In 2013, a group of citizens of all political persuasions came together to address the boom-bust nature of Teton Valley’s economy. The document that they produced, which was ratified by the Board of County Commissioners and updated in 2019, has successfully guided TREC’s work and has delivered the desired results: high-value job creation with minimal impact to the environment that makes the valley so special.
The Teton Regional Economic Coalition is accountable for the overall implementation of the county’s economic development plan, recruiting new companies and supporting startups and existing businesses in Teton Valley. TREC manages the Teton Geo Center and provides Chamber of Commerce services, including, event support and visitor marketing.
TREC and its partners are working to create vibrant, sustainable, successful local businesses; meaningful career opportunities at above national average wages; high-quality activities and amenities for residents and visitors; all while retaining our exceptional natural environment.
Teton Valley Economic Accomplishments
During the early months of the COVID pandemic, TREC has helped connect local businesses with financial assistance, operating strategies and COVID safety best practices. While the pandemic has caused major hardships and long-term uncertainty, the citizens and businesses of the valley have established a strong base to help us weather these tough times.
According to EMSI, which aggregates census, Dept. of Labor and other data:
· Teton Valley’s population is 11,929, up by 1,486 since 2014.
· We’ve added 794 new jobs since 2014, 91 in 2019 alone. At an average annual wage of $37,000, that’s $29.4 million in new annual income in Teton Valley over the past five years. We are sometimes asked what we do for businesses in the valley. Part of the answer is that we are delivering new customers with disposable income to your door.
· Teton Valley’s job growth of 22.1 percent was 14 percent better than the national rate.
· Since 2013, we’ve added 100 jobs in the well-paid ($68K per year) scientific, professional and technical category, a 62 percent increase.
· The valley’s top five industries are construction, hospitality, government (includes public schools), retail and healthcare
· Average annual wages have grown to $37K per year, a $7,000 increase since 2013. This is still not good enough and is a continued motivation for our work.
· Almost 90 percent of our companies have 20 or fewer employees. This diverse mosaic of many small companies insulates us from the effects of one company or one sector going down.
· March 2020 unemployment rate of 2.2 percent compared favorably with the national rate of 3.9 percent. Then the COVID pandemic hit. April unemployment was 16 percent, but by July it was down to 4.2 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of 10.2 percent.
Existing Business Support
Here are a few examples of TREC’s support of new and existing businesses:
n 460 Bread purchased and refitted the old Racin Station building. We helped connect them with Development Company financing for the project, which has significantly increased their production.
n We hosted a Maker Fair in Victor featuring 11 local companies plus the library.
n We installed a Maker Exhibit at the Geo, featuring local companies.
n TREC earned a $143,000 Idaho Travel Council (ITC) grant, which is funded by hotel taxes. The program supports events that benefit residents, attract affluent visitors who share our values, and drives local business revenue.
n With Powder Mountain Press, we delivered a new “Discover Teton Valley” brochure, paid for with ITC grant funds.
New Businesses Recruiting and Development
Among the many deals we’ve supported:
n We recruited Sego Ski Co., which is one of the anchors of our rec-tech manufacturing sector.
n Jackson-based snowboard company, Franco Snowshapes, is moving soon into a new building in Victor.
n We supported the new owners of Teton River Supply with business planning, financing and real estate referrals. They provide safety and etiquette training and have helped reduce congestion at put-ins.
n We connected Citizen 33 with real estate options and grand opening support.
n We helped New West Knifeworks with building and financing connections and supported their grand opening.
n We advised Ascent Kombucha on financing, space, and their opening event.
n We provided startup support to the Wheel Wranglers mobile bike rental service.
TREC earned $173,000 in State grants this year and has made progress with Chamber memberships. We’ve sustained three organizations with one full-time and one part time employee, on a very lean budget. We’ve opened the Teton Geo Center to community groups and education programs, serving 500 Teton Valley citizens last year.