Iksplor’s merino wool “Adventure Blanket” comes in teal and blue and is made in the U.S. It’s the first product released by the young Jackson company.

Knifeworks to toast Victor expansion

Tonight New West Knifeworks will celebrate a new store and factory space in Victor, Idaho.

A ribbon cutting and grand opening will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 7667 Lupine Lane.

— Staff report

Presenters picked for Pitch Day

Six up-and-coming companies will compete for cash prizes and a mentoring opportunity Sept. 5 during the eight annual Pitch Day.

At the Silicon Couloir event, entrepreneurs give brief presentations about their businesses to a panel of judges and a general audience.

“The applicant pool this year was the strongest in the event’s history, with 13 passionate entrepreneurs vying for six spaces,” a Silicon Couloir press release said.

These are the 2019 contestants:

Authentag, a blockchain tech business working with the pharmaceutical industry to track drugs from production to sales, thus reducing the risk of counterfeit products and potentially reducing costs.

Buddy Pegs Media, a business that celebrates bicycling and its social impact though books, podcasts, local classes, regional events and an online community.

Franco Snowshapes, maker of custom snowboards.

Mountainist, an online company that rents outdoor action sports apparel and protective gear to women.

Powwater, a social impact business that sells high-end water bottles and cups and directs 50% of profits to clean water projects around the world.

Visibly, a tech business created to improve brand performance and marketing by measuring and tracking brand visibility on the first page of online search results.

“They, along with the other seven applicants, are a testament to the vibrant culture of entrepreneurism and risk-taking in this remarkable and creative place we call home,” Silicon Couloir Executive Director Gary Trauner said in a press release.

The top prize is the $5,000 Panelist Choice Award. The judges will give it to the company they believe gave the best presentation and has the most compelling business idea, the best chance for success and the highest likelihood of finding funding.

Recent winners have included Beauty Scripts, Momentous and DMOS Collective.

Pitch Day spectators will decide who wins the Audience Choice Award, which brings a $2,500 prize.

The winner of the third award, the Bob Arndt Community Caretaker Award, will be invited to join the Teton Entrepreneurs and Mentors Service program.

The award, now in its second year, goes to the person, team or company that “best embodies the core values and mission of Silicon Couloir which is to align entrepreneurship with community vision to promote a diverse economy and healthy environment for current and future generations.”

Arndt and his wife, Melanie Harrice, used to own Jackson Whole Grocer, and he served on a number of boards. He was killed by a drunk driver two years ago.

Pitch Day will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Center for the Arts. It’s free to attend and open to all.

— Staff report

Iksplor unveils ‘Adventure Blanket’

Nearly a year after winning a prize at Pitch Day the sisters behind the young children’s clothing company Iksplor have released their first product and are taking orders for a second.

Karissa Akin and Kailey Gieck have begun shipping a merino wool blanket they’ve had manufactured by a woman-owned business in Minnesota. The “Adventure Blanket,”48 by 48 inches, comes in navy blue and teal and costs $120 at Iksplor.com.

It’s a blanket for all ages, starting with newborns needing to be swaddled and then suitable for all kinds of things as they grow, like picnics, swim class and snuggling on the couch.

So many blankets are “junky,” Akin said, and filled with flame retardants and other chemicals.

Iksplor’s is “a natural blanket that we feel really good about,” she said. “We thought it was a great piece to launch with.”

Iksplor is doing presales for its “Little Explorer” hat, a merino wool cap. It’s available in six colors and costs $28.

Coming up next from Iksplor will be a neck warmer for little ones and then a line of base layers.

The Iksplor team is being coached through TEAMS, Silicon Couloir’s mentoring program. The mentoring was the company’s prize last summer for winning the Bob Arndt Community Caretaker Award at Pitch Day.

— Jennifer Dorsey

Pursue plans reopening in new space

After months of searching for a new location for Pursue Movement Studio, owners announced they’ve found the perfect spot for a grand reopening.

Pursue will move to 820 W. Broadway in Grand Teton Plaza, with a reopening planned for mid-September, according to an email sent by the Pursue team.

“It is a larger space with lots of light, tall ceilings, with room for three studios to host all of our popular disciplines: barre, yoga, sculpt, Megaformer, strength and endurance, and cycle,” the email said. “Our building will also have several bathrooms, private showers, individual changing rooms, and plenty of parking!”

The new location will also feature equipment upgrades like rowers, treadmills and bikes.

“We are adding state-of-the-art heart rate monitoring capabilities for members interested in tracking calories burned, heart rate zones and other fitness performance metrics,” the email stated.

Owners plan to allow 24-hour access to unlimited members at the new location, so they can use the cardio and strength equipment even without scheduled classes.

Unlimited memberships cost $199 a month for a year, but Pursue is offering 30% off if members sign up before July 31.

There is also a household unlimited auto-pay membership for $329 per month.

Pursue is offering a service provider membership for $149 per month “for certain service providers in our community” like teachers, firefighters, law enforcement and nurses.

It will also offer a corporate unlimited membership for five or more employees from the same company.

Pursue left its Pearl Avenue location in May.

“Thank you for your continued patience and commitment to Pursue as we prepare for our future together,” the email said. “Your dedication and support has motivated us to push through the obstacles and to emerge with what will be Jackson’s finest fitness training facility.”

For information about memberships email info@pursuejh.com.

— Emily Mieure

Wanted: nominations for women’s award

The Wyoming Council for Women’s Issues is looking for nominees for its 2019 Woman Entrepreneur Award.

The goal is to recognize woman-owned businesses in Wyoming and “increase the attention to and recognition of the contribution female entrepreneurs make to Wyoming’s economy,” the council said on its website.

“Nominee must be a female who owns/operates a business that has functioned for at least three years and generates a minimum of $5,000 gross revenue annually,” the council said. “The business must make or sell a product or provide a quantifiable service.”

Franchise owners are not eligible.

The deadline for nominations is July 31.

For an application go to TinyURL.com/yxc2fjeb.

Last year Kylah Bowers, owner of Altitude Drug in Pinedale, won the inaugural Woman Entrepreneur Award.

— Staff report

Mentoring network is coming together

Do you have business or startup expertise you’re willing to share with a startup? Or are you a budding entrepreneur who’d like expert guidance?

The Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship are organizing the High Plains Mentor Network to match newbies with people experienced in launching successful ventures.

“The relationships will last for 6-12 months and help the entrepreneur chart a course through the difficult process of starting a company,” the Business Council’s Vivian Georgalas said in a press release.

If you’re interested in mentoring or being mentored, visit UWyo.edu/iie/mentor.

A mentor can be a person who has successfully started and grown a company, an individual with industry-specific experience and networks or someone with a specific set of business skills. Mentors should go in with the idea of giving back and not expect compensation.

People signing up to be mentored should be new venture founders who are beyond the concept stage, are actively working to develop the business and have invested time or money in it.

The website goes into detail. If you have questions email Peter Scott, entrepreneur in residence, at pscott5@uwyo.edu.

— Staff report

Snake River Sporting Club is growing

More than 25 properties worth close to $50 million were sold in 2018 at Snake River Sporting Club and sales this year continue to be strong.

Jeff Heilbrun, executive vice president and director of sales at the club, in the Snake River canyon south of Jackson, said “there has been tremendous growth in interest and recorded sales over the last 16 months” at the 1,000-acre golf course and residential development. The sales reported for 2018 were up 43 percent over the previous year, he said.

Heilbrun also announced the start of phase three of The Lodges, the last of the club’s resort properties, and said work has begun on some units. The final phase of development includes 18 freestanding two- and three-story “Lodge Cabins” and another 14 three-bedroom condos in a single “resort-style building.”

Snake River Sporting Club’s golf, hiking, fishing and rafting activities are complemented this summer by a new glamping option that will have 10 sites in the adjacent Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Adding to the attractions is the start of work this past spring at Astoria Hot Springs, a longtime natural hot springs resort that has been closed for years but is now being reinvigorated. The Sporting Club donated $1 million to the campaign being run by the Trust for Public Land to build pools, picnicking areas and finally an adjacent public park on 98 acres next to the Snake River.

— Mark Huffman

Contact Jennifer Dorsey at jennifer@jhnewsandguide.com or 732-5908.

Jennifer Dorsey is chief copy editor and Business section coordinator. She worked in Washington, D.C., and Chicago before moving to the Tetons.

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