More than 100 Idaho-owned businesses offering an array of products and services filled three floors of the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday for the 24th annual Buy Idaho show.
Buy Idaho is a nonprofit, member-based organization that promotes Idaho businesses, products and services.
The Statesman chatted with a few businesses making their first appearance at the one-day show.
Never miss a local story.
This business is the brainchild of Russ and Stacy Nelson’s daughter, Grace.
Three years, ago, while in the 7th grade, she came up with the idea to open a gourmet s’mores store. Mom and dad liked the idea and started experimenting.
First they had to figure out one of life’s great mysteries: how to make a marshmallow. “That was a lot of trial and error,” said Russ Nelson, who lives in Caldwell. “We burned through our KitchenAid mixer — the good one.”
Once they perfected the confection and how to flavor it, Fireside Mallow Co. started catering weddings, parties and other events. That venture took off, and now they are selling their products online. Fireside Mallow offers more than a half- dozen marshmallow flavors, including cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, coffee and toasted coconut. They also offer a to-go s’mores kit that includes a mini-campfire.
What started as their daughter’s idea has now become a true mom-and-pop business. “Because now mom and dad get to do all the work,” Russ Nelson joked.
Owned by Lisa McGrath and Paul Carew, Wear Boise offers a plethora of hats, T-shirts and other goods featuring Boise- and Idaho- related logos, including some inside jokes that only true locals will get, such as “Boy-see” and Idaho’s famous parachuting beavers.
“This is our love letter to Boise, our love letter to Idaho,” said Hailey Yraguen, sales and event manager for Wear Boise, located at 828 W. Idaho St. in Downtown Boise.
Later this month, Wear Boise will unveil at the McCall Winter Carnival its “Sharlie” shirt, referring to the Loch Ness-like monster that supposedly lives in Payette Lake.
Oma & Popies
Former Morrison Center manager Jan Zarr has returned to Boise having embarked on a new adventure: wing sauce.
While traveling between Boise and Kentucky, where he was director at Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center in Bowling Green, Zarr and his wife, Gail, “made it a point to hit every dive bar and wing joint” to chomp on chicken wings.
“We found in a lot of places they all just tasted the same,” he said. The couple started making their own sauce, which they gave to family and friends. Then they created Oma & Popies, which offers all-natural wing and grilling sauces, and spice blends.
Owned by Idaho-native Matt Roderick, Rapid Aerial is “an FAA-cleared, UAV-based aerial imagery video and data company,” Roderick said.
Translation: “We fly drones.”
The drones are used for photography, video, surveying, thermal imaging and inspection projects, explained Roderick. “And just going up and looking at stuff. The number of uses of unlimited,” Roderick said.
“We have seen a lot of aerial videos being done here by companies from out of state. Hey, guys, we are right here, hire us. Buy Idaho.”
Small Business Development Center
This is not a business but a government-financed business-assistance service. It is a first stop for anyone interested in starting or expanding a homegrown business.
“We provide no-cost, confidential consulting to small companies to help them learn more about how to run a company,” said director Katie Sewell.
“They can come in and meet for free with our consultants and talk about anything from marketing to financial to getting a loan to cybersecurity,” she said. “We also help companies with government procurement. So if somebody wants to sell to the government, whether it is federal, state or local, we help them figure out how to do that because it is complicated.”