Top 10 – 9/15/19

Tianta Stevens

Congratulations to Tianta Stevens, owner of Act Normal, LLC., for her recent purchase of Escape the Falls at 511 Central Avenue in downtown Great Falls. Escape rooms are a popular business throughout the country in which teams of players cooperate to identify clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish specific tasks within a certain time frame. They’re a fun night out with friends or great for corporate team building. GFDA helped Tianta work through the due diligence process of acquiring the business and its assets. A grand re-opening event was held on Friday.

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) Met with site selectors in Dallas at the Site Selectors Guild Fall Forum. There are 386 metro areas across the country. Companies hire site selectors to help them eliminate sites until they have a short list of three to five. Many times the only thing differentiating the top 20 are relationships between site selectors and communities. For example, after our last site selectors meeting one of the consultants was asked by a client to find a small metro west of the Mississippi that would be a great fit for its operations. The site selector, who had just met with Jolene, told the company, “I know a community you should look at in Montana.” We are still in the running for that project and continuously building relationships to gain more!

2) Choteau resident Charles Hlavac, the former manager of the Teton Pass Ski Resort, has purchased the ski area west of Choteau and is working to open it this season! See more details in the Choteau Acantha and on KRTV.

3) I’m very pleased to announce that Nathan Reiff will be joining the GFDA team as our new Business Development Officer. Nathan was one of 111 candidates from across the country who applied for this new position. He has been a leader at the University of Providence for the last 12 years, most recently as Director of Student Engagement. Nathan earned a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Concordia College and a MS in Organizational Management from the University of Providence. He will lead our business retention and expansion efforts, as well as other business development work. Welcome Nathan!

4) We are growing and have three additional new positions to expand our team, including Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant, Rural SBDC Business Advisor, and Talent Attraction Director. See descriptions below or download here.

5) The feasibility study to create Montana’s first National Heritage Area is almost complete. The proposed name, Big Sky Country NHA, was announced at a public meeting this week in Belt. National Heritage Areas were created by Congress and the Reagan Administration to boost heritage tourism, protect historic sites and celebrate our country’s rich history. See TheElectricGF.com for more details and visit the organization’s website to learn how you can support this effort.

6) GFDA issued a loan commitment to RE Family Services, Inc. for the startup of their business in downtown Great Falls.  RE Family Services Inc. is a new nonprofit that will provide Great Falls foster youth with visitation programs, aiming to reduce recurrences within the foster care system and assist in rebuilding the lives of foster care children. If your business needs assistance with financing to start or grow, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) The Great Falls International Airport and Great Falls Montana Tourism met with eight airlines this week at the second annual Montana Airline Rendezvous in Big Sky. At the meetings this week, John Faulkner and Rebecca Engum presented more than a dozen new route ideas including new direct service to California. Three airlines expressed some interest in establishing new flights in our community if we can develop a revenue guarantee program. Contact Shane Etzwiler at the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce to learn how your company can support this effort, setzwiler@greatfallschamber.org.

8) Jason and Barnett partnered with the City of Shelby to host 16 people at a meeting of resource partners in the Golden Triangle. Federal, state, local and private advisors to business discussed ways to increase collaborative efforts and communicate more effectively and efficiently. Businesses that collaborate with a diverse team of advisors grow faster and are more profitable than businesses that go it alone. If your business could use an outside look, nearly all the advisors to businesses that attended the September 11th meeting are free of charge. Contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org to see how GFDA and our partners help companies start and grow.

9) Great Falls Montana Tourism wants to assist with funding a group’s creation of an event in Great Falls, Montana! We are now accepting applications for grant funds that will assist with funding for the creation of a NEW multi-day event. Get all the details at http://visitgreatfallsmontana.org/opportunities/

10) SBA 504 Interest Rates keep coming in low, low, low! Effective interest rates for September came in at 3.44% for the 25-year term, 3.355% for the 20-year term, and the 10-year term came in at 3.553%. The SBA even offers a business debt refinance loan with 20-year rates at 3.388%. Now is a great time to take advantage of the low interest rates on your commercial real estate or equipment project with an SBA 504 loan. With down payments as low as 10%, the 504 is hard to beat for small business financing. Contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to get started on your SBA 504 loan today!

11) The Montana State Fund declared a $30 million dividend to policy holders that exhibit workplace safety to the highest standard. This follows back to back $40 million dividends in 2017 and 2018. Dividends to policy holders since 1999 total $286 million. See Great Falls Tribune for details.

12) Lillian presented at the Pre-MEDA Brownfields workshop on a panel on “Best Practices for Managing QEPs”.  We received sign-off from DEQ and EPA to move forward with testing on a site and two applications for Phase One Assessments. If you are looking at an older building or property that may be complicated by environmental conditions, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406) 750-1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org for information on how we can help.

13) Join Neighbors, Developers, Property Owners, Resource Providers, and more on Wednesday, October 2nd in the Missouri Room at the Civic Center for a visioning session on what we hope our downtown can be! We will focus our efforts on blocks that are ready to transform! Pizza and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Please RSVP so we know how much to bring!

14) GFDA hosted a workshop/training by the State of Montana Procurement Bureau and Montana Department of Transportation on how to contract with the State and use of the eMACS system. For more information or other available workshops, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) Want to hear weekly about great events and entertainment, sign up for The Eventory, an enewsletter listing of events happening in Great Falls published by Great Falls Tourism.

16) Join us at the third annual Montana Food Show! This tradeshow will provide opportunities for food buyers and food producers to connect and find ways to get more Montana foods on Montana plates. 100 Montana fresh produce, meat, food and beverage companies will be showcasing their products at theBrick Breeden Field House in Bozeman on Friday, September 27. Buyers can register and learn more at www.foodshow.mt.gov. Questions? Contact Marty Earnheart with the Montana Department of Agriculture at 406.444.9126 or mearnheart@mt.gov.

17) We published our Quarterly Investor Letter that included links to a brief FY2019 Highlights, current list of Investors in Great Falls Economic Development, current GFDA and High Plains Financial Boards List, Strategic Plan, and Five New Initiatives.

18) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Mitchell Development and Investments, LLC, for their Advanced Division investment and Global Credit, LLC for their Community Division investment. Through investment, GFDA works hard to use your dollars to generate leads, real estate deals and business development potential suited to the needs, interests and opportunities of the Golden Triangle. If you haven’t invested this year, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9449.

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 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.

“Be nicer to your customers than your competitors.”
Richard Reed

 

GFDA Job Openings

Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant
Economic Development
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development lending team. Help us to keep growing our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. This position receives,reviews and processes commercial loan documents, maintains loan application files and other duties related to the processing and servicing of the commercial loan portfolio.Reviews all gathered pending documents for accuracy, completeness, loan authority, lien position, insurance, flood insurance, collateral, appraisal, coding, risk rating, disbursements, etc. Reviews documents for compliance purposes, recognizes problems with documentation, and takes appropriate action. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, and have computer and communication skills. Experience with SBA 504 loan servicing and/or economic development loan funds a plus. Must be detail oriented and organized with flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Rural Business Advisor
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Motivated, innovative, and impact-driven professional to boost our entrepreneurship coaching and training efforts in rural North-Central Montana. Work with entrepreneurs, business owners, and stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to address some of rural America’s economic challenges. This new position will coach, counsel, and advise existing rural businesses, stimulate startup activity, and deliver meaningful trainings primarily in rural Cascade, Glacier, Teton, Toole, and Pondera counties. Our mission is to stimulate innovation, increase collaboration within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and deliver impact to employers and innovators. Day-to-day responsibilities will include providing advisory support to business owners, helping them identify and solve the problems that arise in entrepreneurship. Requires excellent communication skills. Prefer five to seven years’ experience in business management, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, human resources, or related field. Bachelor’s degree required. Salary range $40,000-$50,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, and flexible work environment.EOE. We encourage candidates who live, or would like to live, in one of our wonderful rural communities to apply. Remote work available. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Talent Attraction Director
Digital Content Marketing

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for an experienced digital marketing star who can create and implement a content-driven workforce recruitment effort for our community and region. Engage our business leaders and residents using Social Toaster and social media, help us use Linked In and other platforms to help our companies attract talent to relocate to Great Falls. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

 

SBA 504 Loans

SBA 504 rates came in at insanely low levels in August. The 25-year note came in at 3.626%; 20-year at 3.526%; and, 20-year refinance at 3.559%. There was no 10-year equipment debenture sale this month but July’s sale came in at 3.922%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going 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.

 

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

 

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Montana Downtown Conference will be held October 23-25 in Missoula. This is always a great conference with lots of idea sharing. More info here.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering trainings later this month on Market Research for Early Stage Technologies and on Writing Winning SBIR/STTR Proposals. See more info here.

The Great Falls Tourism Business Improvement District is offering a major grant opportunity of up to $100,000 to spur creation of a new multi-day events that will attract visitors to the city during the non-summer September through mid-June season. New events are events that have not previously been and are not currently being held in Great Falls. Proposals submitted shall comply with the instructions and procedures outlined in the detailed Application Instructions available to download at www.VisitGreatFallsMontana.org/Opportunities. Apply by submitting a proposal electronically in PDF format to Rebecca@VisitGreatFalls.org by 5:00 PM on September 30.

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 Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Top 10 – 9/8/19

Four companies have bought lots in the Great Falls AgriTech Park and three of these have opened new facilities. We can provide rail-served heavy industrial lots with all utilities ranging in size from 7-300+ acres in this BNSF-certified Premier Park.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 17 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) The Great Falls City Commission approved the zoning and annexation of the Love’s Travel Stop location, a $12 million project that will include up to two fast food options and employ 30-40 people.

2) During our fiscal year that ended June 30th, GFDA undertook 18 out-of-state business development trips, provided free coaching to 224 would be entrepreneurs and existing businesses, offered 40 business trainings with 434 participants, and closed 16 gap and bridge loans totaling $6,413,751 that leveraged an additional $15,896,915 in private capital. We approved 3 loans totaling $821,558 that will close in our current fiscal year leveraging an additional $1,610,309, funded 8 brownfield assessments for potential downtown and riverfront redevelopment projects, and launched our new web site www.GrowGreatFallsMontana.org. Here is our two-page GFDA FY 2019 Highlights.

3) GFDA is undertaking Five New Initiatives this fall as we continue to implement our Strategic Plan.

4) Developers are proposing to move forward with an $18 million mixed-use redevelopment of the riverfront Buffalo Crossing property and True Brew plans to open a second Great Falls location, see TheElectricGF.com. Learn more about the new downtown Let’s Play Games and Toys, see Great Falls Tribune. A new dance studio has opened in Great Falls, MT Elite All Star Dance Studio, see KRTV.

5) The next two events on the GFDA Business Education Calendar are The LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop on Tuesday, September 10th from 4-5 PM and How to Do Business with the State of Montana on Thursday, September 12th from 9 AM-12 noon. Space is limited to these events. Register for The LaunchPoint here. Register for How to Do Business with the State of Montana here.

6) Interested in seeing more great development and new businesses in downtown Great Falls? Hold the date for a special Downtown Block Visioning Charrette the evening of Wednesday, October 2, 5:30-7:30 PM in the Missouri Room of the Civic Center. Developers, entrepreneurs, businesses, residents, shoppers, eaters, drinkers….. EVERYBODY is welcome. Pizza will be served! More details coming soon.

7) Great Falls Public Schools students and NeighborWorks Great Falls broke ground on the 42nd High School House in Great Falls, see KRTV.

8) We hosted a transload operator who visited to tour the Great Falls AgriTech Park.

9) Congratulations to First Interstate Bank and the Montana Economic Developers Association on winning awards from the Montana Nonprofit Association!

10) Ten entrepreneurs and advisors to business participated in our September webinar, Rethinking Innovation in Montana. Our Food and Ag Center director, Barnett Sporkin-Morrison challenged participants to redefine their idea of innovation in order to apply it to businesses of all types and in all locations. All of our recorded webinars can be viewed here. To discuss this topic further, contact Barnett at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) Everyone interested in growing our tourism industry and boosting histories and cultural attributes of the region are encouraged to attend a public meeting about the efforts to create Montana’s first National Heritage Area, this Thursday, September 12, 6:00-8:00 PM at the Belt Performing Arts Center, 58 Castner Street, Belt. Light refreshments will be served. See more info at Great Falls Tribune.

12) GFDA was accepted into the membership of the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the nation’s largest Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) trade association. GFDA is the third CDFI to be accepted into OFN’s membership.

13) The Montana Downtown Conference will be held October 23-25 in Missoula. This is always a great conference with lots of idea sharing. More info here.

14) Jason attended the Association of Small Business Development Centers professional development conference in Long Beach, California along with 1,500 other business advisors from around the U.S. He attended trainings on best practices in software as a service to make businesses more efficient, human resource management, selling products on Amazon, business challenges in rural areas, the challenges women continue to face in the workplace and as entrepreneurs, resources available to food and agriculture producers and processors, and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. He started the certification process in our newest business planning resource available to clients – LivePlan. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these topics, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering trainings later this month on Market Research for Early Stage Technologies and on Writing Winning SBIR/STTR Proposals. See more info here.

16) We are growing! The Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) is adding four new positions to expand our team, including Business Development Officer, Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant, Rural SBDC Business Advisor, and Talent Attraction Director. See descriptions below or download here.

17) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, including Cascade County, for their Premier Division Investment and Energy West for their Advanced Division Investment. Your investments assist in the ways in which we are able to bring everyone together for one mission: robust, resilient and healthy economic growth. We cannot do it alone and we need your support to be successful. So let’s keep working together. If you have questions about investment, contact Teresa Schreiner, Investment Director at 406.781.9449.

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 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 no great limits to growth because there are no limits to human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”

Ronald Reagan

 

GFDA Job Openings

Business Development Officer 
Economic Development  

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for a super star to meet with existing businesses to identify needs, coordinate business development trips and events, and provide overall aid in our business development efforts. Involves coordination, event planning and management, market research, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project management, advocacy, meeting with businesses, listening, and additional client business development services. Position may involve travel in region, U.S. and Canada. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in business development. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-55,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant
Economic Development
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development lending team. Help us to keep growing our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. This position receives,reviews and processes commercial loan documents, maintains loan application files and other duties related to the processing and servicing of the commercial loan portfolio.Reviews all gathered pending documents for accuracy, completeness, loan authority, lien position, insurance, flood insurance, collateral, appraisal, coding, risk rating, disbursements, etc. Reviews documents for compliance purposes, recognizes problems with documentation, and takes appropriate action. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, and have computer and communication skills. Experience with SBA 504 loan servicing and/or economic development loan funds a plus. Must be detail oriented and organized with flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Rural Business Advisor
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Motivated, innovative, and impact-driven professional to boost our entrepreneurship coaching and training efforts in rural North-Central Montana. Work with entrepreneurs, business owners, and stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to address some of rural America’s economic challenges. This new position will coach, counsel, and advise existing rural businesses, stimulate startup activity, and deliver meaningful trainings primarily in rural Cascade, Glacier, Teton, Toole, and Pondera counties. Our mission is to stimulate innovation, increase collaboration within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and deliver impact to employers and innovators. Day-to-day responsibilities will include providing advisory support to business owners, helping them identify and solve the problems that arise in entrepreneurship. Requires excellent communication skills. Prefer five to seven years’ experience in business management, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, human resources, or related field. Bachelor’s degree required. Salary range $40,000-$50,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, and flexible work environment.EOE. We encourage candidates who live, or would like to live, in one of our wonderful rural communities to apply. Remote work available. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Talent Attraction Director
Digital Content Marketing

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for an experienced digital marketing star who can create and implement a content-driven workforce recruitment effort for our community and region. Engage our business leaders and residents using Social Toaster and social media, help us use Linked In and other platforms to help our companies attract talent to relocate to Great Falls. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

 

SBA 504 Loans

SBA 504 rates came in at insanely low levels in August. The 25-year note came in at 3.626%; 20-year at 3.526%; and, 20-year refinance at 3.559%. There was no 10-year equipment debenture sale this month but July’s sale came in at 3.922%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going 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.

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

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Great Falls Tourism Business Improvement District is offering a major grant opportunity of up to $100,000 to spur creation of a new multi-day events that will attract visitors to the city during the non-summer September through mid-June season. New events are events that have not previously been and are not currently being held in Great Falls. Proposals submitted shall comply with the instructions and procedures outlined in the detailed Application Instructions available to download at www.VisitGreatFallsMontana.org/Opportunities. Apply by submitting a proposal electronically in PDF format to Rebecca@VisitGreatFalls.org by 5:00 PM on September 30.

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 Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Top 10 – 9/1/19

The Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a special use permit for Big Sky Cheese. The 20,000 square foot plant will be built north of Great Falls.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 17 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Preliminary 2019Q2 data released by JobsEQ indicates that the average annual wage in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased 5.3% over the preceding four quarters, beating the average Montana increase of 4.4% and the national average of 3.6%. The local average annual wage was $42,256. It has increased 20% in five years. Total wages earned in the Great Falls MSA increased $78 million from the previous four quarters, 5.14% growth.

2) Cattlemen’s Cut Steakhouse opened in the Great Falls Marketplace. Business Insider published a great article and photos about the recent Mission Over Malmstrom air show at Malmstrom AFB. We issued our GFDA 2019Q2 Index.

3) We are growing! The Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) is adding four new positions to expand our team, including Business Development Officer, Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant, Rural SBDC Business Advisor, and Talent Attraction Director. See descriptions below or download here. We announced the promotions of Jolene Schalper to Senior Vice President and Jason Nitschke to Vice President.

4) Our affiliate High Plains Financial approved a $200,000 SBA 504 loan for a Montana business that has been leasing a space they are outgrowing. With the SBA rates being so low this business decided it was time to own. Take advantage of the low FIXED rates for the life of the loan. If your commercial space isn’t keeping up with your growing business or you’d like to buy instead of lease, contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) Great Falls continues to have the lowest utility costs (water, wastewater and stormwater) in Montana for systems serving greater than 5,000, according to the 2019 Utility Rate Survey published by AE2S Nexus.

6) Our next webinar is coming up this Thursday, September 4th from 11-11:30 AM. “Rethinking Innovation in Montana” presented by Barnett Sporkin-Morrison, Director of the Great Falls Food and Ag Development Center. He will discuss how small business owners can create customer experiences that attract and retain customers. For those interested in the topic but unable to attend live, please register and we’ll send you the recording once it’s posted.

7) The Great Falls Retail Association and partners are holding a Great Falls Job Fair, 4-7 PM at the Holiday Village Mall lower level. Interested employers should email the Association at www.greatfallsretailassociation@gmail.com.

8) We approved a $40,000 loan for a non-profit business that is opening in downtown Great Falls. This business will be providing a well needed service in Great Falls in a very convenient location! If you have an idea for a business that would work well downtown or if you own a business downtown and want to expand, contact Jill Kohles 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out how we can help.

9) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a full slate of events and trainings this fall for manufacturers across the state. Visit their calendar for details.

10) GFDA’s Food and Ag Development Center Director assisted an out of state company with their search to secure long-term sources of agricultural products and ingredients from Montana. If you are or know of a company or firm that is open to new market opportunities in the agricultural and food space, Barnett can be reached at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) Made in Montana, run by the Montana Department of Commerce, set the date for the 2020 Made in Montana Show, March 13-14, 2020 in Helena. They will begin accepting exhibitor applications on October 15. Learn more about the program and event here. Artisans, check out https://handmademontana.com.

12) Investors and potential investors. Curious about what’s going on in the Great Falls regional economy? Please join GFDA at TD&H Engineering this Friday, September 6th at 7 AM for our monthly Development Coffee. For questions about Development Coffees, or if you are interested in hosting, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.

13) Just a reminder that the State of Montana Procurement Bureau along with MT DOT will be presenting a workshop on “How to Contract with the State of Montana.” This training will be held September 12th at 9:00 AM to noon at GFDA. To register, click on this link. You can also contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for more information.

14) GFDA earned the 2019 Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. Less than five percent of U.S. nonprofits have earned a Gold Seal.

15) Great Falls Public Schools kicked off the school year with its annual Convocation with the theme, “Who helps you grow.” Superintendent Tom Moore and Parent Advocate Elizabeth Hill spoke with gratitude about the GFPS staff who provide growth to the students in the district. See Great Falls Tribune and KRTV.

16) Participated in the Denver regional conference of the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Met with EDA, EPA and SBA regional and national leaders to discuss upcoming economic development efforts in Montana and the Great Falls trade area.

17) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Ferrin’s Furniture and Opportunity Bank, for their Community Division investments. Your investment dollars have a significant impact on our local and regional community. Economic investment increases our local tax base, facilitates job growth, and utilizes existing businesses and infrastructure. To discuss investment, contact Investment Director 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 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.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

GFDA Job Openings

Business Development Officer 
Economic Development  

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for a super star to meet with existing businesses to identify needs, coordinate business development trips and events, and provide overall aid in our business development efforts. Involves coordination, event planning and management, market research, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project management, advocacy, meeting with businesses, listening, and additional client business development services. Position may involve travel in region, U.S. and Canada. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in business development. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-55,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant
Economic Development
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development lending team. Help us to keep growing our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. This position receives,reviews and processes commercial loan documents, maintains loan application files and other duties related to the processing and servicing of the commercial loan portfolio.Reviews all gathered pending documents for accuracy, completeness, loan authority, lien position, insurance, flood insurance, collateral, appraisal, coding, risk rating, disbursements, etc. Reviews documents for compliance purposes, recognizes problems with documentation, and takes appropriate action. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, and have computer and communication skills. Experience with SBA 504 loan servicing and/or economic development loan funds a plus. Must be detail oriented and organized with flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Rural Business Advisor
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Motivated, innovative, and impact-driven professional to boost our entrepreneurship coaching and training efforts in rural North-Central Montana. Work with entrepreneurs, business owners, and stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to address some of rural America’s economic challenges. This new position will coach, counsel, and advise existing rural businesses, stimulate startup activity, and deliver meaningful trainings primarily in rural Cascade, Glacier, Teton, Toole, and Pondera counties. Our mission is to stimulate innovation, increase collaboration within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and deliver impact to employers and innovators. Day-to-day responsibilities will include providing advisory support to business owners, helping them identify and solve the problems that arise in entrepreneurship. Requires excellent communication skills. Prefer five to seven years’ experience in business management, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, human resources, or related field. Bachelor’s degree required. Salary range $40,000-$50,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, and flexible work environment.EOE. We encourage candidates who live, or would like to live, in one of our wonderful rural communities to apply. Remote work available. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Talent Attraction Director
Digital Content Marketing

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for an experienced digital marketing star who can create and implement a content-driven workforce recruitment effort for our community and region. Engage our business leaders and residents using Social Toaster and social media, help us use Linked In and other platforms to help our companies attract talent to relocate to Great Falls. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

 

SBA 504 Loans

SBA 504 rates came in at insanely low levels in August. The 25-year note came in at 3.626%; 20-year at 3.526%; and, 20-year refinance at 3.559%. There was no 10-year equipment debenture sale this month but July’s sale came in at 3.922%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going 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.

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 Great Falls Tourism Business Improvement District is offering a major grant opportunity of up to $100,000 to spur creation of a new multi-day events that will attract visitors to the city during the non-summer September through mid-June season. New events are events that have not previously been and are not currently being held in Great Falls. Proposals submitted shall comply with the instructions and procedures outlined in the detailed Application Instructions available to download at www.VisitGreatFallsMontana.org/Opportunities. Apply by submitting a proposal electronically in PDF format to Rebecca@VisitGreatFalls.org by 5:00 PM on September 30.

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 Montana Department of Commerce’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Great Falls Economic Development Quarter Index 2019 Q2

2nd Quarter 2019 Index

 

  • Rank of average annual pay growth from 2013-2017 in Great Falls MSA amongst all 370 U.S. MSA’s:  11th
  • Consecutive quarters that average wages in Great Falls MSA have increased:  21
  • Growth in “Admin and Support” jobs in Great Falls MSA from 2018Q1 to 2019Q1 driven by FCR’s hiring downtown:  7.4%
  • Great Falls ranking for lowest taxes per capita amongst Montana cities:  2nd
  • Great Falls ranking as Best U.S. Small City for Business:  36th
  • Increase in hotel room demand in Great Falls over past 12 months:  5%
  • Increase in guests arriving by air:  4%
  • Size of Big Sky Cheese plant proposed in Cascade County:  20,000 square feet
  • Job multiplier for cheese manufacturing in county according to JobsEQ:  3.34
  • Projected total job creation from just 5 new cheese manufacturing jobs:  17
  • Projected sales/output in county from 5 such jobs:  $4 million
  • Further ripple job creation through increased ag production:  7
  • Number of GFDA out of state business development trips during quarter:  7
  • Downtown building permits issued during 2019Q1:  13
  • Total of permits:  $5,108,627
  • Downtown volunteer hours donated:  7,827
  • Number of local entrepreneurs and businesses coached by GFDA during quarter:  126
  • Of these, number of new coaching clients:  55
  • Number of business training sessions offered during quarter:  16
  • Number of training participants:  209
  • Number of businesses started or bought by coached clients during quarter:  1
  • New capital secured by entrepreneur clients during quarter:  $235,211
  • Percent of Montana businesses that are small:  98%
  • Faster growth experienced by businesses that plan and track against their plan:  30%
  • Sample business plans available through LivePlan tool offered by GFDA:  500+
  • Number of free business data and strategy tools offered by GFDA:  7
  • Government contracts won by clients during quarter:  $404,348
  • Number of gap and bridge loans closed during quarter:  9
  • Amount of loans closed during quarter:  $4,612,751
  • Private investment leveraged by these loans:  $11,351,060
  • Loan commitments issued during quarter:  $80,558
  • Montana business tax climate ranking by Business Facilities:  5th
  • Total domestic and international traveler spending in U.S. in 2018:  $1.1 trillion
  • Number of U.S. jobs supported by tourism:  15.7 million
  • Number of visitors to Montana in 2018:  12.4 million
  • Out-of-State visitor contribution to state economy:  $3.8 billion
  • Percent of food service jobs most susceptible to automation:  81%
  • Percent of administrative jobs:  60%
  • U.S. adults who say good customer service increases the likelihood that they will spend more money than they had planned:  73%
  • Consumers who say their expectations of customer service are considerably higher now than three years ago:  50%
  • E-commerce share of retail market in 2018:  14.3%
  • Retail store closures in U.S. in 2018:  5,864
  • Number of store openings:  3,239
  • Number of female agricultural producers in Montana:  18,673
  • No-till acres in Montana:  8,050,902
  • Increase in Montana no-till acres since 2012:  17%
  • Number of Montana farms engaging in their own ag processing or manufacturing:  292
  • Miles that a freight train can move one ton of freight on one gallon of fuel:  479
  • Corporate executives who say expedited or “fast-track” permitting is important or very important in deciding where to locate a facility:  64.9%
  • Who say quality of life factors are important or very important:  82.8%
  • Availability of skilled labor:  91.5%
  • Site selection consultants who say shovel-ready/pre-certified sites are important in clients’ site searches:  80%
  • U.S. population that lived in metropolitan or micropolitan areas in 2018 according to the Census:  94.6%
  • Rural residents who live in metropolitan areas:  75%
  • Share of population growth 2010-2018 in areas with 100,000-250,000 residents:  3.8%
  • Share of growth in areas with 50,000-100,000 residents:  0.6%
  • In areas with less than 50,000 residents:  0.0%
  • Number of U.S. metro areas with greater population than Montana in 2018:  53
  • New GFDA Investors in Economic Development in FY 2019:  25

 

THANK YOU!

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

GuideStar Gold Seal

GFDA Earns 2019 Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

The Great Falls Development Authority just earned a 2019 Gold Seal by adding information to our Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar. Now our community members as well as 10+ million GuideStar users can find in-depth information about our goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress. We’re shining a spotlight on the difference we help make in the world. Plus, we’ve provided fresh information to 200+ charitable websites and applications that use GuideStar data, such as AmazonSmile, Facebook, and Network for Good.

Less than five percent of U.S. nonprofits have earned a Gold Seal. GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.