Buy Idaho launched in 1986, with support from then newly elected Lieutenant Governor Butch Otter, as a way to market Idaho-made products. The member driven marketing cooperative celebrated its 25th anniversary this week. Governor Otter calls the 1,100 member Buy Idaho effort a “great success”. Still, he told attendees at Buy Idaho’s annual conference the group needs to be more aggressive.
“We’re going to continue to go to those marketplaces, go to those buyers that are not only in the U.S. but around the world, and say, ‘Folks we have things we think you need, and we in Idaho would be more than happy to supply those for you.’ And you never know what these marketplaces are looking for until you start demonstrating your products and how it might be applicable to their operation,” said Otter.
The governor is also urging local companies to ramp up hiring. With about 70,000 Idahoans out of work, Governor Otter asked Buy Idaho members to look at the recently passed tax credit program known as the Hire One Act as an incentive to add new jobs. “That talent is out there,” he said. “That talent is out there to help you with your operations, to help you with your marketing to help you with your production plant.”
Nauman is co-owner of Weiser Classic Candy in Weiser, ID. His company has been a member of Buy Idaho since he purchased the candy company four years ago. Nauman said the biggest positive impact state government could have on his business would come through lower taxes.
“That would be huge,” Nauman said. “The rebuilding of Idaho’s economy will be through small businessmen.”