Top 10 – 5/24/2020

True Brew Espresso’s second location is making good progress. Nice to see so many sidewalk crossing improvements across the city.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 17 for last week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) The Little Shell Tribe announced plans to build a healthcare facility in Great Falls using the bulk of $25 million received from the Coronavirus Relief Fund; see KFBB.

2) Worked with an expanding U.S. light manufacturer that has short listed Great Falls for their next manufacturing location. We are excited to work with this company to ensure they choose Great Falls!

3) Montana is the Most Business Friendly State in the COVID-19 Era according to Zippia.com; see Sidney Herald article or Zippia.com study.

4) GFDA’s Loan Committee approved an $85,000 loan to help finance a rural business startup in the Golden Triangle. This business will be providing a well needed service across the region. If your business needs assistance with financing to start, grow or expand please contact Jill Kohles 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out how we can help.

5) Congratulations to Gayle Fisher of Central Montana Tourism on being recognized with a 2020 Montana Tourism Legacy Award!

6) There’s still a few seats left in our first Website Boot Camp. If your business needs a website and needs help learning how to convert to online sales join us for a four part in depth training course. Our business coach Rich Gannon is a Wix website expert and will be teaching businesses how to create a Wix based business website from start to finish, including an online store. The classes will be taught virtually on Tuesday evenings starting June 2nd. For more details and to sign up, click here.

7) Congratulations to Ron and Becky Nelson on being recognized with the Friend of the Foundation Award from the Montana FFA Foundation!

8) Personal income in the Great falls MSA increased 5.0% in 2018 according to data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That translates into a one year increase of $184 million in personal earnings in Cascade County!

9) Community members are invited to participate in the effort to create a wayfinding plan for Great Falls. Visit the Great Falls Wayfinding Facebook page for project information. We’ve set up a mapping website so you can put pins on locations and landmarks that you think should be included in the Wayfinding plan. See TheElectricGF.com article for more details.

10) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Lyndsay Gutierrez from Nourish. Hear how she took innovation on the road with a food truck and why Great Falls was the perfect place to do so! Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at Spark Architecture. 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!

11) 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.

12) Building consumer confidence. That is the goal of some of the businesses we worked with this week in reopening to the public through Phase I and Phase II. If your business is struggling to figure out how to reopen, minimize risks, build consumer confidence, diversify revenue, or keep customers and employees safe, GFDA’s business advisors are free and here to help. Contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org for more information.

13) Toole County Forward continues to help businesses in Shelby and Toole county by awarding grants. This week two businesses were awarded $10,000 and $15,000. GFDA helped these businesses write business plans, a requirement of the grant application. If you own a business in Shelby or Toole County and need help applying for Toole County Forward funds, contact Rich Gannon at 406-836-2078 or RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) Alluvion Health is offering FREE Drive-Through COVID-19 testing for everyone; no charge and no requirements. All you have to do is go to the drive-through clinic located in the former Westgate Mall parking lot on 3rd Street NW in Great Falls. No symptoms? No problem. This service is open to anyone who wants to get tested. Learn more on YouTube.

15) Nominations for the GFDA Board of Directors are open. GFDA investor members are eligible to serve on the board if they hold senior management positions in their business or organization. Nominees must be investors in good standing at the Community Division or higher. If you aren’t an investor, haven’t renewed your commitment, or you have further questions about the scope of this role, contact Teresa Schreiner no later than Tuesday, May 26th.

16) The Montana Innovation Partnership is hosting a virtual meetup covering Intellectual Property for SBIR/STTR candidates and awards on June 11 at 3:30 PM. Register here.

17) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Flawless Auto Body for their PaceSetter Division investment, and Klinefelter’s Insulation, Cascade County Tavern Association, Big Sky Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Great Falls Business Improvement District for their Community Division investments. With your support, GFDA can strategically work to protect projects in our pipeline while also providing business resources and strategies for entrepreneurs and small businesses. To discuss investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

I was honored this week to present on an International Economic Development Council webinar with the leadership of the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

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.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. 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 flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

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.

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

May SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.758%; 20-year at 2.683%; and, 10-year equipment 2.644%. 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 nine grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

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.

Does your business need a website to help it convert to online sales? Adding an online sales option can help your company diversify your revenue stream and access more markets. If you are ready to take on this challenge, join us for our new four part Website Boot Camp. We will teach you how to build your own website from start to finish including a fully function online store. For more information and to sign up click here.

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.

USDA has open grant rounds for the Value-Added Producer Grant, Rural Business Development Grant and Renewable Energy for America Programs. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt or contact Lea McGiboney for more info, 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov. Let us know if we can help!

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.

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

Top 10 – 5/17/2020

Renderings of the newly announced 83-unit Milwaukee Apartments and renovation of the historic Milwaukee Train Station project on the riverfront of downtown Great Falls. Renderings courtesy of LPW Architecture and Big Sky Select Properties.

GFDA’s Top 10

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

1) The Great Falls Planning Advisory Board unanimously supported rezoning for Big Sky Select Properties‘ second exciting downtown development! The Opportunity Zone fund plans to include a new 83 unit riverfront apartment building in the project. See Great Falls Tribune and TheElectricGF.com stories. Stay tuned for exciting details to be announced soon.

2) The Big Sky Cafe in downtown Cut Bank will re-open under new ownership with financing help from the the Native American Community Development Corporation in Browning; see Pioneer Press. The historic Stone School Inn in Valier has a new owner and is under new management; see The Valerian.

3) The SBA approved a $199,000 SBA 504 loan as part of a $544,000 purchase and renovation of a building in downtown Great Falls! With a low down payment and FIXED interest rate the company will be able to expand their business while preserving working capital, which is so important for growing businesses. If your business needs money to grow please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out how we can help.

4) Terry Hurley and Beth Branam have created the Great Falls Take Down & Take Out Facebook group to promote local businesses; see KRTV. A new coffee shop called Hinman Coffee House is opening on Monday in Browning; see KRTV.

5) We closed and funded a Business Stabilization and Recovery Loan to Woith Engineering and Surveying. These GFDA loans help previously profitable businesses who are struggling with working capital due to COVID 19 impact. Does your business need a working capital boost to deal with the effects of COVID? We’re here to help. Call Jolene to discuss, 406.750.4481. Since March 18th we’ve closed $809,147 in loans and approved another $199,000. We have secured more loan capital to help us keep supporting local businesses and real estate developments.

6) The Governor’s Office of Economic Development, MT Department of Commerce, and the US Small Business Administration are hosting a discussion on the Montana Emergency Grants and the national EIDL and PPP programs this Wednesday, 5/20, at 11 AM. Join Zoom Meeting: https://mt-gov.zoom.us/j/92773406717 Meeting ID: 927-7340-6717 or by phone at 646-558-8656, Meeting ID: 927-7340-6717.

7) Exposure has proven to be the silver lining emerging from transitioning all of GFDA’s training events online during the last two months. We held two training events this week with 46 attendees included participants from 14 Montana counties, in addition to participants from Los Angeles, California and Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Special thanks to labor law attorney Bobbi Berkhof from Church, Harris, Johnson, Williams PC in Great Falls for presenting our webinar, Protecting Your Business From Legal Liability During Reopening. When posted, this webinar – and all seven other COVID-19 related presentations – will be linked on our website. In our eight COVID webinars, we’ve hosted 413 attendees from throughout Montana.

8) Our Executive Committee approved a brownfield cleanup grant of up to $134,225 to Cascade County to remove the asbestos and lead paint from the historic old jail in downtown Great Falls. We also approved providing free Phase I assessments for two other downtown properties, one for Habitat for Humanity that is looking at purchasing the building they lease for their Restore and one for a local business looking to expand into a downtown property. For more information on how Brownfields funding can help with move a “stuck” project forward, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406) 750-1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) Does your business need a website to help it convert to online sales? Adding an online sales option can help your company diversify your revenue stream and access more markets. If you are ready to take on this challenge, join us for our new four part Website Boot Camp. We will teach you how to build your own website from start to finish including a fully function online store. For more information and to sign up click here.

10) Great Falls PTAC worked with Pharm406 in Havre to help with the eMACS State Procurement process needed to pursue State contracts. The company just announced that they are expanding to provide mobile immunization clinic services beginning in August. Mobile clinics will be available throughout Montana; contact the company to set one up. If you would like to learn more about contracting with the government, contact Shannon Clancy at 406.590.1184 or SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Chef Matt Black from Harvest Craft Kitchen. Hear about his new restaurant in downtown Great Falls, and why it is a prime location for new businesses! Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at a new food truck in town – Nourish! 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) Be on the lookout for upcoming Downtown project announcements! The current momentum Downtown is positive and energizing. Do you have a downtown business, property, or project? We’re here to help. Call Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) 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.

14) Tyler networked with digital marketing professionals across the country in an International Economic Development Council (IEDC) course. The takeaway? COVID-19 has dramatically changed the digital landscape. Now is an excellent time to get a fresh perspective on your digital assets (website, social media, etc.). Both Tyler and Rich are available to empower and enhance your digital presence, and are eager to take your call! Tyler Menzales — (406) 750-1539 or TMenzales@GrowGreatFalls.org. Rich Gannon – (406) 836-2078 or RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) Two businesses in Toole County were awarded grant money this week from Toole County Forward. GFDA helped these businesses write business plans using Live Plan, a cloud based business plan software. If you own a business in Toole County and need help applying for funding from Toole County Forward, contact Rich at 406-836-2078 or RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

16) We will be hosting a virtual peer-to-peer discussion designed for partners who provide assistance to entrepreneurs across the Golden Triangle this Thursday, May 21 at 2 PM. We’ll discuss what you’re hearing are the needs of local businesses, and how we can work together to respond appropriately and successfully to the COVID-19 crisis. To register, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

17) GFDA Investors and community leaders held virtual video discussions with Senator Tester and Senator Daines to discuss economic impacts and recovery efforts. April was a challenging month for GFDA financially and May is going to be even worse. Despite that, we’ve doubled down on our economic development work focusing on business retention and expansion, entrepreneurship, and attracting investment into our communities including our downtowns.

18) Thank you to this week’s Investor’s in Economic Development, Holman Aviation for their Pacesetter Division investment, Tyree Investment GroupFalcon, Lester & Schaff, P.C. and Cappis Consulting & Tax, LLC. for their Community Division Investments. Your support allows our team to provide responsive and innovative services in a changing economic landscape. Thank you for your continued engagement! To discuss investment, contact Teresa Schreiner or call 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.

“Nothing comes easy. Success doesn’t just drop in your lap. You have to go out and fight for it every day.”
Dana White


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. 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 flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

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.

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

May SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.758%; 20-year at 2.683%; and, 10-year equipment 2.644%. 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 nine new grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

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.

USDA has open grant rounds for the Value-Added Producer Grant, Rural Business Development Grant and Renewable Energy for America Programs. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt or contact Lea McGiboney for more info, 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov. Let us know if we can help!

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.

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

Top 10 – 5/10/2020

Benefis Health System broke ground on the new Women’s and Children’s Center! The 48,000 square foot outpatient center will be a major boost for health care in the Great Falls Region! See Great Falls Tribune and KRTV.

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 GFDA investor, Hybrid Steel Design, owned by Geraldine native Levi Clark, for being named Montana’s Young Entrepreneur-Owned Small Business of 2020 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)! The SBA Montana District Office presents this award annually to a Montana business owned by an entrepreneur under age 35. Levi Clark started Hybrid Steel Design – a welding, fabrication, and millwright firm – eight years ago and has grown revenue nearly 400% over three years. Stay tuned for an SBA press release announcing all its winners, including more information on celebratory events.

2) Thank you to everyone who voted to support the Great Falls Public Schools elementary schools operating levy and to everyone who supported Kids Education Yes! Passage of the levy is a great step forward for Great Falls!

3) Congratulations to the Rose Petal in Cut Bank on the completion of their major remodeling project.  In addition to celebrating the store remodel, Rose Petal owners Ashley and Nate Kavanagh are celebrating their first year as new business owners. See Pioneer Press. VandenBros Design has expanded into a 17,000 square foot space at 227 East Railroad Street in Cut Bank; see Pioneer Press.

4) The 25-year May SBA 504 loan debenture came in at 2.758%, 20-year at 2.683% and the 10-year at 2.644%. When was the last time you obtained business financing with an interest rate that started with a 2? SBA 504 interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going fees. If you are looking to finance commercial real estate or equipment now is the time! Contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out more.

5) Congratulations to another Geraldine native, Drew Hicks, owner of Central Avenue Meats at 422 Central Avenue in Great Falls, for the official grand opening of his new butcher shop. See Tribune.

6) As businesses throughout the Golden Triangle begin to reopen, what legal concerns should entrepreneurs address? That is the topic of our next Small Business Webinar Series presentation, Protecting Your Business From Legal Liability During Reopening. Employment and labor law attorney, Bobbi Berkhof with Church, Harris, Johnson, Williams, P.C. will help business owners understand how to mitigate risk with employees and customers. Register to join this free, live webinar on Friday, May 15 at 11 AM. We also send the recording out to all registrants.

7) Montana opened nine new grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

8) Worked with another great business on a COVID19 Stabilization and Recovery loan. Woith Engineering and Surveying will be able to retain their seven employees and continue operations. If you are in need of working capital support due to COVID19, call Jolene to discuss, 406.750.4481, JSchaper@GrowGreatFalls.org. Since March 18th, we have closed $749,647 in loans and approved another $248,500.

9) Nathan Reiff presented a second webinar on our Reopening Toolkit as part of the SBDC’s small business webinar series. You can watch the recordings of both presentations here. You can access all of our Toolkits and additional COVID-19 resources on our website.

10) Amongst all the challenges and changes the global pandemic of COVID-19 has brought, there are also opportunities for those that are able to harness and use the changes in supply chains, producer capabilities, and consumer demand to their benefit. If you are thinking about ways to navigate the seas of change in the agricultural, agri-tourism, bioscience, food and beverage, and natural resource space, we are here to help you on the journey. Call Barnett at 406-750-3285 or reach him via email at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) A Brownfields project that has been in the works for years took a step forward this week. The building that was home to McCullough’s Wrecker Service and a former gas station on Second Avenue North, right outside Malmstrom ABF’s main gate, was demolished to begin the cleanup of petroleum & asbestos contamination. We have been working with our partners at EPA Region 8, DEQ, and the Montana Petroleum Board to provide funding for this property. We are excited to see a clean site that will make way for redevelopment. We’re also excited to win another $300,000 EPA brownfield assessment grant this week! For more information on Brownfields Tools, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406)750-1253.

12) Downtown is still GROWING! Ten downtown building permits totaling $2,011,400 were issued last quarter. Networked with developers and downtown businesses this week and GREAT things are continuing to happen in Downtown Great Falls. If you have a business you are thinking of opening Downtown or know someone who has an idea, contact Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-0136.

13) We’ve started our own video series entitled “Doing Business in the Golden Triangle.” Each Tuesday at 2:00PM MST we will be showcasing unique businesses, the entrepreneurs behind them, and why their businesses call the Golden Triangle “Home.” Check out our first video with Drew Hicks, owner of Central Avenue Meats. Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at the newly opened Harvest Craft Kitchen. 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!

14) We are working hard to increase our outreach to regional businesses. But we need your help. Our fear is that a business will not be able to re-open because they don’t know the business services that are available to them. Please share the top ten and encourage your peers to subscribe. We’re all in this together! Questions, call Jolene 406.750.4481

15) We will be hosting a virtual peer-to-peer discussion designed for partners who provide assistance to entrepreneurs across the Golden Triangle this Thursday, May 7 at 2 PM. We’ll discuss what you’re hearing are the needs of local businesses, and how we can work together to respond appropriately and successfully to the COVID-19 crisis. To register, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

16) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Wells Fargo for their Advanced Division investment, and Spectrum Enterprise for their Community Division investment. The economic landscape will continue to change, revealing new weaknesses and threats in the market. Now more than ever, private sector investment is crucial for strengthening economic development efforts. At GFDA, your investment is doubled and sometimes tripled through matching additional public and private resources. To discuss how you can have a meaningful impact on the community through investment at GFDA, contact Teresa Schreiner.

17) GFDA’s Nominating Committee is seeking interest from investors interested in serving on our Board of Directors. Eligible GFDA investors can serve on the GFDA Board for a 3-year commitment. As investors, you represent a diverse group of over 120 public/private sector leaders throughout the Golden Triangle whose interests align with GFDA’s mission. If you are interested in representing your company on the GFDA Board, email Teresa Schreiner by Monday, May 25th. If you haven’t invested yet, haven’t renewed your commitment, or you have questions about the scope of this role, email Teresa.

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.

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”
Golda Meir


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. 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 flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

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.

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

May SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.758%; 20-year at 2.683%; and, 10-year equipment 2.644%. 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

The Montana Innovation Partnership is hosting a virtual meet-up on Monday, May 11 to discuss the Department of Defense 20.2/20.B BAA and answer questions about AFWERX Phase I special topics seeking proposals for dual-use technologies. Register here.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center is hosting three webinars about Meeting Our Economic Needs Together — Understanding Cooperative Leverage. The first will be about cooperative Childcare, May 12, 2:00-3:30 PM. Register here.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is offering a round of mini Growth Through Agriculture Grants. Projects will need to demonstrate how they expand Montana agriculture, but given the current public health situation with COVID-19 special attention will be paid to projects that strengthen and expand local food offerings, distribution, and infrastructure. Grant application deadline is May 22. See GTA website for more info. Contact Barnett Sporkin-Morrison-Morrison for assistance at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-3285.

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.

USDA has open grant rounds for the Value-Added Producer Grant, Rural Business Development Grant and Renewable Energy for America Programs. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt or contact Lea McGiboney for more info, 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov. Let us know if we can help!

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.

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

Top 10 – 5/4/2020

Yes you CAN have a food truck in Great Falls! PurpleGold.mt is serving up acai bowls and waffles on wheels check out their location and menu on FaceBook @PurpleGold.mt

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. Sorry it’s a day late. Took most of the weekend off the enjoy the Montana countryside!

1) We published a Reopening Toolkit offering tools and suggestions as you reopen your business during Montana’s phased reopening. Download the Reopening Toolkit, Resiliency Guide, Business Crisis Toolkit, or Business Hibernation Toolkit, and lots more COVID-19 related resources on our website. We hosted a webinar last week about the Reopening Toolkit. Nathan Reiff, our newest SBDC coach, presented the webinar. You can view the webinar here. Nathan will present another webinar on the Business Reopening Toolkit this Thursday, May 7 at 11 AM. Register and/or get the recording sent to your inbox. For more information on any of GFDA’s crisis tools, contact GFDA’s business advisors.

2) We funded two GFDA Business Stabilization and Recovery Loans this week. These loans help great businesses re-open or expand during the current COVID19 crisis. Ox & Son Towing & Recovery employs fourteen people operating towing, recovery, and auto auction services. This loan will allow them to ramp back up services cut due to COVID19 restrictions. Electric City Coffee is utilizing the GFDA loan for necessary working capital to implement new health and safety measures for their grand re-opening on May 4. Electric City’s new hours are Monday through Friday 7 AM to 3 PM. We are working with some great businesses that need a financial bridge to re-open or ramp up services. Many businesses are waiting on their EIDL loans but need cash to operate now. Call Jolene to discuss the GFDA COVID19 Stabilization and Recovery Loans, 406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org. Since March 18, we have closed $549,647 in loans and approved another $199,000.

3) The Old Cascade County Jail project is moving forward with bids on abatement of hazardous materials within the structure. The building is on the Historic Register so precautions are being taken to preserve various artwork painted on the walls by inmates over many years. The County Commissioners selected a photographer to take pictures of the interior and exterior of the jail to document for historic purposes. For help with brownfield assessments and cleanup, contact Lillian at 406-750-1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

4) We helped a client review government bid documents for an upcoming 5 year contract. We answered questions on regulation requirements, researched similar contracts previously awarded in this area and looked at strategies to be more competitive. For help with government contracting, contact Shannon at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1184.

5) The Choteau Area Port Authority‘s new video is posted on the Choteau Chamber’s Facebook Page. The video production was made possible through a grant from the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) with additional funding from the Port Auhority and Choteau’s TBID. See Choteau Acantha for more details.

6) Be on the lookout in Downtown Great Falls this week. Pedlet season is upon us, so come Downtown and enjoy some fresh air on your favorite pedlet. Look up your favorite restaurants on Facebook and see who’s open. Celtic Cowboy re-opened their doors on May 1st. This Wednesday morning at 10:00 AM, Central Avenue Meats will officially open their doors to start serving the public! Stop by and check out what this entrepreneur has done to transform this space into his custom butcher shop. If you are looking for an opportunity Downtown, please contact Christian Leinhauser at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) Cassiopeia Books moved into a larger space in downtown Great Falls at 606 Central Avenue, see Great Falls Tribune. Saibeen’s Kitchen is moving into the Columbus Center, see Tribune.

8) The Montana Department of Agriculture issued specific guidelines for operating farmers markets in Montana under COVID19. You can read the guidelines here. The Cascade City-County Health Department is offering businesses an easy process to become certified that you are operating in compliance with state and county COVID rules. Make your employees and customers confident in your operations. Download the packet here, fill it out and return it to the CCHD.

9) If you have content (photography, video, information about your organization, etc.) you would like us to include on the new Great Falls region relocation website we’re building, contact our Talent Attraction Director, Soren Chargois, at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-0147. We’re looking for great content to highlight the best of living, working and playing in Great Falls and the surrounding unique communities — the entire Golden Triangle. PLEASE partner with us!

10) We will be hosting a virtual peer-to-peer discussion designed for partners who provide assistance to entrepreneurs across the Golden Triangle this Thursday, May 7 at 2 PM. We’ll discuss what you’re hearing are the needs of local businesses, and how we can work together to respond appropriately and successfully to the COVID-19 crisis. To register, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

11) The Montana World Trade Center is offering a Faces of World Trade webinar this Thursday. From ag to optics, Montana is home to myriad small businesses engaged daily in international trade. Why do they do it? How do they do it? How are they managing in the new normal? We’ll visit briefly with Montana export entrepreneurs in a one-hour webinar from 2 to 3 PM on Thursday, May 7th. Learn about your neighbors and learn more about the global trading community to which we are all connected. Register here.

12) The Montana Innovation Partnership is hosting a virtual meet-up on Monday, May 11 to discuss the Department of Defense 20.2/20.B BAA and answer questions about AFWERX Phase I special topics seeking proposals for dual-use technologies. Register here.

13) The Montana Cooperative Development Center is hosting three webinars about Meeting Our Economic Needs Together — Understanding Cooperative Leverage. The first will be about cooperative Childcare, May 12, 2:00-3:30 PM. Register here.

14) Published GFDA’s Quarterly Investor Letter. Selected two finalist consulting firms to help us with business attraction lead generation. Submitted an application to the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury seeking a financial award of $500,000 in grant funds matched by our local GFDA Investors, and an $800,000 loan to give us more loan capital to put to work in our region.

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

Please spread the word about the great job opening we have at GFDA (see below).

Take care,

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.

“A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.”
Alistair Cooke


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. 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 flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

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.

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

April SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.029%; 20-year at 2.955%; and, 10-year equipment 2.839%. 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

If you don’t have a cybersecurity plan, you may not be able to win a federal government contract. On April 27th, we’re hosting a special training for businesses currently or planning to do business with federal agencies. Evolving Federal Contractor Cybersecurity Requirements, presented by nationally recognized contracting expert Adam Austin, will help contractors meet new cybersecurity planning benchmarks. Register here. Enter code “GFDA” at checkout to receive a $50 discount off the registration fee.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is offering a round of mini Growth Through Agriculture Grants. Projects will need to demonstrate how they expand Montana agriculture, but given the current public health situation with COVID-19 special attention will be paid to projects that strengthen and expand local food offerings, distribution, and infrastructure. Grant application deadline is May 22. See GTA website for more info. Contact Barnett Sporkin-Morrison-Morrison for assistance at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-3285.

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.

USDA has open grant rounds for the Value-Added Producer Grant, Rural Business Development Grant and Renewable Energy for America Programs. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt or contact Lea McGiboney for more info, 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov. Let us know if we can help!

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.

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

Top 10 – 4/26/2020

Guess what new upcoming Great Falls primary sector announcement had me smiling wide this week? Stay tuned and get excited!!!

GFDA’s Top 10

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

1) Great Falls was ranked by LendEDU as one of the “Most Budget-Friendly Cities for Homeowners with a Mortgage” based on data from the US Census Bureau! Financial experts generally recommend that no more than 28% of a person’s total household income should be used for monthly mortgage payments. In Great Falls, only 23.7% of homeowners pay over 30% of their income towards their mortgage. That’s awesome! Read more here. Let’s build more great homes to keep moving forward!

2) Two new restaurants announced they will be coming to Great Falls. Dean Grundy will be opening Firehouse Steamers at 1201 10th Street South, serving Bratz, dogs, and desserts; see KRTV. Kyle Carlson will be opening Carlson Q Backyard BBQ in the former location of Big Mouth on 10th. He is currently serving food at the Centerville Bar and does catering. Nourish has launched a new food truck. Fuddruckers is back open for take out orders. The Celtic Cowboy is reopening May 1st with a new executive chef offering a takeout menu and growler wine and beer fills. Sole Dance Academy is building a new studio at 2008 4th Street NE in Great Falls. See TheElectricGF.com.

3) Our CDC affiliate, High Plains Financial, approved a $199,000 SBA 504 loan to support a local business expansion in downtown Great Falls. With the SBA rates being so low this business decided it was time to own their own larger location. 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, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org. SBA 504 loans are also great way to purchase an existing business with real estate. Download our new 504 Loan flier.

4) Congratulations to The History Musuem’s 2020 Legacy Award Winners: Gusto Distributing, The Club Cigar, Little Shell Chippewa Tribe, and John Godwin! More on TheElectricGF.com. Designs for the new Montana Heritage Center complex to be built in Helena were released; see Great Falls Tribune.

5) Is your business struggling for working capital right now? We hosted a meet up on Thursday morning to discuss avenues to find working capital. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will start accepting applications at 8:30 AM MST tomorrow, April 27. If you haven’t applied or received a PPP loan, call your bank first thing Monday morning as the new round of funding is expected to go within days. Also ask your banker about SBA Express Bridge Loans of up to $25,000, intended as a bridge until EIDL loans fund. The SBA Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program may reopen to accept new applications. The SBA is reviewing the current queue of existing applicants first. If you applied and received a confirmation number, you are in the queue. If you did not, continue to watch the SBA.gov site for if/when they reopen applications. For SBA debt relief information, click here.

6) We approved $55,000 in immediate loans to help local businesses stabilize and begin to recover. GFDA’s Business Stabilization & Recovery Loans are evaluated on a case by case basis. We provide gap and bridge loans to entrepreneurs, businesses, nonprofits and developers in Blaine, Cascade, Choteau, Fergus, Glacier, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, Pondera, Meagher, Teton, Toole and northern parts of Lewis & Clark counties. And, we have a number of financing partners in the region and elsewhere to help. Contact Jolene Schalper to talk about your needs, 406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) Great Falls was ranked as the least vulnerable MSA in Montana to job loss resulting from COVID-19 by Chmura Economics JobsEQ. Cascade County was ranked second least vulnerable amongst the seven major urban counties in the state, just behind Lewis & Clark. Download spreadsheets to see every MSA and county ranking in the country here.

8) Lillian participated in the Montana Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board teleconference meeting during which the Board voted to obligate funds for one of our downtown projects. This funding will provide resources to clean up the petroleum contamination from a discovered underground storage tank removed this past Fall at this site. We’re moving forward on a number of brownfield redevelopment projects and have loan funds available to do more. Contact Lillian at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-1253.

9) The Great Falls City Commission approved a bond sale to pay-off the bridge loans we made to West Bank Landing developers. D.A. Davidson will handle the bond sale. Construction is underway on improvements to the Great Falls Elk’s Riverside Park; see Tribune.

10) We hosted a webinar on our Resiliency Guide — quick tips to help make your business tougher and recover more quickly. You can download the Guide here, or watch the webinar here.

11) GFDA has been working with businesses in Toole County, helping them write business plans as part of the application for funding from Toole County Forward; see Shelby Promoter article for more details. If own a business in Toole County and need help writing you business plan, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-2078. For all businesses and startup entrepreneurs in the Golden Triangle, we offer a free great business planning tool called LivePlan, as well as coaching and training support. For existing businesses, we offer Profit Mastery to help improve cash flow and profitability.

12) Two of our long-time rural clients were featured in nice news stories this week. Read about Native Life, located in Browning, in the Glacier Reporter and about Timeless Natural Food, located in Ulm, on KRTV. Renovations of the Hagen Block apartment complex are underway in Ft. Benton with the help of a loan from the City of Ft. Benton’s Tax Increment Financing District. INDHemp is looking to expand its Ft. Benton operation. Read about both in the Ft. Benton River Press.

13) If you have content (photography, video, information about your organization, etc.) you would like us to be include on the new Great Falls region relocation website we’re building, contact our Talent Attraction Director, Soren Chargois, at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-0147. We are looking for great content to highlight the best of living, working and playing in Great Falls and the surrounding unique communities — the entire Golden Triangle. PLEASE partner with us!

14) GFDA investors, developers and business people throughout the Golden Triangle, our Virtual Development Coffee is this Friday May 1st at 7 AM. We want your experienced input. How can we recover as quickly as possible and get back to growth and diversification? This Development Coffee will focus on: 1) What suggestions do you have for city and county officials to expedite projects that have been delayed by the COVID shutdown; and, 2) what suggestions do you have for city and county officials to give retail/restaurant/bar businesses more flexibility to operate under COVID restrictions (expanded outside shopping, dining drinking)? Join us via Zoom: Meeting ID: 816 5035 4265 Password: 807700. For questions contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) PLEASE VOTE and VOTE YES in the all-by-mail election for the Great Falls Public Schools elementary schools operating levy. The school funding structure in Montana is that the state pays 80% and local taxpayers decide whether to pay the expected 20% local portion to fund teachers and school operations. Here in Great Falls we have not been funding our full 20% share. This has led to cuts over the last 10 years, cuts that have gone too deep. Federal CARES Act funds can only be used for COVID-19 related expenses, not regular operating expenses, so we need the levy more than ever. The Great Falls Development Authority’s Board, representing over 100 leading local businesses and organizations, urges support for this critical vote. If you have time to make get-out-the-vote phone calls, sign up at KidsEducationYes.com. Here is a great KEY video to share. Also check out KEY’s Facebook page.

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.

“Opening Day. All you have to do is say the words and you feel the shutters thrown wide, the room air out, the light pour in.”
Mary Schmich

These days, Opening Day has a whole new meaning!


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. 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 flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

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.

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

April SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.029%; 20-year at 2.955%; and, 10-year equipment 2.839%. 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

If you don’t have a cybersecurity plan, you may not be able to win a federal government contract. On April 27th, we’re hosting a special training for businesses currently or planning to do business with federal agencies. Evolving Federal Contractor Cybersecurity Requirements, presented by nationally recognized contracting expert Adam Austin, will help contractors meet new cybersecurity planning benchmarks. Register here. Enter code “GFDA” at checkout to receive a $50 discount off the registration fee.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is offering a round of mini Growth Through Agriculture Grants. Projects will need to demonstrate how they expand Montana agriculture, but given the current public health situation with COVID-19 special attention will be paid to projects that strengthen and expand local food offerings, distribution, and infrastructure. Grant application deadline is May 22. See GTA website for more info. Contact Barnett Sporkin-Morrison-Morrison for assistance at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-3285.

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.

USDA has open grant rounds for the Value-Added Producer Grant, Rural Business Development Grant and Renewable Energy for America Programs. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt or contact Lea McGiboney for more info, 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov. Let us know if we can help!

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.

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