More bang for your bucks in Idaho Falls

In the latest NerdWallet list of the nation’s most affordable cities, Idaho Falls made some positive noise with its fifth-place ranking.

That’s right, the city is delivering a pretty good bang for your bucks.

And just who or what is NerdWallet?

It’s a personal finance website.

“We offer free, data-driven tools and impartial information to help consumers make better decisions about their personal finances, whether it’s about credit cards and mortgages, education and health care or anything else that affects their wallet,” NerdWallet’s Rowena Li told Shoptalk.

In developing its rankings, NerdWallet relied on data from the Council for Community and Economic Research’s 2013 Annual Report.

NerdWallet data analyst Sreekar Jashti explained the process in an email to Shoptalk:

“The Cost of Living Index factors in six different categories to measure affordability: grocery items, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

“Idaho Falls scores extremely well in the housing variable, which is the second heaviest factor in the overall index. In fact, the city has the lowest housing costs of all 308 urban areas on the 2013 Annual Report. That, along with below-average costs in all of the rest of the categories, except health care, resulted in the city’s high ranking in our list of the most affordable cities.”

In an emailed statement to Shoptalk, Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper embraced the city’s top 10 showing.

“It’s always an honor for the city to be nationally ranked. In this case, they got the affordability piece right,” Casper said. “But in addition Idaho Falls offers wonderful people, great schools, an exceptional cultural community, access to the outdoors, low crime, scenic beauty, a wholesome environment, and the list just goes on and on.”

The NerdWallet index scores can be compared to the national average of 100. A lower cost of living index signifies greater affordability relative to the average city. States from the central and southern areas of the U.S. dominated the list.

According to NerWallet, Texas is the leading state in terms of affordable cities with 19 of the top 100 cities on the list..

• Oklahoma is second with eight cities on the list.

• The only two West Coast cities on the list both are in the state of Washington.

Additionally, the list does not include any cities from Northeast states or California, which dominate the list of most expensive cities in the nation.

To check out the entire list, go to

I.F. marketing firm brings home gold

Idaho Falls marketing firm I.E. Productions took home four “Rockie” awards, including two Gold Rockies, at this year’s Boise Advertising Federation awards show.

According to a news release, I.E. Productions was awarded a Citation of Excellence for its magazine layout for Potandon Produce, a Silver Best Campaign Rockie for the overall Eastern Idaho State Fair campaign and two Gold Rockies for Best Billboard and Best Direct Mail Piece, also done for the Eastern Idaho State Fair.

“It’s great to be recognized for the creative work that we do, but the real testament to our success lies with our wonderful clients who trust us with their projects every day,” I.E. Productions President Chad Hammond said in the release.

Last year’s Eastern Idaho State Fair campaign already received national honors in December, winning Best Overall Campaign at the International Fairs and Expositions show in Las Vegas. The campaign also swept the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation awards show in February with four Diamond awards, as well as securing the Best of Show award, the release said.

Stephen Hatch Photography, of Idaho Falls, and Welsh Photography, of Boise, also contributed to the winning campaigns.

The annual Rockie awards honor regional advertisers who produce outstanding, creative marketing programs, the release said. Winning entries have been submitted to the national Addy Awards.

Businesses honored for preservation work

In celebration of the Idaho Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month, the Idaho Falls Historic Preservation Commission recently recognized five businesses and two property owners for their reinvestment in downtown Idaho Falls, as well as two of the city’s historic districts — the Ridge Avenue and 11th Street historic districts.

According to a city news release, those recognized best exemplify the reuse of historic and older buildings.

Not only have the following five owners invested in the city’s older buildings, but they have done so in a way which complies with the Idaho Falls Downtown Design Guidelines. As stated in the guidelines, preserving and rehabilitating historic commercial buildings creates an “exciting, growing and aesthetically-pleasing downtown to attract shoppers, visitors and investors,” the release said.

Those singled out are:

• Thomas Investments and Idahoan Foods, 357 Constitution Way.

• Teton Development Co., Kress Building, (Channel Blend) 451 Park Ave.

• Syringa Networks, 460 Park Ave.

• Steve and Lisa Fischbach, (MCS Advertising) 413 B St.

• Robert and Rachel Zaladonis, (Leather Works) 312 Park Ave.

Teton Development Co. also received an award from Preservation Idaho for Excellence in Historic Preservation during the month of May, the release said.

Performance Therapy expands, moves

Performance Therapy , an Idaho Falls outpatient physical therapy clinic has expanded and moved to a new location of 3125 Valencia, next to Creekside Plaza.

The clinic, which first opened in August 2010, has grown to two physical therapists, Stephanie Liddle and Barrett Gibson, one PTA, Alycia Robertson and three other staff members, according to a news release.

Performance Therapy, which is owned and operated by Liddle, MPT, ATC., caters to outpatient sports, orthopedic and post operative rehabilitation. The clinic also specializes in custom orthotics, running analysis, bike fits and functional capacity evaluations.

An open house is planned this fall. Call 529 -3332 for information or to schedule an appointment.

D.L. Evans breaks ground Wednesday

D.L. Evans will host a ground-breaking ceremony at 11 a.m. Wednesday for its new Ammon branch, 2634 East Sunnyside Road.

Located in Sandcreek Commons, it will become the second D.L. Evans Bank branch in the Idaho Falls/Ammon area.

According to a news release, the new branch will be designed under sustainable guidelines by Erstad Architects. Construction Solutions Co., a local general contractor in Idaho Falls, will construct the building. The new branch will be a full-service location. The tentative completion date is November.

“D.L .Evans Bank maintains an incredible reputation in our community and the entire region. We have enjoyed the experience of working with this historic Idaho institution,” Ball Ventures Chief Development Officer Eric Isom said in the release. “We look forward to the growth that will follow this exciting announcement.”

D.L. Evans Bank is the No. 1 community bank in Idaho with total assets of more than $1 billion, the release said. The bank has been serving Idaho communities since 1904 and today operates 20 branches in Albion, Boise, Burley, Hailey, Jerome, Ketchum, Meridian, Nampa, Pocatello, Rupert, and Twin Falls, as well as 888 E. 17th St. in Idaho Falls.

Paradise Donuts and Gelato opens

The Rexburg Area Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. Thursday at Paradise Donuts and Gelato, 16 S. Center St.

According to a news release, Paul and Chandra Scholes recently renovated the store to offer gelato, an Italian ice cream. A display case and gelato machine were shipped from Italy, which required some minor modifications to the store.

“We make (gelato) in our store and can offer many flavors,” Paul Scholes said in the release. “We are excited to bring this offering to Rexburg.”

Gelato is made from either milk, water, or soy-based products that can be mixed with a wide variety of flavors and toppings.

Since gelato is not made from cream, some consider it a healthier choice option. Gelato also is denser, with less air whipped in, for a smooth-fresh taste, the release said.

The store serves its gelato in four cup sizes, as well as cones, shakes and to-go packs.