Ben Sherr, of Highlands Ranch, holds a PowerICE passed out during the July Fourth parade in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Ben Sherr, of Highlands Ranch, holds a PowerICE passed out during the July Fourth parade in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Steamboat's PowerIce approved for $500,000 in job credits

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— Steamboat Springs-based company PowerIce has been approved for more than $500,000 in state tax credits to add as much as 100 jobs during the next five years.

PowerIce, which makes a frozen hydrating bar of the same name, now has six full-time employees in Steamboat but plans to phase in hiring as it heads into the next steps of its growth plan.

“Our focus is to build PowerIce here locally in Steamboat,” PowerIce President Grant Fenton said.

Colorado’s Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit program provided the incentives for the jobs, which should have an average annual wage of $54,411 (130 percent of the county average), according to a news release. The credits are capped at $515,901 and don't expire for five years.

“We welcome PowerIce's announcement to expand their innovative operations in Colorado,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in the release. “PowerIce is a great example of the emerging outdoor recreation manufacturing cluster in the Steamboat Springs region, and we are thrilled they have chosen to expand in this part of the state.”

“We think they will be a wide variety of professional jobs,” Fenton said. They should “range from management to financial to sales to administrative — everything it would take to build a large company.”

Fenton said the approval was a joint effort of PowerIce, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and the Steamboat Springs Economic Development Council.

“It’s kind of as you go,” Chamber CEO Tom Kern said about the program, which will give PowerIce a Federal Insurance Contributions Act credit for each new job. “They get them as each job is added.”

In the immediate future, PowerIce will be making a push to get its product into 600 to 800 grocery stores this summer, Fenton said.

“A significant amount of growth will begin in next 30 days,” Fenton added.

Grocery stores are only one avenue of growth for PowerIce, with professional athletics and health care being the two other target markets.

“There is an awful lot of growth that we have planned for,” Fenton said. “The addition of new jobs will walk hand in hand with the growth of our company.”

There are a number of challenges to growing a company in Steamboat, Fenton said, including transportation, logistics and the cost of living.

“The idea of a job growth credit as an incentive is being able to have opportunity to make it happen in communities like Steamboat Springs,” he said. “I think it is really important. I really commend Gov. Hickenlooper for making this an important part of his" economic agenda.

“This is very impactful to our success,” Fenton said.

“Helping existing businesses that we have grow and prosper here is probably our top priority,” Kern said, echoing that mountain communities such as Steamboat can be expensive places to do business.

“I think it looks very, very encouraging for them to be a significant employer in the community,” Kern said.

The Chamber now has a staff member dedicated to economic development, Jane Blackstone, and can assist other area businesses looking for programs to help them grow.

“We have some of the professional resources to walk people through these processes,” Kern said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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