Top 10 – 7/12/2020

Chelsey Stubbs, owner of The Messy Apron, boasts Montana’s largest pizza at a whopping 22”! Located in Cut Bank, you can sample all of their delicious offerings right out back at the Cut Bank Creek Brewery.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 16 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) Great Falls received two awesome rankings this week. According to Business Insider, Great Falls is the #10 best city in the Western U.S. to live in after the pandemic. LendEDU ranked Great Falls the #2 city in Montana for budget-friendliness for renters.

2) The Merriweather Crossing subdivision received conditional approval from the Great Falls City Board of Adjustments for a lot line variance. We are excited to see another NeighborWorks Great Falls self-build neighborhood! Congratulations!

3) Happy trails to Dr. Paul Lachapelle at Montana State University-Extension. Dr. Lachapelle has helped us produce the Small Business Webinar Series since its inception in September 2017. Dr. Lachapelle will be leaving Extension to return to full-time political science instruction at MSU. This month was our 38th Small Business Webinar Series production. Twelve attendees joined the Tackling Unemployment Insurance presentation. To view this or any of our 37 other business education webinars, click here. Up next is The LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop on July 23rd at 4 PM. We’ve rescheduled our Digital Marketing Strategies workshop for August 12th.

4) Started work with The Council for Community and Economic Research to explore participating in their respected quarterly cost of living research. This would enable us to more accurately tout the cost advantages of living in the Great Falls MSA. We received two proposals for our talent attraction marketing RFP, part of our work to expand the talent attraction effort we launched in January. For help recruiting talent, contact Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-0147.

5) The issue of access to child care continues to be a critical topic to our economy recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Montana Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force and Zero to Five Montana will be hosting a webinar on the topic on Tuesday, July 14th at 12 noon. To access the Child Care White Paper we published in collaboration with Family Connections, GFPS, CCHD, and DPHHS, click here. If you or your business would like to discuss opportunities in addressing the child care challenge, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org or Heather McCartney-Duty of Family Connections at heatherm@familyconnectionsmt.org.

6) The City of Great Falls is looking at creative opportunities to aid businesses in meeting the new safety requirements and build consumer confidence. One such way is through expanding outdoor dining options. This week KellerGeist expanded their outdoor seating into two curb side parking spaces; see TheElectricGF.com. If your business is interested in this type of expansion, contact Nathan Reiff, NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) ATTENTION ALL WOSB: “Imminent changes” are coming to the Woman-Owned Small Businesses certification process (WOSB). The online registration will begin July 15th. These new regulations will make it easier for qualified small businesses to participate in this set-aside. If your business is currently self-certified at certify.sba.gov you will need to act before July 15th to download your information from the repository. After that date the data will not be retrievable. For more information on this certification, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) SBA 504 rates came in at extremely low levels in again in July. The 25-year note came in at 2.406%; 20-year at 2.341%; 20-year refinance at 2.342%. 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.

9) The Great Falls Tribune ran a great story today about Candice English of The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers, a very cool local business!

10) Worked with several companies who were struggling to get information and move forward with state grants and EIDL loans. We were able to get them the information they needed. If you haven’t been able to get answers about state grants or other COVID related funding contact Nathan Reiff – 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) There is a fun new addition to the 60 mile River’s Edge Trail system. The “River’s Edge Skillz Trail” is a chance to practice skills you can later use on the Trial’s single-track trails along the Missouri. There is a free barbecue and mountain biking clinic from 10 AM to 1 PM on July 18. You can read more about it on TheElectricGF.com.

12) We’ve started our target outreach to developers and businesses for our beautiful downtown Great Falls and we’re very excited to see what the future has in store. We’ve also been working with a location advisory group for a potential future business in our Downtown. If you have been looking to start or expand your business in downtown, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) The Great Falls Public Library is helping people without computer access to apply for jobs online. The library is open 1-6 PM. Thank you library team!

14) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Chelsey Stubbs, owner of The Messy Apron in Cut Bank. Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at The Good Wood Guys right here in Great Falls. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hit that share button to help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to live, work, and do business!

15) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, NorthWestern Energy, for their Advanced Division investment, and the Great Falls Business Improvement District and Midway Rental for their Community Division investments. Whether it involves assisting with projects or offering various business solutions, we cannot accomplish our mission without innovative partners, leaders, and investors. If you have questions about how investment aids in growing the region, contact Teresa or call at 406.781.9499.

16) Our regional economy is at risk of prolonging and increasing the negative economic impacts of the COVID virus. PLEASE wear a mask when out and about and use common sense precautions. These simple steps could save many local businesses and thousands of jobs. Leaders, please lead by example. No one likes to wear a mask, but it is much better than further economic damage that has already cost us so much. Businesses, think about your revenue. If only a portion of your customers feel comfortable to return, what will your bottom line results look like? Federal stimulus funds that have propped up economic activity are soon going to run out, so now it is up to us to protect and get back to growing our local economy. Goldman Sachs projects that mask-wearing by every American could save the U.S. economy from a 5% drop in GDP, or approximately $1 trillion in reduced economic spending.

Thank You for everything you are doing to support and create our economy!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as high as it will.”
Aiden Wilson Tozer

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


Economic Development Services

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

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

July SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.406%; 20-year at 2.341%; and, 20-year refinance 2.342%. 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.

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.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 7/5/2020

A look back at what the West Bank Landing site looked like in its early stages of cleanup and redevelopment. The 18,000 square foot Citizens Alliance Bank building now under construction is the fifth project in the development. Thank you to Cascade County, the City of Great Falls, the West Bank Landing development team, tenants, and the many local, state and federal partners who have made this riverfront revitalization happen!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 19 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. As we start our new fiscal year, I would like to thank the 65 volunteers who serve on our boards and standing committees, and many more who, along with our investors and local, state and federal partners, help on projects and initiatives to make what we accomplish possible! You are priceless!

1) The Great Falls Tribune has a great story describing progress on Great Falls Public Schools facility improvements. Vintage Sellers has new owners. Congratulations to Tara and Shawn Strunk, Mark Tronson and the entire 5th & Wine team and thank you for saving this wonderful business! See KRTV. Fit Republic is opening a gym in the Holiday Village Mall behind Harbor Freight; see TheElectricGF.com. The C.M. Russell Museum plans to make an exciting announcement this coming Saturday and hold a special auction. Stay tuned!

2) The draft feasibility study for the proposed Big Sky Country National Heritage Area was released for public comment. This would be the first National Heritage Area (NHA) in Montana. More info and download a copy of the draft study here. There are NHA’s that boost tourism in 34 states, including 6 in abutting Colorado, North Dakota and Utah. Sen. Mitch McConnell is pushing for the creation of one in Kentucky which could be an opportunity for Montana.

3) Congratulations to Zach Olson on opening his new storefront for Hobby Time RC on 901 8th Ave North. Zach started in 2018 and is excited to expand to a larger and more visible location. Congratulations to Browning’s Alia Heavy Runner and her short film Iniskim which has been nominated for three Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, Northwest Chapter. For more information on the film and what inspired the story see Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

4) Our partners at Family Connections, who assisted in the publication of our Child Care White Paper, are one of a number of groups promoting needs assessment surveys to address child care demand in Montana. The more input received will better address child care needs throughout the Golden Triangle. Perhaps as importantly, findings of this and other surveys will indicate entrepreneurial opportunities in the child care space. To complete the ENHANCE survey, click here. To access GFDA’s Child Care White Paper about pathways to entry, click here. To discuss opportunities in the child care space, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) Ike and Susan’s Lounge and Casino is under new ownership. George Richard took over July 1st and will guide Ike and Susan’s on Great Falls’ east side into its 30th year of operation. The acquisition will also retain 11 jobs. During this challenging time for businesses, ensuring all that are viable stay open and continue to employ is of vital importance. George will be celebrating past, present, and future customers with a free barbeque on July 11th starting at 6 PM. GFDA assisted George with due diligence and employee re-onboarding assistance. If you’re considering selling your business or are an entrepreneur interested in buying one and could use an unbiased third-party view, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) Did you apply for Montana COVID Grants? Did you receive any? Were you denied? The application questions didn’t ask for as many details as the state needed. While some of the grants have closed, if you are a business in the Golden Triangle who applied and did not receive, call Nathan Reiff, 406.403.4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org. He is working with the Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development to find out what additional information you need to provide. The state removed the 50 employee cap on business adaptation grants. Talk with your lender about the new loan deferment program. See more info about all the state CARES Act grant programs at https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

7) Employers! Join us this Thursday for a 30-minute webinar on Tackling Unemployment Insurance. We’ll discuss understanding traditional unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment assistance, and the role employers play when employees are collecting unemployment insurance. Thursday, July 9, 11:00-11:30 AM. Register here.

8) PPP loans are now available through August 8th. There is $130 billion available to put to work for businesses, gig workers, agricultural producers and more. Talk with you bank or credit union. Contact Nathan on our team if you run into any difficulties; NReiff@GrowGreatfalls.org or 406-403-4937. If your business is short on cash and PPP isn’t the answer, contact Jolene on our team at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-4481.

9) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Louie Stoltz, owner of Cut Bank Creek Brewery in Cut Bank, MT. Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at the Messy Apron (home of Montana’s biggest pizza) in Cut Bank, MT! 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!

10) The Montana PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) is offering a free webinar “Imminent Changes to the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certification Process” July 10th, 9:00-10:00 AM. More info and register here. This will also cover changes to the Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) certification. If you are currently self-certified, that certification will no longer be valid after October 15th. If you can’t make the webinar, contact Shannon Clancy on our PTAC team at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1184.

11) Please be aware of scammers. We have heard from several businesses that have been targeted by scammers claiming to be with the State of Montana and needing EIN and bank account information. One business had already received their MT COVID Stabilization Grant and was told there was a problem with paperwork and they needed to email their bank account information and EIN. The State will not ask you to email that information nor will they call you and ask you for sensitive information. If your application is incomplete you will receive an email telling you to log back into the official state online application. Never share your business or personal information via email or phone.

12) Developers, investors and business professionals throughout the Golden Triangle: join us next Friday, July 10th at 7 AM as we continue our virtual installment of Investor Development Coffee. Come share and learn from other members with questions, concerns and updates about projects throughout the region. Now more than ever, keeping in touch and discussing how we find opportunities in the trade area is crucial. Join us via Zoom. If you would like to attend the meeting, email Teresa or call 406.781.9499 for an invitation.

13) The U.S. Department of Energy projects that U.S. wind power could double in the next 10 years to 224 GW. By then, wind could make up 20% of the electricity mix, versus 7% today, according to Kiplinger. Let’s try to re-open doors to get more wind power development in the Golden Triangle!

14) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, AT Klemens for their Pacesetter Division investment and Hinebauch Insurance Agency for their Community Division investment. Without question, we find ourselves in an unusual public-health crisis. Like everyone in the Golden Triangle, the pandemic continues to alter our day-to-day for the unforeseen future. But with your support, we can continue to push out products and services for businesses impacted by COVID-19. We would love to hear how your business is doing. Email Teresa or call 406.781.9499.

15) GFDA’s Board elected officers and made committee appointments for our FY 2021 that started on July 1. Serving a second one-year term are Chair – Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing, Vice Chair – Errol Rice of Transystems, Treasurer – Mark Macek of Macek Companies, Secretary – Dianne Meinhardt of Cogswell Insurance, and Immediate Past Chair – Ron Nelson of Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, PC. Joining the officers on the Executive Committee are: Joe Briggs, Cascade County Commissioner; Mark Cappis of Cappis Consulting & Tax; Forrest Ehlinger of Benefis Health System; Rebecca Engum of Great Falls Tourism; Heidi Hockett of Northwestern Energy; Ted Lewis of First Interstate Bank; Tim Peterson of LPW Architecture; Dan Readen of Liberty Electric; and, Nate Weisenburger of AE2S. Thank you for serving!

16) High Plains Financial’s Board held its annual meeting and elected Craig Nowak of Morrison-Maierle and Dan Reardon of Liberty Electric to the Board. Reelected to the Board are Rebecca Engum of Great Falls Tourism, Greg Thayer of Montana Milling, Jon Von Eschen of Stockman Bank, and Joe Von Stein of US Bank. Officers elected are Chair – Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing, Vice Chair – Rebecca Engum of Great Falls Tourism, Treasurer – Greg Thayer of Montana Milling, Secretary – Dan Rearden of Liberty Electric, Assistant Treasurer – Amanda Boutilier of JCCS, and Assistant Secretary – Erin Townsend of Embark Credit Union. Thank you for serving!

17) Thank you to Travis Neil of Dick Anderson Construction who stepped down from GFDA’s Board and Loan Committee Chair, Mark Mehta of Mehta Properties who stepped down after many years on GFDA’s Loan Committee, and Ryan Smith of Nelson Architects and Rich West of WET who were term-limited off the High Plains Financial Board. We appreciate your service!

18) I had fun this week recording a presentation on economic development revolving loan funds for the Community Development Finance Association’s on-demand virtual training program.

19) I am very pleased to announce the promotions of Jana Williams and Jill Kuntz to Vice President. Jana joined GFDA in 2011 and has done an outstanding job managing our accounting and office operations. Her leadership has produced clean audits, high rankings from federal partners, and substantial cost savings. Jill joined us in 2015 and has done an outstanding job managing our lending operations. Her leadership has produced significant increases in our lending volume and loan capital, excellent relationships with our borrowers, bank and credit union partners, and loan capital sources, and high rankings from federal partners. Congratulations and thank you Jana and Jill!!!

Hope you’ve enjoyed a fantastic 4th of July weekend!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Assistant. 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

June SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.597%; 20-year at 2.522%; 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.

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.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 6/28/2020

Kim and Louie (pictured) Stoltz have worked hard to create a community gathering location that happens to serve excellent Beers and Ciders in Cut Bank Montana. www.cutbankcreekbrewery.com

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 20 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) Welcome to West Bank Landing! Citizens Alliance Bank broke ground on their new riverfront building this week. This will be the fifth building in the West Bank Landing development, joining Springhill Suites, The Peak at West Bank Landing, Five on Black, and The Portage Building (home of GFDA, PayneWest Insurance, AE2S Engineers, Woith Engineering, and Edward Jones). Congratulations and thank you for investing in Great Falls Montana!

2) We approved another COVID19 Business Stabilization and Recovery Loan to another fantastic and profitable business! Nourish Food Truck was set to open as a cooking school and event caterer in March of this year. Then the world changed. Lyndsay Gutierrez changed with it. She adapted and with a borrowed food truck and trailer was able to open Nourish. We’re excited to help her stabilize and build her assets. If you have working capital needs due to COVID, contact Jolene at 406.750.4481.

3) Congratulations to Todd Lyons on his purchase of Rods Music and the opening of his new business, Todd’s Music & Sound at 809 1st Ave North in downtown Great Falls. Watch a full tour of his store given by Todd himself on Facebook. Phil Joseph has opened Wicked Hair Co. downtown at 117 2nd Ave. N; see TheElectricGF.com Business Bites.

4) The state removed the 50 employee cap on business adaptation grants. The deadline for business innovation grant applications is July 1st. Talk with your lender about the new loan deferment program. See more info about all the state CARES Act grant programs at https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

5) Assisted several SBDC clients deal with denials of SBA EIDL loans. There are lots of programs and opportunities for business assistance right now, and we want Montana companies, entrepreneurs and gig workers to tap into these resources. If you are having problems with PPP, EIDL, Montana Grants, or other COVID related business questions, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

6) Join us on Tuesday, June 30, at 2 PM on GFDA’s Facebook page for our next Doing Business in the Golden Triangle with Louie Stotz co-owner of Cut Bank Creek Brewery. Do you have a great story to tell? Have you worked with our team? Call Jolene to chat about a potential story, 406.750.4481.

7) MSU-Northern is expanding its four-year business degree offerings at Great Falls College MSU. See KRTV for more details.

8) This week marked the end of the first round of our Website Boot Camp classes. Two participants have already launched fully functioning e-commerce websites. Ashely Clark of Ashley Clark Fitness created a website where customers can sign up and get access to on-demand fitness videos, meal plans, health coaching and live virtual video fitness classes. Kim Winchell of Montana Mutt created an e-commerce site where customers can order her all natural dog treats and paw balm. Does your business need a website to help it pivot to online sales? Sign up for our in-depth 3 session e-commerce website design class. We are scheduling a class to start in September – sign up here. If you are interested in taking a class sooner, email Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or call 406-836-2078. If there’s enough demand for a summer session we will create one.

9) Worked with a business owner who is looking at moving their business to downtown Great Falls from out of our market. If you have a business located in Montana and are interested in exploring expansion opportunities in Downtown Great Falls, please contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) 18 businesses are signed up for the first Destination Creation course to take place in Montana starting June 30. They will learn to increase their revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability. If you are interested in making your business a Destination Business, add yourself to the waiting list for our next course by contacting Nathan Reiff NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) The Great Falls 4th of July Parade is on! This year’s theme is “Open for Business – Celebration on Parade.” Parade entries are available at Great Falls Lumber, 310 6th Street South. More volunteers are needed this year; contact Lola Sheldon-Galloway at 750-4721. More details on Great Falls Tribune.

12) Assisted a PTAC client looking to research a Prime Contractor for sub-contracting opportunities. Our PTAC team doesn’t just help with SAM updates. We can help with examining whether government contracting is suitable for your business by exploring and pinpointing target markets, reviewing bids and proposals, learning how to locate bid opportunities and much more. We would be happy to let you know how you can diversify your business by checking out how to contract with federal, state and local agencies. Contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org for more information.

13) It has been two weeks since the LiveInGreatFalls.com website went live! As of Friday, there have been 1,800 individual page views across several countries. We have received lots of positive feedback – thank you! Contact Soren Chargois at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org if you have relevant content that could be included on the site.

14) Brett and Jill attended the SBA 504 trade organization NADCO’s 2020 Virtual Spring Summit. This was 2 days’ worth of SBA 504 knowledge that stressed the proactive way SBA is trying to respond to COVID19, including originating, underwriting, closing and servicing 504 loan deals. SBA recognizes how 10-25 year, low fixed rate loans are going to be key in getting small businesses started or helping them expand. If your business needs assistance with financing to start or expand, please contact Jill Kohles 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org. Last week Brett participated in the CDFI trade group, Opportunity Finance Network, small business lending virtual conference to learn more about how other Community Development Financial Institutions like GFDA from across the country are responding to COVID challenges and opportunities.

15) EPA gave us an extension on brownfield funds so we can finish cleanup projects that were delayed due to COVID. We are excited to keep these projects moving forward toward redevelopment. We have clean up loan funds available, so give us a call for more details. Stay tuned for a very big announcement about GFDA from one of our federal partners scheduled for this Wednesday!!!

16) The City of Great Falls provided the fourth payment of tax increment financing funds to reimburse more of the $4.5 million that GFDA and Pacific Steel & Recycling invested in infrastructure to create the first lots in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. To date, we have been reimbursed for 19% of the infrastructure costs for the first phase of the Park.

17) Are you planning to submit a Phase 1 SBIR or STTR proposal to NIH, FDA or CDC in September? The Montana Innovation Partnership is accepting applications for the NIH SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab that will start July 14, 2020. At the end of this 6-session course, you’ll gain deeper understanding of the NIH SBIR/STTR programs, specific aims and research strategy, registrations, proposal forms and submission portals, evaluation criteria, building a team, and more. During the course, you will have developed a working draft of your Phase I proposal and you’ll receive follow-on coaching and proposal reviews. The course will be held twice a week, for three weeks from 3:00PM – 5:30PM MDT on July 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30. For more information, contact Ann Peterson at techlinksbir@montana.edu.

18) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, JCCS for their Leadership Division investment, and PayneWest Insurance, Montana Eggs/Wilcox Farms, and Family Connections Montana for their Community Division investments. Your support is always something to celebrate. More than ever, we want to convey our appreciation for your investments with our organization- whether paid in the form of time, energy, or financial support. Your investment provides for the tools, resources, and technology that drives our mission. To discuss investment, contact Teresa, or call 406.781.9499.

19) GFDA’s investors reelected to our Board of Directors — Steve King of Montana Credit Union, Dwight Holman of Holman Aviation, Mark Cappis of Cappis Consulting & Tax, LLC, and Ron Nelson of Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, P.C. And, elected to the Board — Dave Smith of Sletten Construction, Jeramy Myers of Flawless Autobody, Peyton Johnston of K & K Trucking, Inc., Josh DeVos of Dick Anderson Construction, Eric Hinebauch of Hinebauch Insurance Agency – Farmers Union Insurance, Heather McCartney-Duty of Family Connections Montana, and Jennifer Fritz of Wendt Advertising. Welcome and congratulations to all! Thank you for your willingness to serve as GFDA’s leaders.

20) On Friday, the Montana Chamber of Commerce issued the following:

“The implications of the recent rise in Covid19 cases is not only a threat to our health, but has the potential to further devastate the Montana economy. A rollback to Phase I restrictions, or some version of that, would be a blow that many businesses could not survive.  

In consultation with the Governor’s Office and other business leaders, the Montana Chamber of Commerce agrees that everyone needs to take the rise in Covid19 cases very seriously and that Montanans should wear masks in public along with the other precautions we are already accustomed to and practicing.

Montana cannot allow itself to be overcome by Covid19 cases. The threat to our health and economy are real.  

Protect your communities, protect your customers and protect your employees by revisiting safety precautions.

And in that list of precautions, be sure to include face masks as a necessary safety standard.”

Better to take precaution to keep our economic recovery moving forward and protect our communities.

Take care and thank you for your untamed entrepreneurial spirit!

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.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
James Baldwin

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.


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Assistant. 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

June SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.597%; 20-year at 2.522%; 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.

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.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 -6/21/2020

Congratulations to Deena and Amber Maier of Windrift Hill in Conrad on their continued success manufacturing handmade, moisturizing Goat Milk Soaps and Lotions!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 20 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) Employers in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) brought 2,457 people back to work in May!!! This is according to preliminary data released by the Montana Department of Labor. THANK YOU EMPLOYERS! And, 989 people reentered the labor force!! We ended the month with an 8.0% unemployment rate, down from 12.2% in April. Across the Golden Triangle, including Cascade County, employers brought back 3,455 jobs in May and the labor force increased by 1,345, ending with a composite unemployment rate of 7.2%, down from 10.4% in April. We still have a lot of ground to recover. In the Great Falls MSA, we are still down 1,496 jobs from March; Golden Triangle total down 3,680 jobs. Because May is usually a better employment month than March, a comparison to May 2019 shows how far we have to go. The Great Falls MSA had 2,072 fewer jobs this May than last. The entire Golden Triangle including Cascade County had 4,762 fewer jobs.

2) Back on the positive side, JobsEQ released preliminary data this week for 2020Q1. Average annual wages in the Great Falls MSA increased for the 25th consecutive quarter, reaching $43,160. This was 75% of the national average, a climb from 73% of the national average last year. Our average annual wage grew by $1,602 or 3.9% compared to 3.0% in Montana and 2.4% across the nation. Total wages earned were $58 million higher for the four quarters ending 2020Q1 than in the previous four quarters. In the last six years, our average wage grew far faster than inflation. Inflation was 10.1% while our average wage grew 24.8%. That’s a $5,090 increase in annual average earnings per year above inflation! In the 18 years since GFDA was formed, average annual wage growth above inflation translates into $8,544/year increased earnings!

3) Met with a renewable energy project looking at our region. This solar project would be the largest solar project to date in our region. The project has a two-three year time frame. We work with all types of energy projects. Contact Jolene to discuss, 406.750.4481.

4) Join us on our FaceBook page this Thursday, June 25 at 1 PM for a new downtown Great Falls business announcement!

5) Have your sales been affected by COVD19? If you could would you increase your revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability? The Destination Creation Course helps businesses do just that. The Destination Creation Course retails for $399, but in response to COVID-19 challenges we are offering it free to Montana businesses. The course will be offered for the first time in Montana starting June 30. It will be fully online. This an incredible opportunity to increase your revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability. You can register here. If you have questions about the course, contact Nathan Reiff NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

6) The Great Falls 4th of July Parade is on! This year’s theme is “Open for Business – Celebration on Parade.” Parade entries are available at Great Falls Lumber, 310 6th Street South. More volunteers are needed this year; contact Lola Sheldon-Galloway at 750-4721. The parade will be at 11:00 AM downtown, on July 4th of course; more info on KRTV.

7) The GFDA Loan Committee approved a loan this week in the amount of $89,837.04 to support an ongoing, mixed-use river front development with environmental contamination clean-up costs. The EPA Brownfield loan funds can provide clients with low interest funding for environmental contamination removal to help get the property ready for redevelopment. If you want to discuss different options that GFDA may be able to provide, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) The Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls once again earned full accreditation from the National Main Street Center, only one of five downtown revitalization groups in Montana to earn the designation in 2020. We signed the partnership agreement this week with the Business Improvement District to split the costs of a Downtown Business Development Officer for FY 2021. Questions about downtown development, contact Christian Leinhauser, CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) Are you still considering getting a COVID related loan or grant. PPP loans are only available through June 30, EIDL loans have reopened, and new Montana grants opened this week, including a business loan deferment program. You can find information about these programs and other COVID-19 resources on our website www.GrowGreatFallsMontana.org. If you have specific questions or need help we have coaches here to help. Contact Nathan Reiff 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) Over 1,000 votes were cast in The Electric’s Great Falls Greats! Be sure to check out the winners and the runner ups so you are well prepared to vote next year. True Brew Coffee is now being served at Tracy’s Diner. Another great example of local businesses teaming up and showing why Great Falls is such a great place to do business.

11) We welcomed 11 potential entrepreneurs in our two pre-business workshops, The LaunchPoint and Boots to Business at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

12) Great Falls College MSU is offering an array of free professional development webinars; see Great Falls Tribune.

13) It has been one week since the LiveInGreatFalls.com website went live. As of Friday at noon, there have been 1,288 individual page views across several countries. We have received lots of positive feedback – thank you! Contact Soren Chargois at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org if you have relevant content that could be included on the site.

14) Congratulations to The Block in downtown Great Falls on a great Bozeman restaurant envy story on KISS FM!

15) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Aaron Weissman, owner of Teriyaki Madness (Wok-tossing wizards) right here in Great Falls, MT. Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at the newly opened Foster’s Farmacy in Choteau, MT! 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!

16) GFDA has a great spread in the new issue of Signature Montana Magazine about the many partnerships that make up our community, including the new Talent Attraction Partnership bringing talented workers to (or back to) Great Falls. Talent Attraction Director Soren Chargois also had a sidebar about working for GFDA and living in Great Falls.

17) USDA and SBA joined forces on Thursday to present a webinar directed towards Montana lenders and agricultural producers. The webinar gave attendees the chance to learn more about USDA and SBA programs addressing the COVID-19 crisis available to agricultural producers. USDA’s allowance of agricultural producers to apply for operating loans under the Business and Industry (B&I) loan-guarantee program was covered in-depth. The webinar can be accessed here. For more information related to federal government COVID-19 efforts directed towards agricultural producers, visit https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus.

18) The Montana Food Show, hosted by the Montana Department of Agriculture, is scheduled to take place on Monday, October 26th in Missoula. Early bird registration for vendors (a $50 savings) ends on July 8th, and all registrations will be refunded if the show must be canceled or postponed for public health reasons. Learn more at https://agr.mt.gov/MTFoodShow.

19) We signed a six month contract with CoStar/Loopnet to market the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Attracting new leads to the Park has proven to be great for the entire region because some companies that were drawn to consider the Golden Triangle because of the Park have chosen to locate elsewhere. As long as they locate somewhere in the Golden Triangle region, we’re excited!

20) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, NorthWestern Energy for their Advanced Division Investment, Geranios Enterprises, Inc. for their Pacesetter Division investment, and Klinefelter’s Insulation for their Community Division investment! Thank you for your continued support and promotion. Not only has your investment kept our team working to move the needle, but we’ve also been able to provide critical tools and resources to help existing businesses to survive and reposition during an uncertain time. If you haven’t invested in GFDA, and would like to discuss the various ways we leverage investment to work toward growth, email Teresa 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.

 

Happy Father’s Day and Juneteenth!

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.

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
Bruce Lee


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Assistant. 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

June SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.597%; 20-year at 2.522%; 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.

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.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

The 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!

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

Top 10 – 6/14/2020

Congratulations to Levi Clark and the Hybrid Steel Design team on winning Montana Young Entrepreneur-Owned Small Business of the Year from the Montana SBA District Office!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 20 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) Team Great Falls came together on a business attraction lead this week. On short notice a variety of city department leaders were able to come together for a Zoom with a light manufacturing prospect. Our responsiveness is a competitive advantage when competing for projects. The call resulted in the company committing to a site visit. Great Job Team!

2) Congratulations to Siyeh Communications in Browning on the ground breaking for construction of their new headquarters. Read more about Siyeh’s efforts to bring broad brand internet to the Blackfeet Reservation in the Glacier Reporter.

3) We’re excited to announce the new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. Thank you to Banik Communications for their hard work on the site, The Wendt Agency for our new logos, and all community partners who contributed content for the site. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

4) The state is still offering a variety of Coronavirus Relief Fund Grants, but deadline for some are looming and the nonprofit grant has already closed. Families, small businesses, non-profits, health services centers and individuals across Montana hardest-hit by impacts of COVID-19 are eligible to apply for grants through new programs created in response to the emergency. Visit COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV for a complete list of grant programs, eligibility requirements or apply.

5) We issued a Reality of Unemployment Benefits paper for employers struggling with workforce challenges. KRTV and The Electric ran stories about the new Great Falls Child Care Consortium that is helping to deal with workforce child care challenges.

6) Congratulations to the University of Providence for gaining accreditation from the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education for their Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Educator. You can read The Electric’s article here and find the program here.

7) The SBA 504 loan program is really starting off this summer with HOT, HOT, HOT interest rates! June’s interest rates came in at 2.597% for the 25-year term, 2.522% for the 20-year term, and the 10-year term came in at 2.644%. 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.

8) Thank you to the Great Falls Business Improvement District Board of Directors for approving continuation of our partnership started in January to split the costs of a Downtown Business Development Officer! The board approved the agreement for FY2021 that starts on July 1st. The new position has enabled us to significantly increase business retention/expansion and business/developer attraction for downtown Great Falls.

9) Have you been thinking about an idea and always wondered if you could make it a business? Are you a business owner but not a business school graduate? Are you passionate about the thing you do and don’t know how to turn that passion into profit? Then join us on Wednesday, June 17th at 4:00 PM for LaunchPoint our 1 hour  business planning and strategies workshop. To register for this virtual class click here.

10) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Amber Hofstad, owner of Windrift Hill, makers of soaps, lotions, and body butters all made from goat milk from their farm in Conrad, MT! Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at Teriyaki Madness right here in Great Falls. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hit that share button to help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to live, work, and do business!

11) 5th and Wine welcomed their new chef Lorenzo Rivera, originally from Chicago, who trained under Stephanie Izard winner of Bravo’s Top Chef seasons four. See KRTV story. The Great Falls Voyagers announced a Save the Summer at Centene Stadium schedule of exciting events; see KRTV.

12) Nathan Reiff gathered resources from the Western Governors Association webinar on COVID-19 Impacts to Gateway Communities. You can watch the webinar and previous webinars here. The presenters had several toolkits from the Gateway and Natural Amenity Region Initiative that you can access here. If your business could use some help with COVID-19 related concerns, reach out to our new SBDC COVID-19 specialist Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937

13) Be sure to visit Cassiopeia Books at 606 Central Avenue and Harlos Wax and Sugar Spa at 612 Central Avenue in downtown Great falls. Both of these businesses have expanded and moved into the Business Improvement District! Congratulations to both on their achievement! If you’re looking to expand and/or move Downtown, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) On June 18th and 19th we will be hosting “Boots to Business”.  This is a pre-business workshop for transitioning military service members at Malmstrom Air Force Base as part of the Transition Assistance Program. Active duty military, veterans, and military families are welcome. Please inquire about eligibility prior to registering at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) USDA is hosting a Battlefields to Farmfields webinar connecting veterans with agricultural programs and other resources in Montana. Monday, June 15, 11:45 AM. Register here.

16) Worked with a local business who is ready to expand! Two of our coaches are now working with them to set up their financial projections, market development, and online presence. We are here to help any business or would be entrepreneur located across the Golden Triangle of North Central Montana. Call Jolene to chat, 406.750.4481.

17) COVID-19 Financial Assistance for Montana Farmers & Ranchers webinar this Thursday, June 18 at 2:00 PM, put on by USDA and SBA. Webinar will cover USDA Farm Service Agency’s Coronavirus Food Assistance program and FSA loan flexibilities, Business & Industry loan guaranties, and SBA PPP and EIDL disaster loans. Register here.

18) Met with a business, their architects and environmental engineer to discuss a redevelopment and expansion project. Talked about environmental conditions and next steps on their 1920s property to qualify for potential Brownfields funding. Contact Lillian at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

19) I got tired of looking at economic stats this week, but found a more interesting one! Montana ranked 2nd in the nation for beer consumption per capita, a step up from our previous 4th ranking; see VinePair.

20) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, First Interstate Bank, Transystems, LLC, and U.S. Bank for their Advanced Division investments, City Motor Co. for their Flagship Division investment, Anderson Zurmuehlen & Co., P.C. for their Pacesetter Division investment, Citizen’s Alliance Bank, Alanna Ballard, Prairie Mountain Bank and PayneWest Insurance for their Community Division investments, and Spark Architecture for their Supporter Division investment. Each week our team shares how GFDA provides a range of efforts to make the region competitive for private investment. Thank you for allowing us to put your dollars to work! If you haven’t invested in GFDA, and would like to discuss the various ways we leverage investment to work toward growth, email Teresa 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.

Take care, wear a mask out there so we don’t go backwards fighting the virus, and remind everyone you know to fill out their Census so Montana doesn’t lose out for the next decade!

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.

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”
H.G. Wells


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Assistant. 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.

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.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

The 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!

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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