The numbers aren’t in yet, but I’d have to guess that this has been North Idaho’s biggest year for business and growth.
This week I flipped through copies of business columns for 1995 and jotted the highlights. Before I was half done, I discovered that not starting in the upper-left corner of the page was a mistake. I soon ran out of room and had to start drawing arrows and boxes to fit everything on one page. It was no use. I had to turn the page over.
The dollar numbers that will be totaled by the various governmental building departments this coming week may not equal other years because no huge single-dollar-amount projects “happened.” However, I bet the number of entries on each department’s ledger will eclipse other years.
The biggest economic news for 1995 didn’t happen. That would have been the expansion for Micron Technology, which reportedly would have employed 3,000 to 4,000 people.
Many people were relieved Micron didn’t choose North Idaho. The impact on schools, roads, etc., would have been too much
Otherwise, the negative news was quite minimal - depending on how you were affected.
Post Falls has the most highs and lows, the latter of which are year-end letdowns. The closures of Post Falls’ Louisiana-Pacific mill and the Coeur d’Alene Greyhound Park were not really surprises.
However, Post Falls also went nearly out of control with commercial and residential building. And major projects for North Idaho more than likely will be slated for the Post Falls area since it is on the Washington border.
Here’s a list (in no particular order) of most new businesses, with a majority also resulting in new buildings, for Post Falls in 1995: Super 1 Foods, Little Mo’s Optical, Sleep Inn Motel, First Security Bank, Kelly’s Arena, Lookout Pass Bike & Ski, Rugged Ridge outdoor store, Western Warehouse, Pleasantview Marine, several new stores in the Factory Outlet malls, Crossroads Dance Club, Godfather’s Pizza, Rancho Viejo, Toro Viejo, Jack-in-the-Box, Burger King, Cathay Inn East, Dairy Queen, Coldstone Creamery and Subway.
New Coeur d’Alene area businesses (also most with new buildings) for 1995 included: (restaurants first) Applebee’s Grill, Taco Dude, Fourth Street Deli, Bruchi’s, Panhandle Pizza, Shari’s, TCBY, Thai Palace, Mad Mary’s, Dragon House, McDonalds (on Sherman) Blue Moon Bakery, Schlotsky’s and Party-Time Pizza (planning to open Thursday);
Black Canyon Oak, Dalton Court mini-mall, Lincoln-LaCrosse medical building, Good Things, Zip Shine, Monarch Fisheries, One More Thing!, Red Rooster Trading, Tom’s SportCo, Crop Growers Insurance, AAA, Go-Kart Family Fun, Holiday Inn Express motel, Partners in Time, Mountain West Bank, Funtastics, Monarch Nountain Coffee, Kilimanjaro Coffee, Office Furniture Outlet and Moccasins & More.
Several other existing businesses built new homes, including Duncan’s Garden Center, Cope’s Appliance Club, Arrow Ambulance and Specialty Sales. This doesn’t include several convenience stores and gas stations.
Many of the items on my 1995 list either were begun or announced and will be completed in 1996.
Included for Coeur d’Alene are: Cousins Steakhouse (to possibly open Jan. 10), Red Lobster Restaurant, Village Inn restaurant, Kootenai Medical Center Health Resource Center, Post Office Annex, Hagby USA, Apollo Spas, Tom Addis Autoplex, Life Care Center and additions to the Coeur d’Alene Resort and Coeur d’Alene Inn (formerly Holiday Inn) and Ironwood Athletic Club.
Announced but not certainties yet are a Fred Meyer complex, an Albertson’s at Government Way and Prairie, two office buildings at Sherman and 21st, Priano’s Aquatech and a Mongolian Barbecue restaurant. Post Falls’ plans include Michael’s Restaurant, a KMC office building, Back Home Market, McDonalds on Seltice and Village Inn restaurant. Farther north will be the Wal-Mart and Burger King in Ponderay and the Flying J Travel Stop and Kootenai River Inn expansion in Bonners Ferry.
Perhaps the big story for 1996 will be the Westin Hotel. Coeur d’Alene and Colorado Springs are the finalist locations for the company business center. And a completely unwarranted rumor persists regarding the Coeur d’Alene Resort becoming a Westin Hotel. We’ll see, but I doubt it.
Predictions for 1996: A major company will announce a move to the Pleasantview area in Post Falls, the hydroplane races will not occur, and growth will force changes in grass-burning practices.
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Nils Rosdahl The Spokesman-Review