Boise Metro Chamber Highlights Top 10 Business Stories of the Year

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce enjoyed a successful 2014 marked by many significant accomplishments, thanks to its members, partner organizations, and elected officials. Before turning your full attention towards 2015, take a moment to revisit our top ten business stories of the year. 

1. Tax Reimbursement Incentive Legislation - The Boise Valley Economic Partnership, the Boise Metro Chamber, and the Idaho Department of Commerce lobbied for the successful passage of the Tax Reimbursement Incentive Act, legislation to help grow existing businesses and attract new companies to the state of Idaho. By meeting minimum thresholds for the number of new jobs created as well as wages paid, companies can earn tax credits of up to 30 percent of paid income, sales, and payroll taxes for up to 15 years.

2. U.S. DOT Air Service Grant - In October, the Boise Airport was selected for a $700,000 grant award through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Small Community Air Service Development (SCASD) Program. In support of the grant application, the Boise Metro Chamber secured a local match of $273,500 from Treasure Valley businesses and organizations to demonstrate community support, a decisive factor in the competitive application process. The grant funds will be used to recruit nonstop flight service from Boise to Atlanta with Delta Air Lines.

3. Boise Airport New Routes & Concessions - The Boise Airport added several new routes in 2014, including a Delta Air Lines flight to Los Angeles, a Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago, an Alaska Airlines flight to Salt Lake City, and a United Airlines flight to Houston.

In July, the Boise Airport announced a new plan for airport concessions that will showcase local providers and products, allowing the airport to more closely reflect the charm and individuality of the Boise community. The local vendors include Parrilla Grill, 13th Street Pub and Grill, Bardenay, an Idaho Statesman store, and a Boise Greenbelt store.

4. Sky West Maintenance Facility Groundbreaking - In October, the Boise Airport, the City of Boise, the State of Idaho, the Idaho Department of Commerce, the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, and the Boise Metro Chamber celebrated the groundbreaking on the $20 million dollar, 135,000 square foot SkyWest Airlines maintenance facility at the Boise Airport. SkyWest is projected to hire 50 full-time, benefited employees in 2015 to service an interim facility, with an estimated future expansion to 100 employees. The projected average annual wages of these employees is $52,000. When the project is fully staffed, the economic impact to the state of Idaho will include new total wages in excess of $5.4 million annually as well as new sales and income tax revenues for the state of approximately $350,000 annually.

5. 8th & Main Ribbon Cutting - On February 15th, Zions Bank and the Gardner Company celebrated the grand opening of Idaho’s tallest building, 8th & Main. 8th & Main is a $76 million dollar project of more than 350,000 square feet, including retail/restaurant and Class A office space, three levels of parking, and a penthouse. The building serves as the Idaho headquarters of Zions Bank.

6. Fairview Avenue Business Coalition – In February, the Boise Metro Chamber, in partnership with the Fairview Business Coalition, successfully lobbied the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) to delay the installation of medians on a nearly 8-mile stretch of roadway from Linder Road to Orchard Street. ACHD agreed to focus its safety improvements at intersections and preserve this stretch of Fairview Avenue as median-free to ensure easier customer access to businesses.

7. City Center Plaza Groundbreaking - In July, Gardner Company broke ground on City Center Plaza, a new project that includes an underground transit center, expansion of the Boise Centre, and the Clearwater Analytics building, which will serve as the new headquarters for the tech firm as well as Boise State University’s computer science department. The project will also include space for restaurants, covered parking, and an indoor connection to The Grove Hotel. City Center Plaza is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.

8. 5th b|launched Company Started - In 2011, the Boise Young Professionals, a program of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, created b|launched, a one-of-a-kind, “soup to nuts” competition designed to connect Boise’s young professional talent with experienced entrepreneurs to encourage idea development and create company startups. The program has since spawned five new companies, all earning seed money, including Follow & Find, Advailable, CraySay, Be Free Village, AgriGated.

9. Carrie Westergard named new CVB Executive Director - In November, the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau named Carrie Westergard as its new executive director. Westergard previously served as the Boise Metro Chamber’s Community Relations Director. In her new role, she will be responsible for promoting and selling the city and the region as a destination for conventions, trade shows, vacations, and special events to enhance the local economy through tourism. Westergard brings two decades of tourism, marketing, and public relations experience. She will begin at the CVB on January 5th, 2015.

10. Boise Metro Chamber Receives National Recognition - In 2014, the Boise Metro Chamber received national recognition in the form of several awards. First, in April, the Boise Metro Chamber was proud to be recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” in Idaho for the 4th year in a row. The Best Places to Work winners are chosen by their own employees through confidential surveys facilitated by POPULUS, an independent marketing and HR research organization.

In June, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation awarded the Boise Metro Chamber with the three-star “Chamber of Valor” award, the highest designation. The “Chamber of Valor” award acknowledges the contributions of our Chamber to the Hiring Our Heroes mission of finding meaningful employment for veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses.

Later in June, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) named the Boise Metro Chamber as a finalist for its “Chamber of the Year” competition. “Chamber of the Year” is the nation’s only award recognizing the dual role chambers have in leading businesses and communities. This achievement comes in a year during which ACCE received a record number of applications from Chambers across the country. The Boise Metro Chamber was recognized as a finalist during a ceremony at the ACCE Annual Convention in Cincinnati last August.

In September, the Boise Metro Chamber was the proud recipient of the Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR) Seven Seals Award. In a ceremony at the Hero2Hired military hiring fair, the Chamber was recognized for its sustained work in supporting the employment of military personnel throughout the Boise community.