Chamber News

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.

Chamber Corner: The Chamber Introduces New Community Guide To Help Valley Visitors This Summer

By | Chamber News

The Hailey Chamber of Commerce has just released its first edition of its Community Guide and Membership Directory just in time for the warmer months and summer visitors to the Valley.

Last year, the Chamber participated in a state-wide visitor’s campaign called 18 Summers, which speaks to the unfortunate reality that families only have 18 summers to spend with their kids before they’ve grown and begin to make a life of their own. The response to the Chamber’s participation in this popular program exceeded initial expectations and highlighted the need for a complete compendium of all that makes our Valley such a great place to live or visit. “We were blown away at the number of requests for information we received from people coming to the Wood River Valley for vacation,” notes Chamber operations director Pat Bowton. “This new Community Guide will really help us get some great information into the hands of people that we know are coming to the valley, months before they get here.”

“Idaho’s visitor numbers have been increasing every year,” states Matt Borud, chief development officer for Idaho Commerce in Boise. “Programs like our 18 summers campaign help boost those numbers and it’s great to see our partners like the Chamber benefit from their participation.”

Additionally, this year the Chamber has agreed to participate in another Summer Travel campaign developed and produced nationally by USA Today. “We anticipate that this summer is going to be a busy one with visitors in the Wood River Valley,” adds Pat. “With so much going on in our Valley every year, it’s easy to see why people want to be here. Our main challenge has always been finding the best way to get information about our Valley in front of the right people and programs like 18 Summers and the USA Today Summer Travel Guide are making it much easier.”

Chamber Community Guides are fairly common in many parts of the country that depend on tourism. Most are produced by large, out-of-state companies that create guides for many different communities. “We knew we needed to produce a Community Guide but we wanted to do it as local as we could so we hired Centerlyne in Bellevue to design and produce it,” said Chamber president Richard Stahl. “The Centerlyne team has done a really great job of putting everything we think is great about our Valley in one place.”

In addition to the printed copies of the guide, The Chamber will also have an electronic version it can send to fulfill many of the requests it receives for information. If you are interested is picking up a copy of the new Community Guide and Membership Directory please stop in to the Visitor’s Center at the rodeo grounds in Hailey or the Sun Valley Visitor’s Center at 491 Sun Valley Road in Ketchum.

Jeff Bacon
Membership Director


Chamber Corner: Rich Broadcasting Stays in Tune with the Valley

By | Chamber News

When Rich Broadcasting acquired three radio stations in the Wood River Valley they knew they had added a rich history of radio to their group of stations located in Idaho and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “We were really excited to be a part of the radio story in the Wood River Valley,” said Delyn Hendricks, Market Manager for Rich Broadcasting headquartered in Idaho Falls, ID. “KECH and KSKI have been valley staples for so many years and the addition of STAR 107 has given us a well-rounded offering for the musical tastes in the Valley.

“I like that we’re so much a part of the interconnected valley,” notes continuity director Charissa Lang. “There is so much information about all that happens every day in or community and we get to be the source that gets that information out to our listeners.” And it’s a big job. In addition to managing three separate music formats, the Rich Broadcasting team also manages social media channels for each station, produces ads for each and has local daily features, like KSKI’s Free Music Friday or Daily Trivia on KECH.

For KECH morning guy, Doug Donoho, the day starts early. “We normally get into the stations about 5:00 am to begin prepping the show for the day,” Doug notes. “With so much happening once the 6:00 hour starts, it’s important to know what your show highlights are going to be before we start.” Jamie Canfield, KSKI’s morning guy, mimics Doug’s thoughts. “It’s a good thing that Doug and I work so well together,” Jamie adds. “It’s not just that we spend a lot of time across the hall from each other, we start every weekday at a time of day that the body thinks it should be asleep. Don’t believe it – it’s not easy to get up at 4:30 every morning. Your body never does get used to it.”

Any big changes coming for the Rich Broadcasting team in the near future? “We’re excited about the new signs that are going on the outside of the building,” Adds Charissa. “These stations have been above the Hailey Hotel for years and unless you’ve won a prize or maybe came in to record an ad or give an interview you’d never know we’re here. The station’s logos on the building will really look great.”

Thursday, May 19th, Rich Broadcasting will be hosting this month’s Chamber Business After Hours in association with the Weekly Sun. The event, to be held at the Hailey Hotel at Croy and Main Street in Hailey is being promoted as a media party and will begin at 5:00 pm. Local restaurants will be serving small bites and The Hailey Hotel will be sampling wines and beers. Chamber members are encouraged to attend and bring a guest to introduce them to this great monthly networking opportunity.

Jeff Bacon, Members Services

Chamber Corner: Sawtooth Brewery Slated to Open Its New Tap Room in Hailey This Month

By | Chamber News

To say Kevin Jones and Paul Holle have been a little busy lately may be understating it a bit. As owners of Sawtooth Brewery, 2016 has started at the same speed that 2015 left. Having opened their Public House in Ketchum, in February, the men are looking forward to their next big project, the finishing of their brewing facility, tap room and corporate office in Hailey.

“We figured it would be easier to just not have a life for awhile,” Kevin joked during a recent interview. “The pace of everyday life has definitely increased over the last few months.”

Kevin and Paul started Sawtooth Brewery in 2011 after they were introduced through a mutual friend. “Our friend knew we were both interested in good beer and maybe one day opening a brewery,” Kevin remembers. “It started relatively simple enough, it’s been quite a ride for the last five years.”

For Kevin and Paul, they’re pretty excited about having facilities in both Ketchum and Hailey. “We’re really grateful to be able to have our offices in Hailey,” Kevin notes. “People are telling us they’re glad we’re building this, so it’s been a great experience.”

The new brewing facility and tap room will hopefully open around Memorial Day Weekend, as the team is actually a little ahead of schedule. Initially, the beer will continue to be put in kegs and bottled in the company’s 22 ounce bottles. A canning line will give Sawtooth Brewery the capacity to can their beers as well. “The new canning line is a great addition to the way we offer our beer to the consumer,” Kevin said. “We’ve had good success with our bottled beers but a canning line really does make it convenient to take our beers more places. It’s going to be great.”

Unlike the Public House in Ketchum, the new tap room in Hailey will not offer a full menu. “The tap room is about having a place to brew our beers and share them with the public,” Kevin notes. “We will have outdoor seating and some live entertainment and a place where people can be with their dogs.” In addition to their regular beers on tap, the tap room will also have draft wines from several different vintners.

Keep your head up for an official opening date because it’s right around the corner and just in time for the warmer weather. “We’re really looking forward to this opening,” Kevin said. “We’ve had a commitment to the community since day one. Being able to have a business and work in a place like the valley is something pretty special and we’d like to thank the community for their support through all of this.”

Jeff Bacon, Membership Director

July’s Business After Hours and Wake Up Hailey Host Big Crowds

By | Chamber News

With the heat of summer in full swing, both the Hailey Chamber of Commerce’s monthly events in July saw large and festive crowds. Festivities kicked off on the second Tuesday of July with the monthly Wake Up Hailey (WUH) at Giddy Up Coffee and Kitchen on Main Street in Bellevue. A few dozen folks stopped by to enjoy their breakfast burritos—which have a cult following—as well as other tasty breakfast treats and their delicious organic and Swiss-process coffees and teas.

OJuly WUH 3wner Shandyn Blakely and his staff were happy with the turn out, and several members of the Bellevue Chamber stopped by to show their support as well.

July WUH 2

July WUH 1Hundreds of locals and visitors alike came on the third Thursday of July for what turned out to be one of the biggest Business After Hours (BAH) ever! Goode Motor and Sun Valley Title hosted the event, which featured live music, food from Mahoney’s in Bellevue, and another terrific business card raffle.

July BAH 1July BAH 4

Of course the biggest draw was the selection of the winner of the I Love Hailey Truck Raffle. The lucky winner was former Hailey resident, DeEtte Lindberg, who now lives in Boise. She has decided to keep the truck—and not trade it in for a vehicle or credit of similar value—and was thrilled to be the lucky winner.

July BAH 2July BAH 5

The August WUH will be held at The Connection on Tuesday morning the 11th and the next BAH will be held at Webb Garden Center on Main Street on Thursday, August 20th. US Bank and Wood River Dental Care will co-host the event with Webb. Hope to see you there!

July BAH 3July BAH 6


By Mike McKenna


It’s Easy to Support The Connection

By | Chamber News

Most of us never really think about getting old. Even though we see our friends and family age, we don’t realize it’s happening to us, too. We seem to think we’re more like Methuselah and will practically live forever.

Getting old, however, even for the well prepared, can be hard. It can be lonely and challenging, and that’s why we need to support places like The Connection.

Connection 1“We touch the lives of 150 or more people everyday,” said Kimberly Coonis, the executive director of The Connection.

The Connection (which has dropped the “Senior” from its title) has roots back to the Seventies in the old Miner’s Hall, but it’s been in its current location, overlooking the Rodeo Grounds, since 1982.

Kimberly’s original relationship with The Connection began by volunteering as a Meals–On-Wheels driver. She now runs the place and its ever-growing list of programs. Kimberly was inspired to get into the field of senior care after watching her mother help her grandmother get through the last 15 years of her life.

“Family caregiving is the hardest job you can do. It’s emotionally and financially draining,” she said.

That’s why The Connection offers education and support classes for caregivers, as well as the Meal-On-Wheels program, in-home care, transportation, and their popular café, which is open to the public.

“People need help. They need a place to be and we provide that for them,” Kimberly said. “We care for people all over the county.”

Connection 2The Connection has grown from just a few staffers and basic services to over 30 employees and a laundry list of programs for seniors and disabled citizens. And more growth for the non-profit is on the horizon.

“People are living longer and seniors (65 and older) are the fastest growing population in the country,” she said. “So we need to keep people healthy, and physically and socially active.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge for The Connection is funding. While people readily give to causes supporting kids or pets, seniors often get overlooked. Barely over 1% of donations go to senior care. “Giving to seniors isn’t exciting, and people don’t think about it,” Kim said.

Connection 3Luckily, The Connection has made it easy—and tasty—to support the cause. You can dine for a donation. Their cafe and ice cream parlor are open to the public weekdays for lunch. Every time someone under 60 pays a mere $7 (or child pays $3) for one of Chef Erik Olson’s tasty meals, the money goes to help pay for the meal of a senior in need.

The Connection is also being supported by proceeds from the I Love Hailey Truck Raffle. The winner will be announced at Thursday’s Business After Hours at Goode Motors. So get your ticket before it’s too late, and don’t forget about our seniors. If you’re lucky, you’ll be one someday, too.

By Mike McKenna

This story originally appeared in the Chamber Corner section of The Weekly Sun.

Hailey Comes Out for June’s Business After Hours and Wake Up Hailey!

By | Chamber News

June is an exciting time in Hailey, Idaho. The weather is great, the flowers are blooming, the hills are green, the warm air is filled with the symphony of singing birds, and school gets out for the summer. So it’s only fitting that the community came out to celebrate the Hailey Chamber’s monthly festivities.

The City of Hailey held what turned out to be one of the most popular BAHs (Business After Hours) in years. Held on West Croy Street, between the Library and the Hailey Hotel—which generously provided assorted cocktails for the community—hundreds of people of all ages stopped by. Mayor Fritz Haemmerle briefly addressed the crowd, reminding everyone that it’s great to live in place like Hailey where we still wave to one another while passing by.

BAH 6The City of Hailey’s BAH highlights included delicious appetizers and light fare from some of Hailey’s finest eateries like Jersey Girl, The Town Pump, Lago Azul and Chapalitas, beer donated by Haemmerle Law, mixed drinks from the “Hay-Ho” as local affectionately call the historic Hailey Hotel, and the culinary sensation of the evening, Chief Craig’s Smoked Chicken. After the success of his poultry at the BAH and his chilly at the Firefighters Chili Cook-off, the Chief is undoubtedly in the running for the best cooking fireman in the nation!


The Business Card Raffle was nothing shy of awesome. Lucky winners took home prizes like a slip and slide from King’s,  free lube, oil and filter changes from Goode Motor, free Bike Share packages, a fishing rod and a tank of gas from the Splash & Dash in Bellevue, as well as gift certificates to popular places like Hailey Coffee Company, Luke’s Pharmacy, The Idea Shop/Sun Valley Real Deals and the Wood River Sustainability Center.

Other great prizes came from successful local business like Aspire Physical Therapy, Chic Nail and Beauty Bar, Christopher and Company, Growing Concerns Hair Design, Haemmerle Law, Hailey Library, JAM Design, Local author Dave Bingham, Mountain Rides, Mountain West Bank, and mason jar of Five Bee Hive honey.


June’s Wake Up Hailey (WUH) was held at Washington Federal Bank on Main Street. A few dozen folks stopped by for coffee and muffins from The Coffee House.


Esmeralda Palomera and the staff at Washington Federal did a great job hosting the event. Not surprising since the bank has been having a very positive impact on the community recently. Washington Federal teamed up with Goode Motor and the Hailey Chamber to host the first Hailey Family Carnival earlier in the month. The carnival was a huge hit and plans on returning next year. Washington Federal has also became the home of the shop local “Chamber Bucks” program. The $10 and $25 Chamber Bucks have been very popular as gift ideas for everyone from dads and grads to coaches and co-workers.


July’s WUH will be held at Giddy Up Coffee on July 14 in Bellevue and co-hosted by our friends at the Bellevue Chamber.

July’s BAH will be held at Goode Motor on Main Street and is being co-hosted by Sun Valley Title. It promises to be a big one as the winner of the “I Love Hailey Truck Raffle” will be driving off with a brand new, four-wheel drive Dodge Ram pick-up!

By Mike McKenna

Going “Beyond Organic” at the Wood River Sustainability Center

By | Chamber News

WRSC 6The “farm to plate” movement is gaining a lot of popularity nationwide. Restaurants and markets that focus on the entire cycle of food, from its growth to its handling, preparation and final presentation upon the plate, are booming.

So it’s only natural that the idea would catch on in Hailey, especially since we’re neighbors with one of the country’s true breadbaskets, the farming rich Snake River Plain.

“If something is grown, processed and produced within 250 miles, that’s local to me. It means I can still drive down there and check out their operation, meet the farmers or ranchers and see what they’re all about,” Al McCord said.

Al owns the Wood River Sustainability Center (WRSC), housed in an old 1920s Forest Service auto shop on River Street.


At its core the WRSC is a grocery store that essentially serves as year-round farmers’ market. Throughout the year, the shelves are stocked with all kinds of locally grown or produced items like grass fed lamb and beef, sausages, pastured chicken, eggs, raw cow’s milk, and a wide variety of seasonal produce. All of which comes from farms and facilities Al has toured to make sure they’re up to WRSC’s “Beyond Organic” standard—meaning they use pesticide-free, happy and healthy methods.

“What we do is really about connection. It’s about bringing people together,” Al explained from the WRSC’s busy kitchen. “We connect people with their food, where it came from and who produced it.”

One of the most popular ways the WRSC does this is through their monthly Farm to Table Dinners. A guest chef prepares a four-course, wine-paired meal that’s shared with some of the very farmers who produced the featured fare.

“There are a lot of great meals in this valley, but where can you go and have something like that? It’s a really a unique and connecting dining experience,” Al said. The WRSC also offers monthly cooking classes, covering everything from fermenting to pickling, canning to gluten-free dishes, and is now serving lunch weekdays.

Freshly baked sourdough loaves sell out quickly, as do weekly smoked specialties like baby back ribs, wild Alaskan sockeye and whole chickens. But AL, who has a young son named Braxton, seems to take the most delighted in the youngest fans of the WRSC.

Each week, the Sustainability Center provides “super-local healthy lunches” for 250 school kids. Kids like Lennox, a 1st grader at the Syringa Mountain School who happened to walk in during the interview. When asked what he thought of the WRSC’s work he happily responded, “I love the food!”

By Mike McKenna


This story originally appeared in the Chamber Corner section of The Weekly Sun.

Lots of Merriment at May’s Business After Hours and Wake Up Hailey

By | Chamber News
WUH flag

The new Wake Up Hailey banner, courtesy of Hawley Graphics.

April is supposed to be the month of showers, but May took that title this year. Neither the lawns nor the locals have been complaining, however, as the community of Hailey is looking lush as May gives way to June.

The May Business After Hours (BAH) was held next to Zions Bank in the courtyard of the Meriwether Building. The rain that day was nice enough to hold off until after the well-attended festivities came to a close. Hundreds of locals gathered together to enjoy food from Jersey Girl—the cookies and wraps were huge hits—fresh local beer from the Sun Valley Brewery and another impressive business card raffle.

Locally Owned Radio co-hosted the event along with Zions Bank and prizes were provided by Wildflower, The Feathered Flip, Nelson Auto Service, Pioneer Title, Stinker Stores, Christopher and Company, Zions Bank, and the grand prize was a $1,500 advertising package from Locally Owned Radio.


BAH table_DSC2266

Clockwise: Leisa Hollister of Locally Owned radio and her daughter, Maya; The wraps–and cookies–from Jersey Girl were big hits; The I Love Hailey Truck Raffle is set to make some lucky person’s $25 dream come true; Nancy Glick of Centerlyne won the Business Card Raffle grand prize of $1,500 in advertising on Locally Owned Radio.

Hawley Graphics hosted the May Wake Up Hailey (WUH). A friendly crowd enjoyed food from Rasberrys and fresh joe from Hailey Coffee Company. The big news of the event was that Andy Hawley shared an update of the “Welcome to Hailey” sign he’s working on. The Hawley Graphics design for the sign was not only selected as the best during the locally held contest, but his bid to make it also turned out to be the best. It should be installed sometime in June.

Hawley Graphics was also kind enough to donate a tear-drop banner that reads “Wake Up Hailey” on it to help lessen our use of balloons for such events.

Hawley 1muffins

WUH Hawley GraphicsWUH flag

Hawley Graphics and Art Studio on Bullion Street was a great place to host wake Up Hailey; Rasberry’s supplied tasty treats to help start the morning right; Local business leaders always enjoy our Wake Up Hailey events; Look for our new banner announcing Wake Up Hailey on the second Tuesday morning of every month!

June’s WUH will be hosted by Washington Federal on Tuesday morning, June 9th, from 9 to 10 am. The June BAH will be hosted by the City of Hailey, next to the Library on Thursday, June 18th, from 5 to 7 pm. We hope to see you all there!

Redfish Technology Redefines Success

By | Chamber News

Redfish TechIt’s rather easy to judge a company’s success simply by looking at its books. But a truly successful company doesn’t just have its numbers in the black, its employees are also enjoying the positive and profitable values of feeling appreciated, challenged, productive and that there’s opportunity for professional growth.

No matter how you measure it, Redfish Technology, which has offices in the Main Street Plaza Building in Hailey, is an extremely successful company. For the third consecutive year it took home first place in the Best Places to Work in Idaho contest (which is based largely on employee responses), and the company’s founder and president, Rob Reeves, was recently named 2015 Idaho Business Leader of the Year.

“If we do things right in our house, so to speak, it permeates outside our offices,” Rob said, about a business philosophy that’s been steadily evolving since he first started up the nationwide executive search firm in 1996.

Best Work Palce Idaho“A big part of this is the culture. It’s a very dynamic environment. You’re not in cubicles. You’re working independently, but ultimately you’re part of a team. It can be very enlightening and allows a lot of room for personal growth, if you’re willing to find and face your weaknesses, “ Rob said, adding, “It’s a very human job.”

According to Rob, the ideal humans (talent scouts, executive recruiters, headhunters, or whatever you’d like to call the high tech recruiting staff) are a “special breed:” sharp-minded, solution-oriented, risk-takers and team players who can thrive in a unique environment. Commissions amongst the 11 staffers are shared, with rewards going out for the top quarterly and annual earners. But being successful for Redfish Technology is about more than sales.

“We try to have a very holistic view of business,” explained Anna Mathieu, Redfish Technology’s marketing communications manager. “How does business fit into our lives and our world? What are we doing right? What can we improve upon?”

Rob and Ann from Redfish Tech

Rob and Anna of Redfish Technology.

Every week the team sits down to watch TED Talks on everything from technology trends to time management tips to motivational speeches. They also have strong community connection programs like “One for One,” which allows staffers to donate money and time to charities after every professional placement—something they do rather regularly.

Besides the market being “very, very strong right now,” Rob explained another key to his company’s success. “I’ve got a very determined streak in me, “ he said. “Sometimes the brilliance is in just getting through until it comes back around.”

By Mike McKenna

This story originally appeared in the Chamber Corner section of The Weekly Sun.