July 2020

Director's Annual Report

Dear Business Plus Investors,

Our fiscal year ended on June 30, 2020. Recent months brought unprecedented challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, I am pleased to report that this year we still saw an increase in both income and number of investors. Although the pandemic has been difficult for many businesses, our investors have held the course for supporting economic development. I am inspired by this group of leaders and their commitment to Southern Idaho's economic development. 

Business Plus was created during a challenging time. Our founders saw an opportunity to pool resources, create partnerships, and focus on job growth and explore opportunities. The success of this collaboration is seen all around us, reflected in the quality of our employers, a focus on our region's strengths in areas like agribusiness, transportation, workforce training, and the network of our leaders.

Thank you for your investment in this organization. The economic success we have now is because of you and your investment in creating opportunities. By investing in Business Plus you are investing in the future.  This is where leaders do business!

Wishing you the best,  


Now more than ever we need your investment to continue the growth of the Magic Valley and make a difference in our future."

Con Paulos
Business Plus Board Member
 Rebecca Wildman
 Executive Director



Meetings and Events: We held four quarterly meetings this past year with the first three open to investors and other stakeholders. Our fourth meeting was virtual and for board members only.

Rupert: Last August we toured Rupert's Square and Humanitarian Center, and heard from speakers Kelly Anthon about the city of Rupert and Brent Olmstead about the University of Idaho's  CAFÉ  Project. This newsletter  features highlights from the Rupert meeting.

Twin Falls: November we met at Clif Bar with Southern Idaho's city administrators sharing the challenges they face.  This newsletter features highlights and slides from the Twin Falls meeting.

Burley: In February we heard IDOC Director Tom Kealey and SIED Director Connie Stopher speak about strategies to recruit companies to the region. This newsletter reports on that meeting with links to their slides.

Idaho Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey speaks at our February meeting.

SIED's 18th Annual Summit: Southern Idaho Economic Development (SIED) held its Summit last October with the theme "Looking to the Future."  Here is a link to the BP newsletter and speaker slides.

The Idaho Potato truck stops at SIED's 18th Annual Summit.

Legacy Leader Breakfast: In  September we held a breakfast inviting Legacy Leaders in the Magic Valley to celebrate the past 30 years of success for Business Plus. This article from the Times-News reports on this event and past success.

Wildman shares information with the Legacy Leader group.

Investors and Partner Celebrations: Southern Idaho businesses and Business Plus partners had many reasons to celebrate this past year. Here are some I remember:

L-R: Shawn Barigar, Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson
Clif Bar unveils its new Solar Array

Chobani's Innovation and Community Center
Zions Bank branch Grand Opening
Jonas Swarttouw, at NewCold's Grand Opening.

Political Partners at Chobani's new Innovation Center. L-R: Rep. Clark Kauffman, Councilman Greg Lanting, Rep. Laurie Lickley, Connie Stopher, Governor Brad Little, Commissioner Don Hall, Commissioner Brent Reinke, and Rebecca Wildman
Financial Reports

We ended the year on June 30, 2020, with assets up 3.1%, pledge income up 6.1%, and number of investors growing by 7.1% over the previous year. 

B usiness Plus funds are held in accounts with our 10 investor financial institutions. Interest income was up 20% this year, due to moving a portion of BP funds to higher interest-paying accounts and CDs, and t he overall fund balance grew 12%.
New Strategies

In January we started discussing  strategies for increasing awareness and growing our investor base. We hired long-time Business Plus investor Stratus Communications to assist with strategic planning, branding and marketing.

Stratus conducted surveys, interviews and other research, and identified four main points: 
  • The key value of Business Plus is the network of its leaders, 
  • Regional solidarity and collaboration is important to everyone, 
  • There is a desire to focus more on traditional objectives of job creation, and 
  • Business Plus should establish a regular process for reporting Return on Investment.
Business Networking: Armed with new tactics and recommendations from Stratus, you will soon see a re-fresh in our approach and messaging. Over the next few months we will introduce both Facebook and LinkedIn Business Pages and connect with our investors, enhancing our network. We will be asking you for your stories, the ways your business is creating opportunities, growing or celebrating.

New Website: Business Plus received a marketing grant from the Times-News to create a new website. Websites have changed significantly since ours was designed, and we can now update our look, messaging and functionality.

New Look and Logo:  I love logos. Business Plus has had an amazing 16-year run with its logo. I can't wait to unveil the new one. So-long old friend.

Return on Investment

SIED Director Connie Stopher
SIED: Last year SIED hosted both in-person and virtual Familiarization Tours, attended conferences and tradeshows, launched a newsletter for Site Selectors, and utilized geotargeting and digital marketing. Recruiting new companies involves both traditional and innovative efforts and relies on strong community partnerships. The collaboration between the College of Southern Idaho, regional cities and counties, and the business community (through Business Plus) is a key component to our region's success.

TALENT ATTRACTION: Business Plus received grants from McCain Foods (2018 and 2019) and the INL (2018) to target veterans and millennials for talent attraction. SIED created recruitment programs with digital newsletters, social media, video and marketing materials. Their team visited military bases with outreach for veterans transitioning to civilian jobs.

Business Plus will continue to invest in SIED this year with a $ 95,000 base grant.  Here is SIED's Report  on business recruitment and talent attraction activities.

SIED Team: Madeleine Bumstead, Ervina Covcic, and Connie Stopher

REDS: SIED took on the Rural Economic Development Services (REDS) program in 2018 to support small communities with business retention and expansion, linking communities to resources, community development opportunities and marketing. Business Plus invested $6,000 in the REDS program last year and will again this year.  Follow this link to REDS  on SIED's website and how to contact REDS Director Ervina Covcic.

BUY LOCAL: In April Business Plus, SIED and the Times-News teamed up to support small businesses with the Buy Local platform. This program helped 56 small businesses connect with purchasers to buy gift cards. This article and this newsletter explain the program. With this initiative, we supported a grass-roots effort to help small businesses in a time of need. 

AIR SERVICE EXPANSION GRANT: Last year Business Plus committed $10,000 to support air service expansion with SkyWest operating United Airlines flights from Denver. Expansion plans are on hold for now, but starting August 1st Twin Falls will again have 3 daily flights to Salt Lake City.

Board of Directors Change

Business Plus investors are represented by a 28-member Board of Directors, of which 10 members serve on our Executive Committee. Board member Jason Meyerhoeffer stepped down in July with Shane Jenkins taking his position. We appreciate Jason's contribution to the organization and look forward to working with Shane. Here is a list of our Board Members

Looking to the Future

In these unprecedented times we are forced to focus more than ever on operations and how to add value and return on your investment.  Armed with new strategies, a marketing refresh, and Board Member development, we look to the future to increase our investor base.  We are excited to share in the promotion of our investors' success stories with LinkedIn and Facebook business connections. We hope this new connection adds value to our investors. 

We are exploring new opportunities to invest in innovation for small businesses, to help grow entrepreneurs and the culture they need to thrive. We will continue to scan for opportunities to grow our economy and invest in the future. 

This is where leaders do business! 

Con Paulos moderates the City Administrator Panel. 
L-R: Larry Bybee, Jeff McCurdy, Mike Williams, Mark Mitton, Travis Rothweiler and Con Paulos

Campaign Investors

First Federal*
D.L. Evans Bank*
Idaho Central Credit Union
Magic Valley Media*+
McCain Foods
Project Mutual Telephone (PMT)*
Clif Bar
Cooper Norman, CPAs*
Dairy West
Idaho Dairymen's Association
Idaho National Lab (INL)*
Idaho Power*
St. Luke's Magic Valley*
Woodbury Corporation - Magic Valley Mall, 
   Target, Best Buy & Dick's Shopping Centers
Zions Bank*
American Real Estate and Appraisal*
Dot Foods
EHM Engineers, Inc.
Farmers Bank
Givens Pursley, LLP
Intermountain Gas Company*
Mountain West Realty
Mr. Gas*
Northwest Bank
NOVOLEX / Hilex Poly
Oasis Stop 'N Go / Travelers' Oasis*
PBC Petersen Brothers Construction
PCA Packaging Corporation of America*
Starr Corporation*
United Electric Co-op, Inc.
Watkins Distributing*
Wells Fargo Bank
WillTran, Inc.
Banner Bank
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Idaho 
   Homes & Properties
Best Western Burley Inn
Blue Cross of Idaho
Blue Lakes Inn / Snake River Pool & Spa
Cassia Regional Hospital - Intermountain Healthcare*
Collins Connection - Kent & Cindy Collins 
   Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices*
Con Paulos Chevrolet
Farm Bureau Insurance
First American Title Company*
Goode Motor Auto Group
HC Company, Inc.
J-U-B Engineers
K&T Steel Corp*
Lytle Signs*
Materials Testing & Inspection
McKinlay Klundt Appraisal Co.
Minidoka Memorial Hospital

BRONZE (Cont.)
Nelson & Co.
Nu-Vu Glass
Safari Hospitality - Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn
    Express & Suites, Quality Inn and Suites
St. Luke's Jerome
Thornton Oliver Keller
Titlefact, Inc.*
U.S. Bank
Ward Orthodontics
Westfall & Westfall CPAs / Impact Athletic 
Wills Toyota*
Devil's Corral
Family Health Services
Gem State Welders Supply*
Moss Greenhouses
New Leaf Properties
North Canyon Medical Center
Oregon Trail RV Park
Sparklight (formerly CableOne)
Stevens Pierce & Associates CPAs*
Stratus Communications, LLC
United Way of South Central Idaho
Watco (Eastern Idaho Railroad)*
Wills, Inc.*
Rep. Maxine Bell, Retired
Doug Brown
Rep. Lance Clow
Jeff Harris
Rep. Stephen Hartgen, Retired
Alan Horner
Ruth Pierce
Jan Rogers
Lee Wagner
(past 3 years)
Best Western Burley Inn
Elevation 486
Idaho Central Credit Union
Mr. Gas
Packaging Specialties of Idaho
PCA Packaging Corporation of America
PerforMix Nutrition Systems
Minidoka Memorial Hospital
Mountain West Realty
Oregon Trail RV
Soran Restaurants, Inc.
Starr Corporation
Stone House & Co.
Stratus Communications
Thornton Oliver Keller
Watkins Distributing
Willamette Dental Group
WillTran, Inc.
*Indicates 10+ years of support since 2003
+ includes additional promotional investment

Private Investors Growing Southern Idaho's Economy

Rebecca Wildman, Executive Director