OPINION: We’re all pulling for the Smoots

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Surely you’re beginning to get the gist of things by now.

If it’s Wednesday, it must be Chat Day.

Unfortunately, today’s episode isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes real life interferes.

But still, we have to plow on and keep our heads up ...

ITEM: We have to start with a serious downer.

The arrest of local entrepreneur Nick Smoot for domestic violence was, first of all, terribly sad.

The fact that Nick and his wife allegedly have been through more than one of these alcohol-related incidents suggests that this county power couple needs help.

We all should be hoping they get it.

Meanwhile, Nick has taken a leave of absence from the tech organization he started, Innovation Collective. His right-hand man, Chris Cochran, has taken over in the interim, intent on keeping the roaring successes of Innovation Collective and Innovation Den going.

Almost everyone associated with IC and the Den has a personal relationship with Nick, and he clearly is one of the sparks that has given them such a unique place among Coeur d’Alene ventures.

This is one of those situations in which you’re rooting for the couple to find a more controlled and happier lifestyle. Our entire region will also benefit.

ITEM: We all secretly love nostalgia, and memories of better days.

In that vein, following last week’s column on unemployment in North Idaho’s rural counties, I received an eye-opening email from Jim Petersen of Dalton Gardens.

We can only fit in excerpts, but young people and newcomers to the region would do well to think about this ...

“I grew up in Kellogg in its heyday,” Jim wrote. “There were 6,000 living there when I graduated from high school in 1962. Unemployment was nonexistent. If you wanted to work, there was a job somewhere.

“Bunker Hill (mine) employed hundreds of college students, me included. I paid for my college education with the money I made working underground. It was great fun and a great education.

“Credit Bunker Hill, which actively recruited Kellogg kids in hopes they would come home and go to work for the company after they completed their college educations.

“The University of Idaho’s School of Mines was built by Bunker Hill, Hecla, Day, and a few small companies in the Silver Valley. For years, the Valley’s mining companies were Idaho’s largest taxpayers — by far.”


Jim’s message is a reminder that rural counties are critical to the state, but that economically, there isn’t much margin for downswings.

ITEM: I wrote a few weeks ago about Rathdrum’s Subway shop disappearing along with the Stein’s store in which it was located.

It was a plea for someone to bring another Subway to our neighborhood.

Ah, but it seems larger forces are aligning against my wish.

Check this unhappy snippet from Bloomberg News...

“Subway Restaurants is facing a backlash from store owners over its new customer-loyalty program.

“They say they’re being charged a 1.9 percent royalty fee related to the program that hasn’t been financially justified.”

Here’s a damning statistic: Subway’s sales fell 4.4 percent in 2017.

Meanwhile …

Subway had 25,908 U.S. locations at the end of last year, each of which generated about $417,000 in annual sales, on average, according to Technomic.

On the other hand, the approximately 14,000 U.S. McDonald’s stores pull in $2.68 million a year on average.

Perhaps I shouldn’t wait for our new Subway location.

Maybe the store down Highway 41 in Post Falls will hang in there.



Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

A Brand New Day appears Wednesday through Saturday each week. Steve’s sports column runs on Tuesday.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com.


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