another village restaurant during renovations.

"The Konditorei will be open for dinner starting Monday, August 14 (right now, they are only open for breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch) until the Village Station opens this winter," she said.

The project will also bring updates to 25 guest rooms at the Sun Valley Inn, with the remaining 80 rooms seeing an overhaul in the fall of 2018.

Sun Valley airport adds flights to Chicago

Fly Sun Valley Alliance Graphic

Fly Sun Valley Alliance Graphic

The Fly Sun Valley Alliance announced it is adding another direct flight to the mountain resort town: Chicago. 

The flights will begin this winter, putting the SUN airport near Hailey two hours away from Chicago. United Airlines will fly the route, opening up the airport to its seventh destination - including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Portland and Salt Lake City.

The Chicago route will be longest roundtrip into SUN - and opens up the tourist destination to United's hub in the city, adding dozens of east coast cities on a one-stop basis. It will operate on ten Saturdays this winter: December 23, December 30, January 6, February 17, February 24, March 3, March 10, March 17, March 24 and March 31.
 

Sun Valley conference brings big names to Idaho

It's one of those quirky parts of life in Idaho: the Allen & Company conference in Sun Valley.  The state's largest resort becomes a playground for the big politicos, big money and big deals for a week each summer.

There's a funny mystique about Sun Valley: Hemmingway and his book writing in the Lodge. The hokey pokey being 'invented' in the Ram Bar. The Olympians. Ahhhhnold.

But perhaps SV's biggest impact on the world are the deals that come together here. When you put together titans of industry - with a concentration of tech and media - and let them relax under blue Idaho skies and with a few drinks... business magic seems to happen. Like: 

  • Verizon & AOL
  • Comcast & NBC Universal
  • Jeff Bezos & the Washington Post
  • Disney & ABC

Though not hashed out in Sun Valley, the home shopping mega-merger of HSN & QVC will likely be a big topic. Maybe we'll get a Verizon & DIsney tie-up.

This year, the names expected at SV (via Variety) include Oprah, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Roger Goddell, Adam Silver, Tom Brokaw, Charlie Rose... and others.

Summer camp for billionaires is next week.