Top 10 – 6/9/19

Roof of the Atlanta Falcons stadium, parts of which were fabricated right here in Great Falls by the ADF International team!

Here is our Top 21 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Exhibited and networked with food ingredient companies at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Expo in New Orleans. GFDA hosted a booth to engage with food processors and their decision makers about locating in the Great Falls Trade Area, as well as give Montana based companies an opportunity to participate in the expo to expand their markets. Montana Specialty Mills attended as part of the GFDA hosted booth and was able to engage with existing and potential customers. For more information, contact Barnett at (406) 750-3285 or Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

2) Make plans to attend the Kids Education Yes! annual lunch, this Wednesday June 12th, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM at the History Museum. RSVP by Monday June 10th to Gerry Jennings at jenningsg92@gmail.com or 788-5099.

3) Congratulations to the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB on winning the Omaha Trophy for best missile wing in 2018!!! See KRTV.

4) We work to stimulate entrepreneurial activity throughout the region. If you are or know someone interested in starting a business in north central Montana, our next pre-business workshop, The LaunchPoint is this Tuesday, June 11th from 4-5 PM. Please register to attend here. This content is also available for viewing online.

5) The Montana Expo Park Improvement Strategy is moving forward! This week community members were invited to learn more and share their ideas. Learn more about the strategic planning for the future of Montana Expo Park by clicking here.

6) The 25-year June SBA 504 loan debenture came in almost 1.5% below prime at 4.086%. The 20-year note faired even better at 3.978%. When was the last time you obtained business financing with an interest rate that started with a 3? SBA 504 interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going fees. If you are looking to finance commercial real estate or equipment now is the time! Contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out more.

7) Congratulations to Chuck and Gerry Jennings on being recognized as the 2019 Paris Gibson Award winners!! See Great Falls Tribune.

8) GFDA’s Food and Ag Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison networked at the Plant Based World Conference & Expo in New York City, and toured innovative grocery and retail locations to keep apprised of food and consumer trends. The visit helped to continue GFDA’s engagement in the alternative protein space, resulted in new contacts, and reinforced our ability to provide technical assistance rooted in real-world knowledge of the agricultural supply chain from farms in Montana to grab-and-go stores in New York City. For more information, contact Barnett at (406) 750-3285 or Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) JobsEQ preliminary data for 2019Q1 released Friday indicates that average wages in the Great Falls MSA increased for the 21st consecutive quarter, generating more disposable income for local workers. The industry seeing the largest employment growth from 2018Q1 to 2019Q1 was Admin and Support, increasing 7.4%, driven by FCR‘s continued expansion in downtown Great Falls.

10) We published our Quarterly Investor Letter. Our partnership efforts to create new apartments in Great Falls was featured in an article in the Association of Defense Community’s newsletter.

11) GFDA’s Board approved our Brownfields Advisory Committee’s recommendation for a Phase 1 environmental study on a potential purchase of a vacant property. This would be for a business expansion. We’re excited to assist businesses with tools to expand and grow. If you are looking at a property or building, but unsure what environmental impacts may exist, give us a call so we can talk about how we can help. Just a reminder, in order to qualify for EPA Brownfields help through GFDA, a Phase 1 or AAI must be completed prior to property purchase. Contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

12) Ft. Benton secured a major grant to improve its airport, see Tribune. A new hot dog stand opened in downtown Great Falls, see Tribune. The Great Falls Business Improvement District has issued a call for artists to paint more traffic signal boxes. Snits Bar opened downtown, see Tribune.

13) Began underwriting loans for three projects this week – one for a downtown retailer and two SBA 504 hotel loans. We are excited about all of the loan activity we’ve had recently but there is always room for more. If your business is starting, growing or expanding and you could use help financing your projects please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) Congratulations to the 2019 Historic Preservation award winners recognized by Great Falls-Cascade County Historic Preservation Advisory Committee! See TheElectricGF.com for details. We are proud to have played a small part in one of the award winners, the C.M. Russell Home restoration at the C.M. Russell Museum. We provided a brownfield grant for asbestos removal.

15) Met with and learned about Great Falls Minot Builders Supply. Great Falls is the largest of the company’s four locations and employs about 50 people here. They specialize in doors, siding, and trusses. We’re happy to have them as part of the Great Falls business landscape! We routinely go out to businesses to learn about what they do and what they need to be successful here. If you have a business we should visit, contact Jolene at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.750.4481.

16) The Montana Department of Agriculture has created a new show to promote Montana beverage manufacturers. The Montana Beverage Show will be held on November 4th in Helena. Details and sign up to participate here.

17) GFDA’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) worked with Northrop Grumman to find qualified businesses in Cascade and Fergus counties to participate in their GBSD Industry Day Event this past week. Businesses were able to present their capability overview with GBSD program leadership. Northrop Grumman is continuing to accept Capability Statements and Company information. The industry sector businesses they are looking for are as follows:  Construction, Remediation, Environmental compliance, Surveying, Armed security, Transportation, Supply warehouses (including people who manage: stocking, storing, issuing, packaging and handling), Back shop maintenance (hydraulic, electrical, battery, air conditioning), Field maintenance, Vehicle repair and maintenance, Fueling of equipment (diesel and propane, access to fuel sources and fuel drops or placement at the sites), Bus/transportation services (Local movement of people and/or material) and HR staffing businesses to staff the Distribution Center.  If you were unable to attend the event, we can help get your business signed up on their Supplier List. For more information or copies of the Supplier Information Forms, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

18) Cybersecurity Workshop offered through the Montana PTAC by Northrop Grumman, July 2 in Bozeman. See details and registration here.

19) GFDA has now trained over 200 people in our region and across Montana through our statewide monthly webinar series. Our June webinar was on the topic of converting marketing leads to paying customers. To watch the recording, please click here. Two GFDA investors will present our next two webinars, Wendy Weissman will talk about accounting on July 11th and Colin Lee from Cogswell Insurance will talk about best practices for entrepreneurs in the insurance industry on August 1st. Our webinars reach a statewide audience. If you’re a GFDA investor and are interested in presenting a webinar for us this fall, please contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

20) The Montana Housing Partnership Conference is being held in Butte on June 17-19. Details and registration here.

21) We are excited to announce that Alex Houtz has joined our team for a summer internship. Alex recently graduate in Economics from MSU. He will be attending law school in the fall.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828

“Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.”

Michele Jennae

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

Top 10 – 6/2/19

 

Ready for an amazing Great Falls Montana summer! Check out all our region has to offer at VisitGreatFallsMontana.org.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 16 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Closed a $2.271 million bridge loan package to the Madison Food Park to support the development of Big Sky Cheese. The new cheese manufacturer which will produce a variety of cheese products made from milk sourced from local and regional dairy producers. We want to see more value-added ag producers in our region. If you have been thinking of turning some of our abundant agricultural commodities into new products and could use some help with the planning or financial aspects of your business, please get in touch! Eleven months into our fiscal year, we’ve closed 17 loans totaling $6,526,751.

2) The April unemployment rate in the Great Falls metro area was 2.9%, our lowest April rate on record. If your business could benefit from diving deep into labor market data throughout our region, we subscribe to the powerful JobsEQ system.

3) Worked with several primary sector companies looking to expand in Great Falls Montana! We are here to help you every step of the way. Call Jolene to chat about your project 406.750.4481. We have a new GFDA Services & Team flyer and a new Great Falls AgriTech Park flyer.

4) Congratulations to Heather Palermo on winning the Judy Martz Women in Leadership Award from the Montana Chamber of Commerce! Heather will use the prize money to attend the Said Business School at Oxford’s Women Transforming Leadership program this fall.

5) The GFDA’s PTAC has been assisting Northrop Grumman to find subcontractors to participate in a Small Business Supplier Day event on June 5th. In conjunction with the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, this event will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn starting at 10:30 AM. For more information on the industry sectors they are looking for or the documents you will need to provide, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406)750-1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org. You can also RSVP (including the names and titles of not more than two representatives per company) to Cascade Mittman at cascade.mittman@ngc.com or (310-812-7820.

6) The Great Falls downtown pedlet effort — creating outside dining spaces — was featured by the Montana Rural Health Initiative. Enjoy our wonderful downtown!

7) We have two training events coming up in the next couple weeks. Our next webinar, Lock Down Your Sales Funnel, will present ideas for entrepreneurs and sales people to convert marketing leads into paying customers. The live presentation is June 6th at 11 AM. We share the recorded content to everyone who’s registered. Next week, we invite anyone interested in starting a business in the region to attend our monthly pre-business workshop, The LaunchPoint, on Tuesday, June 11th. To inquire about any of GFDA’s business education events, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) The National Science Foundation awarded a $20 million research and education project on water quality in Montana. The project, titled the Consortium for Research on Environmental Water Systems, or CREWS, is a partnership between the University of Montana, Montana State University, Montana Technological University, Salish Kootenai College and Little Big Horn College to study Montana water systems and water quality issues. The CREWS project will focus on three study sites: the upper Clark Fork River, the Judith River Watershed and the Powder River Basin.

9) We have worked with Great Falls Montana Tourism to make it easy for you to share positive messages through your own social media channels. Once you sign up you’ll receive emails that allow you to approve content postings before sharing. Check it out here.

10) Speaking of Visit Great Falls Montana tourism efforts, take a look at their new fifteen second videos featuring RoadHouse Diner and the CM Russell Museum.

11) If you are interested in the proposed new events center and other improvements at the Montana ExpoPark, the first community task force meeting will be held this Tuesday, June 4th, 7 AM in the ExpoPark Atrium Building. Contact Rebecca Engum of Great Falls Montana Tourism at Rebecca@visitgreatfalls.org for more info.

12) Make plans to attend the Kids Education Yes! annual lunch, Wednesday June 12th, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM at the History Museum. RSVP by June 6th to Gerry Jennings at jenningsg92@gmail.com or 788-5099.

13) Before buying a commercial building, we recommend you have a Phase One environmental assessment done as part of your due diligence. If you don’t do a Phase One, you are taking on 100% of the risk without the ability to access resources to help. Call Lillian to learn more about assessment, 406.750.1253.

14) Our New Markets Tax Credit partner, MoFi, won a new $70 million allocation of credits. If you are interested in exploring creative financing structures for your proposed project, contact Mike Archer at MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-284-1789.

15) Join us this Friday, June 7th for another installment of our Development Coffee. Engage with investors and potential investors for enlightening and entertaining conversation regarding issues, projects and the potential in the Golden Triangle. Location: GFDA’s office, The Portage Building at the West Bank Landing, 405 3rd St NW, Suite 203. Time: 7 AM.

16) We’d like to recognize our newest Investors in Economic Development, Klinefelter’s Insulation, Alanna Ballard, and Jason and Ali Brantley of Notable Properties, LLC for their Community Division investments. You understand that investment in GFDA’s work increases the economic health and well-being of our economy. On behalf of our team, our Board of Directors and fellow investors, thank you!!!

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

John F. Kennedy

SBA 504 Loans

SBA 504 rates were down yet again in May! The 25-year note came in at 4.387%, the 20-year note at 4.260%, 20-year refi at 4.293% and the 10-year note at 4.351%. Contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

USDA is hosting two opportunity workshops in Great Falls on June 6 for businesses, farmers and ranchers: Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) in the morning; and, Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) in the afternoon.

Top 10 – 5/27/19

Great Falls was ranked the 11th best small city in the nation in which to open a small business by Go.Verizon.com! See Great Falls Tribune.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 22 for the last three weeks, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy. I fell behind getting the Top 10 out, but you can see below that we have been busy!

1) Choteau has a new specialty grain miller, Conservation Grains; see Great Falls Tribune. Broadwater Coffee Brewing opened in Great Falls. You can find them at 721 6th St SW Monday through Saturday 6 AM to 2 PM; see TheElectricGF.comMrs. Wright’s Pastys opened its new location; see KRTVAuto Zone is opening a second store on the west side of Great Falls; see TheElectricGF.com. Franz Bakery opened in Great Falls.

2) We closed a $305,000 SBA 504 loan on a $740,000 project for Big Sky Managed Care in Great Falls. Big Sky Managed Care has been growing fast and was bursting at the seams in their old building. We were able to help them purchase a more spacious office at a low interest rate and down payment of only 10%. Many thanks to their excellent commercial bankers Chad Simonson and Kevin Eckhardt at First Interstate Bank for recommending this great product to them. If your commercial space isn’t keeping up with your growing business or you’d like to buy instead of lease, please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out how we can help.

3) Joined Great Falls Public Schools to celebrate the ground breaking for the new Longfellow Elementary School! Here is a link to a cool video that shows what the new school will look like.

4) Submitted a proposal requested by a major advanced manufacturer considering expansion locations.

5) The Great Falls Homebuilders Association and the Great Falls Association of Realtors presented a powerful report prepared by the National Homebuilders Association that details the economic impact of new home construction in the Great Falls metro area. The one-year impact of building 100 single-family homes includes $23.6 million in local income, $1.5 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 363 local jobs. The additional annual recurring impact of building 100 single-family homes includes $3.5 million in local income, $696,000 in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 71 local jobs.

6) We closed a $500,000 loan to Pardue Grain for working capital to operate their brand new state-of-the-art pulse processing facility outside of Cut Bank. Many thanks to Ryan Eney from First Interstate Bank in Cut Bank for his tireless shepherding of the lending aspects of this project from the very beginning.

7) Great Falls seniors celebrated National Career Signing Day, signing letters of intent to pursue careers with Sletten Construction, Wadsworth Builders, Liberty Electric, Cascade Electric, and Paradise Fencing. Career technical education is an excellent partnership between our industrial trades at Great Falls Public Schools and community employers. Several students signed with Great Falls College MSU to pursue careers in Health Sciences and Information Technology, taking advantage of dual-enrollment opportunities. See the story on KRTV.

8) Met with developers, brands, and brokers at the RECON commercial real estate annual event. While we still have work to do attracting population, we had more interest this year than in past years. There are numerous franchise opportunities. Contact Jolene to discuss 406.750.4481.

9) Governor Bullock signed bills reauthorizing key Montana economic development programs for another eight years and funding critical infrastructure projects, including expansion of the Dental Hygiene Program at Great Falls College MSU, and numerous rural water and sewer projects in our region.

10) Four new businesses opened in downtown Great Falls last quarter. Building permits were issued for 13 downtown construction projects totaling $5,108,627. Downtown volunteers donated 7,827 hours!

11) Approved a $2.271 million bridge loan package to support the development of an exciting new local business. We can be flexible with our financing in ways that banks can’t, which can be especially important for the beginning stages of a project when the development process, timeline and end date are not well defined. If you have a project that could use some support before the banks are able to step in, contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) Mother-daughter team Deena Maier and Amber Hofstad of Windrift Hill, the skin care products manufacturer in Conrad, won the top prize $6,000 Impact Grant from the Women’s Business Center at Prospera Business Network in Bozeman to help increase their production capacity by 500%; see ABC Fox Montana story. Windrift Hill products can be found at many Great Falls area retailers, including 2J’s Fresh Market, at the Windrift Hill retail store in Conrad, or online at http://windrifthill.com/. Congratulations to Amber and Deena for their continued efforts to employ more people, pay more in wages, and drive primary sector dollars into the local economy!

13) SBA 504 rates were down yet again in May! The 25-year note came in at 4.387%, the 20-year note at 4.260%, 20-year refi at 4.293% and the 10-year note at 4.351%. These interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan and include all on-going fees. If you’re in the market for a commercial real estate or equipment loan and would like fixed interest rates like these with down payments as low as 10%, please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) USDA is hosting two opportunity workshops in Great Falls on June 6 for businesses, farmers and ranchers: Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) in the morning; and, Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) in the afternoon.

15) Sixteen aspiring entrepreneurs attended two pre-business workshops, The LaunchPoint and Boots to Business. GFDA’s efforts to spur entrepreneurial startup activity continue to grow. We’ve now trained 64 aspiring entrepreneurs in 2019 compared to 43 last year. Thank you for helping us spread the word to inspire potential entrepreneurs in the region. We’ve also recorded The LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Webinar for those who can’t make our live events. Click here to learn the basics about starting a business.

16) Student entrepreneurs celebrated the first Electric City Shark Tank. First Place winner was CMR student Samantha Olson, who invented the Tiny Tracker, a complex blue tooth tracker to find lost belongings. Second place winner went to Great Falls High’s Hallie Thompson, Wholesome Hal’s food truck specializing in super food. Third place went to Eean Mann, a CMR student with a 4-in-1 utensil dubbed the neo-utensil, a functional and practical utensil marketed for fast-food restaurants. Competition was incredibly well-poised, and Lincoln Elementary students also had an enlightening presentation. See Tribune story.

17) Livability Media is wrapping up their advertising for the Great Falls Montana talent attraction magazine they are publishing in partnership with GFDA. This tool has worked very well for other communities our size. Check out Southern Idaho’s publication. This is more than a magazine. Livability has an excellent track record in getting interesting community stories picked up by national media. This is one part of a multi-pronged effort to build our reputation and the awareness of what a great place we are to work and live! Contact Jolene if you’re interested in learning more, JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

18) Worked with a large prime federal contractor to collect business names that were ready to participate in a bid opportunity.We hosted four attendees at Win the Bid: How to Prepare a Proposal, a workshop presented by GFDA’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). This training walked participants through the government contracting process, how to put a company’s best foot forward, and increase opportunities to increase revenue. Our next government contracting workshop is Marketing Tricks to Win Government Contracts on July 16th. For more or to register, click here. Up next on GFDA’s Business Education Calendar is a webinar on converting marketing leads to sales, Thursday, June 6th from 11-11:30 AM. These webinars are recorded so even if you can’t participate live, please register and we’ll send it to your inbox.

19) Great Falls Public Schools Adult Education Program Celebration of Success Cap and Gown Ceremony and Reception was held Wednesday, May 15th. The event honored graduates achieving United States Citizenship, specialized workforce training, accomplishment of Hi-Set Diplomas. Commencement Speaker Gerard Kouassi, from Cote d’Ivoire Africa, obtains his US Citizenship from Superintendent of Great Falls Public Schools Tammy Lacey and Adult Education Program Director Drew Uecker. Gerard worked closely with GFPS Adult Education on obtaining his US Citizenship. While he learned English with GFPS instructors, he completed the CNA program at Benefis Spectrum. Gerard now has a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from Park University and Certificate in Healthcare Information from the University of Montana. Gerard is the Missouri River Center Health Information Management Coordinator.

20) Hosted 17 Pennsylvania State agricultural education majors. The students were part of a domestic study tour of Montana’s agricultural and education sectors coordinated through Montana’s Office of Public Instruction. GFDA’s Food and Ag Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison talked with the students about the opportunities and challenges facing Montana agriculture. The students also heard from Mark Black, MaltEurope’s Procurement & By-product Manager. Several of the students are interested in student teaching opportunities in Montana as a result of the tour.

21) Thank you to our Investors in Economic Development, Alluvion Health, for their investment at the Advance Division level, Wells Fargo for its investment at the Flagship Division, Holman Aviation for their investment at the Pacesetter Division, NeighborWorks Great Falls and Falcon, Lester, and Schaff, P.C., for their investment at the Community Division, and Spark Architecture and Hazardous Technologies for their investment at the Supporter level! Your commitment allows us to continue to expand our economic development efforts to grow the Great Falls regional economy and support the creation of higher wage career opportunities. If you have questions about investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.

22) We are pleased to welcome Trista Besich, CEO of Alluvion Health, to our Board of Directors. With her expertise in finance, preventative healthcare, and Alluvion’s current capital-intensive projects downtown, we are eager for Trista to join our team!

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Memorial Day is always a reflective time for me. Thank you to all who have served and sacrificed to earn and protect our freedoms.

Brett

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

Herman Melville

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The MT PTAC has invited over 25 federal, state, and local government agencies to participate in a GOVMatch matchmaking event on May 29th in Billings. The event is designed to facilitate introductions between business owners and government buyers with the intention of possibly doing business together in the future. Business owners will be able to visit with the various government buyers to discuss what products or services they provide, learn more about how the different agencies do business and find out about upcoming projects. If you are interested in seeing what government opportunities may be out there for your business, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or register for GovMatch 2019! To learn more or receive assistance with preparing your business for the event give Lillian a call (406) 750-1253 to set up an appointment

Top 10 – 5/1/19

 

Two exciting expansions of health services this week in Great Falls! Alluvion Health cut the ribbon on its new main clinic downtown, and Benefis Health System cut the ribbon on its new Northwest Clinic.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Big Sky Cheese submitted plans to Cascade County to build a 20,000 square foot specialty cheese plant in the Madison Food Park. This is a very exciting step in expanding and diversifying food and ag processing in the region. GFDA has reviewed the plans and enthusiastically supports this project. See more details in Great Falls Tribune and on TheElectricGF.com. IndHemp has started construction on its hemp oilseed pressing facility in Havre. See KRTV for details.

2) The Great Falls Tribune ran a great story about the Belt Creek cleanup project, and another story about construction projects underway across Great Falls.

3) What would be the impact if we had a .85% population growth? $13 million economic impact the first year that compounds annually. Stores, restaurants, jobs, housing all would increase. Tax base would broaden reducing the burden on individuals and allowing greater support of police, fire, schools, and parks. We commissioned a study in 2017 to map the impact. Click here to download.

4) We welcomed 12 exemplary small business owners, lending partners, and coaches, in addition to 150 supporters of Montana small businesses at the 2019 Montana Small Business Administration Awards last Thursday. Over 98% of all businesses in Montana are small businesses, and we were honored to host the event to celebrate the successes of small businesses across the state. For a list of winners, click here.

5) The Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls was reaccredited by the National Main Street Center, and joined the International Downtown Association. Stay tuned for more exciting project announcements downtown!

6) We trained another 20 people at two training events last week. To view our webinar, Creative Labor Solutions, click here. Up next on the GFDA Education Calendar are two pre-business workshops. The LaunchPoint is this Tuesday, May 7th from 4-5 PM. Boots to Business is May 8th and 9th at Malmstrom. Boots to Business is open to active duty military, veterans, and military families. Looking ahead, we will host Win the Bid: How to Prepare a Proposal on May 21st. Contact Jason Nitschke about all of our training events at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) Congratulations to the Great Falls Public Library on winning the 2019 Excellent Library Service Award from the Montana State Library Commission! See Great Falls Tribune for details.

8) We closed a loan for $33,000 to Fresh Start Co-Op, a grocery store cooperative in Geraldine, partnering with their awesome loan officer Robert Todd at Stockman Bank, to help them purchase the property they are currently leasing. We recognize the great contributions our surrounding rural communities make to the region’s economy, diversity and character, and we want to see them prosper. We are very excited every time we have a chance to help, especially with something so critical as access to fresh foods. If you have a business, or are thinking of starting or buying a business in a rural area and could use some help with financing please reach out to Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) Three more steps forward for downtown Great Falls. The Last Straw Bistro has opened at 5th and Central, see TheElectricGF.com. John Barnes and Neal DuBois announced plans to reopen Tracy’s restaurant, see KRTV. The downtown pedlet program opened for the season May 1st. The Business Improvement District has launched a Pedlet Passport program. Visit the pellets at the Burger Bunker, Celtic Cowboy, Elevation 3330, Enbar and Mighty Mo, get your passport stamped, and be eligible for gift certificate prizes. Passports are available at each business. See TheElectricGF.com for details.

10) We have two spaces remaining for our booth at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) annual Food Expo in June. This is a great show for ingredient processors and companies in the food supply chain. If you are interested in learning more, contact Jolene at 406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) Budding entrepreneurs get the chance to bring their dreams to fruition at Great Falls Public School Shark Tank 2019. Join the fun this Thursday, May 9th at 5:30 PM  Heritage Hall, Great Falls College as six teams from CMR High School & Great Falls High present their product and their ideas! One team from Lincoln Elementary will also be presenting to our sharks. Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Great Falls Public Schools have partnered to offer an evening of food, fun and shark frenzy!

12) We are working with federal and state partners to help a property owner create a redevelopment and reuse plan for their brownfields site. For more information on our Brownfields tools, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406) 750-1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreaFalls.org.

13) Mike Archer and Jill Kuntz presented a training on SBA 504 loans to 15 lenders as part of the SBA awards this week. If you are interested in learning how to get a loan for commercial real estate or fixed assets  with a down payment as low as 10% and a fixed interest rate for up to 25 years please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) Know of students looking for a great summer opportunity? GFDA is offering college or graduate level paid internships involving a variety of business, market research and organizational projects. Interested students should send a resume and cover letter to BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. EOE.

15) Barnett worked with a company in the food and beverage space this week that has seen declining sales over the past several years due to distribution, human resource, and marketing issues. By working with the Great Falls Food and Ag Development Center, the client is able to improve their efforts to overcome their challenges and return to growth and profitability. If you have or know of a business facing issues within the fields of agriculture, biofuels, bioscience, food, or natural resources, contact Barnett at 406-750-3285 and Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

16) The City of Great Falls and partners are holding a unique BaseCamp event for young professional on Saturday, May 18, 12 – 6 PM at the Mansfield Convention Center.

17) We are scheduling meetings with developers, retailers, restaurants, and brokers for the annual RECON event in Las Vegas. We’ve heard from several brands – like FireHouse Subs – that they’d like to be in our market but need to connect with a Franchisee. If you’re interested in being a Franchisee for a particular brand or have general development ideas you’d like to discuss, reach out to Jolene JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.750.4481.

18) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Springhill Suites, for their Leadership Division investment, and Geranios Enterprise, Inc. for their Pacesetter Division investment. GFDA works hard to ensure that our trade area participates competitively and fully in economic growth. Exploring new possibilities for business development, while showcasing our incredible features, requires continued investment, so thank you. For questions about investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

Great Career Opportunity

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is looking for a Manufacturing Business Advisor to be based in Great Falls, working out of GFDA’s new office in West Bank Landing. See posting here.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

Assistance for Business Clinic, Wednesday, May 15, 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM at the Heritage Inn. The Assistance for Business Clinics are designed to assist new and established employers, accountants, bookkeepers, human resource professionals and lawyers to proactively prevent unnecessary claims and/or charges by providing updated reporting of state withholding, UI Tax requirements, workers’ comp. coverage, tax incentives, minimum wage, overtime, new hire reporting, income withholding orders, USERRA laws and regulations. Register here.

The MT PTAC has invited over 25 federal, state, and local government agencies to participate in a GOVMatch matchmaking event on May 29th in Billings. The event is designed to facilitate introductions between business owners and government buyers with the intention of possibly doing business together in the future. Business owners will be able to visit with the various government buyers to discuss what products or services they provide, learn more about how the different agencies do business and find out about upcoming projects. If you are interested in seeing what government opportunities may be out there for your business, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or register for GovMatch 2019! To learn more or receive assistance with preparing your business for the event give Lillian a call (406) 750-1253 to set up an appointment.

Top 10 – 4/28/19

Congratulations to David Oien and the Timeless Seeds team, which has grown to 18 employees, on installation of a 50KW solar system! See Great Falls Tribune for details.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 15 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) We closed a loan to Vernon’s Quality Carpentry for $131,211 to help them fulfill the carpentry contracts they’ve won across the state. There are a ton of local, state and federal programs designed to help small businesses borrow money with low down payments, and occasionally cheap interest rates. All of the programs come with their own set of rules and requirements and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what is the best deal, and makes the most sense for your business. If you need help navigating these programs, please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out how you can take advantage of these programs to get the money you need to start, grow and expand your company.

2) MDT presented preliminary plans for Gore Hill I-15 interchange improvements. See TheElectricGF.com for details on this long overdue project. Let’s get it done! Infrastructure has faired well in the Montana Legislative session, including funding for a number of important rural projects in our region. See article in the Cut Bank Pioneer Press for details on few of these projects.

3) Join us as we celebrate our own Raegan Breeden, owner of Play N Learn Academy, along with many other exemplary small business owners at the Montana Small Business Administration Awards this Thursday, May 2nd at the Meadow Lark Country ClubReserve your spot today by clicking HERE. Thank you to our Premier Sponsor Northwestern Energy and Supporting Sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana for making this event possible.

4) The Cascade County Commission approved funding to do additional planning on the Montana ExpoPark grounds, following up on the events center study done in conjunction with Great Falls Tourism. See TheElectricGF.com for story.

5) “Before taking any further steps on your business, I recommend above all taking this financial course,” Christian Stone, owner of Golden Rule Real Estate, LLC. in Great Falls said of our Profit Mastery: Creating Value and Building Wealth class.“Your business success depends on it.” Christian was one of four entrepreneurs to participate in Profit Mastery on April 24-25.

6) GFDA’s Business Education Calendar is busy the week of April 29th. In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, we will be hosting a lender training event on May 1-2. This lender training is designed for commercial bankers, economic developers, and business advisors. Register here. Our next webinar, Creative Labor Solutions, is May 2nd. Also on May 2nd, we are partnering with Export Montana and the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce to host Export 101 designed for current exporters and businesses considering revenue diversification and growth strategies. Contact Jason with questions about any of our training events; JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org

7) Congratulations to Jim Meinert on being named Person of the Year by the History Museum of Great Falls! See story in Great Falls Tribune. The Montana Legislature approved a bill allowing for construction of a new Montana Heritage Center in Helena that will be another great day trip for visitors staying in Great Falls.

8) Lillian attended the EPA Brownfields Region 8 meeting and training conference where she spoke on a panel discussing “Advanced Topics in Grant Administration”. Talked with a potential Brownfields client about different ways to move their project towards redevelopment. To learn more about GFDA’s assessment and cleanup tools, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406)750-1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) Congratulations to the CMR High School students on having their newspaper, The Stampede, named best in the state! See KRTV for details.

10) We have engaged the company Livability to publish a paper and online magazine to showcase Great Falls for people considering relocating here. This will be a tool employers can use to boost your recruitment efforts. Livability stories frequently show up in news feeds and the exposure will be fantastic! The Top 100 Places to Live, the Top Affordable Communities, the Top Communities for People that Love the Outdoors, and more. This relocation publication can be used by all of us as we are speaking with companies and potential employees from outside the region. The publication is paid for through a limited number of advertising opportunities. If you are interesting in learning more, call Rachel Preston, Livability Media, at 1-615-850-0304.

11) Montana attracted 12.4 million out-of-state visitors in 2018 who contributed over $3.8 billion to Montana’s economy, according to a report issued by the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. Click here for details.

12) We have two spaces remaining for our booth at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) annual Food Expo in June. This is a great show for ingredient processors and companies in the food supply chain. If you are interested in learning more, contact Jolene at 406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

13) Housing is a critical component of our economic development strategy to grow and diversify the Great Falls regional economy while creating higher wage career opportunities. The Homebuilders Association of Great Falls is hosting David Logan, Lead Economist  for the National Association of Home Builders, for a discussion of the impact of housing on Great Falls, a report titled Brick by Brick. Be sure to get this on your calendar for May 6 from 3-5 PM in The Portage Building at West Bank Landing, 405 3rd St NW – second floor across from GFDA.

14) We are setting appointments with developers, commercial brokers, retailers, and restaurants for the annual RECON event in Las Vegas. This is an opportunity to tell the Great Falls story beyond the numbers. If you’re interested in discussing, contact Jolene at 406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

15) The Mighty Mo Brewing team has gained certification as official beer servers! See details on KRTV. The new Ace Hardware store on 10th Avenue South is looking great!

16) Join investors and potential investors next Friday, May 3rd at 7 AM for Development Coffee as we discuss new projects happening in our region. Come check out our new office space in The Portage Building at West Bank Landing, 405 3rd St NW, Great Falls. If you are interested in hosting Development Coffee next year, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchriener@GrowGreatFalls.org

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Stay warm at the Ice Breaker!

Brett

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

John D. Rockefeller

Great Career Opportunity

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is looking for a Manufacturing Business Advisor to be based in Great Falls, working out of GFDA’s new office in West Bank Landing. See posting here.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

SAVE THE DATE! Discover new opportunities for your business! The MT PTAC has invited over 25 federal, state, and local government agencies to participate in a matchmaking event on May 29th in Billings. The event is designed to facilitate introductions between business owners and government buyers with the intention of possibly doing business together in the future. Business owners will be able to visit with the various government buyers to discuss what products or services they provide, learn more about how the different agencies do business and find out about upcoming projects. If you are interested in seeing what government opportunities may be out there for your business, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or register for GovMatch 2019! To learn more or receive assistance with preparing your business for the event give Lillian a call (406) 750-1253 to set up an appointment.

Top 10 – 4/21/19

Plan showing new section of Rivers Edge Trail coming soon to downtown Great Falls!

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 19 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy. Great to be back in town for Easter after a 12 day Denver-LA-DC trip. Kudos to the raid warriors, remote workers, gig freelancers, and entrepreneurs who live through the headaches of business travel to support our economy. Great Falls is such an easy and pleasant airport to fly in and out of!

1) Hosted a prospect visit by a company looking at potential sites in our region for re-shoring its manufacturing. Like many companies, they were enticed overseas for manufacturing 20 years ago but the business climate has changed and now their business will benefit from being back in the US. If you know of any companies looking for new locations, give us a call so we can work with you to put together a competitive proposal! Jolene Schalper 406.750.4481.

2) Employment in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased by 112 in March, bringing our unemployment rate to 4.0%. This still leaves 1,521 local residents actively seeking work and another 800+ we can draw back into the labor force just to get our labor participation rate to the state average. So, let’s get going on those business startups and expansions!

3) Congratulations to the City of Shelby and the Carousel Rest Area on winning the Public/Private Collaboration Award at the Governor’s Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Conference! See Great Falls Tribune story.

4) Our monthly pre-business workshop, The LaunchPoint, saw its largest attendance since we began this training in 2015. With those 16 attendees, GFDA has now trained over 150 people in 2019. We’ve also now trained over 250 aspiring entrepreneurs with The LaunchPoint since 2015. Up next on GFDA’s Business Education Calendar, Profit Mastery, on April 24-25. Profit Mastery makes managing a company’s financials easier and simplifies how to plan for growth. Every advisor and entrepreneur we’ve guided through Profit Mastery sings its praises. Join us by registering here.

5) The Great Falls City Commission approved using downtown tax increment financing funds to make capital improvements to the City’s parking garages. See Tribune. And, check out this story about the new Elevation 3330 Public House downtown. The Children’s Museum of Montana in downtown Great Falls held a public meeting to get input on planning for its future new facility. See KRTV for details.

6) Join us as we celebrate our own Raegan Breeden, owner of Play N Learn Academy, along with many other exemplary small business owners at the Montana Small Business Administration Awards on Thursday, May 2nd at the Meadow Lark Country Club. Spots are filling up, so reserve your spot today by clicking HERE. Thank you to our Premier Sponsor Northwestern Energy and Supporting Sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana for making this event possible.

7) We’d also like to invite our bank partners and economic developers in the state to a special Lender Training event in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration on May 1-2. This two-day course walks through the SBA 7(a) program, the SBA 504 program, USDA’s Rural Development programs, New Market Tax Credits, the Montana Board of Investments, and risk mitigation tools through the Montana Department of Commerce. Join us for the training and the SBA Awards ceremony.

8) MaltEurop’s Great Falls facility was featured in an article in Site Selection magazine about the globalization of malting barley. KFBB ran a nice story about Fresh Start Coop in Geraldine, click here.

9) Congratulations to the Downtown Great Falls Association and the Great Falls Business Improvement District (BID) on celebrating one year in their new downtown office. If you are looking at a downtown project we recommend working with Joan Redeen at the BID. She is incredibly knowledgeable and the BID has tools and resources that can help! info@greatfallsbid.com

10) SBA 504 interest rates were down yet again for April. The 25-year note came in at 4.527%, the 20-year note at 4.360% and the 20-year refi at 4.393%. The 10-year note funds every other month and came in at 4.616% in March. These interest rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and inclusive of all ongoing fees. In this interest rate environment it is hard to get a better deal. Add to that the SBA 504 program can get you a loan with a down payment as low as 10% and financing your commercial real estate or equipment purchases through with an SBA 504 loan becomes a no-brainer. If you’re curious about whether the SBA 504 program may work for you, please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) Housing is a critical component of our economic development strategy to grow and diversify the Great Falls regional economy while creating higher wage career opportunities. The Homebuilders Association of Great Falls is hosting David Logan, Lead Economist  for the National Association of Home Builders, for a discussion of the impact of housing on Great Falls, a report titled Brick by Brick. Be sure to get this on your calendar for May 6 from 3-5 PM in The Portage Building at West Bank Landing, 405 3rd St NW – second floor across from GFDA.

12) THANK YOU to the Montana Legislature for passing House Bill 52 which reauthorizes many of the core economic development programs that we use to implement our regional economic development strategy. And, THANK YOU to the businesses who supported the legislative effort. The bill reauthorizes the Small Business Development Centers, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, Food & Ag Development Centers, Growth Through Agriculture, the Export program at the Montana Department of Commerce, support of the Montana Cooperative Development Center, and others.

13) THANK YOU to the Montana Legislature for approving funding to expand the Dental Hygiene program at Great Falls College MSU! Now we need to raise local money to make the project a reality. Check out the details of this great project here.

14) The Legislature also named the fourth Saturday in July to be National Day of the Cowboy, see Giddyup in Tribune.

15) Is exporting part of your company’s revenue? Should it be? The Montana Department of Commerce will be hosting an Export 101 training at the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce on May 2nd from 2-4 PM. Exporting is an option to diversify revenue to stabilize through seasonal dips or when evaluating growth opportunities. Click here for more information.

16) Worked with a local small business helping them invoice on a project with the National Park Service. Assisted several businesses with their capability statements and elevator pitches in preparation for the upcoming GovMatch 2019 event in Billings this May. For more information on trainings, events and counseling in the government contracting area, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406)750-1253.

17) The second round of proposed Opportunity Zone regulations were released this week and we’re getting closer to having regulatory certainty around this new and exciting investment option. If you are looking to defer and reduce your capital gains by investing in an Opportunity Zone but aren’t sure what qualifies, or if your business or project is located in an Opportunity Zone and is seeking investment, please reach out to Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org to discuss.

18) Networked with federal officials, financial leaders and Montana Congressional staff in Washington, DC. Spoke at the International Economic Development Council’s Federal Forum. Participated in the Council of Development Finance Agencies’ Federal Summit, in the Aspen Institute’s Opportunity Zone event, and the Fourth Economy’s Agents of Change event.

19) Thank you to this week’s Investor in Economic Development, the Cascade County Tavern Association, for their continued investment at the Community Division. When you invest in our community, not only are you helping us remain competitive, but you are ensuring that we adapt to the changing conditions involved in community development. Our dynamic team works hard to ensure that your investment dollars are utilized strategically and always with a growth mindset.  If you want to further discuss how investment works, please contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett

Brett Doney, President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“The world needs many more dreamers. Unreasonable souls who fight the urge to be ordinary.” – Robin Sharma

Great Career Opportunity

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is looking for a Manufacturing Business Advisor to be based in Great Falls, working out of GFDA’s new office in West Bank Landing. See posting here.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

SAVE THE DATE! Discover new opportunities for your business! The MT PTAC has invited over 25 federal, state, and local government agencies to participate in a matchmaking event on May 29th in Billings. The event is designed to facilitate introductions between business owners and government buyers with the intention of possibly doing business together in the future. Business owners will be able to visit with the various government buyers to discuss what products or services they provide, learn more about how the different agencies do business and find out about upcoming projects. If you are interested in seeing what government opportunities may be out there for your business, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or register for GovMatch 2019! To learn more or receive assistance with preparing your business for the event give Lillian a call (406) 750-1253 to set up an appointment.

Top 10 – 4/14/19

Flashback to the first train into the Great Falls AgriTech Park. We received the first reimbursement check from the City for the phase 1 and 2 infrastructure this month. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make the rail industrial park a reality, Great Falls’ BNSF-certified Premier Park!

 

GFDA Top 10

 

Here is our Top 18 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Great Falls was ranked 36th Best Small City for Business (out of the 162 cities with 50,000-250,000 population) by ChamberofCommerce.org. Cities were ranked by seven variables: regional price parities, job creation rates, per capita income, percentage of the young population with a Bachelor’s degree or above, the median earnings of 25+ year-olds with a Bachelor’s degree, unemployment rates and total sales figures/number of firms (combined into one variable). These were then averaged into one ranking. Plenty of room to keep climbing!

2) If you missed it, we published our GFDA Quarter Index 2019Q1.

3) We approved a $131,211 working capital loan for Vernon’s Quality Carpentry. Vernon’s Quality Carpentry is a long-time Great Falls business that offers finish carpentry services for primarily commercial and multi-unit housing projects across the state. They were awarded a number of contracts this spring for multi-unit housing projects in Great Falls, Butte and Billings and needed some working capital to help them expand. We’re excited to be able to help a Great Falls company continue to grow and bring money from elsewhere in the state back to Great Falls.

4) We also approved a $33,000 microloan for the Fresh Start Cooperative Association, a cooperative grocery store in Geraldine, MT, to purchase the building they are currently leasing. The Fresh Start Cooperative is an amazing story. The only grocery store in Geraldine was going to close so citizens of Geraldine and the surrounding area got together and formed a cooperative to buy it. They have had 151 people buy shares in the cooperative, which is especially impressive for a town with a population of 261. The share purchases have generated enough money for the co-op to buy the store and run it for the last two years. We love being able to help the rural communities in our trade region maintain these critical businesses and are very happy we were given the opportunity to help with Fresh Start.

5) GFDA is thrilled to be hosting this year’s Montana Small Business Administration Awards on Thursday, May 2nd at the Meadow Lark Country Club. One of our very own, Raegan Breeden, owner of Play N Learn Academy will be honored. This is a state-wide event so reserve your spot soon by clicking HERE. Thank you to our Premier Sponsor Northwestern Energy, and Supporting Sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana for making this event possible.

6) Just prior to the SBA Awards, on May 1st and 2nd we are partnering with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to host a training event for commercial and economic development lenders. This two-day event will cover the SBA 7(a) loan guarantee program, SBA 504 loans, and other financing tools from the USDA, Montana Department of Commerce, New Market Tax Credits and the Montana Board of Investments. Register to join us here.

7) How do taxes in Great Falls compare to other Montana cities? 2nd lowest per capita, according to an article in the Missoulian. Great Falls collected $465 per capita, lower than $661 in Bozeman, $605 in Kalispell, $512 in Helena, and $479 in Missoula. We were slightly higher than the $451 in Billings.

8) Seats are filling up for our next pre-business workshop, The LaunchPoint. Help us spread the word about this no-cost workshop for early stage entrepreneurs. The next one is Wednesday, April 17th from 4-5 PM. Space is limited. Register to attend here.

9) Our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) client, Windrift Hill, has been awarded a $6,000 Montana Women’s Business Center Impact Grant. Mother-daughter team Amber Hofstad and Deena Maier were one of four companies in Montana, of the 71 applicants, to receive an award. The $6,000 award will be used to fund a reverse osmosis system as part of a new filling line at their skin care product manufacturing facility on Main Street in Conrad. Congratulations Amber and Deena!

10) The Montana Artrepreneur Program is seeking working Montana visual artists for its next cohort starting in the fall. This powerful college-level series of four weekend workshops demystifies the world of business for artists, reviewing 35 practical business tools. Registration deadline is May 15. Information and application at art.mt.gov/map, or contact mac@mt.gov or 406-444-6548.

11) Our next cash flow workshop, Profit Mastery is April 24-25. This class helps put financial management into a decision relevant format assisting entrepreneurs and advisors to business. Sixteen hours of continuing education credits are also available. Join us to improve your financial skills. Contact Jason for more info at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) The Downtown Great Falls office, comprised of the Downtown Great Falls Association (DGFA) and the Great Falls Business Improvement District (BID), is hosting an Open House on Thursday, April 18 from 4-6 PM at their office located at 318 Central Avenue. They are celebrating one year in their new office and welcome the community to stop in and say hello! The BID is also celebrating the achievement of their 10-year renewal. Refreshments provided by Electric City Coffee and Mighty Mo Brewing Company.

13) USDA released data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture this week. The Census of Agriculture, taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, and expenditures. USDA data gives a sound picture of our agricultural sector and is the envy of many countries in the world for its independent accuracy.

14) Strategic Investment Grants up to $1,000 are available for professional artists, non-profit art organizations and art teachers (preschool – grade 12) in Montana. For guidelines and more information, visit art.mt.gov/sig, or contact Kristin Han Burgoyne at kburgoyne@mt.gov or 406-444-6449.

15) You expect us to know the programs, tools, deals, resources, and connections available to make projects happen. So we invest in our team! Each of us has professional development goals and objectives that enable us to grow the Great Falls Montana region. This week Brett became certified in Economic Gardening® and Jolene completed week three of four to become a certified Economic Development Finance Professional.

16) The City of Great Falls urges citizens and businesses to sign up for CodeRED, the city/county emergency notification system. Sign up at https://greatfallsmt.net/community/codered-emergency-notifications.

17) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, First Interstate Bank, for its investment at the Advance Division, FCR and Veolia North America, for their investments at the Pacesetter Division, and Cargill, for its investment at the Supporter Division. Never underestimate that without private investment, industry diversification, business expansion and retention, and high wage growth would go unsupported. Let’s stay competitive! Thank you for continuing to Grow Great Falls! For questions about investment, contact Investment Director, Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499

18) I’ve been invited to speak at the North Dakota Economic Development Conference in Mandan in June, and to give a presentation at the International Economic Development Council annual conference in Indianapolis in October. And, have been reappointed to serve another year as the lead Montana volunteer for the International Council of Shopping Centers, our professional network to reach commercial developers, brokers, and retailers. More opportunities to pitch the Great Falls region!

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett
Brett Doney
President & CEO
Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.
“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”
Woodrow Wilson

 

Great Career Opportunities

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is looking for a Manufacturing Business Advisor to be based in Great Falls, working out of GFDA’s new office in West Bank Landing. See posting here.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Great Falls Youth Job Fair will be held on Wednesday, April 17, 3:00-6:00 PM at the Paris Gibson Education Center. For more info, contact Becky Nelson at becky_nelson@gfps.k12.mt.us.

SAVE THE DATE! Discover new opportunities for your business! The MT PTAC has invited over 25 federal, state, and local government agencies to participate in a matchmaking event on May 29th in Billings. The event is designed to facilitate introductions between business owners and government buyers with the intention of possibly doing business together in the future. Business owners will be able to visit with the various government buyers to discuss what products or services they provide, learn more about how the different agencies do business and find out about upcoming projects. If you are interested in seeing what government opportunities may be out there for your business, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or register for GovMatch 2019! To learn more or receive assistance with preparing your business for the event give Lillian a call (406) 750-1253 to set up an appointment.

Great Falls Economic Development Quarter Index 2019 Q1

1st Quarter 2019 Index
Great Falls rank in Livability.com’s Best Places to Live:  Top 100!
Growth in Great Falls metro area labor force from February 2018 to 2019:  598
Growth in employment from February 2018 to 2019:  617
Business proprietor income increase in Cascade County in 2017:  118%
Rank amongst the 7 Montana urban counties:  1st
Size of new missile maintenance dispatch facility to be constructed at MAFB:  43,500 SF
Number of people attending the 2019 Home and Garden Show 14,000
Number of GFDA out of state business development trips during quarter:  5
Great Falls hotel room demand increase in 2018:  3.6%
Downtown building permits issued during 2018Q4:  12
Total of permits:  $783,300
Elevation of new downtown Great Falls public house Elevation 3300:  3,333
Number of local entrepreneurs and businesses coached by GFDA during quarter:  117
Of these, number of new coaching clients:  41
Number of business training sessions offered during quarter:  10
Number of training participants:  128
Number of businesses started or bought by coached clients during quarter:  1
Jobs supported by our Small Business Development Center this quarter:  220
Local companies assisted by our Small Business Development Center in 2018:  175
Number of new businesses clients started:  19
Number of training participants:  320
Jobs supported:  500+
Annual growth rate of Small Business Development Center clients nationwide:  18.1%
New capital secured by entrepreneur clients during quarter:  $1,321,972
Loans closed and funded during quarter:  $2,149,000
Private investment leveraged by these loans:  $4,519,476
Loans commitments issued this quarter:  $741,000
Expected private investment to be leveraged by these loans:  $1,664,402
Number of new Great Falls assisted living beds announced by BeeHive Homes this quarter:  36
Local income generated during Construction of 100 single family homes:  $23,554,200
Local jobs supported during construction of 100 single family homes:  363
Local income on-going from 100 single family homes:  $3,542,800
Local jobs supported on-going from 100 single family homes:  71
Percent of population that is women according to the U.S. Census:  50.6%
Percent of labor force that is women according to U.S. Census:  58%
Percent of women in non-traditional careers according to the U.S. Department of Labor:  less than 25%
Number of women at Great Jobs for Great Falls Women in Non-traditional Careers event:  50
Number of local opportunities for women in carpentry, welding, fitting, machinery operators, and the like:  >1,000
Percent of all U.S. businesses owned by women according to SBA:  36%
Percent of businesses with employees owned by women according to SBA:  20%
Number of people celebrating female entrepreneurs at our annual The Fire Within event sponsored by Embark FCU:  200+
Date of the tenth annual The Fire Within event:  3.26.20
Montana’s rank in Gallup annual Wellbeing Index:  4th
Montana’s rank for lowest tax burden by 24/7 Wall Street: 13th
Average drop in Montana workers comp loss costs this July: 17.2%
Global average of Gen Z and Millennials who say, “I am addicted to social media.”  39%
Percent that agree with, “I would rather lose my ability to smell than give up my device.”  25%
Predicted losses to U.S. GDP by 2025 if infrastructure is not addressed:  $3.9 trillion
Estimated lost business sales by 2025:  $7 trillion
Estimated American jobs to be lost by 2025 due to infrastructure deficiencies:  2.5 million
Corporate executives who say availability of skilled labor is the top consideration in choosing expansion locations:  90.5%
Who say quality of life is a key location factor in choosing expansion locations:  82.8%
Site selection consultants who say availability of skilled labor is the top consideration in choosing expansion locations:  100%
Iowa’s goal for workforce with education or training beyond high school by 2025:  70%
Montana rank for lowest population with less than 9thgrade education:  1st
Montana workforce with “some college” but without degree or certificate:  23.4%
Gallup estimate of U.S. workers who don’t know what is expected of them:  50%
U.S. workers that are remote workers according to U.S. Census Bureau: 5.2%
Range of remote workers in U.S. top 100 metro areas:  2.1 – 9.1%
U.S. companies that now have remote workers:  63%
U.S. companies that use freelancers:  48%
Number of remote workers this amounts to:  8.2 million
Number we have attracted and can attract to Great Falls region: Unknown
For info contact Jolene Schalper at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org
or 1-406-750-4481 or Brett Doney at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org 
or 1-406-750-2119

Top 10 – 4/8/19

An example of how we’re blending our business investment marketing of the Great Falls region with the visitor marketing undertaken by Great Falls Tourism. We used this graphic as the cover of a lead response this week. Check out Great Falls Tourism’s Top 27 things to do in Great Falls in April.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 20 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy. Watch for our Quarter Index coming soon.

1) Congratulations to David and Zachary Kelman on opening Great Falls Coins & More downtown at 508 1st Avenue North. See Great Falls Tribune. Brandon Cartwright, Joe Anderegg and Trever Ziegler have scheduled the grand opening of Elevation 3300 on April 12th. The new downtown public house is in the second story of Four Ten Central (the historic Strain Building). See TheElectricGF.com.

2) Networked with economic developers, and business and community leaders, at the Alberta Economic Development annual conference in Banff. Enjoyed three speaking opportunities to talk about Montana. Thank you to Great Falls Tourism for putting together a gift basket for their silent auction!

3) Pardue Grain was featured in a great article by the Cut Bank Pioneer Press. OutdoorsNW ran a bicycling article about Great Falls, “Raging Rivers, Raging Rides, Dam-Great Views.”

4) Fourteen entrepreneurs from across Montana participated in our fourth webinar of 2019, Reach Customers Online with Google. To view any of the 16 webinars GFDA has produced over the last three years, click here. Up next on the GFDA Business Education Calendar is The LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop on Wednesday, April 17th from 4-5pm. This workshop walks through best practices and primary elements of business ownership for entrepreneurs in the planning or early stages. To attend, please reserve your seat here.

5) It’s time to move forward with improvements to the Gore Hill – Interstate 15 intersection! Make your voice heard at a public open house being held by the Montana Department of Transportation from 4-7 PM on April 25 at Crystal Inn Hotel and Suites. See TheElectricGF.com for details.

6) The Great Falls Tribune ran a wonderful story about this year’s The Fire Within event.

7) Congratulations to Great Falls Public Schools for its outstanding commitment to music education with a Best Communities for Music Education designation for the 8th year in a row! GFPS joins 623 districts across the country in receiving the prestigious distinction in 2019 from the NAMM Foundation.

8) The owners of Hybrid Steel Design in Geraldine, a new GFDA investor, attended a private session of our cash flow and profitability workshop, Profit Mastery. Ashley Clark, Chief Financial Officer at Hybrid Steel Design, says of Profit Mastery: “This course will be an invaluable tool to help us understand our cost structure, allowing us to have a more efficient cash flow and understanding of our future growth.” The next public session of Profit Mastery is April 24-25. Cost of the two-day course is $145. It’s open to entrepreneurs, business advisors, economic development professionals, accountants, and lenders.

9) Downtown Great Falls is getting national recognition. Joan Redeen of the Business Improvement District and Kellie Pierce of the Downtown Great Falls Association gave a presentation on downtown outdoor dining (pedlet) efforts at the National Main Street conference in Seattle. Nice work!

10) The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, part of the US Treasury, released their Notice of Funds Availability this week. GFDA has been successful at obtaining grants from the CDFI fund in the past, having won four financial assistance awards since 2012, including awards in each of the last two years. We are currently in the process of writing a grant application for this year’s award and every dollar of local investment we receive increases the amount of grant funding we can request. If you would like to make an investment in GFDA, now is the time to act. Please contact Teresa Schreiner at 406-781-9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org to make your investment today!

11) Event Marketing Grants are now available from the Montana Department of Commerce. If you have ever wanted to start a River Fest, Heritage Festival, Mural Festival, Dam Triathlon, Multi-Day Music Festival, Endurance Race, Makers Festival or any other large scale event – now is the time!

12) We are partnering with Livability Media in an opportunity to reach 11 million digitally, social media promotions, print magazine distribution, digital version of magazine to share in email/link/social media. This is part of our digital market efforts to promote Great Falls as a great location to live and work, building on the Great Falls Area Chamber’s efforts. Rachel Preston is working here on behalf of Livability Media to offer GFDA Investors the chance to take part in this talent attraction advertising opportunity. You can reach her at greatfalls@livmedia.com.

13) The U.S. House passed a bill to federally recognize the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Hopefully, this time our Montana Congressional delegation can get it all the way through! See KRTV.

14) We are constantly pitching our region to companies, developers, entrepreneurs, media, prospective talent, and residents. We are proud of our history as a former copper smelting town that harvested the power of the Missouri River to drive early development. Today we are home to a leading Alzheimer’s research facility, a growing medical hub, and entrepreneurs pushing the bounds of what it means to live and work in Rural America. North Central Montana’s forward leaning push welcoming innovation is where doers can untame their entrepreneurial spirit. Help us share this powerful message. Please share the Top Ten through your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter! Each week we post it on our new website check it out.

15) Great Falls Original Farmers Market is holding a Spring Craft Fair on Saturday, April 13 in the Mansfield Convention Center.

16) Hosted our first Development Coffee in our new space this week. Wonderful conversation and in case you missed it- mark your calendar for next month, May 3rd at the GFDA office at 7 AM.

17) Does your business hold a government contract? Do you know what your requirements are for cybersecurity? Does that word confusion or concern you?  Then your business may be interested in the following Cybersecurity Workshop. Northrop Grumman, in collaboration with the USC Center for Economic Development, is offering free cybersecurity training to small businesses through an Air Force Small Business Office Mentor Protégé Program. This workshop is open to all small businesses. Advance registration is required. The workshop will be held Tuesday, July 2, 2019 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM in Bozeman. Here is the link to register. If you have any questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 750-1253.

18) U.S. Customs and Border protection is holding Global Entry Enrollment workshops in Great Falls. See press release for more info.

19) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, K&K Trucking and Liberty Electric for your Community Division investments. Your investments allow us to continue economic growth and spur diversification in our thirteen area trade economy. We know that your investment translates into an economic multiplier of enhancing projects for riverfront and downtown revitalization, entrepreneurial assistance, and business development. As we say, great things continue to happen through sweat equity but we are nowhere near satisfied; so let’s continue to Grow Great Falls! For more information about investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.

20) The Great Falls Children’s Museum is seeking public comment immediately on their new building. They want to hear from the community how the new facility can best serve the community, their families and our state. The meeting is scheduled for April 16th at 5:30 PM at the museum. They are accepting comments by mail and email up until May 15, 2019. For any questions or concerns please call 406-452-6661or email to museuminfo.cmom@gmail.com.

 

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

 

Brett

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”

Bill Bradley

Great Career Opportunities

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is looking for a Manufacturing Business Advisor to be based in Great Falls, working out of GFDA’s new office in West Bank Landing. See posting here.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

 

The Great Falls Youth Job Fair will be held on Wednesday, April 17, 3:00-6:00 PM at the Paris Gibson Education Center. For more info, contact Becky Nelson at becky_nelson@gfps.k12.mt.us.

SAVE THE DATE! Discover new opportunities for your business! The MT PTAC has invited over 25 federal, state, and local government agencies to participate in a matchmaking event on May 29th in Billings. The event is designed to facilitate introductions between business owners and government buyers with the intention of possibly doing business together in the future. Business owners will be able to visit with the various government buyers to discuss what products or services they provide, learn more about how the different agencies do business and find out about upcoming projects. If you are interested in seeing what government opportunities may be out there for your business, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or register for GovMatch 2019! To learn more or receive assistance with preparing your business for the event give Lillian a call (406) 750-1253 to set up an appointment.

Top 10 – 4/1/19

The Downtown Great Falls Association and the Business Improvement District announced a new logo to promote Downtown Great Falls. We now have tourism, economic development, the Chamber’s talent recruitment effort, and downtown using the same brand logo, progress for Team Great Falls!

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 20 for the last two weeks, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy. Sorry to fall so far behind. I promise to add more information about our regional economy in next weekend’s Top 10. Early tomorrow, I’m headed back up to Alberta to meet with companies and speak at the Economic Developers Alberta annual conference.

1) Congratulations to the C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls Tourism and all those involved in Western Art Week!

2) Ace Hardware opened its new store on 10th Avenue South. Town Pump started construction on expansion of their facility on 10th Avenue South. The City Planning Advisory Board approved BeeHive Homes’ plans to build two new 18-bed assisted living facilities in Great Falls.

3) The Great Falls metro area (Cascade County) added 617 jobs from February 2018 to February 2019, according to employment data released by the Montana Department of Labor & Industry. As importantly, our labor force grew by 598 people. Our labor force participation rate is still two points below the state average, which means we have the capability to add significantly to our labor force as we continue to create more higher wage career opportunities.

4) How do we stand out among 383 metropolitan statistical areas across the United States, many very similar to us? We build relationships and tell our story! We did that at the annual Site Selector Guild Conference in Salt Lake City. We built relationships and gained insight from site selectors that we hope gives us the edge. To chat about GFDA’s Business Development efforts, call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

5) The University of Providence opened its new Medical Assistant Program, see KFBB story.

6) High Plains Financial, our SBA lending affiliate, closed a $1.372 million SBA 504 loan on a $4.5 million purchase of the Super 8 Hotel in Butte this week. We also funded a $212,000 SBA 504 loan for a $585,000 equipment purchase for a family owned Great Falls business last week. As construction season begins to ramp up, please get in touch to find out how we can finance your commercial real estate or equipment purchases with as little as 10% down and low, fixed interest rates for up to 25 years.

7) Congratulations to the Homebuilders of Great Falls and all those involved in the 36th Annual Great Falls Home & Garden Show!

8) Do you think of John Deere as a tech company? Well they are and becoming more so. Technology in today’s world is ubiquitous. We are exploring technology in our community. If you’d like to be part of the dialogue, contact Jolene at JSchlaper@GrowGreatFalls.org

9) Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research has completed their city level non-resident visitation data and Great Falls saw 1.03 million overnight visitors in 2018, a 15% increase over 2017!

10) Investors and potential investors: don’t forget to attend Development Coffee this Friday, April 5th, at our new office in The Portage Building in West Bank Landing. Join for refreshments and development-driven conversation at 7am at 405 3rd St NW, #203, Great Falls, MT 59404.

11) Began underwriting two loans, both for woman owned businesses. One of the loans is for a business looking to move into town and the other is a long-time Great Falls based business that needs some working capital to support all of its growth. If your business is looking to start, grow or expand we have loans and resources to address almost every need. Please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or MArcher@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out we can help.

12) Congratulations to Rebecca Engum, Executive Director of Great Falls Tourism, on having her article, “Capitalizing on Outdoor Recreation,” in the Economic Development Journal published by the International Economic Development Council!

13) Looking for more prospects in government contracting?  A rare opportunity has opened up for small businesses that are members of the following socio-economic programs; HUBZone, Woman-Owned-Small-Business and 8(a).  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Small Business Professional for the Omaha District (which represents MT) has reached out to the PTAC offices.  They want to see if we know of businesses that would benefit from a meeting that would allow them to “pitch” their company.  Each contractor is given a 1 hour time (1 on 1) slot to discuss capabilities and past performance, whatever time remains is left for questions and answers. So far it has been a HUGE success.  If you think this is a fit for your small business, give Lillian Sunwall a call at (406) 750-1253 or email her at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) GFDA was awarded funds for its pulse market organization efforts at the Montana Pulse Crop Committee’s meeting on Tuesday in Bozeman.  The awarded funds will help support outreach efforts to engage international and domestic actors to support and invest in a Pulse Crop Quality and Innovation Council (PQIC) to be formed later this year by GFDA.  For more information about the innovative work being carried out by GFDA to enhance economic opportunities for Montana’s agricultural sector, contact Barnett at 406-750-3285 and Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) Met with a property owner who had questions on remediation of potential hazardous substances in their building.  The property owner had not obtain a Phase 1 Assessment prior to purchase and didn’t qualify for EPA Assessment funding.  If you are looking to buy an older building or a property, give us a call to see how we can assist with environmental investigation prior to purchase.  For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

16) Congratulations to the Choteau Education Foundation for its successful second annual fundraiser held on March 15th. The Choteau Pub Trivia Night filled the Choteau Stage Stop Inn’s event space with teams all vying to win the coveted tital of trivia champ. Choteau businesses and community members supported the event with donations as did many businessss in Great Falls and the surrounding trade area. The annual event raised in excess of $10,000 to support the CEF.

17) Roger Sammons, owner of Pardue Grain in Cut Bank, joined Jason and Tyler at the 3rd Annual #SBDCDay event at the new Montana Craft Malt facility in Butte. #SBDCDay is a nationwide marketing event, started here in Montana, designed to raise the profile of the SBA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program which provides entrepreneurs no-cost counseling and training to help businesses start and grow. Thirty people from around the state, including four business owners, Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney, and the new Director of the Department of Commerce Tara Rice attended. Search #SBDCDay on your social media platforms to find images and videos from the Montana event as well as other events around the US. If you could use an impartial third party look at your business, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org or Tyler at TMenzel@GrowGreatFalls.org.

18) Teton County is working hard to confront and resolve substance abuse and mental health issues affecting the county through its Teton County Addictions Task Force established in October 2017. The Task Force has issued a new report outlining the issues and a community readiness assessment conducted as part of a meeting attended by 47 community members on January 29th. The next Task Force meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 16th from 10 a.m. to Noon at the Teton County Annex in Choteau and all are welcome to attend.

19) Networked and exhibited at the Montana Manufacturing & International Trade Day event in Helena.

20) Thanks to this weeks’ Investors in Economic Development, LPW, Inc., and North 40 Outfitters for their investment at the Leadership Division, and  Water and Environmental Technologies and Stewart Title, for your investments at the Community Division. Your investment in our community demonstrates your commitment to growing area wages, opportunities, and overall quality of life. To discuss investment in Great Falls and our 13 area trade economy, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.

 

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett

Brett Doney

President & CEO

 

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“The future depends on what you do today.”

Mahatma Gandhi

 

Great Career Opportunities

Great Falls Tourism has a great career opening for a Content and Social Media Director. Contact Rebecca Engum at Rebecca@VisitGreatFalls.org.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is looking for a Manufacturing Business Advisor to be based in Great Falls, working out of GFDA’s new office in West Bank Landing. See posting here.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Great Falls Youth Job Fair will be held on Wednesday, April 17, 3:00-6:00 PM at the Paris Gibson Education Center. For more info, contact Becky Nelson at becky_nelson@gfps.k12.mt.us.

SAVE THE DATE! Discover new opportunities for your business! The MT PTAC has invited over 25 federal, state, and local government agencies to participate in a matchmaking event on May 29th in Billings. The event is designed to facilitate introductions between business owners and government buyers with the intention of possibly doing business together in the future. Business owners will be able to visit with the various government buyers to discuss what products or services they provide, learn more about how the different agencies do business and find out about upcoming projects. If you are interested in seeing what government opportunities may be out there for your business, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or register for GovMatch 2019! To learn more or receive assistance with preparing your business for the event give Lillian a call (406) 750-1253 to set up an appointment.