3 Local Innovators Met Their Match in Meridian
Small businesses exemplify community spirit & ingenuity.
Small businesses are essential to Meridian’s dynamic economy while showcasing novel concepts, community spirit and service. The following three highlights are just a few examples of locally grown enterprises that shine.
Keep Looking Up: Vertical View
Fitness is soaring at Vertical View, a newly opened indoor rock-climbing gym and fitness center. Owners are set to introduce Treasure Valley residents to the sport, a new event in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. The 31,000-square-foot, world-class facility features four stories of climbing for top rope, lead climbing or bouldering styles – all offering full-body workouts – under one roof. The showpiece is a sight-to-behold 65-foot wall, so tall that builders had to dig below the ground so the structure would not violate the city’s commercial building height code.
Those new to the sport, veteran climbers and families will be able to enjoy the experience as equipment rental, kids’ walls and a variety of classes are offered in a knowledgeable, friendly atmosphere. If there are no Spiderman genes in your DNA, you’re not left out. A fitness center with yoga classes, weightlifting and fully equipped cardio areas is available, along with a private studio for parties.
“At Vertical View, we believe in a chin-up attitude. Life can be hard on everyone, but in this space, we all tend to be looking upward and have a positive outlook on life,â€ says Tyler Pape, general manager.
Candy for Inclusion: Sweet Zola’s
Tucked inside Potter’s Tea House, Sweet Zola’s candy shop – the place with the big ostrich on the patio – is a downtown Main Street business with a story as sweet as its products. Delicious chocolates, trail mix and both old-fashioned favorites and newer candies are sure to fix a sugar craving, but it is the employees with beaming smiles who are the real stars. The store’s mission is “Candy for Inclusion,â€ and owner Cyndy Radovich fulfills it by providing jobs and training for individuals with developmental disabilities, such as autism and Down syndrome.
Opened in February 2019 and named for Radovich’s daughter, the shop has a spacious sitting area where you can enjoy a treat or make selections for a special gift box or basket that can be delivered by Grubhub. Radovich has been a behavioral interventionist for the past 12 years and saw firsthand the struggles her clients faced in finding and maintaining successful employment. Sweet Zola’s offers hands-on experience so workers can prepare to move on to future jobs.
Food Like Grandma Cooked: Epi’s A Basque Restaurant
The food here is a love letter of fresh ingredients from the kitchen to hungry customers who have overwhelmingly given the family-owned eatery five-star ratings (more than 1,400) on multiple online review sites and pushed Epi’s to the city’s top spot on Tripadvisor. The restaurant is located downtown in a quaint red cottage surrounded by a white picket fence. Opened in 1999, it celebrates the legacy of their late matriarch, Epifania “Epiâ€ Lamiquis-Inchausti, who ran a boarding house in Idaho and was known for her delicious meals and unmatched hospitality.
The business embraces the cuisine and culture of Europe’s Basque region, nestled among the western Pyrenees Mountains on both sides of the France-Spain border. Blended on the menu are ethnic flavors influenced by both land and sea. Favorites include fragrant lamb, succulent steaks, fresh seafood and hand-rolled meatballs and sauce (Grandma Epi’s recipe, of course), plus traditional dishes like baby squid in ink sauce, red bean soup and green apple bread pudding. Amazing meals are guaranteed.
Today, great-grandson Erik McFarland is at the helm and says, “Epi’s restaurant is about great service, fresh food and family.”