|1) Last week marked a momentous occasion as we welcomed the first class of students at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. The outpouring of support from our community was overwhelming. Generous local businesses and organizations each donated 100 items for special baskets, each brimming with over $500 worth of local goods for the students to enjoy. A massive thank you to: Alluvion Health, Annie’s Tap House, Candy Masterpiece, C.M. Russell Museum, Dragonfly Dry Goods, Giant Springs State Park, Great Falls Americans Hockey, Great Falls Montana Tourism, Great Falls Symphony, Great Falls Voyagers, Jeremiah Johnson Brewing Co., KellerGeist, Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, McDonald’s of Great Falls, Mighty Mo Brew Co., North 40 Outfitters, Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Pasta Montana, Scheels, Showdown MT, Stockman Bank, Street Burgers, Teriyaki Madness, The Block, The History Museum, The Peak, Tracy’s Family Restaurant, and Wheels of Thunder for their support and contributions. The positive response and kindness from the community to welcome these aspiring medical professionals has made a lasting impact, showcasing the genuine warmth and camaraderie of our Great Falls community.
2) GFDA has several different tools and services to help businesses and developers with their project needs. One of these tools is the gap and bridge financing that we offer. We closed a $310,000 bridge loan to Reach Development LLC which will enable the developer to move forward on a major apartment community Great Falls. The GFDA loan helped leverage an additional $1,200,000 of private funding. A big THANK YOU to our banking partner, Erin Townsend of Bravera Bank, for being instrumental in making this happen. If your business needs assistance with financing to start, grow or innovate please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.
3) June data from the Montana Department of Labor shows that employment in Cascade County increased by 396 from June 2022 to June 2023 with an additional 633 job increase in the rural counties of our trade area for total employment growth of 1,029. The labor force grew by 368 in Cascade County and an additional 595 in the rural counties for a total labor force growth of 963. Cascade County had a 2.7% unemployment rate in June. MDOL has 909 current job listings in Cascade County plus 847 listing in the rural counties of our trade area for a total 1,756 job listings.
4) We hosted an exciting prospect visit to Great Falls. The business was so impressed with Great Falls and their potential partners here that they have decided to fast track the next steps in their journey towards an expansion into our area. Thank you to our partners who helped make this a great visit!
5) Chastity Tarrow has opened A Kids Nest Childcare in Great Falls. The childcare facility is a family-owned business serving ages 0-10. Learn more about this new facility in our Announcement of the Week.
6) GFDA’s APEX Accelerator (formerly called Procurement Technical Assistance Center or PTAC) helped a small business in Havre with a critical contract payment issue caused by an expired registration. The business owner faced challenges renewing the registration due to a missing record. The Federal Service Desk couldn’t fix it, so the Contracting Office with the Bureau of Reclamation referred her to our APEX advisors for assistance. After a month of work and multiple workarounds, we successfully resolved the issue. The contracting officer confirmed the business owner will receive the overdue payments, and the small business was also awarded a new contract starting on August 1st! The business owner said, “I don’t know what I would have done without you.” This success highlights the significance of providing support to small businesses, particularly when dealing with technical challenges related to government contracts.
7) INDHemp hosted their 3rd Annual Montana Hemp Summer Summit. Over 100 people attended from across the country and internationally to listen to speakers discuss the future of hemp in regenerative agriculture, construction, and industrial processes; see KRTV. Anna Flies attended the summit to network with both hemp farmers and producers as well as the companies looking to include hemp in their production lines. If you are interested in starting hemp production in Montana or are looking to partner with Montana hemp producers, please contact Anna at Anna@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1301.
8) The City of Great Falls has three tax increment financing programs that can provide up to $130,000 in matching funds to support the redevelopment of downtown properties, and potentially more for major projects. If you are interested in knowing more, contact Christian at 1-406-836-0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org and let’s discuss how this tool can work for your project.
9) Tony ventured to Kalispell and Whitefish to meet with bankers and lenders to discuss SBA 504 loans available statewide from our own High Plains Financial. If you or your business are looking for additional funding options we may be able to help. To offer the best service to Montana banks and businesses, we have put together a virtual SBA 504 underwriting and loan closing team that has closed hundreds of 504 loans. Try us out! Contact Tony at Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org or via 1-406-750-2099 to learn more.
10) Help us continue to welcome the inaugural class of Touro students to Great Falls! As we eagerly welcome the first class of students at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, we are reaching out to our wonderful community for a special request. On Thursday, August 24th, we kindly ask you to step up and host a small group of 3 to 5 students for dinner at a restaurant of your choice. Your hospitality will undoubtedly make a significant impact on these aspiring medical professionals as they begin their journey in our city. To participate in this initiative, please reach out to Jenn at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org no later than August 15th. Together, let’s extend a warm welcome and show support to these promising students as they embark on their exciting new chapter.
11) The State Small Business Credit Initiative 2.0 (SSBCI 2.0) low interest rate program is still awaiting their third tranche of funding. This third tranche is on a first come first served basis, so start talking with GFDA now, if you have a project that could move forward with the benefit of low interest rate funding. These funds are limited and will be put to work very quickly to help our economy recover and come back stronger than ever. If you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a loan participation, contact Jill at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1056.
12) Our achievements stand as a testament to the power of collaboration. We extend our gratitude to our esteemed INVESTORS and dedicated public partners, whose unwavering support plays a pivotal role in realizing our goals and fulfilling our mission. Discover more about them HERE. Their ongoing support empowers us to bring forth new opportunities and nurture talent within our region. To all, a sincere thank you. If you’re interested in joining our valued team of investors, please don’t hesitate to contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org. Together, let’s continue to celebrate and grow the region.
Hope you’re enjoying a great State Fair week!
President & CEO