Friday, July 26, 2013

Bellevue business landscape shifting

City seeks new leader for Chamber of Commerce

Express Staff Writer

    Several new businesses have opened in recent months in Bellevue, leading some locals to consider the possibility that the town has turned a corner in recovering from the recession. Meanwhile, some businesses that have served the town for many years are shuttering their doors.
    The new businesses run the gamut from major retail chains to small, home-based operations.
    “I think it is definitely starting to boom,” said Jennie Tupper, an interim spokesperson for the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. “I think people are starting to look at Bellevue as a more affordable place to open a business.”
    Tupper is standing in for Russell Lepley who resigned as president of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. Lepley’s Jesse’s Country Grill, for years a mainstay for breakfast and lunch, has been closed for several weeks.
    “We don’t have a president at the moment. Business leaders are dividing duties until we find someone else to take over as chairperson,” Tupper said.
    Judging from the number of new businesses opening in town, the new chamber president may have a lot to keep up with. A Business After Hours get-together on Tuesday night drew 50 people, twice what the meetings usually attract.
    The resurgence in Main Street business began with Joe’s Backhoe, which now occupies a high-profile commercial property at the south end of town. Nearby is the new Ryans’ Mountain Rentals, offering snowmobiles, ATVs and other recreational vehicles.
    The Family Dollar store, a major retail chain, opened an outlet next to Atkinson’s Market in April.
    High Country Fusion Co., which has an assembly plant in Fairfield, just moved its corporate office (and 12 new employees) to a Main Street location in Bellevue. The company, which manufactures industrial pipes, also has a location in Australia.
    Maestro Technologies, specializing in audio and video supplies, took over a building on Second Ave. that until April housed Green Antelope Gallery.
    “While we have loved the experience of working with artists and providing an opportunity for art lovers to appreciate fine art in the South Valley, it is time for us to dedicate ourselves to other endeavors,” wrote Green Antelope owner Brooke Bonner on her website.
    One such endeavor is the Wood River Valley Studio Tour, a new nonprofit organization formed by Bonner and Ketchum artist Suzanne Hazlett.
    Other additions to the Bellevue business landscape are The Tattoo Shop, which opened on Main Street last month next door to the Silver Dollar Saloon. Diamond D Welding also opened in June on Spruce Street.
    Two home-based businesses that opened recently are Pro Guard Pest Solutions and Two Moms Baking Co.
    Two Moms is owned by Bellevue residents Amber Avila and Janis Walton. These moms take orders through emails for delivering specialties each day around the valley.
    The Valley Co-op farm-supply cooperative recently opened a new store at the south end of Main Street. It will offer basic farm and ranch supplies, including clothing, seed and feed.
    Shelley Berry, who owned Sawtooth Tack and Feed for 10 years on the north end of Main Street, said she decided not to compete.
    “I closed my business this summer during the high season so I could still sell my inventory,” Berry said.
    Farther south, the Gannet Country Club is scheduled to reopen this summer after being closed for many years. The restaurant will once again offer breakfast and lunch.

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