The Idaho Business Review is Idaho’s most trusted source of local business news and information. Published each week on Friday, the IBR includes exclusive, need-to-know business news, a comprehensive Leads database, and numerous advertisements of interest to Idaho’s marketplace.
The Treasure Valley in 1984 was a very different place from the Treasure Valley today, with a population of about 270,000 for Ada and Canyon counties, a number almost half of today’s population.
The state was not faring well but that’s when Carl Miller and Kitty Fleischman launched the Idaho Business Review.
Miller was hired in 1983 as a consultant to the Ada County Business Reporter which later became the Idaho Business Reporter.
The Reporter, founded in 1980, was struggling, Miller said, and its owners contracted with him to help turn it around. Three months later, Miller hired Fleischman – who had newspaper experience as a UPI photographer and statehouse reporter in Alaska and Idaho.
The next year, Miller and Fleischman decided to strike out on their own.
The first issue, dated May 21, 1984, carried an introductory piece that promised “continuing improvement and quality as we go along.”
The early IBR capitalized on publishing news of record as a service to readers. Soon it attracted adherents in the business community, who in many cases brought stories unbidden to the fledgling weekly.
At first, Miller and Fleischman promoted the paper by mailing three complimentary copies to businesses chosen from the phone book, a practice the newspaper continues in a different manner today by giving readers a three-week trial offer. In October 1984, the IBR bought the Business Reporter, thus gaining a second class postage permit and legal publication status.
From the beginning, the Valley’s future as a high-tech market was foreshadowed. The first issue included a story on Micron, plus an article headlined, “High-tech: Nampa class teaches skills in growing computer industry.”
The newspaper’s first coup came in 1986. The front page of the June 23 issue was entirely devoted to stories about the new site for a regional mall at Franklin and Cole roads in Boise, which had not been announced elsewhere.
As Boise boomed in the late ’80s to mid-’90s, the IBR matured. Two full-time reporters gave it more consistent content, and the format was updated and refined.
Housed since its inception in modest space on Emerald Street near Roosevelt, the Business Review moved in January 1995 to a two-story building nearby, on Franklin Road near Roosevelt. Its 4,200 square feet doubled the IBR’s space.
The Boise-area economy boomed, leading Idaho job creation to peak at nearly 6 percent in 1994, then settled into the 3-to-4-percent range for the rest of the decade. IBR coverage mirrored the expansion of Micron Technology Inc. and its subsidiaries and spinoffs, plus numerous small tech firms that sprang up, such as software companies.
Commercial real estate development in the Valley provided plenty of news in the ’90s, as did major corporations, such as Albertson’s, Boise Cascade, J.R. Simplot Co. and Morrison-Knudsen (now Washington Group International).
In 1998 Miller and Fleischman began to explore the idea of selling the IBR to a larger company. On advice from another publisher, Miller contacted Minneapolis-based Dolan Media Co., which at the time operated in a dozen markets across the U.S., fielding business and legal papers and other business-data entities.
Dolan Media acquired the IBR at the beginning of 1999. James P. Dolan, president and CEO of Dolan Media, set the tone for the new ownership by saying “everything starts with the editorial product.”
After a transitional period in which the pair turned over the helm to an interim publisher, Bob Ambrogi, Dolan Media in March 1999 hired Brian Hunt as publisher. Rick Carpenter published the IBR from 2004 till 2008 when Hunt moved to Portland, Oregon, to run another Dolan Media publication. The current publisher, Sean Evans, came on board in 2009.
The Idaho Business Review now includes an Internet site devoted to breaking news and commentary, the newspaper and almost a dozen other publications, including the monthly Idaho Construction Review, the annual Accomplished Under 40 and Idaho Women of the Year programs, and the annual Book of Lists.
The Idaho Business Review offices are now at the corner of Ninth and Broad in the BoDo development downtown.