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Top Ten 10-15-23

Entertainer Reggie Watts has published his first book, Great Falls, MT: Fast Times, Post-Punk Wierdos and a Tale of Coming Home Again. Reggie describes the book as his love letter to his hometown. See KRTV and Montana Free Press. Reggie will be performing live at The Newberry in Downtown Great Falls on October 27th. You can find all upcoming Great Falls events at Sign up for Great Falls Tourism’s Monday Eventory email at

1) Prairie Meats in Lothair has expanded to better serve the regional Montana ag community; see KRTVPlay it Again Sports is opening a store at 1115 10th Ave South in Great Falls. Gina Lopes has launched the Unhitched Mobile Boutique, and Mac Attack is serving up mac and cheese at Firehouse Steamers; see TheElectricVision Net has partnered with the new Aurora Apartments in Great Falls to be their exclusive provider of high-speed internet and advanced Wi-Fi services; see press release.

2) Invest Downtown 2023 and the Montana Main Street Conference are both coming up in Downtown Great Falls THIS WEEK! Invest Downtown will be this Wednesday, October 18th at 9-11 AM and the Montana Main Street Conference will follow afterwards through the 20th; see TheElectric. There is also a special ticket price if you are interested in appetizers and the Keynote Speaker – Jeff Siegler who created Revitalize or Die.Tickets are available here. If you have any questions about either of these events, please contact Christian at 1-406-836-0136 or

3) Our Loan Committee approved a $200,000 bridge loan to support another local affordable housing development. We are working with clients who need low interest capital for the upcoming Montana third tranche of the State Small Business Credit Initiative 2.0 (SSBCI 2.0). If you have a project that could move forward with the benefit of low interest rate funding, start talking to us now. These funds are limited and will be put to work very quickly to help our economy recover and come back stronger than ever. If you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a loan participation, contact me, Brett at or 1-406-750-2119.

4) Jake was in Los Angeles for the Modular for Affordable Housing conference exploring how modular manufacturing of housing and components might help us move projects forward and increase production in the Great Falls region and networking with housing developers to get them interested in the Great Falls market. If you are interested in modular solutions for your next project please reach out to Jake for more information, or 1-406-403-4937.

5) Montana is the third top state in the nation attracting more residents per capita, according to a StorageCafe data report. We’re just behind Idaho and Vermont. See Business Insider article.

6) Chipotle is hiring for all positions at their Great Falls store expected to open next week at 1900 10th Ave South. Congratulations to Heather Harpring and Theo Hanson on the successful opening and continuation of the former Seeking Recovery. Illumination Recovery opened its doors in the same location to continue serving the Great Falls community and it’s counseling needs. Do you have a small business and have questions that need answers? Reach out to Tony Peres at or 1-406-750-2099.

7) We published the GFDA Quarter Index for 2023Q3. Our Executive Committee approved selling two parcels in the Great Falls AgriTech Park to help two local businesses expand. We adopted two new policies as we gear up for the new Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) recertification process, a Board Accountability Policy and a Target Market Verification Policy. These policies put in writing practices we have been following for years.

8) Are you planning any international marketing activities in 2024? The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) run by the Export Montana team at the Montana Department of Commerce has a host of export support services and federal grants available for businesses up to $12,000. They are hosting a webinar this Wednesday, October 18, at 9:00 AM. Register here for the live event or to receive the webinar recording. They’re awesome to work with! Our Small Business Advisor, Rich Gannon, can help too and he is also awesome! or 1-406-836-2078.

9) We participated in the Kids Education Yes community connections lunch with Great Falls area education, business and community leaders and state legislators. GFDA is proud to support KEY’s efforts to strengthen our public schools and future workforce pipeline; see KRTV. KEY has partnered with Great Falls Public Schools to develop a survey of community perceptions of our public schools. Please take a minute to fill out the survey and distribute it to your colleagues and employees.

10) Five local companies attended the PCQI training class hosted by Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) and GFDA this past August. Anna sat down with Claude Smith of the MMEC to learn about the proper food safety certifications such as PCQI, HACCP, and GFSI and plan future training collaborations. If you are interested in a class on how to write a HACCP plan, reach out to Anna at or 1-406-590-1301.

11) Leigh Larson has expanded her digital design agency creativeLeigh Digital to include the design and production of Great Falls merchandise. Learn more about Leigh’s inspiration behind the expansion and why she chose to make Great Falls the location for her new business in our Announcement of the Week.

12) Congratulations to Action Plumbing & Construction for getting certified through Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Service-disabled Veteran-owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Small businesses seeking federal contracts can explore set-aside programs that offer opportunities based on specific criteria, including ownership types like minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, and service-disabled veteran-owned. To see if your business qualifies for Federal Set-Aside certifications, contact Lillian Sunwall at or 406-750-1253 for more information.

13) Early Stage MT is hosting a Scaling MT Summit on November 1-2. “This event is set to unlock opportunities, education, and connections for founders and enthusiasts interested in building next-gen businesses across Montana.” Read More and Register.

14) The Great Falls Public Safety Levy & Bond election is critically important to the future of our city. Watch this video to learn the facts about the public safety bond and levy, and why the passage of this levy and bond is critical to providing adequate public safety for the citizens of Great Falls. Vote YES on the Great Falls Public Safety Levy & Bond on your November ballot. The GFDA Board urges you to support the Great Falls Public Safety Levy and Bond. Public safety, emergency service response time, and better insurance rating that benefits both commercial and residential properties were all reasons the GFDA Board vote was unanimous. Visit to learn more.

15) Shannon Clancy, one of our government contracting business advisors of our Great Falls Region APEX Accelerator, has earned the Contracting Procurement Professional (CPP) certification from the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers. Congratulations Shannon! Increase your revenue, contact Shannon at or 1-406-590-1184.

16) GFDA offers a multitude of tools and resources to empower entrepreneurs and businesses, fostering opportunities for growth in our region. Our commitment is to ensure everyone’s success. Our investors and public partners share this common vision. Learn more about them and what drives their involvement here. Through their collective efforts, our community is witnessing remarkable developments throughout our region. If you wish to contribute to the growth & support of local businesses and entrepreneurs, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 1-406-781-9499 or

I flew toward DC this morning for the annual meeting of our CDFI trade group, the Opportunity Finance Network. Hoping to learn new ways to help local entrepreneurs, businesses, nonprofits and developers secure the capital they need and hoping to connect with new sources of loan capital that we need for our clients. Have a great week.



Brett Doney

President & CEO