Top 10 – 9/20/2020

The City of Great Falls won a $10 million DOD grant to construct a $20 million aquatic and recreation center in partnership with Malmstrom Air Force Base. Congratulations to all involved in the Aim High Big Sky Recreation Center project! See Great Falls Tribune and KRTV.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for this 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) Congratulations to the C.M. Russell Museum on holding its auction online with over $4 million in art sold!

2) There is a NEW opportunity for more Business Stabilization funds through the State of Montana. Need assistance with your application? We’ve got an open discussion on Tuesday, September 22nd at 12:00 PM on that very topic. Register here.

3) Ten active duty Air Force service members participated in our Boots to Business: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship workshop at Malmstrom Air Force Base. The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Region VIII Veteran’s Business Outreach Center are working to create a live, online Boots to Business training specifically for military spouses in the community. Stay tuned for dates when they are announced.

4) The Great Falls City Commission approved an ordinance that gives more flexibility for where new establishments that serve alcohol can locate. See KRTV and TheElectricGF.com.

5) We held a webinar this week to share ideas and comments on the 2nd Ave North Corridor associated with the Miracle Mile site brownfields cleanup. Our partners with MT DEQ, Kansas State University and local stakeholders participated in the visioning process, answering poll questions and sharing thoughts on how to improve the area. For more information on this project or how we can help move contaminated properties into redevelopment, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

6) Looking to expand your business skills? Improve your bottom line and take control of your business’ finances with Profit Mastery, a two-day course September 23-24 – register NOW to secure your spot. LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop closes out the month on September 30th – designed for the budding entrepreneur, this is an all-you-need-to-know course to get your business up and running.

7) Farmers Daughter Fibers has expanded their business and will be opening a new storefront in Downtown Great Falls. Candice English will be opening the doors Thursday, September 24th at 10 AM. Come by and congratulate her and check out her new space! See more in Great Falls Tribune. Have you been thinking about expanding or opening a new business in Downtown Great Falls? Call Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org to discuss the possibilities.

8) Now is the time to Invest in Downtown Great Falls! Registration is open for our virtual Invest in Downtown Great Falls event on October 13 at 9 AM. Learn what made some of our most popular downtown businesses succeed; hear about new development opportunities; and explore the vision our community has for the future of Downtown Great Falls. Are you a developer, entrepreneur, business owner? This is for you. We want you in Downtown Great Falls!

9) The Montana State Fund declared a $20 million dividend to businesses across the state. Workers compensation dividends returned to businesses totaled $165 million in the last five years. See Tribune.

10) It’s getting to the end of the Federal Fiscal Year and agencies are awarding a lot of contracts. That means that our government contracting advisors are busy helping small businesses with invoicing on the WAWF platforms. Do you have questions on how to get setup and invoice in WAWF? Give us a call and we can walk you through the process. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

11) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features John Chapman, owner of Tacticality Workwear in Great Falls. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hit that share button to help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to live, work, and do business!

12) The new challenges of working remotely can present daily stress that effects your team. On September 25 at 8 AM via Zoom, GFDA is partnering with Stop the Stigma in a work force focused session on COVID-19 and Survival of the Quarantined: Workplace Stress and Wellbeing. This session, presented by Erin Butts, will increase your strategies and tools to aid your employees. Register here.

13) We will be dropping off Great Falls Livability magazines around town this week. If your business wants a few copies of this great talent attraction tool, contact Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or call/text (406) 836-0147.

14) Mark your calendars for a one-hour Talent Attraction Virtual Event on October 1st at 1:00 PM. If you are wondering, “What is Talent Attraction and why are we doing it in Great Falls?” this event is for you! We are putting our local investor dollars to work to attract new skilled employees with the help of Development Counsellors International (DCI). They will give a presentation about what talent attraction is and why it’s important. We will also hear from other communities on the success of their talent attraction initiatives. For more information on our Talent Attraction Initiative, contact Soren Chargois at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147.

15) Great Falls College MSU will be expanding its apprenticeship efforts, including respiratory therapy, in partnership with other Montana colleges and universities. See details in Havre Daily News.

16) Montana Aware is a statewide effort designed to help Montana’s tourism partners and local businesses slow the spread of COVID-19 by promoting safety measures for those traveling in the state. As part of this initiative, the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development has developed a toolkit of resources to help you educate residents and visitors on safe travel best practices. Download the toolkit here.

17) Registration for QuickBooks on November 18 is live! QuickBooks Pro Advisor Wendy Weissman will take you through the basic elements of QuickBooks Accountant 2019 so you’re more efficient in entering revenue and expenses, and better able to communicate with your accountant come tax time. This course always sells out, so don’t wait – register today!

18) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, General Distributing Co. for their Advanced Division investment, Marshall Orthodontics, PC for their Pacesetter Division investment, and NAPA Auto Parts – 4 New Beginnings for their Community Division investment. Now, more than ever, your investment fights for competition during an economic disruption. In this time of unpredictability, we continue to look out for opportunities and threats, while also offering support, tools, and resources for local businesses. If you would like to discuss how we leverage your resources, email Teresa or call 406.781.9499.

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.

“The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.”
Alexander Graham Bell

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.


Economic Development Services
See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Great GFDA Career Opportunities
We are boosting our lending team with Loan Officer and Lending Specialist positions. Download position posting or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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

September SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.406%; 20-year at 2.361%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.274%; and, 20-year refinance 2.363%. 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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Montana has many grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

Two business resources from our friends at the Montana Chamber. The COMMIT Foundation is offering Becoming Veteran-Ready Employers virtual training (great training that only takes an hour) on September 30th at 9:00-10:00 AM — register here — or October 13 at 9:00-10:00 AM — register here. The Chamber is offering a succession planning webinar, “Planning and Executing Successful Montana Business Transitions,” on September 30th from 12:00-1:30 PM — register here.

The Montana Business of Outdoor Recreation Virtual Summit will be held October 13-15; more info here.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! 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.

The Montana Chamber hosted a webinar helpful for businesses interested in learning more about the Montana Loan Deferment Program. See recording of webinar here.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

The Montana Indian Equity Fund (IEF) will begin accepting applications for the small business grant program starting August 1st. Applications will be accepted through September 30th. If you are a Native American entrepreneur looking to start a business or expand an existing business, check out this grant opportunity. For help applying, contact Rich at 406-836-2078 or RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org. He can assist with the application process and help you connect with a local Native American Business Advisor.

The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. Here is the online link to the magazine. For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center has put together a free online Montana Cooperatives 101 course. This self-paced resource includes recorded presentations, activities and custom videos that will help you learn about the cooperative business model and successful Montana coops.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/

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

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

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.

The 4th annual Montana Food Show will be held in Missoula on October 26. Learn more at https://agr.mt.gov/MTFoodShow. The Montana Beverage Show will be held in Helena on November 9. Visit www.beverageshow.mt.gov for more information. The Export Montana team is hosting Riddle of the Exporter training in Billings on July 28 and Kalispell on July 30. The training is free and will help you learn about and prepare for export markets. Learn more here.

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

As increased focus is placed on meat production and marketing amidst COVID-19, Montana State University Extension, in conjunction with Oregon State University, will offer a new agriculture business development course on direct marketing of meat. The Western Meat School, Montana Edition, is a six-week online/hybrid course that will meet on Wednesday evenings beginning Nov. 4th. The course will cover key topics in the production, processing, and marketing of high-quality meat. online registration. For more info and to ask about possible course discounts, contact Tommy Bass at MSU Extension, tmbass@montana.edu or 406-994-5733.

Top 10 – 9/13/2020

A long awaited groundbreaking! Flanked by the dental hygiene students at the groundbreaking for the dental wing at Great Falls College MSU, locals Bill Stott with Guy Tabacco Construction and Ryan Smith with Nelson Architects celebrate with Dean Dr. Susan Wolff.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 21 for this 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 broke ground on expansion of its dental wing. The college has the only dental hygiene program in the state. This addition will provide an additional 11,000 square feet to increase the number of students the program can train for these much needed high wage career opportunities. Watch the Facebook Live video. Read more about project in Great Falls Tribune.

2) We sent a preliminary incentives package to a manufacturing lead considering future expansion in Great Falls.

3) USAF awarded a $13.3 billion contract to Northrup Grumman to design a new intercontinental ballistic missile system. The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent will extend Malmstrom AFB’s largest mission for decades to come. Read more in Air Force Magazine.

4) Want to expand your skills as an entrepreneur or business manager? Last chance to register for The Website Boot Camp: Converting to Online Sales starting this Tuesday September 15th. Boots to Business for entrepreneurial service members, veterans and family members will be held at Malmstrom Air Force Base September 17th-18th – register hereProfit Mastery is back by popular demand on September 23rd-24th – register to learn how to take control of your business’ finances. Closing out the month is LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop on September 30th.

5) Steel is going up for the new Benefis Women’s and Children’s Center, see KRTV. Benefis Health System purchased land in Helena to open a new clinic, see KRTV. P. Gibson’s Sports Grill opened in Great Falls, see KRTV. The new European-style coffee shop, Luna Coffee, is scheduled to open in downtown Great Falls at the end of the month, see KRTV.

6) We are hosting short 30-min discussions on topics designed to help businesses survive and thrive in the wake of COVID-19. This Wednesday, September 16th at 2:00 PM the topic is Social Media, Websites, and Messaging – register here. Tuesday, September 22nd at 12:00 PM we’ll offer Accessing State COVID Relief Resources – register here. Contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 403-4937 for more information.

7) The Montana District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be formally presenting Levi Clark, owner of Hybrid Steel Design of Geraldine, with the 2020 Young Entrepreneur Owned Business of the Year on Wednesday, September 16th at 11:00 AM. The ceremony will take place at the INDHemp facility in Fort Benton. INDHemp is one of the numerous facilities throughout the Golden Triangle fabricated by Hybrid Steel Design.

8) Great Falls has the second lowest residential total utility bill rates in Montana (for systems serving over 5,000 households) according to the 2020 Utility Rate Survey released by AE2S. The combined utility bill rate assessment includes water, sewer and stormwater charges based on an average of 6,000 gallons.

9) Mark your calendars for a one-hour Talent Attraction Virtual Event on October 1st at 1:00 PM. If you are wondering, “What is Talent Attraction and why are we doing it in Great Falls?” this event is for you! We are putting our local investor dollars to work to attract new skilled employees with the help of Development Counsellors International (DCI). They will give a presentation about what talent attraction is and why it’s important. We will also hear from other communities on the success of their talent attraction initiatives. For more information on our Talent Attraction Initiative, contact Soren Chargois at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147.

10) Congratulations to Central Avenue Meats in downtown Great Falls on winning the Most Improved Commercial Property of the Year Award from NeighborWorks Great Falls! See all the award winners here.

11) Governor Bullock announced additional funds will be committed to the Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant Program. The program was initially funded at $2 million and received more interest than anticipated. Governor Bullock added additional funding to the program to award $7.5 million in grants. The Montana Department of Agriculture will review existing applications that have not yet been funded to determine additional awards through the program. GFDA’s Food and Ag Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison is available as a resource for entrepreneurs working on projects within the livestock and meat production sector. Barnett can be reached at 406-750-3285 and Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) The Governor also announced an expanded nonprofit stabilization grant program of up to $150,000. See info about all state CARES Act grants here. Contact our COVID “survive and thrive” specilist, Nathan Reiff, for help, NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

13) SBA 504 loan rates (fixed including all fees) for September came in at 2.406% for 25 year loans, 2.361% for 20 year loans, and 2.274% for 10 year loans. Contact Jill Kohles to learn how these loans can combine with your bank to lower your rates and required equity, JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1056.

14) Rural communities in the Golden Triangle are seeing more home purchases from out of state, see Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

15) As increased focus is placed on meat production and marketing amidst COVID-19, Montana State University Extension, in conjunction with Oregon State University, will offer a new agriculture business development course on direct marketing of meat. The Western Meat School, Montana Edition, is a six-week online/hybrid course that will meet on Wednesday evenings beginning Nov. 4th. The course will cover key topics in the production, processing, and marketing of high-quality meat. online registration. For more info and to ask about possible course discounts, contact Tommy Bass at MSU Extension, tmbass@montana.edu or 406-994-5733.

16) Two business resources from our friends at the Montana Chamber. The COMMIT Foundation is offering Becoming Veteran-Ready Employers virtual training (great training that only takes an hour) on September 30th at 9:00-10:00 AM — register here — or October 13 at 9:00-10:00 AM — register here. The Chamber is offering a succession planning webinar, “Planning and Executing Successful Montana Business Transitions,” on September 30th from 12:00-1:30 PM — register here.

17) We received a nice unsolicited client testimonial this week. “All I have to say is that if it wasn’t for the program and Mr. Rich Gannon, I would not have received this wonderful opportunity to receive this grant. Much, much, much kudos to the program and the awesome help and guidance from Rich! Thank you” Mary Ann Harwood – recipient of a Toole County Forward business grant.

18) The Montana Business of Outdoor Recreation Virtual Summit will be held October 13-15; more info here. Export Montana is offering webinars for Montana Exporters: September 16 – Supporting Montana Exports in Challenging Times; September 17 – Montana Online Global Programs & Grants; September 22 – Website Globalization Three Part Series; and, November 3 – International Market Research Three Part Series. STEP grants may be available to cover the costs for your business, more info here.

19) Registration for our QuickBooks training on November 18 is live! QuickBooks Pro Advisor Wendy Weissman will take you through the basic elements of QuickBooks Accountant 2019 so you’re more efficient in entering revenue and expenses, and better able to communicate with your accountant come tax time. Due to social distancing requirements the enrollment for this class is reduced to 12 persons – register today!

20) GFDA has two fantastic career opportunities for a Loan Officer and a Commercial Lending Specialist. Download a description of this positions here. Please send resume and cover letter to me, Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. GFDA is proud to by an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. Please help us spread the word so we can grow our great team!

21) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Dick Anderson Construction for their Leadership Division investment and Loucks & Glassley for their Pacesetter Division investment. With your support GFDA is able to respond to businesses quickly, offering creative and tailored solutions and supports. If you have questions about investing, contact Teresa Schreiner at TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.781.9499.

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.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Arthur Ashe

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.


Economic Development Services
See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Great GFDA Career Opportunities
We are boosting our lending team with Loan Officer and Lending Specialist positions. Download position posting or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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

September SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.406%; 20-year at 2.361%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.274%; and, 20-year refinance 2.363%. 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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Montana has many grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! 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.

The Montana Chamber hosted a webinar helpful for businesses interested in learning more about the Montana Loan Deferment Program. See recording of webinar here.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

The Montana Indian Equity Fund (IEF) will begin accepting applications for the small business grant program starting August 1st. Applications will be accepted through September 30th. If you are a Native American entrepreneur looking to start a business or expand an existing business, check out this grant opportunity. For help applying, contact Rich at 406-836-2078 or RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org. He can assist with the application process and help you connect with a local Native American Business Advisor.

The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. Here is the online link to the magazine. For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center has put together a free online Montana Cooperatives 101 course. This self-paced resource includes recorded presentations, activities and custom videos that will help you learn about the cooperative business model and successful Montana coops.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/

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

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

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.

The 4th annual Montana Food Show will be held in Missoula on October 26. Learn more at https://agr.mt.gov/MTFoodShow. The Montana Beverage Show will be held in Helena on November 9. Visit www.beverageshow.mt.gov for more information. The Export Montana team is hosting Riddle of the Exporter training in Billings on July 28 and Kalispell on July 30. The training is free and will help you learn about and prepare for export markets. Learn more here.

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

Top 10 – 9/8/2020

Congratulations to local entrepreneur, Dave Snuggs, who has developed the first of its kind in the country mobile drive-thru restaurant. Carnivorium will be located around Great Falls in a new location each day; see KRTV and Great Falls Tribune.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 10 for last week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) Congratulations to owner Johnny Deng on opening Hokkaido Ramen & Sushi Bar in Great Falls! They serve authentic Japanese Ramen, as well as sushi and boba tea. They are located in the Great Falls Marketplace next to Cold Stone Creamery. See KRTV.

2) The state announced a new COVID recovery business working capital loan program with a forgiveness feature. Several businesses we helped to secure stabilization grants reported getting the $20,000 in funds from the state. The business stabilization program is now wait listed. Our COVID business recovery specialist can help you access resources and connect you with our business advisers for your business to “survive and thrive”, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

3) The downtown Great Falls Metropolitan Building renovation received a boost as the City Commission approved tax increment financing funds to support the project. The Commission also approved TIF funding for the final dollars needed to complete the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan. See Tribune and TheElectricGF.com.

4) Looking to expand your skills as an entrepreneur or business manager? We’ve got free resources for that! The next Website Boot Camp: Converting to Online Sales starts September 15th – register here. Boots to Business for entrepreneurial service members, veterans and family will be held at Malmstrom Air Force Base September 17-18 – register hereProfit Mastery is back by popular demand on September 23-24 – register to learn how to take control of your business’ finances. Closing out the month is LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop on September 30th.

5) NeighborWorks Great Falls and Great Falls Public Schools students broke ground on the 43rd High School House construction; see KRTV.

6) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Millie Whalen, owner of Cassiopeia Books in Downtown Great Falls. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hit that share button to help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to live, work, and do business!

7) Groundbreaking for the new Montana Heritage Center in Helena was held; see Tribune. This project will boost Great Falls Tourism’s strategy for making Great Falls a base for amazing day trips. GFDA was proud to support the Montana Infrastructure Coalition’s work in the last legislative session to help make this project happen, along with important infrastructure improvements throughout the state.

8)We are hosting three 30-minute digital discussions over the coming weeks to help businesses in the region: Accessing State Grants – Thursday, September 10th at 10:00AM o r Tuesday, September 22nd at 12:00 PM, and Social Media and Websites – Wednesday, September 16th at 2:00 PM. To RSVP and for Zoom login information, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 403-4937.

9) Registration for QuickBooks on November 18 is live. QuickBooks Pro Advisor Wendy Weissman will take you through the basic elements of QuickBooks Accountant 2019 so you’re more efficient in entering revenue and expenses, and better able to communicate with your accountant come tax time.This course always sells out, so don’t wait – register today!

Belated Happy Labor Day! 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.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Frederick Douglass

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.


Economic Development Services
See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Great GFDA Career Opportunity
We are boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. Download position posting or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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

August SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.266%; 20-year at 2.210%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.387%; and, 20-year refinance 2.211%. 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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training and Opportunities

Montana has many grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! 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.

The Montana Chamber hosted a webinar helpful for businesses interested in learning more about the Montana Loan Deferment Program. See recording of webinar here.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

The Montana Indian Equity Fund (IEF) will begin accepting applications for the small business grant program starting August 1st. Applications will be accepted through September 30th. If you are a Native American entrepreneur looking to start a business or expand an existing business, check out this grant opportunity. For help applying, contact Rich at 406-836-2078 or RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org. He can assist with the application process and help you connect with a local Native American Business Advisor.

The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. Here is the online link to the magazine. For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center has put together a free online Montana Cooperatives 101 course. This self-paced resource includes recorded presentations, activities and custom videos that will help you learn about the cooperative business model and successful Montana coops.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/

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

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

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.

The 4th annual Montana Food Show will be held in Missoula on October 26. Learn more at https://agr.mt.gov/MTFoodShow. The Montana Beverage Show will be held in Helena on November 9. Visit www.beverageshow.mt.gov for more information. The Export Montana team is hosting Riddle of the Exporter training in Billings on July 28 and Kalispell on July 30. The training is free and will help you learn about and prepare for export markets. Learn more here.

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

Top 10 – 8/30/2020

As many schools reopened last week throughout the Golden Triangle for the first time since March, this is what school attendance looks like now. Masks, limited interaction for the kiddos, and modified lunch and recess schedules. Logan Nitschke, above with dad Jason, started her first day of first grade at Chief Joseph Elementary in Great Falls. Stay safe and help us control the spread of COVID-19.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) The ribbon was cut on the new Longfellow Elementary School, part of the major improvements to Great Falls Public Schools facilities. See Great Falls Tribune, KRTV and KFBB. The school features a wonderful new playground thanks to over $350,000 in donations to the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation!

2) Answered questions and offered advice to businesses in Glacier County on State COVID Relief Grants, Indian Equity Fund (IEF), and business planning tools during our first Small Business Power Hour. There were lots of questions about the new Eastern Edge of Glacier Park Tourism Grant. Thank you to Matt Harrington of NACDC for speaking about the IEF. The Commercial Loan Deferment Program closes for applications on September 18th so talk with your lender right away if you want to apply. Landlords, don’t forget about the substantial tenant assistance available. If you have questions about grants, EIDL loans, or anything else COVID related contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

3) IND Hemp broke ground on a new processing facility in Ft. Benton. Great to see another ag-processing project underway in the Golden Triangle! See Tribune, KRTV and KFBB.

4) Worked with our new business attraction lead generation consultants to develop a list of several hundred companies to target this fiscal year.

5) Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) hosted a webinar this week called “Contracting your Goods and Services with the State of Montana”. We had 31 attendees for the hour long session. This webinar will be available on September 9th. For more information contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) Congratulations to the Great Falls Business Improvement District and everyone involved in the fantastic ArtsFest Montana 2020 in Downtown Great Falls! See some of the new murals on KRTV.

7) Many grant applications and loans require business plans. Rich Gannon on our team provides business planning tools like Live Plan to help you put your best foot forward. If you want help creating a business plan or with any other resources to make your business thrive you can contact him at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-2078

8) The Cascade County Commission approved a commercial subdivision in Vaugn that will allow a new storage facility to move into construction; see Tribune.

9) We’ve got a jam-packed month of excellent business events in the month of September! Join us this coming Thursday, September 3rd at 11:00 AM for a webinar on Accessing Small Business Administration’s Counseling, Contracting, and Capital Programs. Our Website Boot Camp: Converting to Online Sales is back, starting September 15th – register here. Boots to Business for entrepreneurial service members and veterans will be held at Malmstrom Air Force Base September 17th and 18th – register hereProfit Mastery is back by popular demand on September 23rd and 24th – register to learn how to take control of your business’ finances. Closing out the month is LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop on September 30th.

10) New to the list are three 30-minute digital discussions: State Grants – Thursday, September 10th at 10:00 AM or Tuesday, September 22nd at 12:00 PM, and Social Media and Websites – Wednesday, September 16th at 2:00 PM. To RSVP and for Zoom login information, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 403-4937. And, before we forget – QuickBooks is back November 18th. This course always sells out, so don’t wait –register today!

11) The Montana Nonprofit Association has organized two virtual town halls about current child care challenges and what can be done together more services offered to help parents and employers. Current Landscape of Child Care Resources on September 2nd at 2:00 PM and Collaborative Opportunities to Support Child Care on September 3rd at 2:00 PM.

12) We issued an RFQ for Environmental Services for our new EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant. The responses are due September 15th. For more information or a copy of the RFQ, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) Improvements to Jaycee Park are nearly complete, part of Great Falls’ citywide park upgrades supported by voters. Six new pickle ball courts have been added along with other nice upgrades; see TheElectricGF.com.

14) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Brandon Jurasek, owner of True Brew in downtown Great Falls, and the recent expansion along 10th Ave S. Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at Cassiopeia Books. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hit that share button to help us spread the word that Montana’s Golden Triangle is a great place to live, work, and do business!

15) The new challenges of working remotely can present daily stress that effects your staff. On September 25 at 8 AM GFDA is partnering with Stop the Stigma in a work force focused session on COVID-19 and Survival of the Quarantined: Workplace Stress and Wellbeing. This session will increase your strategies and tools to aid your employees. Save the date/time, registration will open soon.

16) Our Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) specialists continue to be busy assisting small businesses with government contracting. This week we reviewed an RFP for a daycare business looking to submit a bid for the GFC-MSU Daycare Center. Our coaches walked a business owner through steps on how to invoice using the WAWF system for a federal contract. They told us that finding PTAC and GFDA was like “winning the golden ticket to tour Willy Wonka’s Factory.” We worked with a business to set up a profile in our Bid Match system so they will receive solicitation opportunities by email. PTAC has been receiving a lot of calls on SAM (System for Award Management) issues and help researching bid opportunities.

17) Luna Coffee plans to open in downtown Great Falls at 11 5th Street North in September; see TheElectricGF.com. We started working with some potential downtown business start-ups and expansions this week, discussing ways to make their dreams become realities. We also connected with some businesses outside of the Golden Triangle that are looking to expand into Downtown Great Falls. If you are interested in expanding or starting a business Downtown, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

18) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development: Alluvion Health and Energy West for their Advanced Division investments, JCCS, PC for their Flagship Division investment, AE2S and Geranios Enterprises, Inc. for their Pacesetter Division investment and K&K Trucking, Inc. for their Community Division investment. Every investment provides an opportunity local business, organizational partnership, and community pride. Thank you for support. If you would like to invest or have any questions about investment in economic development, email Teresa or call 406.781.9499.

Take care and 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.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Winston Church

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.


Economic Development Services
See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Great GFDA Career Opportunity
We are boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. Download position posting or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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

August SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.266%; 20-year at 2.210%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.387%; and, 20-year refinance 2.211%. 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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Montana has many grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! 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.

The Montana Chamber hosted a webinar helpful for businesses interested in learning more about the Montana Loan Deferment Program. See recording of webinar here.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

The Montana Indian Equity Fund (IEF) will begin accepting applications for the small business grant program starting August 1st. Applications will be accepted through September 30th. If you are a Native American entrepreneur looking to start a business or expand an existing business, check out this grant opportunity. For help applying, contact Rich at 406-836-2078 or RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org. He can assist with the application process and help you connect with a local Native American Business Advisor.

The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. Here is the online link to the magazine. For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center has put together a free online Montana Cooperatives 101 course. This self-paced resource includes recorded presentations, activities and custom videos that will help you learn about the cooperative business model and successful Montana coops.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/

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

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

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.

The 4th annual Montana Food Show will be held in Missoula on October 26. Learn more at https://agr.mt.gov/MTFoodShow. The Montana Beverage Show will be held in Helena on November 9. Visit www.beverageshow.mt.gov for more information. The Export Montana team is hosting Riddle of the Exporter training in Billings on July 28 and Kalispell on July 30. The training is free and will help you learn about and prepare for export markets. Learn more here.

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

Top 10 – 8/23/2020

Construction has started on the new Citizens Alliance Bank at West Bank Landing! Look at this great mural at the soon to open Hokkaido Ramen restaurant in Great Falls.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 21 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. As promised, this issue is packed with new businesses, project starts and completions, and some important data and resource info.

1) Great Falls was ranked the 7th Most Affordable Metro Area in the West by AdvisorSmith (see KFBB).

2) Something pretty amazing is happening in the Great Falls MSA according to preliminary July labor data released this week by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. The number of employed people in the MSA (same geography as Cascade County) grew by 714 in July, which was expected as we continued to recover from the pandemic-induced job losses earlier this year. We’ve dropped from 12.2% unemployment to April to 6.1% in July. The amazing thing is that we had 198 more people employed this July than last July and 1,401 more people in our labor force. In fact, we had the most people employed in a July since we lost the 364th missile squadron in 2009. Let’s keep this trend growing! We still had 2,402 people looking for work last month and many more looking for more hours.

3) The Great Falls City Commission approved the zoning change needed for Big Sky Select Property’s proposed Station District development in Downtown Great Falls (see Great Falls Tribune). The project includes 112 new riverfront apartments and renovation of the historic Milwaukee Depot (see Tribune and KRTV). If you are interested in exploring development and business opportunities downtown, contact Christian at 406.836.0138 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

4) Construction has started on the expansion of the dental hygienist program at Great Falls College MSU, see KFBB. The College’s CyberSecurity Program has been designated a Center of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, see KFBB. Great work!

5) There are two chances this week to sharpen your business sense – The LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop on Tuesday, August 25th from 4-5 PM, and a free webinar about Contracting Your Goods & Services with the State of Montana on Wednesday, August 26th at 10:00 AM. More training events, tools, and resources for entrepreneurs can be found on our website.

6) Malmstrom AFB is going strong. The new $17.4 million tactical response helicopter operations facility is nearly complete; see TheElectricGF.com. USAF leaders announced that construction of the new missile system will begin in 2026; see Tribune.

7) SBA 504 loan rates are at historic lows, and with the ability to lend across the state, we are eager to make deals happen! Take a look at the August SBA 504 rates and contact Jill Kohles to discuss your project. These loans work really well to lower your equity required for business acquisitions that involve real estate. JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 590-1056.

8) Congratulations to Falls Print Works on launching their new full service copy and print shop and to Liisa Nelson on opening the new Theorii Contemporary Art Space gallery, both in Downtown Great Falls; see KRTV and KFBB. Last quarter, ten building permits were issued downtown totaling $670,099, four new businesses opened (not bad for middle of pandemic!) and volunteers donated 3,133 hours to downtown organizations. This week the City Commission approved $24,000 in tax increment financing funds to support the Downtown Development Partnership. Thank you!

9) Trying to set up a website with checkout/ecommerce functions? Want your customers to seek you out as a destination? Wondering how your business compares to others? Looking for new markets? Want a business plan template that you can use on-going to make strategic adjustments? These are some of the tools and resources we provide. GFDA is your go to team of business advisors. Call Jolene to connect, 406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) Congratulations to First Bank of Montana on opening a new branch office in Conrad, see Cut Bank Pioneer Press. Congratulations to Opportunity Bank on being named a top lender by the Independent Community Bankers of America. Montana DEQ issued the permit for the Black Butte Copper mine in White Sulpher Springs; see Tribune.

11) Thirteen meat processors in our region have been awarded over $1.5 million in Montana Meat Processing grants to expand processing operations. Christiaens Meats in Valier won a grant for $33,000 (see The Valierian), DaButcha in Shelby (see Shelby Promoter) and C&C Meat Processing in Babb (see Glacier Reporter) will each receive $150,000 to upgrade and improve their businesses. Other processors include The Butcher Block in Great Falls (see KRTV), T and A Ranch in Cascade, Hilger Meats and Judith Mountain Meats in Lewistown, Diamond D Bar Processing in Geraldine, Cordova Farms and 5D Processing in Choteau, Bear Paw Meats in Chinook, 406 Processing and BCH Discount Meats in Great Falls, Big Sandy Meat Shop in Malta, and Castle Mountain Grocery and Rawhide Meats in White Sulpher Springs. For help with food, ag and bio-processing operations, contact our Food & Ag Development Center Director, Barnett Sporkin-Morrison at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-3285.

12) Congratulations to Town Pump on the opening of the new Main Stay Suites & Sleep Inn in Great Falls! See Tribune. The Valley Country Store is reopening under new ownership. Congratulations to Sonny and Rupa Muhar on their third store in the area! See Fairfield Sun Times.

13) Worked with several businesses this week who hadn’t applied, or got stuck completing, a state grant application. The Stabilization Grant covers up to 6 months or $20,000 of operating expenses for all Montana businesses with fewer than 50 employees. So far, 8,237 Montana companies have been helped through this program and nearly 6,000 have received their second $10,000. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief for information on all of the open COVID recovery state grant programs. If you need help starting or completing the application for this, or any of the state grants, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

14) The City of Great Falls has started work with TD&H on a sewer lift station river crossing feasibility study; see TheElectricGF.com. Infrastructure such as this seldom makes the news except when it fails. Kudos to the City for continuing improvements to its water and sewer systems! Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks has constructed a new trestle bridge in Sluice Boxes State Park, one of my favorite day hikes; see KFBB.

15) We are issuing an RFQ for QEP Environmental Services for our new EPA brownfield assessment grant that will provide hazardous materials phase one and two reports for proposed redevelopment projects throughout Cascade County. Contact Lillian Sunwall for more info at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-1253.

16) NACDC Financial Services along with GFDA will be hosting a virtual coffee meeting discussing various grants and programs available to small businesses on the Blackfeet Reservation at 10 AM on Wednesday August 26th, 2020. RSVP with Nathan Reiff in order to receive a link to the zoom call and a coupon for a free coffee at Hinman Coffee House in Browning. NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

17) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Matthew Achak, President & Co-Founder of FCR in downtown Great Falls, MT. Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at True Brew and their new location off of 10th Ave S in Great Falls. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hit that share button to help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to live, work, and do business!

18) Montana ranks 7th in the 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform – but are we in danger of losing our place? Join the Montana Chamber on Wednesday, September 2nd at 12:00 PM, for a free webinar with Harold Kim, President of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), for a discussion about business liability protections related to COVID-19 and other matters that impact perceptions of Montana’s legal climate. Register here.

19) GFDA was approved as a lender this week by the Montana Board of Investments so that we can offer some of our borrowers the benefits of the COVID Relief Loan Deferment Program.

20) The National Restaurant Association is offering a ServSafe dining program as a way to assure customers that it is safe to eat at establishments who make the commitment. More info on how to do this for your restaurant at ServSafe.

21) Are you underemployed, or explore a new career path? Microsoft has launched a global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year. They have identified 10 jobs as having the greatest number of job openings, steady growth over the past four years, pay a livable wage, and require skills that can be learned online. Learn more about the initiative, or go to https://opportunity.linkedin.com/en-us to start upskilling!

More announcements are in the works as well as more announced projects moving forward. Let’s keep the positive momentum going.

Mask up Montana!

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.

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
Colin Powell

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.


Economic Development Services
See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Great GFDA Career Opportunity
We are boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. Download position posting or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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

August SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.266%; 20-year at 2.210%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.387%; and, 20-year refinance 2.211%. 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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Montana has many grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! 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.

The Montana Chamber hosted a webinar helpful for businesses interested in learning more about the Montana Loan Deferment Program. See recording of webinar here.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

The Montana Indian Equity Fund (IEF) will begin accepting applications for the small business grant program starting August 1st. Applications will be accepted through September 30th. If you are a Native American entrepreneur looking to start a business or expand an existing business, check out this grant opportunity. For help applying, contact Rich at 406-836-2078 or RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org. He can assist with the application process and help you connect with a local Native American Business Advisor.

The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. Here is the online link to the magazine. For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center has put together a free online Montana Cooperatives 101 course. This self-paced resource includes recorded presentations, activities and custom videos that will help you learn about the cooperative business model and successful Montana coops.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/

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

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

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.

The 4th annual Montana Food Show will be held in Missoula on October 26. Learn more at https://agr.mt.gov/MTFoodShow. The Montana Beverage Show will be held in Helena on November 9. Visit www.beverageshow.mt.gov for more information. The Export Montana team is hosting Riddle of the Exporter training in Billings on July 28 and Kalispell on July 30. The training is free and will help you learn about and prepare for export markets. Learn more here.

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