Top 10 – 9/27/2021

Joel Almeida and his team broke ground on the Karhu Koski Distillery, a 10,000 square foot production facility and tasting room in Teton County. Another week, another groundbreaking. I love it! As Mark Twain said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” View the KRTV story.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 12 for last week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Great Falls College MSU Expands Dental Clinic to Meet Demand. Check out the video announcement! The only Dental Hygiene program in the state, Great Falls College MSU boasts a 97% retention and graduation rate, and 100% of graduates pass licensure exams. Average wages for dental hygiene for 2019 were $77,770 or $37.79/hour.

2) Our mantra is simple – we help excellent entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs to succeed, bringing all of our resources and those of our many partners to the table to support every client. Check out the story of Play N Learn here in Great Falls – a deal that took advantage of multiple resources GFDA has to offer. Your success is our success and the Great Falls region’s success.

3) Development Coffee is going on the road! Join us to tour Dream Street. Learn how NeighborWorks Great Falls has developed 145 homes through the Owner Built Homes Program. Bring your own or we’ll have coffee available. Meet us on October 1 at 7 AM at Meriwether Crossing, 2012 21st Ave S. We look forward to seeing you there!

4) Worked with the University of Montana Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Lab team on our Women’s Business Center partnership. We are excited to partner with them and the Montana Native Growth Fund to bring additional advising and resources to Montana women. We will be hiring a Women’s Business Center Advisor. The position will open next week. Please contact Jolene if you’d like to be involved, 406.750.4481.

5) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: Our popular Website Bootcamp: Website in a Day in Lewistown on Tuesday, September 28. The LaunchPoint, our catch all class for starting a business is back on Tuesday, October 5th. October’s webinar topic on Thursday, October 7 is Cybersecurity. And it may seem early, but on October 12th we are starting a new session of our Website Bootcamp specifically for your business to capitalize on the Online Holiday Shopping craze.

6) Invest Downtown Great Falls is quickly approaching. Thank you to Northwestern Energy for sponsoring the event! If you haven’t registered yet, head over to our registration page and sign up. We’re looking for Developers and Retail/Restaurant targets to invite for Invest Downtown. If you have some great ideas on who to invite, send an email to Christian at or call at 406.836.0136.

7) Employers, never again lose a star candidate due to their significant other being unable to find work in Great Falls. Join the Trailing Partner Email Group made specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire – this week, we shared THREE resumes of star individuals looks for employment in our region. Join the Trailing Partner Email Group on the employer page of the Live in Great Falls website.

8) Learn how to add the most value to your ranching or processing operation in terms of marketing, financing, distribution, & quality. How do you get the most value for your beef while keeping it local? What business strategies & certifications are best for your operation? What can marketing & networking do for your business? Free workshop on November 3 from 10 AM – 3 PM. Register here.

9) Is your business opening, expanding, or doing something revolutionary? We want to hear about it and tell your story to the Great Falls regional business community! Our Announcement of the Week goes out to a captive audience of thousands in the Great Falls regional business community. Contact Tyler at to get started on your announcement.

10) We deliver print copies of the Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine around town every Friday – if you would like copies of this great recruitment tool, email Soren at

11) Are you hiring a job position that is high-level, high-salary, and/or out-of-the-box/unique/creative for which a person might relocate to Great Falls? Email Talent Attraction Director Soren at by 9/30/21 for your job to be included in October’s Hot Jobs in Great Falls, a blog series part of our talent attraction plan to help employers bring high quality talent to our community. Read September’s Hot Jobs in Great Falls here.

12) Thank you to our amazing GFDA Investors who make everything we do possible. Recent investments include: Leadership Division — HIMCO, Inc. (McDonald’s); Pacesetter Division — M&D Construction, Anderson Zurmuehlen CPAs, and Taylor’s Auto Max; Community Division — Mighty Mo Brew Pub and Great West Engineering.THANK YOU! Join the team that’s working together to create economic opportunity by strengthening and growing our economy. Contact Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Have a great week!


Brett Doney

President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls Montana region. Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.”

Zig Ziglar

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.

Edition 505

Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letterand our GFDA 2021Q2 Quarter Index.

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

September SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.973%; 20-year at 2.855%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.673%; and, 20-year refinance 2.898%; 25-year refinance 3.014%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

Career Opportunities

GFDA has two exciting career opportunities for Resource Director (grant writing) and Business Development Officer (food processing specialist). Download job postingsand please help spread the word. GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Trainings, and Opportunities 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Changes include increases to maximum loan amount and expansion in the uses of funds for paying and prepaying existing business debt. If your business is still struggling to stabilize and recover from the pandemic or are seeing new challenges related to the Delta variant, GFDA’s business advisors are here to help. Connect with Jason at Apply for COVID EIDL on the SBA’s website.

Looking to take control of your business’s financials, increase profit, and improve your bottom line? We have had interest from businesses in scheduling a Profit Mastery course. These courses are scheduled by demand. If you are interested in taking this two-day workshop, contact Jason Nitschke at or call (406) 750-0314.

Pro-tip: Post positivity! When you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and share something positive about Great Falls, tag @LiveinGreatFalls or @GrowGreatFallsMontana. We will like and share your posts. Follow our talent attraction effort, Live in Great Falls, on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and follow the Great Falls Development Authority to help us attract entrepreneurs and business investment on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube.

You are facing tough decisions right now. We’ve developed toolkits to help you decide what is best for your business. Toolkits include: Crisis Toolkit, Hibernation Toolkit, Business Resiliency Guide, Re-Opening Toolkit, and a Child Care Whitepaper. All of these can be found on our website.

Visit our relocation website This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

We have Brownfield Clean-Up money that we want to put to work! Our low interest Brownfield Loans can be used to clean up hazardous materials including but not limited to lead paint, asbestos, etc. Are you working on a project that could use some clean up? Call Lillian today to discuss eligibility 406.750.1253 or

Manufacturers, if you’re not engaged with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center hosted by MSU, you’re missing out on powerful resources, services, and networking. MMEC clients report cost savings of $160.3 million, new investment of $328.4 million, $1.3 billion in new and retained sales, and 6,186 new and retained jobs since 2000. We’re proud to host an MMEC business adviser who covers the Golden Triangle region. Contact Doug Roberts at or (937) 489-3985.

Of our online business planning tool, LivePlan, one said: “LivePlan is Awesome!” The LivePlan tool is helping her streamline her strategy in preparation for presenting to bank partners. We offer LivePlan licenses for free to active clients. Learn more about LivePlan on our website.

All of our recorded monthly business strategy webinars are available online for viewing anytime, click them out here.