Seeing 2020

Seeing 2020

At first, Eagle Vision One seemed too good to be true, such that it might be the setting for a modern Pleasantville film. Their offices are beautiful and could pass a white glove inspection any day of the week. The staff seem empowered and confident. Patients were even smiling after doing the new gentle eye pressure test that replaced that dreaded eye-puffer thing!

I sat down with Dr. Adam Warner and Dr. Shawn Sorenson, co-owners of Eagle Vision One, to learn more about how they’ve built such an impressive practice.

After handily winning “Best Optometrist” in the 2019 Best of Treasure Valley and then winning “Best Eye Care” in this year’s Idaho’s Best, Eagle Vision One has firmly planted their flag atop the eye doctor hill.

Everywhere you look, Dr. Warner and Dr. Sorenson have done more than was necessary. Continuing education, more staff, better training, extended hours, and advanced treatment — they go as far as they reasonably can to provide the best service for their patients.

I work with many small business professionals across the country — doctors, dentists, and lawyers that own their practices. Few have achieved such near-perfect execution as Eagle Vision One. And while they’re not necessarily perfect, they seem to have few (if any) weak areas. Plus, you’ll never see them cut corners. They believe their patients deserve and should receive the best available treatment.

When I asked the doctors what was most important to them, Dr. Sorenson said seeing his patients every year. Even if your eyes seem fine and your prescription hasn’t changed, there is still a lot of value in a checkup. Most insurance plans cover annual exams, and that’s because early detection of glaucoma and macular degeneration is incredibly important.

There are even other health conditions that may be revealed with an eye exam, making them even more important as we age. Conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia can be evaluated and detected by visible changes in the appearance of the retinal blood supply and blood vessels.

Some eye conditions may not be a serious threat to your health, but can be incredibly annoying. Eagle Vision One has a dedicated dry eye center in their clinics, which provide testing, imaging, and treatment for a widespread problem that is often ignored.

Eagle Vision One is proof that the who is as important as the what in eye care. You don’t have to deal with years of poor vision, glasses that don’t fit, poor service, or high pressure sales. Do your research and you’ll clearly see the right choice is Eagle Vision One.

The Savvy Shopper

One look at me and it’s obvious that I know everything about fashion. I’m the Ru Paul of white, middle-aged, strong-fat guys. OK, so I don’t actually know anything about fashion. That’s why I learned so many new terms by interviewing Erin, like “haute couture”, “boutique”, and “ruche”. Now I’ll be able to blend in when I’m shopping with my better half!

Erin Rigel is the founder and owner of Fashion 15 Below, newly-crowned as the best clothing store in Idaho. Going in, I wasn’t sure I could steer the interview or contribute to conversation, but I perked up when she explained the basic principle of her business — they offer a wide range of boutique clothing and nearly everything is under $15.

Erin has always been a savvy shopper. She loved her childhood experiences of looking for great deals with her mom, and her shopping sprees just never stopped — they just grew in scale.

“Our goal is to make every woman feel beautiful and empowered whether they bought something from us or not.”

Her operation began as the first mobile boutique in Idaho. But her growth and success has been such that Fashion 15 Below has two locations with a third on the way and a separate warehouse to handle online orders in just its fourth year. Customers have their choice of 15,000 hand-picked products in a wide range of sizes, with new fashions arriving every day.

I know what you’re thinking, because it’s what I thought. Over 15,000 items priced at $15 or below; so it’s just piles of Chinese imports, right? That couldn’t be further from the truth. Quality is very important to a fashionista like Erin, and 85 percent of Fashion 15 Below’s stock is made right here in the USA (insert Eagle’s cry). After all, it’s not a good deal unless what you’re getting is worth having.

And I’ll tell you what…Erin is impressive because she’s industrious and she’s a hustler. She’s constantly attending all the shows, building relationships with manufacturers and designers, and shopping for fantastic deals for her stores. She uses her magic shopping powers for good, passing the savings on to her customers.

Even if you don’t live in Twin Falls or Pocatello, you can still take advantage of the great deals that Fashion 15 Below is able to find for you by ordering online. Erin’s club of savvy shoppers can access the store plus six big sales every day through the Fashion 15 Below app, available for Android and Apple devices.

Quest for Innovation


Let’s take a field trip back to a time and place that few of us remember well. In 1963, the communities of the Treasure Valley were quite different. Boise’s population was only about 40,000 and had just opened its second high school. Boise College was still years away from becoming Boise State University. Meridian, Idaho’s fastest growing city for the last 25 years, had a population of only 2,000, and it’s lifeblood since the Great Depression was the creamery run by a local cooperative of dairy farmers.

It was in this time and place that Gerald Cope saw a need that he was well suited to fill, opening Cope Auto Repair in Meridian. Thus began a journey that continues to this day, more than 56 years later. The business has grown, moved, rebranded, and has been passed from father Gerald to son Rick, but one thing hasn’t changed — the Cope commitment to quality work.

It is, in fact, the Cope name that has become synonymous with auto body repair in the Treasure Valley. The Cope Collision Center, as the business is now called, is a family-run affair. Many of the Cope lineage have dedicated their talents to the family trade. But Rick Cope is not one to turn down talent when he finds it, rounding out their needs with skilled and dedicated operators wherever they find them.

Cars have become incredibly more complicated than they were when Rick’s father first started the business, with new models having more lines of code in their computer systems than most airliners.

That’s why the Cope team is very dedicated to continuing education. The technicians are constantly taking classes and receiving instruction, always updating their education. Their team has the highest possible rating in the industry as I-Car Gold Class certified professionals. Outside of the Honda dealer, they have the only shop in town that is Honda certified. You can add to that virtually every other major car manufacturer, including Nissan, Ford, Dodge, GM, Chevrolet, and more.

Danielle, the Vice President of Cope Collision Center, also emphasized that consumers have a lot more power than most realize. If, like me, you’ve ever been steered to one business or another by an insurance adjuster, she stressed that you don’t have to listen to them. In Idaho, consumers are legally free to take their vehicles to be repaired anywhere they want. Get that estimate; get that second opinion, and make an informed choice!

Cope Collision Center happily works with all insurance companies and agents, but won’t allow themselves to be influenced by them. Cope will return your vehicle to you in pre-accident condition and document it so that insurance will cover it, and their work will come with a lifetime guarantee.

Cope Collision Center might be an old dog, but it’s a reliable one that has learned all kinds of new tricks to stay modern and relevant. It’s how they’ve been an essential part of the community for more than 50 years, and in all likelihood will still be going strong in 50 more.

Charity Unleashed


I am grateful for people like Brian and Jodie Rencher, owners of Advanced Dental Care of Twin Falls. I could use this space to tell you how successful their business is (very), how advanced their technology and treatments are (impressively so), or even how incredible the view is from their treatment rooms (majestic), but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I want to tell you about their service.

You see, while we all have our difficulties, most of us here in Idaho are lucky enough to live so well that we fail to appreciate some of the great luxuries and opportunities we have. Most of us don’t realize how life-changing dentistry can be.

When a new patient showed up to Advanced Dental Care for a consultation, she asked Dr. Rencher to pull all of her teeth and prepare her a set of dentures. She’s a young mother who is in fact beautiful, but the poor condition of her teeth led her to covering her mouth to hide them from view. Working in food service without great benefits, replacing her teeth with dentures was the only solution she could afford.

She may not have asked for charity, but she got it. Dr. Rencher saw that the young lady’s teeth might be discolored and not quite straight, but they were otherwise healthy. Advanced Dental Care provided cleaning, whitening, and orthodontic care, asking her to pay only what she could afford. That act of charity has changed her life!

Brian and Jodie are a model in this regard, not taking their blessings for granted and always quick to help others. They are very focused on giving aid where they can. In cooperation with the LDS Dental Academy, Dr. Rencher has made multiple trips to China to provide humanitarian aid. There he provided free dental care for children from orphanages and the elderly, and also provided dental training at a local university.

The practice hasn’t lost sight of the fact that there are also people right here that could use a little help. They provide service, cash, and material donations to a variety of local causes, including the Valley House, animal shelters, the Special Olympics, victims of domestic violence, the list goes on and on!

But the event that may be the cause for the most excitement is Advanced Dental Care’s Dentistry from the Heart Day. At last year’s event, the team provided free dental care to more than 70 local residents. It was a smashing success, and they are looking forward to their next Heart Day, which is slated for next fall.

Diamond Hugs

When I first spoke with Rick, the founder of Diamond Heating & Cooling, I was not impressed when he told me, “Taking care of clients is our top priority.” You see, just about every HVAC website, ad, and mission statement will say something to that effect. Any cynical person would say that these claims of wholesome intent are hogwash.

Sprint’s “About Us” page says their focus is creating an amazing customer experience, yet year after year they rank among the most hated businesses, worst customer service, and worst places to work in America.

So how do you know when it’s not hogwash and the organization actually holds to the ideals that it claims? It’s simple — you ask their customers.
Let me share a story of Anne (name changed for privacy). She is 81 years old, wheelchair bound, lives alone, and receives palliative care. When her furnace stopped working on a cold December day, Anne couldn’t bare it.

Diamond Heating & Cooling not only provided fast and reliable service, they helped Anne on a whole new level. Despite receiving a new furnace, Anne’s invoice read a grand total of $0.00.

In the notes read the following: “No charge for this lady under any circumstances. We will be available 24/7 to help her and keep her comfortable.”
Anne had become a recipient of the famous “Diamond Hug”, a community program led by Diamond Heating & Cooling where they look for opportunities to give back to others in need.

As the cold season began last year, the team met because Rick had generously offered free furnaces with the requisite labor costs for two families in need. Problem was, they had actually found five families that needed furnaces.

They had a choice to make.

And choose they did! After one technician offered to cover a third furnace out of his own pocket, the rest of the team collaborated and pitched in so that each of the five families could keep their homes warm over the winter.

It doesn’t stop there either. The Diamond team sponsored an orphanage and teamed up with a non-profit to provide shoes for “their” kids. For 2020 they’ve already set aside time and money for veterans, the Boise Rescue Mission, the Garden City Police, and they’ll again partner with KTSY to provide furnaces for a few homes this year.

It’s acceptable if you have tears welling up in your eyes right now. These people are good, in the truest sense of the word.
Sue Ellen, Diamond Co-Owner and Rick’s number one gal, explained to me their philosophy. “When someone is in the field, we want our technicians to have the authority to make decisions for the best needs of the client without worrying about blow-back from management.”

Sue Ellen and Rick begin by setting the example from the very top. Then they hire and train highly-skilled HVAC technicians, emphasize the Diamond Hug philosophy, and then empower them to take care of clients.

No hogwash here, right?

Rocket Express Car Wash is Green and Clean

What’s the secret to a great car wash? My very first job was in a detail shop, so I thought I understood. After working with Rocket Express Car Wash owners Joe and Janet Russell, I’ve learned that the secret sauce isn’t magic soap or a spotless rinse — it’s people.

Don’t get me wrong; Rocket Express has all the special tools and toys that any auto aficionado could ever want. When you pull your car into that 240-foot conveyor, you’re about to be on the receiving end of the very best car-cleaning experience available anywhere.  But what stood out the most was not the neon lights, free vacuums, or free mat-cleaning machines, it was the people.

The Rocket Express Commitment

In fact, when I first spoke with Joe Russell, I asked him what made Rocket Express unique. He said, “We compensate our people well above others and we attract and retain exceptional people.” This is what impressed me about the Rocket team. They are committed to their team and their customers, and their team and customers are committed to them.

When I visited the Rocket Express Car Wash, located at Fairview and Cloverdale, the sense of loyalty from the staff was palpable. These exceptional people work diligently to deliver a great experience to each customer in the hopes that they will become a Rocket Express ambassador.

Co-founder Janet Russell, a marketing guru, also wears the hats of COO, HR rep, and trainer.  She expressed to me the importance of ecological responsibility in their operations.

Above the vacuum canopy sets is one of the largest solar panel arrays in the Treasure Valley, creating much of the Rocket’s energy needs.  “Rocket Express also reclaims the majority of the water used in its car washes, uses only earth-friendly products, and continually invests to improve sustainability”, Janet Russell said.

In the end, you might choose Rocket Express Car Wash because of the value, its commitment to the community, or simply because you’ll get an exceptionally clean, shiny, and dry car in four minutes or less. It might even be because they won the Best of Treasure Valley. Those are all valid reasons, but what will keep you going back is the overall experience provided by the people.


The fifth Rocket Express Mega Car Wash, second in the Treasure Valley, is currently under construction at the northwest corner of the intersection of Chinden Blvd. and Linder Road in Meridian.

Modern Dental – Not Your Old School Drill and Fill

Modern Dental

Many things seem better when you take time to do it the old fashioned way. But when it comes to dentistry, I very much prefer the latest and greatest that technology has to offer. The closer it is to Star-Trek, the better!

I’ve worked with Modern Dental (in east Boise) for years, so I can give them my endorsement. The atmosphere is warm and inviting while the tools and techniques used are cutting edge. Here are just a few reasons why you can trust your oral health with the Modern Dental team.

Dr. Wagner

Dr. Wagner

Dr. Wagner stays on top of the latest techniques in dental health. Not satisfied with the minimum requirements, he puts in far more hours in continuing education every year than he needs to. His advanced training in cosmetic dentistry, implants, and a few other specialized areas gives him the tools needed to provide top-notch care to patients.




Dr. Royce

Dr. Royce

As a professional, Dr. Royce lives by the mantra “attention to detail”. He will always put his patients’ needs first and foremost. He has specialized education that allows Modern Dental to use certain techniques in-house.





IV Sedation


Dental anxiety is a real struggle for many people. That’s why Modern Dental has multiple options to help patients stay calm and relaxed during treatment, including IV sedation. It’s the Goldilocks of sedation because patients are very relaxed but can still respond to instructions.



They Respect Your Time


Modern Dental takes pride in staying on schedule. If you wait more than 10 minutes past your appointment time, you’ll receive a gift certificate to a local business or restaurant.



Modern Dental Guarantee

Modern Dental

They stand behind their work. “Complete Care, Completely Guaranteed” means they stand 100% behind their treatment. Should anything happen to your dental work, in most cases Modern Dental will repair or replace it at no cost to you.

The Golden Rule

Treasure Valley Exteriors

2019 BoTV Winner – Best Home Remodeler, Best Contractor

When you need help with a home project, you don’t always know where to go. It needs to be done well and you want to get a fair price on it, too. This can be especially tricky with work you might not be familiar with, like roofing, windows, or installing solar panels. I think people are wary when looking for companies to work on their most important investments, and this often leads to a referral from someone they know that some guys that can hook you up.

But if the work isn’t done by licensed and insured professionals, you might actually be putting your home, your money, and your safety at risk. That’s why I’m here to tell you that I know some guys that can hook you up, and they are top-notch home renovators in the Treasure Valley.

Max and Kelly had been working on homes together for years, but they weren’t satisfied. The company they worked for was like so many others, attempting to squeeze every possible penny out of every job. Even worse, they weren’t nice. The guys in charge weren’t nice to their customers; they weren’t even nice to their employees. Max and Kelly brought their heads together with one thought — “We could do this better ourselves.”

Treasure Valley Exteriors is Boise’s Best

And so they did. Treasure Valley Exteriors was founded by Max and Kelly in 2011 and in a few short years, they have seen tremendous success. They are the Treasure Valley’s source of home improvement value. They’ve had this success by establishing trust, doing quality work, and being nice.

I can say from personal experience that Max is right when he says that treating people well is their secret to success. He says, “It comes down to that first interaction. I’m creating a friendship with somebody and thinking, ‘I frickin’ like this guy.’”

For homeowners that want to feel more confident when choosing a contractor, Kelly recommends getting a second opinion. “It’s the people that don’t get a second opinion that get hosed,” he explained. Treasure Valley Exteriors is happy to give you a second opinion on your roofing, siding, and just about any type of exterior renovation your home needs.

But even if you’re going to them just for a second opinion, I’m pretty sure Treasure Valley Exteriors will become your first choice.

Whatever it Takes – A Real Life Comeback Story

Like millions of Americans, Bret Adams suffered due to significant back pain. And just like many of them, he had been down the medical rabbit hole, going through many doctors and physical therapists with no success. Their collective prognosis? “We’re sorry. You’re broken and there’s nothing we can do.”

Not satisfied with that response, the young accounting major changed courses to pursue physical therapy. He thought, “That can’t be the end of it. A musculoskeletal problem like this should be treatable with the right musculoskeletal approach.”

Bret understood a fundamental truth about the human body. His best chance to defeat chronic back pain was to set his body up to heal itself, and he was going to learn how to make that happen.

Years later, Bret Adams (PT, MPT, ATC, CSCS) shares his hard-won knowledge and finely tuned technique in his practice, Idaho Spine and Sports Physical Therapy (ISSPT). His troop of highly trained therapists operates out of three locations in the Treasure Valley.

I found a comrade in Bret Adams. Like him, I was a strength athlete whose path was altered by a significant back injury. I’ve also been through a quagmire of medical intervention that has only been minimally effective. I can describe Bret and the ISSPT team with one word: precision.

Precision is what makes a great physical therapist. The ISSPT team believes you should be perfect at what you do. Their ability to accurately diagnose an injury and follow through with hands-on techniques can give your body the re-education it needs to heal itself.

The skill of ISSPT has led to a tremendous success rate. Of patients that stick with their treatment plans, more than 9 of 10 are successful in treatment.

Whether it’s chronic pain or an acute injury affecting your life, Bret recommends seeing a therapist early. Most people wait far too long before seeking help.

A Reason to Swipe Right

You know… the dating app where if you like what you see, you swipe right? I’ve long compared real estate to online dating. Are those pictures real and recent? Does the description on the profile reflect reality? Am I about to meet a crazy person? Will I have regrets tomorrow?

The real estate market often feels like the Wild West, and I thought that’s just the way it was. Brokers often see their clients and customers as a number rather than people who are likely making the biggest purchase of their lives.

Outdated technology, bad photography, and rolling the dice on getting a decent real estate agent have all been accepted as normal. Even more than most businesses, real estate is an industry that leans heavily on the character of the people involved. When Nick Schlekeway formed the Boise real estate agency Amherst Madison in 2013, he wanted to do things differently.

The culture of any company starts at the top. If you know Nick and the values he holds, you’ll know what to expect from Amherst Madison. He’s a forward thinker who expects the best from himself, and the 70+ agents at his brokerage aim for the same standard.

Founder of Amherst Madison – Nick Schlekeway

At a glance, Nick is one of those high achievers who seem too good to be true, but I can attest that he is the real deal. We are the same age and attended the same high school and college, so I’ve been Nick-adjacent for around 20 years. He was a star athlete, valedictorian, and Hall of Famer in high school. In college he was an Academic All-American who graduated with honors, First Team All Conference selection, and a team captain the season Boise State won the famous 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. If you’re still not impressed, he was a top-notch Boise firefighter for several years, completed a master’s degree at Georgetown, and started a very successful company in competitive niche.

Oh, and he’s nice.

Despite his success, what makes Nick and his brokerage an inspiration is the focus on other people. To that point, the agency isn’t named after the founder, but after a brother-and-sister pair he knew who battled cancer and won. Their ability to persevere inspired him, and when it came time to put a name on the company’s founding documents, the team believed their names deserved the honor. So if you’re in the market for a new real estate agency, skip the online dating period and meet the Amherst Madison team in person. The pictures are real.

~Matthew Biss

Amherst Madison Boise

Amherst Madison is a client-centric brokerage that focuses on community involvement and building relationships. Customers appreciate the updated, cloud-based technology the firm uses, with standards of quality in photography and listings that won’t be found anywhere else in Idaho. The agents operate with the belief that clients deserve more from their realtor, realtors deserve more from their brokerage, and the community deserves more from us all.