IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - According to Grow Idaho Falls, gross retail sales are on the rise in eastern Idaho. The organization said the region is seeing more big box stores, local shops and restaurants.
Grow Idaho Falls has been tracking Bonneville County's gross retail sales since 2010.
In 2010, sales were around $2.9 billion. In 2011, the number jumped to $3.1 billion.
In 2012, the number was $3.2 billion and in 2013, sales were over $3.5 billion.
CEO of Grow Idaho Falls, Linda Martin, talked about this year's sales and what it means for eastern Idaho.
"We are doing over $860 million in the first quarter of 2014. We are getting to the point where we are a retail hub and we are a cluster. We have a lot more choices so people are more likely to come here and shop," Martin said.
Martin said eastern Idaho has seen over $5.5 billion in sales, included in that total are sales from Madison, Fremont and Jefferson counties. She said those sales can attract retailers.
"They want to know am I just taking a slice and are we all going to suffer in the end as retailers or is it more of a cluster, an attraction, a magnet for the consumer because it reflects more choices," Martin said.
Mindy Gutierrez and her husband opened a deli in Idaho Falls because they saw the potential to grow. Their restaurant is called "Aragula Deli" and it's located on Walnut Street.
"We feel Idaho Falls is a growing community and it is a great location to be out in the forefront of some of the newer things that are coming here," Gutierrez said.
Gross retail sales also reflect the sales tax that can be generated and collected. The goal of Grow Idaho Falls is to expand the business base and facilitate the creation of jobs in the Idaho Falls area.