Tuesday, September 22, 2020
KIC to Close Doors
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Emmi Buck and Christy Anne Gerber pitched the Ketchum Innovation Center during a fair on the Ketchum Town Square.
   
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

The Ketchum Innovation Center will close its doors on April 3 after a six-year run.

Executive Director Christy Anna Gerber said the closing was tied to the end of KIC’s lease at its current building at 180 W. 6th St. The 3,200-square foot building is owned by John and Randi Kanellitsas.

Gerber said the decision to close was made for a number of reasons, the primary one being the state of the economy today.

“Six years ago, our economy was in a much different place,” she said. “Today it is much stronger. In addition, there are more co-working spaces for local business people and young entrepreneurs. The new Young Professionals group is taking over some of the networking opportunities we offered. And there are far more options for online learning today. Online learning used to be very expensive. Now it can cost as little as $27 for a class.”

The Ketchum Innovation Center was founded in 2014 as a business incubator to help new and existing entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Over the years it’s reached at least 200 local entrepreneurs with mentoring and educational programming. It also was designed to build community and networking and help hatch capital solutions.

It worked out of a building on Lindsay Circle in Ketchum’s light industrial district for a few years before moving to the old Ketchum Post Office and later to its current location.

It came under scrutiny from the City of Ketchum a couple years ago over whether funds directed for it were justified.

KIC currently has 14 business people renting spaces to work. Gerber felt confident all will be able to find new co-working spaces at other places that have popped up in the valley recently.

KIC will continue to operate through March, offering one-on-one consultations by appointment. It also will offer a space for NAMI’s Journey to Wellness Art Show and Auction on Thursday, March 5. Other events include a Resume Review Workshop on March 18 and a class titled “Want to Start a Business but Not Sure Where to Begin” on March 23.

KIC has held more than 60 free events and staff members have held more than 270 one-on-one consultations with entrepreneurs since it opened its doors in the Sixth Street facility in 2018. Over the years, it has supported such businesses as Sawtooth Brewery, Sun Valley Hydration, Sun Valley Records, Piedaho, Nardagani and the Wood River Studio Tour with consultation, resources, education and connections.

“I loved how we were able to use local content experts to deliver content,” said Gerber. “Last week we offered a class on email marketing. Brad Matthews has offered some wonderful sales and marketing classes. We had a fun speed dating event. And Emmi Buck provided some wonderful social medial classes. As I look back, I’m overwhelmed and proud of the work we did.”

 Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw called KIC “a great connector” and said he was sad to see KIC close its doors. But he added he was happy to see that private operators have stepped in to provide the spaces and services KIC originated.

“It is now time to allocate public dollars towards infrastructure and other municipal services that will support our residents, businesses and visitors.”

 

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