“Speaking on Business” Recognizes Idaho Companies
Zions Bank honors Gem State businesses for their outstanding example of entrepreneurship.
Ten Idaho companies were honored by Zions Bank as a Top Business in 2017 at a luncheon in Boise on Feb. 16. The awards were presented by the bank’s radio program, “Speaking on Business,” for their example of entrepreneurship in Idaho.
Bish’s RV is Idaho’s largest family-owned RV dealership. With annual growth at 25 percent, owner Troy Jenkins says their biggest challenge is keeping enough products and staff at their four locations to meet demand. Bish’s RV has an extensive inventory with everything from truck campers to full-size motorhomes with brands including Jayco, Grand Design and Keystone. Their average customer age has also dropped with many first-time buyers in their 30s and 40s. Bish’s RV is a strong community supporter, including events like the Mountain Home Music Festival. At Christmas, they collect donations for Toys for Tots at all locations.
Bob Schwenkfelder was only 24 when he decided to start his own tire sales and service operation and has steadily grown Commercial Tire over the last 50 years, focusing on service. This strategy is working since Commercial Tire now includes 42 stores in four states with more than 500 employees. They’re primarily serving commercial service and construction-related operations but also provide consumer business. Bob has grown the business strategically, based on the needs of the area, so their stores in Idaho, Washington and Oregon are a mix of consumer and commercial work, while Utah is focused on commercial. With his son, Trent, as the president and his grandkids working in some stores, Commercial Tire is a generational business.
As the third-generation to enter the family ranching business, rancher Daysha Steadman of Hulme Ranch in Montpelier, Idaho, loves her work and can’t imagine any other life. It’s a labor of love taking care of their herd of over 700 mother cows and their calves. Daysha appreciates the opportunity to work alongside her dad, Chad Hulme, and her husband, Tee. Hulme Ranch is known for its Angus beef cow operation and are looking to produce 650 calves to sell to their dedicated customer base that loves the high quality of cows they’re raising. They’ve been developing a cross-bred program to improve the quality of the cattle they’re providing.
Chuck Ceccarelli is the type of self-made success story anyone would want to be. From a small one-truck towing operation in a tiny Idaho town to selling tow trucks to customers across the country, his quality of work and salesmanship speaks for itself. Since launching his company, In the Ditch, 12 years ago, he and his team of 60 employees have brought more than 500 new products to market, all relating to the towing industry. All products are manufactured on site at their facility in Mountain Home with some of their largest accounts overseas. In fact, South Korea, Europe, Asia and Turkey are just a few places where you’ll find products from In the Ditch, and the team is proud of their extensive export work that is helping grow the company and contributing to the Idaho economy.
Jim’s Upholstery in Nampa is known for their custom upholstery work for cars, boats, planes or other automotive upholstery needs. They can re-style a car or boat or install Katzkin leather seat covers. Every year they learn new styles to keep up with trends and to reinvent themselves, and this is one reason they are able to do upholstery work for custom street rods. Company owner Rod Bean says this is a fun job, and he is proud of his team at Jim’s Upholstery. They’re working on a brand new, 10,000-square-foot building, which will increase visibility and expand capacity. He also believes in supporting the community, by sponsoring events and hiring people looking for a second chance, by teaching them skills to get them back on their feet. Jim’s Upholstery has customers from as far away as Alaska and Texas who love their quality of work.
At Nick’s Fireplace Outfitters in Pocatello, Nick Nelson is proud to offer only the highest quality fireplaces and brands including American Hearth, Mendota, Napoleon and Town and Country. This includes wood, gas and pellet stoves, depending on customer request. His company can handle the entire process from start to finish, which includes selling, framing, installing and doing the finishing work. Nick’s Fireplace Outfitters is the biggest operation of its kind in town, and their work speaks for itself with most business coming through referrals. Fireplaces from Nick’s Fireplace Outfitters can be built into your wall or left freestanding with the option to create custom mantels. In addition to fireplaces, the company also offers Bullfrog spas and smoker grills during the summer months.
Reed’s Dairy is known for its fresh dairy products including milk, cheese and homemade ice cream. They sell bottled milk in their three stores, two in Idaho Falls and a brand-new store in Meridian, or through their home delivery service, just like it was done in the old days. Cheddar is the main cheese they produce, but their cheese curds are also popular. Third-generation manager Alan Reed says their top-selling product here, no matter the season, is ice cream. It’s a recipe Alan developed when he first decided he wanted the diary to make and sell real ice cream, and he spent a year developing just the right formula. Their menu includes 130 flavors of ice cream, and in the summertime, they keep 110 flavors on hand, which their customers love! They accomplish this important work with a team of 20 employees, who love what they do.
Ririe Grain & Feed Co-Op is a co-op representing grain producers in Southeastern Idaho, who wanted a more effective and lucrative way to market their products. Manager Lee Anderson says Eastern Idaho still has some of the world’s best growers, so increasing market value is critical, which is what Ririe Grain was created to do. This almost 70-year-old farm cooperative is serving generational farm families and has employees who have been on board for years. As a cooperative, Ririe Grain represents the interests of its members, who have a direct impact and say on what the organization does. Profits are sent back to patrons and invested in facilities, employees and equipment to benefit the co-op. Ririe Grain remains dedicated to promoting Idaho grain sales domestically and internationally.
Charley Jones believes there’s no better way to create, grow and be successful than to build a well-run family business. And that’s the goal for his Boise-based company, Stinker Stores, now operating in Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming, with more than 1,000 employees. Stinker Stores is an iconic Idaho company, and Charley says recently the right pieces fell into place to acquire 41 stores in Colorado. This more than doubled the company size and drastically expanded business operations outside the Gem State, a move he feels will only help Stinker Stores continue to grow. Stinker Stores is set up with a professional management team from different generations so they can provide multiple perspectives and represent their communities and keep the company on a steady growth trajectory. They also offer a companywide profit-sharing plan and support inclusion by utilizing open-book accounting.
Through her research and work with elder law, Judy Cornish founded the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network (DAWN) and create The DAWN Method to help those caring for loved ones with dementia. The DAWN Method is a set of tools designed to help caregivers meet the emotional needs caused by dementia, so they can keep loved ones happier and at home longer. The approach focuses on seven basic needs, including mood management, security in confusion and personal empowerment. As an elder law attorney, Judy brings to dementia care a different perspective, a focus on the person’s abilities and strengths that makes living and working with dementia easier. She recently published her first book, “The Dementia Handbook: how to Provide Dementia Care at Home,” and is working to get her second book, “Dementia with Dignity,” through the publishing process.
Know a great Idaho business? Nominate them for the Speaking on Business radio program today.