Monthly Archives

June 2016

Chamber Corner: daVinci’s Celebrates 20 Years of Home-Style Italian Food in Hailey

By | Chamber News

The Rolling Stones may have said it best for Jennifer and Larry Schwartz when they were opening their new restaurant in Hailey 20 years ago, “You can’t always get what you want. . . you get what you need.” “At the time, we were convinced the name for our new Italian restaurant should be Spaghetti Western in homage to the area’s connection to movies, cowboys, and the wild west,” Jennifer recalls. “There were reasons beyond our control that kept us from using that name and now we’re very glad they did.”

July marks the 20th Anniversary for daVinci’s Restaurant in Hailey. “Larry and I met when we both attended Cornell University’s School of Hospitality Administration,” Jennifer adds. “When we moved to the area in 1992 we knew we wanted to open an Italian-style restaurant like the ones we had grown up with back east. The little restaurant on the corner that always has consistently great Italian food in a comfortable atmosphere is the model we had in mind when we created daVinci’s. After 20 years in business, I think we can safely say we’ve succeeded.”

When asked why she thinks they’ve managed to stay successful long enough to be one of the oldest, single-owner restaurants in the valley, Jennifer says confidently, “consistency. We have long-term customers that come to daVinci’s because they know they will have the same great chicken parmigiana every time they’re here.” And what are some of the dishes they’re most known for? “We have many people that come back every time for our Rotolo, a rolled pasta with filling that’s sliced and baked and served in a pink tomato sauce,” Jennifer notes. “Also, everything on our menu is available for group take-out food.  Lasagnas, salads, sauces, chicken, veal or eggplant parmigiana can all be ordered to go for small or large groups. We also have one of the best outdoor dining spots in town.  With our beautiful summers, it is a wonderful place to wind down after enjoying the day.”

Jennifer is quick to note that another big part of daVinci’s success has been the fact they’ve been blessed with consistent staffing. “I know it sounds a bit cliché, but the old adage is true,” Jennifer adds. “You can have the best location, facility, and product, but if your staff doesn’t give a top quality experience to your customers, you’ll never survive. We’re very fortunate to have the amazing staff we do, especially the long term staff of Doug, Charles, Andrew, and Dave. They’ve all been with us for at least 10 years with Doug and Charles at 19 and 18 years respectively.”

To celebrate their 20th Anniversary, daVinci’s will offer specials and weekly give-aways of gift certificates and other items now through the end of the year. daVinci’s is open Wednesday thru Sunday at 5:00 pm.  Reservations are encouraged (208) 788-7699.

Chamber Corner: Mountain West Bank Keeps Local Banking Local

By | Chamber News

Mountain West Bank’s Heather Parton likes the fact that her job is about helping people. “When I went to college in Moscow, I never intended that I’d make a career in banking,” Heather said during a recent interview. “Just out of school I took a job as a teller and found that I enjoyed the personal connections I was able to make with people in my community and that’s still the main reason I like what I do every day.”

Today, Mountain West Bank is owned by Glacier Bank headquartered in Montana. “In the 90’s, our current branch went through a series of ownership changes,” Heather notes. “In 1998 Mountain West Bank was purchased by Glacier Bank, which is consistently one of the top-rated banking institutions in the country. My team in Hailey has been with this branch for a long time. When you work for a company that values its employees and their input that translates to a happy, loyal team that likes where they work.”

Heather notes that banking in the Wood River Valley sometimes looks a little different than banking in other cities. “We appreciate that our management understands that our clients view the branches in Hailey and Ketchum as community partners,” Heather explains. “Having a bit of autonomy from a specific “corporate way” helps us better serve our clients and our community.”

In 1999 Heather served as president of the Chamber’s board. “I’m really happy to see the great strides the Chamber is making in helping our business community in the Wood River Valley,” Heather adds. “The current home in the Visitor’s Center in Hailey is a great fit for the Chamber and a great resource for visitors to our Valley. The Chamber has come a long way with its business development programs, and it’s good to see more of our membership taking advantage of those benefits.”

For Mountain West Bank the connections to the community are a vital part of their day-to-day business. “I like that we’re able to utilize some of our corporate resources to help organizations in the Valley,” Heather notes. “We like working with Kiwanis for the work they’re doing for our local kids, we’re happy to be a part of Camp Rainbow Gold’s Share Your Heart Ball and our Ketchum branch works with the Sun Valley Wellness Festival.” Additionally, Mountain West Bank will be a major sponsor of this year’s Turkey Trot in Hailey as event management is being taken over by The Chamber.

Heather invites Chamber members and clients to join Mountain West Bank for its annual Business After Hours, Thursday, June 23rd from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at the branch in Hailey. “We look forward to seeing everyone here for our Business After Hours,” Heather adds. “This is always a great event and a chance for us to say thank you for letting us serve our community.”

Chamber Corner: Wood River Land Trust Brings RiverFest Back For Hailey’s Fourth of July

By | Chamber News

The Wood River Land Trust thinks you and your river should get better acquainted and they’re throwing a party on the Fourth of July to help you do just that. The 2nd Annual Wood River Land Trust RiverFest will take place at the Draper Wood River Preserve and Lions Park immediately following this year’s Fourth of July parade in Hailey.

“It’s all about the community and connecting with the special places we have here like the river,” said Mike McKenna of the Wood River Land Trust. “There are so many people in our community that forget about our river and what an amazing asset it is. RiverFest was created to help remind and connect people with the Big Wood and the beauty of the open spaces around it like the Draper Wood River Preserve.”

Founded in 1994 by 10 valley locals, the Wood River Land Trust protects and restores land, water, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities in the Wood River Valley and surrounding areas. Working with both private land owns, public entities and other non-profit organizations, the Land Trust now protects over 25,000 acres, including 14 preserves like the Draper Wood River in Hailey, the Howard Preserve in Bellevue and the Box Car Bend Preserve in mid-valley.

“One of the things I love about  the Land Trust is that we’re not just interested in protecting natural lands and waterways for only the plant and animal species, another huge part of our mission is about providing access and maintaining historical usage so people can enjoy these lands responsibly and sustainably now and for the future,”  Mike said. “Events like RiverFest give the Land Trust an opportunity to reconnect the valley’s residents with some of their greatest natural resources.”

As part of the Home Rivers Initiative with Trout Unlimited, the Land Trust helped commission a recently completed assessment of the Big Wood River and the findings were a bit disconcerting. More than 50% of the river has been altered by man at some point in time and the impacts of all that change, as well as events like the recent wildfires, are starting to have negative impacts on various aspects of the river’s health, especially its trout populations.  “The river needs our help now more than ever,” Mike said.

And that’s where the RiverFest comes in. “We have a very passionate and strong community and, as has been proven time and time again, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish if we all collectively put our hearts into it. That’s what RiverFest is really all about,” Mike said, adding that the City of Hailey, Blaine County, The Chamber and several local businesses are helping make the event happen.

This year’s RiverFest promises to be even bigger and better than last year’s popular inaugural event.  While a good snowpack may have the river moving a bit too swiftly to play in it much, there will be plenty to do along its banks. There will be a variety of food and craft vendors, as well as free ice cream, and a free raffle for a Stand up Paddle Board, including a lesson from Sun Valley’s own SUP superstar, Danny Walton. New for this year will include the Sawtooth Brewery Beer Garden and all kinds of games and activities for kids. There will also be self-guided nature tour through Draper Wood River Preserve and an information booth for those wanting to learn more about how they can help save the land and water of our amazing home. RiverFest will close out with a free hour and half long concert from rising country music star Jessica Lynn, who will also be performing the National Anthem to kick off the parade.

“This year’s event is really going to be a lot of fun,” Mike said. “The addition of a performer like Jessica Lynn and some of our other features will help RiverFest be that perfect Fourth of July afternoon event, bridging the gap between the parade and the rodeo and fireworks. You can reconnect with the river, listen to some great music and enjoy your friends and family. Sounds like the perfect afternoon to me.”

RiveFest runs from roughly 1 pm to 5pm on July 4th. For more information about RiverFest, or if you’re interested in volunteering, please call Mike at 788.3947.