Biz ‘Bites’

IBR Staff//September 7, 2021

Biz ‘Bites’

IBR Staff//September 7, 2021

Will Ulta open inside an Idaho Target? 

Target is opening a location in Moscow. File photo

Ulta, the beauty company and rival and competitor of Sephora, announced at the end of last year it had struck a deal with the retail giant Target. The plan was to open mini Ulta stores within larger Target stores. This news came at the same time that Sephora announced its own deal with Kohl’s to replace its former arrangement with JCPenney.
Ulta and Target opened up the first Ulta mini-stores around the country at the end of July. At its most recent earnings call on Aug. 25, Ulta announced that it was thrilled with the reception of its stores-within-stores at Target, of which 58 of the first 1,000 are now open. None on the first 100 locations listed were in Idaho or any of the surrounding states: Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington or Wyoming. In an email, Ulta Vice President for Public Relations Eileen Ziesemer told the Idaho Business Review that there were no Ulta inside Target stores planned in the near future, but did not rule it out.
Ulta has nine standalone stores in the state: in Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Meridian, Moscow, Nampa, Pocatello and Twin Falls. Target has six stores in Idaho overlapping with Ulta’s existing locations: two in Boise, and the rest in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Nampa and Twin Falls.

Corrections staffing shortage prompts wage increases
The Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) is suffering its own staff shortages. To attract new applicants, IDOC is offering starting pay of $19/hr. and a $1,500/year retention bonuses for five years, with all the necessary training provided and paid for. This is an increase from the previous starting wage of $16.75. Also, to retain its current workforce and prevent further loss of staff to other employers with more appealing wages and work conditions, IDOC will also increases wages for its current staff effective Sept. 5. The IDOC website on Aug. 30 had 333 openings, 87 of which were for correctional officers.

Eastern Idaho school districts have staffing shortages
At least three school districts in eastern Idaho are short on staff. District 215 centered in St. Anthony can’t find enough substitute teachers, and is using incentive bonuses to sign on new subs to teach a certain number of days in their first month. District 93 in unincorporated Bonneville County east of Idaho Falls is in the same boat.
Madison district 321 is short in several classified positions: custodial, maintenance, bus drivers and paraprofessionals, including in special education. Assistant Superintendent Travis Schwab told the East Idaho News: “We are anxiously anticipating when the (BYU-Idaho) college students come back because they fill a lot of those positions, but they don’t start until mid-September. We just kind of scramble for a couple of weeks.”
Schwab added: “Our school board passed a minimum 2% raise, getting everyone to at least $11 an hour…Honestly…we cannot function without our classified staff.”

Panhandle Health District contact tracing backlogged
With the recent surge in cases, tight labor market and (previously) demobilization of the National Guard, Panhandle Health District (PHD) is experiencing a backlog of COVID-19 diagnosed cases for July and August. “A backlog creates two significant issues,” said Don Duffy, PHD interim director. “First…we are unable to contact everyone who has tested positive. Second, we only report the number of cases processed that day, so the public doesn’t see the actual situation. For example…Aug. 20, we reported 36 cases, but in reality, we had over 900 cases left to process.” PHD currently has several positions open to hire additional staff and welcomes all qualified candidates to apply.

Coeur d’Alene events canceled
While people enjoyed the North Idaho State Fair Aug. 22-28, other local organizations began a wave of cancellations in response to the COVID-19 surge in the Panhandle. Kootenai Health, the largest medical center in the area, applied on Aug. 25 for the implementation of Idaho’s Crisis Standards of Care, and is discussing converting a facility classroom into a 22-bed care area for low-acuity COVID-19 cases. Chief physician executive Karen Cabell told the Coeur d’Alene Press: “Our projections go beyond the 22 beds.” Cabell said that that lack of staff “is actually our biggest issue.” The health care provider has over 500 open positions, 300 of which are for nurses system-wide.
The 17th annual North Idaho Distinguished Humanities lecture, originally scheduled for Sept. 17 at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, has been rescheduled for May 6 next year. Most meetings of county boards have been canceled through the middle of September, and the Chamber of Commerce has canceled all large events through Sept. 16. The chamber’s executive committee will reevaluate every two weeks for the near future.

Recent COVID-19 business woes in Idaho
In the most recent August U.S. Census Bureau small business pulse survey, just under one in four small businesses surveyed in Idaho said that the COVID-19 pandemic had a large negative effect, lining up with the national average. In Idaho, 59% said that they experienced domestic supplier delays in the last week, which is 16.1% greater than the national average, and some 35% reported difficulties in hiring employees, which is about the same as the national average.

Alliance Title & Escrow expands to Boundary County
Alliance Title & Escrow LLC, based in Boise, acquired Boundary Abstract Company Ltd. in Bonners Ferry. Alliance Title is part of the Futura Title & Escrow Family of Companies, headquartered in Idaho and operating 75 offices in 63 counties in the region. With the addition of Boundary County, Futura strengthens its position as one of the largest independent title and escrow groups in the Pacific Northwest
“We are proud to welcome Sharlene Delaney, manager, and the outstanding professionals at Boundary Abstract to our Alliance Title team and the Futura Title Family of Companies,” Larry Matney, CEO of Futura Title & Escrow LLC, said in the announcement. “We admire their commitment to customers and the community, and we look forward to continuing to support their efforts.”