Diverse economy includes energy, medicine and food.
The top employers in Idaho Falls range from producers of nuclear energy to online retailers selling soap. Idaho Falls ranks among the “Hottest Small Cities in America” according to Inc. Magazine, while MSN Real Estate rates Idaho Falls among the “Best Smaller Cities in America” for quality of life, job prospects and cost of living. The city features a diverse economy, and here is some background on five top employers:
Idaho National Laboratory
This huge 890-acre complex is situated in the Eastern Idaho high desert, between the cities of Idaho Falls and Blackfoot to the east and the town of Arco to the west. Many Idaho Falls residents are among the 4,000 employees who work at the lab. The INL was established in 1949, has an annual budget of about $1 billion, and its mission is to produce nuclear energy.
Founded in the mid-1980s as a little startup company in rural Idaho, Meleleuca Inc. is now a billion-dollar company that does business in 17 countries and has become a major catalog and online retailer. The company’s 1,600 employees manufacture a number of wellness products that include vitamins, health foods and weight-reduction supplements, and they also make environment-friendly items like nontoxic home-cleaning products along with chemical-free soaps and detergents.
Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center
With 1,400 employees and 330 licensed beds, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center has been open since 1986. The hospital averages 43,000 emergency room visits a year and has never turned away a patient. On staff are 200 physicians, with 80 of them recruited to Idaho Falls over the past five years. The medical center’s annual payroll is about $90 million, and EIRMC pays more than $20 million in taxes into the Idaho Falls and Bonneville County economies each year. Nearly 300 health-care businesses are also located within 1 mile of the hospital.
Groceries are the specialty of WinCo Foods, an employee-owned 24/7 supermarket chain that features discounted groceries and bulk foods along with a deli, bakery and a Leonardi’s Pizza Parlor. The Boise-based company has 100 stores throughout Idaho, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington, including a large Idaho Falls facility on N. Woodruff Avenue that employs about 500 people. The WinCo Foods franchise is known for providing everyday low prices and top service.
Golden Valley Natural
Made from cattle raised in Eastern Idaho, Golden Valley Natural was founded in 1968 and has become a leading producer of natural and organic meat snacks. The company offers high-quality beef, buffalo and turkey jerky that feature no preservatives, nitrites or MSG additives, and their flavors include teriyaki, barbecue, black pepper, sweet ‘n’ spicy, and original. There is also a line of dried Fruit Stix snacks. Much of the company’s business originates from online sales, and their slogan is, “Taste the Flavor of the West.”