Retail

Albertsons/Rite Aid merger faces challenge ahead of key vote

A week from Friday, shareholders of Rite Aid Corp. will decide if the independent pharmacy retailer can merge with Boise-based Albertsons Companies.

If 50% say yes - the deal is likely to happen. If it can't reach that threshold, the next steps for the two companies are unclear.

  • Advisors say no: Two big shareholder advisory firms said a no vote was appropriate. Institutional Shareholder Services & Glass Lewis gave the tie-up a thumbs down. 
    • ISS report: “It does not appear that Rite Aid shareholders would receive a fair ownership interest in the combined company, a concern heightened by potential conflicts of interest during the negotiation process and apparently reflected in the company’s underperformance since announcement."
    • Glass Lewis: “We fail to see that the proposed combination represents a particularly attractive outcome for unaffiliated Rite Aid shareholders, each of whom has, in our view, been offered very little reason to conclude that management has secured full value under extant market conditions or that the Company would not benefit from continued implementation of its stand-alone operating strategy until a counterparty is prepared to deliver a clear and attractive value for control of Rite Aid,” 
    • A Rite Aid spokesperson disagreed, telling Reuters the deal “will significantly improve Rite Aid’s growth prospects, financial strength and ability to deliver compelling long-term value for shareholders."
  • Other shareholders against: Highfields Capital Management came out earlier this month and said it would vote its 4.4% stake against the deal. "The proposed transaction is in the best interests of Albertsons and Rite Aid management, but not Rite Aid shareholders," Highfields said.
  • It's about scale: The two companies have mounted a detailed campaign to gin up support for the deal - with an extensive website and letters to Rite Aid shareholders ahead of the vote. 
    • Albertsons COO Jim Donald on CNBC: "Scale is big here. Scale is what we can use as we continue to [serve] customers online and  brick and mortar."
  • Amazon looms: With the pending merger of Albertsons and Rite Aid on the table, Amazon announced it would acquire small prescription-by-mail company PillPack - one of a number of moves the web giant has taken in the drug space.
  • E-commerce perks up:  Albertsons said on a recent earnings call that sales from e-commerce more than doubled from the previous period - up 108%. The company has been working to drive initiatives - including home delivery, "Drive Up and Go," meal delivery service Plated and a partnership with Instacart.

Scandinavian Designs plans furniture store in old OfficeMax

The former OfficeMax building on Broadway Ave. near Linden St. is about to get new life.

Scandinavian Designs currently has a small preview store open in the building - but is working to remodel the rest of the building for a full furniture store in the 31,000 square foot space. Crews will update both the inside and outside of the building, according to filings with the City of Boise.

OfficeMax closed the store after its merger with Office Depot, and pointed customers to a store on Broad St. in Downtown Boise.

Scandinavian Designs is part of a chain with locations across the Western United States. It features a broad range of furniture and home decor with a Scandinavian influence. The company also operates the Dania Furniture stores found in Oregon and Washington.

The Boise preview center is open Wednesday through Sunday - and the full store is set to open this fall.

First look: Albertsons puts focus on food, fresh and local with new store

In 1939, Joe Albertson opened a 10,000 square foot grocery store in Boise at 16th St. and State St. with about 30 employees and $12,000 in his own cash and investment. The store was packed with then-novel features, like a magazine rack, fresh flowers and an ice cream bar.  

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Now, nearly 80 years later, the retailer is opening its latest store - a grocery showplace Albertson likely wouldn't be able to fathom all those decades ago. It is nearly seven times as large as that first store, and employs 260 people and cost more than $7.2 million to build.

The store at 1219 S. Broadway Ave. replaces a smaller market torn down on the same block earlier this year - and is the last Idaho store the chain owns to be remodeled or replaced in the last few years.

"Joe was an innovator," Albertsons Division President John Colgrove, who worked with the company founder said. "Things like bringing a magazine rack, the household goods… it was all innovative in his time. I think if Joe saw this store today, he’d say two words: 'well done.'"

The store echoes some of those themes from eight decades ago - and in fact, will open on the 79th anniversary of the first store opening - this Saturday at 10am.

Unlike a normal store

The location is striking in the variety of items that are not typically found in an Albertsons - or most grocers for that matter.

During a tour Thursday morning for BoiseDev - dozens of employees were working on final touches ahead of this weekend's opening events.

Wall of rosé. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Wall of rosé. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

The beer and wine selection are among the largest in Idaho, according to Colgrove - including one whole rack features just rosé wines. A case of rare wines is also featured, with price points up over $700.

This location is similar in shape and position to a nearby Whole Foods at Broadway and Myrtle, but Colgrove said his store stands apart.

"Of course we will have the full assortment of natural and organic offerings. We also a full line of mainstream national items as well as countless local items. We’ve canvassed the entire community. There's literally hundreds and hundreds of items that are only in this store."

Local focus

Local products include Teton Valley Beands chips and Bucksnort soda. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Local products include Teton Valley Beands chips and Bucksnort soda. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Albertsons Broadway features more local products than the average store in the chain - and Colgrove says his team worked to source items that aren't usually available at retail from across Idaho.

“They went down to the Saturday morning market and met a lot of the individuals down there that were selling their items. We asked a lot of them if they were interested in coming into the stores."

Local items include Bucksnort Root Beer, MFT sauces, Teton Valley Brands Idaho Real Potato Chips and others.

Eating options: in-store, on-the-go, cook at home

Workers prep the upcoming wood-fired pizza station. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Workers prep the upcoming wood-fired pizza station. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Albertsons Broadway features a large array of options for food. It will be the first Idaho store to feature Plated meal kits, which Albertsons acquired last year.  The kits allow shoppers to grab a meal kit with nearly all the ingredients they need to cook at home.  

The store also has a selection of meals ready to heat and eat at home.

But a unique focus is the number of options for people who want to chow down on site.  An upstairs seating area with TVs, a full liquor bar and outdoor patio will give shoppers more of a restaurant experience - complete with table service.  

If a proposal for a baseball park to be built by Boise State comes to fruition, it will be viewable from the deck.

That bar - called Broadway on the Rocks - is designed for the neighborhood to grab a bite and stay a while.

"It's clean and modern, a beautiful space to hang out," Albertsons Communications and Community Relations Manager Kathy Holland said. "We are hoping this will invite people to have a drink with friends, or have dinner or grab a bite and have coffee right here in the store. It really is a gathering space in the community."

Concierge

The new concierge area awaits final touches. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

The new concierge area awaits final touches. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

A newly-hired concierge will provide a way for customers to have one contact and tie together all the various options in the store for parties and gatherings.

"We schedule a consultation with them and figure out every aspect of their party," concierge manager Jordan Saenz said. "From catering, floral, bakery, beer and wine. We figure out every department that can be of assistance to them.”

Saenz says the service will first be marketed to local businesses for meetings and functions.

"For catered lunches, box lunches, salads - community members not wanting to cook for a backyard BQ, party or a wedding. Eventually, we will do a lot of weddings and wedding receptions.”

Why now?

A typical store aisle with the fish market and butcher block in the background.

A typical store aisle with the fish market and butcher block in the background.

The company chose this site for a showcase store for a variety of reasons, according to Colgrove.

“The store (that was here) has been here since 1959," he said. "Although it served the community for several years, the footprint was too small to keep up with the expanded categories and expanded offerings consumers have come to expect.

He said the investment in naming rights to nearby Albertsons Stadium and the partnership with Boise State also played a part.

"Its location next to Boise State and Albertsons stadium - we felt this was the right place for it."

For a time, the company had planned to call the location Market Street Idaho - but changed course before opening.

"It really came down to hearing a lot of stories from the customers of the old store here," Holland said. "They had shopped here for 60 years and remembered meeting Joe. We really wanted to keep that spirit alive so we decided to rebound this store as Albertsons but make it more distinct to this neighborhood."

Colgrove and Holland said the store will likely draw from all over Boise, but they expect most customers to make most of their visits to the location nearest them - with Broadway and the forthcoming Market Street Idaho location in Meridian serving as destination stores for many.  

Albertsons Division President John Colgrove points to some of the in-store food options during a tour of the Broadway Albertsons Thursday in Boise. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Albertsons Division President John Colgrove points to some of the in-store food options during a tour of the Broadway Albertsons Thursday in Boise. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Organic a big component

Living Well section and pharmacy. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Living Well section and pharmacy. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Organic produce and products have been a big consumer trend in recent years, and Albertsons Companies has rolled out an extensive O Organics brand to match.  The new Broadway location will feature an "organic department to rival any store in the state," according to Colgrove. He highlights not just food products, but an extensive health and beauty section rooted in organic products and principles.

"In our Living Well area, we really focused on organic and clean products," Holland said.

More

During the Thursday tour, Holland and Colgrove were excited to tout dozens of features they highlighted as unique. A sampling:

  • Poke bowls made in store.
  • A made-to-order brick oven pizza station. Customers will be able to pick their toppings and be served a hot pizza in about seven minutes.
  • A scratch-made bakery featuring warming cases and large donut selection.  In many stores, Colgove said, the bakery products are par-baked - with prep done offsite, and a final heating in the store. 
  • A carving station that will allow meats like chicken, beef and cold cuts to be custom sliced.
  • An extensive cheese section, including products made in the building.
  • An in-house chocolatier team, with an extensive selection of handmade chocolates.
  • A gelato bar with fresh-served and scooped ice cream.
  • A selection of handheld mochie ice creams.
  • Global flavors aisle with spices and products from different culinary styles including Basque, Hispanic, Italian and more. 
  • Butcher block, featuring the ability to cook some items like salmon in-store while customers wait.
  • Unique meat selection, including wild boar, elk, buffalo and goat.
  • In-store dietician who can help customers with dietary needs. The service is available standalone and to those referred by a doctor.
  • A Boise State Broncos fan shop, with apparel items.
  • Home decor items and housewares.

Opening events

Albertsons Broadway opens to the public Friday, July 20th for a soft opening.

A grand opening celebration is set for Saturday, with prizes, food, happy hour pricing and more all day from 10am-9pm.

Regular store hours will be 7am-11pm - but during Boise State games and other functions, the bar area could stay open late.

Colgrove is excited to open to the public.

"I’m overwhelmed and excited about our fresh foods offerings - in particular our service deli that is innovative, clean ingredients with something for all," he said. "Joe's philosophy of innovation continues."

Two bodegas set for Downtown Boise

A small new grocery store is planned for the new Kount building under construction at 10th and Main in Downtown Boise.

Bodega Boise is described as a small neighborhood market, and will take up about 1,500 square feet of space on the ground floor of the building, and is slated to open by November. It will be located on Main St. near The Olympic hotel building. A new garage door opening will be added to the front of the building, and a small outdoor seating area will be set up.

Interior progress at JD's Bodega.  Via .

Interior progress at JD's Bodega. Via.

As first reported on BoiseDev last year, it will join JD's Bodega, which is currently under construction about four blocks away on Capitol Blvd. across from Boise City Hall.

That market will be slightly larger at nearly 2,000 square feet, and include seating and a small prep kitchen. That space is nearing full buildout, according to photos posted on Instagram.

 

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.

Macy's to roll out "At Your Service" in Boise store

Macy's is retooling a portion of its last remaining Treasure Valley store to help ease online sales.

The company has applied to remodel a dressing room space on the lower level of its Boise Towne Square store for a large customer service area it is calling At Your Service.

“The At Your Service center consolidates guest experiences that lend towards fast and specific transactions," Jeremy Judd, VP Store Manager at Macy’s Boise Towne Square said.

Currently, behind plastic sheeting near the store's west entrance, a series of counters can be seen by shoppers.  Filings with the City of Boise show the retailer is adding a stock room and remodeling a total of 1900 square feet.

"The focus for the At Your Service center is servicing our customers by providing a separate line for fast, easy pick-up of their Buy Online, Pick-up in Store (purchases), providing expert associates to assist with the return and a quick location for payments on their Macy’s cards as well as Macy’s account inquiries," Judd said.

He noted that other registers will remain open, but this service center will allow "for the other purchasing counters and associates to focus on service and selling for our shoppers that would like more time and attention."

Albertsons sets opening date for large new Broadway store

Two years ago this month, BoiseDev broke news that Albertsons would tear down its small, dated store on Broadway and replace it with a large, 2-story showcase store.

Now, an opening date is set.

The Boise-based grocery giant will hold a grand opening on Saturday, July 21st, with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m., as well as events and activities throughout the day and into the evening until 9 p.m.

The store will have a soft opening on Friday, July 20th, according to a company spokesperson.  

The new store is nearly three times as large as the old one, which crews tore down earlier this year.

 

"This store will have an expanded selection of hot, ready-to-eat meals, expanded fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, scratch bakery, indoor and outdoor dining so you can enjoy your meals right here," division president Brad Street said during the groundbreaking last year.  "This store will be a destination for foodies; a place of food exploration, adventure and education— unlike anything this market has seen."

The store will also include a Starbucks, "Broadway on the Rocks" bar area and more. The second-floor terrace is positioned across the street from a planned Boise State baseball park, and will provide visitors with views of future baseball action.

The company had announced it would brand the store as Market Street Idaho - but later back-tracked, keeping the store (just a few blocks from Albertsons Stadium) under the original banner which first debuted in Boise in 1939. A similarly-formated store under construction on Fairview Ave. near Eagle Rd. is still planned to use the Market Street brand.

Former Gordman's space to be an Albertsons. But not for shopping

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Sure, you hope a Target will open in SE Boise some day.

But it won't be at the Southshore Shopping Center.

Nor will anywhere else to shop - for now.

Albertsons Companies will fill the remainder of the former Kmart at Apple and Parkcenter, according to filings with the City of Boise.  The company already occupies a portion of the space - and until last year, discount retailer Gordmans took the rest.

When Gordmans closed, Albertsons stepped in and took over the full space.

But it won't be open to the public. Instead, according to filings, it will be used for storage to support the retailer's so-called set store. A spokesperson previously told BoiseDev this is used for prototyping and other activities that support the company's stores across the country. The store was moved up from California after the acquisition of Safeway in 2015.

 

That rumored Trader Joe’s on Eagle Rd.? Here’s the status

Could this be the future home of Trader Joe's?

Could this be the future home of Trader Joe's?

Super cheap supermarket Trader Joe’s currently has just one location to service all lovers of Cookie Butter in the Treasure Valley (and all of Idaho for that matter)   in Downtown Boise. 

But could another store be on the way? 

Maybe.  

A second location has been mentioned as a possibility for the Bridges at Lakemoor development on Eagle Rd. near the new TSheets headquarters in Eagle.

(Editor’s note: Behind “When will we get IKEA?” and “We really need In-N-Out,” this is the most common question I get).

Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel told BoiseDev "I have no confirmation of a new Trader Joe¹s location being considered for Meridian, Idaho." She noted to check back for plans in 2019 and beyond.

TJ's generally works to keep its new stores tightly under wraps until it is ready to announce it. In 2012, when Boise Weekly reported on the new TJ’s store in Downtown, company officials denied it. The store opened about a year later.

A pad site in the general shape and rough size of a Trader Joe’s is plotted on the corner of Eagle Rd. and Colchester St., according to sales documents from Hawkins Co., which owns the development. The pad site is still marked as available. Hawkins is also the development partner for TJ's Downtown Boise store.

Announced tenants for the Lakemoor development include F45, Luxe Reel Theater and Barre 3.

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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.

Albertsons wants you to fuel your car without getting out your wallet

Albertsons Companies is working on new technology to make it easier to buy gas at one its fuel centers around the country.

Albertsons gas station in SE Boise. Don Day/BoiseDev

Albertsons gas station in SE Boise. Don Day/BoiseDev

During an investor day Tuesday, the company said it has developed a 1-Touch Pump and Go process that uses smartphone devices to make buying gas faster.

“You pull up to one of our in-house gas stations, (the technology) recognizes you’re at the gas station, it turns the pump on for ya, you fuel and it tenders you out and you are on your way," chief marketing and merchandising officer Shane Sampson said during the investor presentation. "We are making it fast and making it seamless."

The company says it plans to apply for a patent on the technology.

The test could come to Idaho soon.

"We are piloting One Touch in a fuel center in NorCal with a small employee group," Albertsons Companies VP of Communication and Education Christine Wilcox told BoiseDev. "Following that, we plan to also pilot it in Boise.  After that, we will determine a rollout schedule."

Albertsons currently operates more than 390 fuel centers.

The company is also looking at using smartphone technology to allow some purchases in stores without having to visit a checkstand.

 

"Amazon Go"-like technology could come to Albertsons stores

Amazon, Inc. is piloting a technology that allows customers to walk into a store, grab some items and leave -- without ever scanning a barcode or visiting a checkstand.

Now, Albertsons Companies hopes to try something similar. 

A Plated display at a Northern California Safeway. Don Day/BoiseDev

A Plated display at a Northern California Safeway. Don Day/BoiseDev

During its analyst day Tuesday to talk about the proposed merger with Rite Aid, company officials touted a test of a similar idea.

“We are experimenting with Amazon Go-like technology today where someone could come in and pick up a Plated order, it would know that you were in the store, it would tender an order and you could leave outside of the check stands," Shane Sampson, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer said during the presentation.

The company's presentation materials said the pilot is for a "limited set of products like Plated and other prepared foods."

Albertsons Companies VP of Communication and Education Christine Wilcox tells BoiseDev they have not yet started to pilot the technology.

A similar idea is being applied to gas stations - with a trial soon coming to Boise.

Albertsons and Rite Aid merger: What merger could mean for your local store

Albertsons Companies is laying out its future if shareholders approve a merger with Rite Aid.

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During a four-hour long presentation to Wall Street analysts, the company talked about how it plans to weave the two companies together - and how it thinks the combination will benefit customers and shareholders.

The Stats

Together, the two chains will have 4,866 total stores, with 4,327 total pharmacy counters. They will serve 40 million customers each week and employee 336,000 people. Albertsons says it will be first or second in terms of the prescription market in two-thirds of the markets it serves.

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They will generate $83 billion in revenue and make a profit (adjusted EBIDTA - a Wall Street jargon term for 'earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortization) of $3.4 billion.

In Boise, Albertsons/Rite Aid will be the number one pharmacy provider when ranked on number of stores. The company says it will be ranked number one in the Intermountain Region, which includes Boise, for grocery sales.

Changes at Rite Aid

One of the key ideas from the merger will be to revamp the "front of store" operations at Rite Aid locations to integrate ideas and best practices from Albertsons stores.

The chain will "improve and expand" Rite Aid's fresh food offerings - with items like yogurt, fruit cups and sandwiches.  It also plans to bring the store label brand program Albertsons acquired when it purchased Safeway to Rite Aid.

"Albertsons can leverage its strong fresh and own brands grocery items at Rite Aid by offering various products such as branded fruits and veggies, cheeses, meats, dairy, and dry grocery, bottled waters and sodas," the company said in its presentation.

They also say they will look at the layouts of Rite Aid stores and "reviewing plans to expand grocery, fresh and liquor sections in Rite Aid."

Albertsons says it will apply its "full, fresh, friendly, fast & clean" operating model to the Rite Aid stores - focusing on customer service and well-merchandised stores.

Albertsons recent acquisition of Plated brings the chance to bring ready-to-prepare mealkits to Rite Aid stores and hopes to Plated approved in national health plans so "doctors can prescribe" the solution to patients.

Updates coming to Albertsons Companies stores

During the presentation, the companies said they plan to roll out the Rite Aid brand in nearly all stores owned by Albertsons regardless of the grocery brand (i.e. Albertsons, Safeway, Vons etc.). They said the will look for a "network effect" by increasing traffic in stores and basket size by rebranding the pharmacies as Rite Aid."  Plans don't include renaming the Jewel-Osco pharmacies which are centered on the greater Chicago area.

"Albertsons has private label (health and beauty) products... but can benefit from Rite Aid’s private label health and beauty offering,"  the company wrote.  Rite Aid products like nail care, first aid, lotions and OTC drugs could start being offered in Albertsons stores as well.

More in-store health clinics could come to Albertons stores in the future as well.

The combined company plans to "expand and enhance clinic operations for the combined company by utilizing existing well-invested, built-out space in Albertsons stores and leveraging Rite Aid’s experience and expertise in operating RediClinic.

Both chains

In Boise, Albertsons runs a minimal loyalty program focused on gas rewards - but at other stores across the country, it operates a more traditional loyalty program.  The company says it will combine this program with Rite Aid's "wellness+" program and roll this out shortly after closing.

The companies also plan to accelerate e-commerce options:

  • Expand Drive Up & Go options
  • Fully integrate Instacart availability
  • Currently trialing Grubhub, could expand to other food delivery apps like Uber Eats
  • Building multiple online storefronts (like an O Organics online store)

 

 

 

Official plans for downtown stadium filed with City; see new renderings

Greenstone Properties took the first official step in making the Boise Sports Park a reality.

The development company's attorneys filed a rezoning request with the City of Boise this week, which outlines the project in detail and requests several parcels get new zoning designations to allow for the mixed-use project the group hopes to build.

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The total site is 11.65 acres in site, including the large former Kmart site (currently home to St. Luke's Health System back office functions) and several other locations nearby.

Boise Sports Park would be anchored by a multi-use stadium configured for both baseball and soccer as well as other events.  The venue could accommodate 7,500 fans for soccer and 5,000 for baseball

The project would also include 60,000 square feet of retail, 300 multi-family housing units, 700 parking spaces and 120,000 square feet of office space.

Two multi-family housing buildings are envisioned - the first would be located on Shoreline Drive and include 40,000 square feet of retail, 240 housing units and public plaza space. The second would be located along Americana in left field of the ballpark with 60 housing units.

A large office building would include 120,000 square feet of offices, plus "integrated event space on roof and balconies."

A parking deck would feature 700 stalls. The letter to the City of Boise emphasizes that many event-goers are expected to carpool to events, or park and ride to the site, and claims the on-site parking is sufficient to meet the venue's needs.

The project would also add a street-level festival-type area:

“Improvements to Shoreline between Americana and 14th to create a festival street, permitting its use for various public and private events connecting Multi-family 1, the Boise Sports Park and Greenbelt."

Geoff Wardle, the attorney who represented Greenstone at a contentious neighborhood meeting last week filed a large 29-page application letter. It goes into significant detail about how the project meets city goals and initiatives.

The document discusses the Blueprint Boise plan that governs growth in the capital city and devotes significant space noting how it complies with the principles and policies put forth.

“The redevelopment of a big box commercial site with a mixed-use project anchored by the Boise Sports Park and with ready alternative access to pedestrians and cyclists within the Downtown planning area satisfy all of these goals," the letter said.

Wardle also said the project meets the downtown-specific parts of Blueprint Boise

“Vibrant neighborhoods do not require cars to get everywhere. In the urban core of the Downtown planning district, Blueprint Boise recognizes that accessibility does not just mean parking; it means the ability to get to and from places by foot, by bike, by transit or by car. The site is unique in its location because it truly facilities the type of accessibility encouraged by Blueprint Boise.”

Both tax dollars and private contributions would fund the project. The Greater Boise Auditorium District, Capital City Development Corporation and City of Boise have all been involved in the project and could each contribute cash or bonding capacity.

The zoning request will head next to Boise's Planning and Zoning Commission, with a date not yet set.

Capitol Terrace to become "Main+Marketplace"

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Plans for one of the most prominent commercial projects in Boise are being unveiled.

Main + Marketplace will be the new brand for the retail part of the Capitol Terrace building at 8th St. and Main St. in Downtown Boise.

As BoiseDev first reported in November, an indoor market project is envisioned for the building's common spaces surrounding an escalator core facing 8th Street.

Updated renderings below:

 

Main + Marketplace is a 2-story retail center located in the hub of activity in downtown Boise on 8th Street between Idaho and Main Streets. 8th Street is commonly referred to as “Restaurant Row” with a number of great local and regional restaurant concepts, vibrant patio seating, and a hip day-into-night vibe. 8th Street also connects the offices in the central business district to the Boise Centre on the Grove, CenturyLink Arena and many nearby hotels. Accordingly, it is well traveled with significant pedestrian activity. In addition, there is vital hotel, office and residential growth in downtown Boise, all within 6-8 blocks of Main + Marketplace.

Amazon plans to open physical bookstore in Meridian

The Village at MeridIan is set to get another high-profile tenant: Amazon Books.  

An Amazon Books store in Seattle. Photo via Amazon.  

An Amazon Books store in Seattle. Photo via Amazon.  

The mega-corporation’s physical bookstore is in the permitting phase for a location next to Anthropologie, the former home of Paperie + Pen (which moved elsewhere in the center).

A spokesperson for Village at Meridian said they don’t have any announcements to make at this time. A spokesperson for Amazon did not respond to a request for comment

According to plans for the outlet obtained by BoiseDev, the new store will feature books, electronic devices,  and a variety of general merchandise. The 4,172 square foot space will also offer several reading areas, a magazine rack and a spot for kids. Taller bookshelves would ring the space with general merchandise in the middle. A magazine area is also planned. 

While the layout sounds pretty standard, the Amazon Books concept differs from a traditional bookstore in a few key ways. The stores are stocked according to Amazon’s vast data capabilities according to the Washington Post. Books are stocked based upon local preferences and reader habits.

Amazon Books interior. Via Amazon.  

Amazon Books interior. Via Amazon.  

All book covers face forward instead of some with just spines visible. At a recently-opened store in Washington, DC, the store features no prices. Instead, tags by each book show reviews and star ratings. Customers are encouraged to use the Amazon app or handheld scanners to find out what an item costs.

The Village at Meridian store would be one of Amazon’s first wave of stores. Thirteen are currently open with five more announced. 

The Boise metro area is by far the smallest location among open or formally announced Amazon Books locations - joining stores in areas like NYC, LA, Silicon Valley, Seattle and the like. A store in Meridian could give Amazon the ability to test a smaller market just a stone’s throw (and quick flight) from its headquarters in Seattle.

Amazon has been rapidly increasing its physical retail presence since opening the first Amazon Books location in Seattle in 2015. It recently opened a cashierless convenience store to the public after extensive testing in the Seattle area, and purchased Whole Foods and its 470+ stores last year. 

Tai Pan Trading closing doors

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Tai Pan Trading Post on Milwaukee St. in Boise is closing. 

The Asian-themed home goods store is liquidating inventory and fixtures.

East Idaho News notes the Idaho Falls and Orem, Utah stores are also closing.

Tai Pan Trading says it is "an importer of quality home décor products at affordable prices."

With the Boise and Orem closures, all locations of the chain will be out of business.

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.  

Albertsons+Rite Aid merger: Boise impact and analysis

Boise-based grocery giant Albertsons is set to merge with Rite Aid and again become a publicly-traded company. 

The transaction brings together the companies which Bob Miller has spent most of his career building.  Miller started with Albertsons as a store manager and served in a variety of roles until making it to EVP of of Retail. Later, he guided RIte AId as both CEO and executive chairman.

Now, if a deal is approved, Albertsons and Rite Aidwill become one company.

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The merger would bring together the assets owned by Rite Aid which aren't being acquired by Walgreens-Boots Alliance - 1,932 stores in all as well as all of the stores owned by Albertsons under one roof. 

Some deal highlights and analysis for Treasure Valley readers:

  • Headquarters will be in both Boise, Idaho and Rite Aid's HQ of Camp Hill, PA. The news release terms this as "co-headquarters." How this plays out on a long-term basis will be an open question for Treasure Valley leaders and workers.
    • Rite Aid CEO John Standley will be CEO, while Bob Miller will be Chairman.  Where Standley will be based isn't known.
    • When Albertsons merged with Safeway, co-headquarters were also announced in both Boise and Pleasanton, CA. Over time operations were moved to Boise and the company solidified its official HQ in the Treasure Valley. 
    • Rite Aid will pick four seats on the board, Albertsons will pick four seats and one seat will be jointly selected - giving this a carefully set structure to make the companies "equal" in the new entity. 
    • Albertsons shareholders (led by Cerberus Capital) will own 70% of the new entity.  
    • The companies will go public. Rite Aid is currently a publicly traded company while Albertsons is the nation's fourth-largest private company.  It has been working to go public for several years but has not been able to accomplish that goal.
  • The combined company name has not yet been hammered out, according to the news release.
  • In-store pharmacies owned by Albertsons will be rebranded as Rite Aid. Standalone Rite Aid locations will also continue.  In the Boise area, Rite Aid has nine pharmacy locations, while Albertsons has almost 20 (with more on the way).
    • Market overlap could be an issue for federal anti-trust regulators as it was in the original Walgreens/Rite Aid proposal. The company could be made to divest some locations or pharmacy lists in markets where together they would have outsized market control. 
    • With CVS entering the market, it could be an opportunity for that chain (or others) to acquire standalone pharmacy locations.
    • Locations like the Rite Aid and Albertsons that are directly across from each other at 17th and State could be tricky.
  • With the upcoming Market Street Idaho concept, the new company will operate three brands in the market (Albertsons, Rite Aid and Market Street). 
    • Store-branded product lines from both chains will be cross-polinated - O Organics items at Rite Aid for instance, and Daylogic at Albertsons.
  • A merging of loyalty programs - your phone number could earn gas and other rewards at both chains.

New Albertsons stores on Broadway & in Meridian won't be called Albertsons

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When the Albertsons market closes on Broadway Ave. this year, it will be replaced by a much larger store.  But in Joe Albertson's hometown, the store won't carry his name.

The store will carry the new Market Street Idaho brand - as will a forthcoming location in Meridian in the former Shopko on Fairview near Eagle Rd.

Market Street Idaho was created by a team of passionate, innovative food lovers with the goal of igniting Idaho’s passion for great food and elevated experiences,” said Susan Morris, EVP and Chief Operations Officer of Albertsons Companies said in a prepared statement. “Boise’s deep roots in great local food stem from our farming and ranching industry to our refugee and Basque communities. We think the time is right to bring new culinary experiences many hunger for but haven’t gotten yet locally through our Market Street Idaho stores.”

The Broadway Market Street Idaho store will employ about 200 people according to the company, while the Meridian store will give jobs to 300 folks.  The Broadway store is expected to open this summer while the Meridian store has a late-year timeline.    The existing Broadway Albertsons is now slated to close in April, leaving a gap of a few months without a store in the neighborhood.

Here's how Albertsons describes the stores:

Promising exclusive culinary delights and unique dishes, the Treasure Valley’s two Market Street Idaho stores will encourage customers to hone their inner chef through in-store culinary events and classes as well as time savers like catering services, an in-store restaurant style food court and other gourmet creations fit for the most discerning customers.

“In our Market Street Idaho store, our dedicated chocolatier might partner with one of our scratch bakers to create an art deco cake for an exclusive event, or our Head of Catering might work with our sommelier and masters in our fresh team to craft an exclusive wine pairing experience with fresh fruits and cheeses. We’re elevating the idea of what a grocery store can be here,” said John Colgrove, president of the company’s Intermountain division.

The Market Street name and concept are also used for a chain of stores the company acquired in Texas in 2013.

Renderings for the Broadway store show a second-floor Talon Taphouse, as well as in in-store Starbucks.