Biz Bits: City demolishes Emperor of India building, levels property | business


A paved lot has replaced the fire damaged buildings that housed the Emperor of India King Thai Restaurant in downtown Lewiston.

The property is part of a $143,156 project that was completed after Lewiston City Council declared the buildings at 858 Main St. and 854 a nuisance following a fire in 2019, according to emails from the mayor of Lewiston, Dan Johnson, and Finance Director and Treasurer Aimee Gordon.

The city has reached an agreement with Crea Construction to complete the work, which included dismantling the buildings and towing, storing and returning vehicles that were on the site, Johnson said.

The city sent the bill to the property owner, Top Restaurant Investment LLC, for the attention of Praveen Khurana, who is listed as an manager of that company in documents filed with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office.

It had not been paid as of Wednesday and will be considered delinquent if not paid by July 1, Gordon said.

“The property owner will receive another payment notice after July 1 that will provide a final payment date before payment is confirmed to the Nez Perce County tax collector for tax listing and collection in the same manner as property taxes,” said Gordon.

It is unclear how the property will be used in the future. It is located in Lewiston’s Central Business District, which has 16 use-only properties including retail, hotels, financial institutions, restaurants, professional offices, wineries and breweries.

High competition for employees in the region

One or two positions are available for every job seeker in North Central Idaho in one of the tightest job markets the region has ever faced.

“This is unprecedented,” said Lisa Grigg, Idaho Department of Labor economist for north-central Idaho.

The unemployment rate in the region is between 2% and 2.5%, she said.

Wages are rising and vacancies are often filled by an employer poaching a worker from another employer, Grigg said.

Usually anyone with the ability and desire to work can find a job, unless they lack transportation, childcare or, in the case of people moving from outside the region, affordable housing, she said.

“There are no people sitting at home waiting for their phone to ring,” she said.

Regional employer pays top executives millions

Vista Outdoor’s top executives continue to take home millions.

The company’s CEO Chris Metz’s compensation package was $12.5 million for fiscal 2022.

The bulk of it was an $8.53 million stock award, according to Vista Outdoor’s proxy statement filed with the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission this month.

Metz also received $2.64 million in non-stock incentive plan compensation and a $1.2 million salary.

What Metz earned in fiscal 2022 is lower than in fiscal 2021, when his compensation package was worth $14 million.

Vista Outdoor earned $437 million in fiscal 2022 ended March 31 and $266 million in the prior fiscal year ended the same date in 2021.

The company is the parent company of 49 brands including Lewiston’s CCI/Speer Munitions Plant.

The company’s munitions president, Jason Vanderbrink, had a compensation package of $2.55 million in fiscal 2022, up from $3.51 million in fiscal 2021.

Valley Vision seeks new executive

Salary for Valley Vision’s new president and CEO ranges from $90,000 to $125,000 per year, plus benefits.

The job at the public-private economic development group was advertised last week because Scott Corbitt is leaving Valley Vision to become general manager of the Port of Lewiston.

According to the job posting, the responsibilities of the President and CEO of Valley Vision include building relationships with companies that may operate in the area and assisting area companies in maintaining and expanding jobs.

The organization is looking for someone with a college degree or equivalent experience and at least three years of experience in a similar role.

The new labor economist has experience in the private sector

The career of a co-owner of a north-central Idaho winery takes a new direction.

Lisa Grigg, who owns Jovinea Cellars with her husband Michael Grigg, became an economist with the Idaho Department of Labor earlier this year, covering north central Idaho.

The Idaho Department of Labor position was previously held by Kathryn Tacke, who died a year ago after more than a decade in office.

Grigg continues to be the joint winemaker with her husband at Jovinea, but he now oversees the tasting room duties she had previously taken on.

The tasting room at 301 Main St., Suite 106, Morgans’ Alley is now open Friday and Saturday from 11am to 6pm instead of four days a week.

Grigg brings a variety of experiences to her new job.

She has a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics. She spent 10 years as an investment officer in Washington state, helping decide how $80 billion should be invested in the pension fund that covers the state’s public employees, as well as other state assets such as university endowments.

Each fund has different rules, goals and timelines, she said.

She and her husband owned a property management company for four years before opening the winery.

Gift shop in downtown Lewiston is in the market

The Idaho Memories Gift & Souvenir Shop on Newberry Square in downtown Lewiston is on the market for $89,500.

The store stocks gourmet Huckleberry groceries and Idaho logo t-shirts, as well as jewelry, leather goods and other items made by local artisans.

“I’m retiring so I’m looking for the perfect person to run this cute little profitable shop,” said Vikky Ross, who owns the business with her husband John Ross.

The business goes on until she finds a buyer. She is willing to act as a consultant for a new owner for a period of time.

The store has evolved for a number of reasons, Ross said.

She and her staff learned about Idaho history so they could answer questions from locals and tourists about Polly Bemis, Hells Canyon and Chief Timothy.

The store is convenient for people on their way to parties. You can buy a gift and card, then wrap it in free gift bags in minutes, Ross said.

The opening of Idaho Memories Gifts & Souvenirs is one of several contributions Ross and her twin sister Nikky Hites have made to downtown Lewiston.

They owned Morgans’ Alley until last month when they sold it to Branden Beier. They are also the owners of Newberry Square, a property they have renovated and do not intend to sell.


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