Top Ten 10/30/22

As part of the very productive Montana Japan Trade Mission, we joined with Montana and Kumamoto, Japan leaders to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the sister state/prefecture partnership between Montana and the Kumamoto prefecture. Kumamoto leaders will travel to Japan in November.

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. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Met with dozens of Japanese companies interested in expanding in Montana! We were able to join the Montana delegation spearheaded by the Montana Department of Commerce. This trade mission focused on business attraction and expansion and was the first mission of that nature by the state of Montana in a very long time. Japan is the United States’ largest foreign direct investment country. We met with corporate leaders of companies that have made longstanding investments in Great Falls region and thanked them for their investments in our community that provide jobs, increases our tax base, and expands market opportunities for our farmers. The largest and most long standing foreign investment partners in our region are from Japan and Canada. We will be investing more resources in cultivating these business relationships for increased economic opportunities. Being able to travel with state officials opened doors on higher floors for even more impact! We’re happy to discuss more in depth if you’re interested, call Jolene 1.406.750.4481.

2) Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro set a record for competitiveness in 2022Q3 at 85.6% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Seattle’s 152.2%, Portland’s 122.2%, Bozeman’s 125.0%, Denver’s 111.2%, Salt Lake City’s 107.4%, Boise’s 105.4%, or Spokane’s 103.5%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

3) The Silver Stone apartments received an unanimous recommendation from the Great falls City Planning Board for the zoning and annexation of their property towards the development of 432 apartments. An exciting milestone for this project, which has received support from City planning staff and significant investment from the developer to help Great Falls move closer to meeting the tremendous demand for housing demonstrated in our 2021 housing market demand assessment. If you are interested in moving your housing project forward, taking advantage of the various tools GFDA can offer you, please contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

4) Malmstrom AFB marked the 60th anniversary of the ICBM mission in the Great Falls region; see KRTV. We appreciate the vigilance and excellence of the Airmen who day in and day out, 365 days a year for 60 years have protected our country and added so much to our community!

5) We are still accepting low interest loan participation applications for the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). GFDA is an approved participating lender that can use this program to help your business innovate, expand, or stabilize. This program is a first come, first served program with limited funds available. If you have questions on the program please reach out to Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) Great Falls community leaders celebrated the new playground at Whitter Elementary School; see KRTV.

7) Great Falls native Jeff Spurgeon is bringing 25 years of experience in the personal training industry to Great Falls with the opening of JS Fitness and Wellness. The private facility will focus on personal training for clients of all ages and levels of fitness. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

8) Many businesses that obtained SBA COVID EIDL loans will have their 30-month payment deferral expire soon. Are you one of those businesses? If so, the SBA Montana District office is holding a webinar on how to start making your loan payments. There are five webinar sessions scheduled. For more info visit SBA Montana.

9) Economic development is a community endeavor. GFDA hosted students from Paris Gibson High School to share with them the various resources at our disposal for encouraging growth to our local economy. The GFDA team were also able to share about the wide variety of work environments available to talent in Great Falls.

10) The Veteran’s Administration (VA) stopped accepting new applications for Veteran-owned small business verification or reverification as of October 24th. This transition is part of a government-wide effort that streamlines and consolidates all certifications offered to VOSBs and SDVOSBs under the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA will assume responsibility for the program as of January 1, 2023. For more information or questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) Networked at the Montana Council of Cooperatives and the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) event celebrating Montana Cooperatives. To learn more about cooperatives or see if it might be the right model for your business, contact the team at MCDC.

12) Cybersecurity challenges for businesses continue to grow. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering an array of useful resources to help Montana businesses to protect themselves.

13) A big topic in Downtown Great Falls this week has been development tools. There are programs such as Bridge/Gap Financing, TIF Grants, BID Grants, and SSBCI. That’s a lot of acronyms and programs! Call Christian at 406.836.0136 and let’s discuss how we can put these tools to work for your project in Downtown Great Falls.

14) The GFDA Board of Directors has endorsed the Cascade County Public Safety Levy and encourage voters to support the measure. Visit WeStandSafe.com for more info.

15) Register today for the Montana Economic Development Conference at The Newberry in downtown Great Falls November 14-16; see Montana Economic Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and business attraction.

16) Our INVESTORS write checks to support our work annually. They understand some of the key benefits to economic development are to maintain, increase, & diversify the tax base while creating and retaining jobs, which will in turn provide economic vitality & an overall better quality of life for our residents. Recent investments include: Community Division—Jerry Hood and Midway Rental. These and our other investors are the reason we can keep doing what we do. If you are interested in supporting our mission & want to be a part of the exciting changes happening, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Great to be back in Great Falls after a fantastic Montana Japan Trade Mission!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

 

Download our GFDA Services and Staff Team handout or our GFDA 2022Q3 Quarter Index. View the We Are Great Falls video!

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

October SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.439%; 20-year at 6.362%; 10-year equipment loan at 5.598%; and, 20-year refinance 6.457%; 25-year refinance 6.380%. 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.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
The Montana Food & Beverage Show will be held November 7th in Missoula. Register at: AGR.MT.GOV/FOOD-AND-BEVERAGE-SHOW. The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. TheMontana Manufacturing Extension Centeris offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

USDA is accepting applications for the new Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. $500 million in grants is available to help existing fertilizer producers to expand.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. 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.

 

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.

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 Ten 10/16

Rocky Mountain Building Renovation

Progress being made on Alluvion Health’s redevelopment of the historic Rocky Mountain Building in Downtown Great Falls!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 10 for the last two weeks celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Two more major proposed new apartment developments in Great Falls were in the news, a 252-unit development on the east side of town and a 503-unit development on the west side of town. We’re excited to continue working with these developers to move the projects toward construction. See The Electric Business Bites from last week and The Electric’s Business Bites from this week. Supporting the creation of new homes is a key GFDA strategic priority. We have much work to do to get projects into construction, but are excited by the interest of excellent developers pursuing projects in the Great Falls market!

2) Congratulations to the University of Providence in Great Falls on the celebration of its 90th anniversary!!!

3) Invest Downtown Great Falls 2022 was a great success; see KRTV and KFBB. Thank you to our sponsor, NorthWestern Energy for  making the event possible. Over 120 people heard from 9 speakers talking about their projects and business success in Downtown Great Falls. We also had updates from the Downtown Development Partnership on events and volunteering in Downtown. If you missed the event, the recording will be available on our website soon. We premiered our new Invest Downtown video that you can now view on our YouTube Channel.

4) Congratulations to Benefis Health System on winning the top innovation award from the Montana Hospital Association for its long COVID treatment! See Great Falls Tribune.

5) Carter Commons, an affordable senior housing development planned for downtown Great Falls, was selected this week by the Montana Board of Housing to receive an allocation of low income housing tax credits. Congratulations to Tyler Currence and his team at Housing Solutions. Great Falls has a serious demand for housing units at all levels and types, as demonstrated in the recent housing market demand assessment we commissioned. GFDA supported the selection of this new construction apartment development. Project advocacy is just one service GFDA offers to support the creation of new homes. If you have a project that could benefit from the support of GFDA, please reach out to Jake Clark, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) The Blackfeet Nation and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes won a $74.8 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for high-speed internet access. See Billings Gazette.

7) Great Falls entrepreneurs met at MT Pints for a Business Pitch event hosted by GFDA. Business Pitch is fun, informal and open to anyone interested in sharing their business idea or project. Follow our Facebook page for details on future Business Pitch events or contact Tony at 406-750-2099.

8) Congratulations to Northern Interlocal Transit, a partnership between transit authorities in Toole, Glacier and Pondera counties, on winning a national award for outstanding service! See Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

9) We hosted two digital marketing trainings, one on email marketing and one on website development. Last week we presented the SBDC webinar on “Introduction to Small Business Certifications”. Keep an eye on our events calendar for upcoming classes.

10) Arc Apartment Homes is scheduled to open this fall at the corner of Division Road and Smelter Ave Northwest in Great Falls. Arc Apartment Homes is a 216-unit apartment home community close to retail, schools and downtown Great Falls. Learn more about this project in the Announcement of the Week.

11) Power, Montana will soon be home to a distillery specializing in American Single Malt Whisky owned and operated by the Pfeifle family. The family has farmed in Power since 1915 and over the years expanded to include Farm Power Malt. Now the Pfeifles are breaking into the distillery business. Learn more in the Announcement of the Week.

12) Received our first loan approval from the Montana State Small Business Credit Initiative for a Great Falls business that is expanding to a second location. This is a low interest rate loan participation that helps move potential deals forward that otherwise would not. Thank you to our bank partner, Nathan Reiff, at First Interstate Bank who was great advocate for our entrepreneur. 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.

13) Congratulations to the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce for producing the first Worlds of Work event! WOW is career expo for middle school and high school students that presented exciting opportunities for them to explore careers that they might have never known existed. GFDA team members assisted by volunteering as world navigators. The talent pipeline is extremely important to the success of our local businesses. See KRTV.

14) The Great Falls City Commission unanimously approved a Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) request from the Business Improvement District for downtown mural lighting. We were there speaking in support along with Downtown business owners. The project will light 10 murals, increasing safety and allowing visitors to see the murals anytime, day or night. See The Electric.

15) Congrats to Clark Diemert on the recent opening of Prairie Meats located in Lothair, 10 miles from Chester Montana! Prairie meats specializes in beef processing in their new facility; see KRTV. If you are interested in starting or expanding a meat processing facility, contact Justin at Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org to learn more about the gap and bridge financing we have available to help.

16) Lillian worked with a local business to put together a capability statement to submit to the Northrop Grumman Vendor Portal.  This is a requirement to be considered for contracts with the upcoming Sentinel project. If you would like more information on how you can prepare your business’ capability statement in preparation to upload to the Vendor Portal, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

17) Ever Westward Farm, a new organic farm located in Belt was featured on KRTV. Owned by first generation farmers Tristan and Jori Bradford, the organic farm produces more than 50 species of produce and herbs, as well as pasture-grazed turkey, fowl, waterfowl, and hogs. They deliver once a week to the Great Falls area bringing the true Farm to Table feel to your home. For more information on how you can support this new farm and become a customer visit their Facebook page.

18) Christian, our Downtown Business Development Officer, was on the road again in downtown Bozeman. He visited with developers and investor groups talking about the revitalization efforts going on in Downtown Great Falls. If you are interested in residential or commercial development opportunities in Downtown Great Falls, call Christian at 406.836.0136.

19) Shout out to non-profits! Did you know that GFDA is here for you as well? We can assist with business advising, financial projections, business planning, and we can help you develop your capital stack – the complete financing package that makes the most sense for your business or project. We have loan products that can assist with your capital stack if needed. Does your non-profit have an exciting project on the horizon? If so, reach out to Jake Clark, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

20) The GFDA Board of Directors has endorsed the Cascade County Public Safety Levy and encourage voters to support the measure. Visit WeStandSafe.com for more info.

21) Register today for the Montana Economic Development Conference at The Newberry in downtown Great Falls November 14-16; see Montana Economic Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and business attraction.

22) We’re excited to welcome Katesha Campbell to our Team! Katesha will be focused on helping businesses that make products from the agriculture produced across our region of North Central Montana. She is going to be an excellent Business Development Officer! Reach out and connect with Katesha at Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org.

23) Our work is made possible by the continued support of our team of INVESTORS. They are helping to drive growth in the region. Recent investments include: Leadership Division—Gusto DistributingJCCS, P.C., and Stockman Bank; Community Division—406 Attorneys. Great Falls is thriving thanks to them and others that contribute annually to our organization. If you want to find out how you can help grow the region, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

An amazing two weeks for the Great Falls Montana region!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro remained competitive in 2022Q2 at 87.8% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Bozeman’s 121.8%, Denver’s 111.0%, Boise’s 109.3%, or Spokane’s 102.7%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

The Montana Food & Beverage Show will be held November 7th in Missoula. Register at: AGR.MT.GOV/FOOD-AND-BEVERAGE-SHOW. The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. TheMontana Manufacturing Extension Centeris offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

USDA is accepting applications for the new Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. $500 million in grants is available to help existing fertilizer producers to expand.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. 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.

 

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.

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 Ten 10/9

What’s next for Downtown Great Falls? There are some excellent investment opportunities to redevelop properties and bring new businesses downtown. Take advantage of the great downtown momentum. Register here for Invest Downtown Great Falls 2022, presented by Northwestern Energy. On October 20th from 10 AM-Noon at The Newberry, come hear about recent successes, current opportunities and major project updates centered around Downtown Great Falls. If you have any questions about the event, contact Christian at 1-406-836-0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Join us this Monday for a Business Pitch at MT Pints, Monday, October 10th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Please come join us for a night of networking and socializing while we listen to the pitches of local entrepreneurs. If you are interested in pitching your idea, just show up! Contact Tony Peres on our team at 406-750-2099 or via email at Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org if you have any questions, want help with your pitch, or would like to host a future business pitch event..

2) We had a great week hosting three companies looking to expand or relocate in the Great Falls region with two more scheduling their visits soon. Great Falls is on the radar for numerous industries including aerospace, software development, and bioscience. If you know of a business that you think would succeed in our market please reach out to Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org so we can arrange a visit.

3) One of the site visits was a software engineering company looking for new, fresh markets with lower operation costs and lower cost of living — a market where they will be a premier employer and a place with a high veteran population. Great Falls shines in all these areas and we were happy to introduce this company to our community. If you’d like to know more about our business attraction concierge services, call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

4) Congratulations to Janis and Jerry McRae on their recent purchase and extensive renovation of the Dutton Drive -In; see Choteau AcanthaVino and Brews recently opened its doors as Lewistown’s latest tavern. The beer and wine bar features 20 different wines and 13 different beers on tap, the bar also serves a variety of shareable foods such as ciabatta, tempura, charcuterie, and several different seafood plates. See Lewistown Argus News.

5) The GFDA Board of Directors voted to endorse the Cascade County Public Safety Levy and encourage voters to support the measure. Visit WeStandSafe.com for more info.

6) As we continue our deep-dive strategic planning work, the GFDA Board adopted a framework for the new regional economic development plan. The four focus areas will be People, Place, Opportunities, and Team.

7) One of the priorities we’ve identified through strategic planning is that we need to make our transportation and logistics costs and services more competitive to help existing manufacturers and attract new manufacturing investment. We met with six different businesses across the region this week to discuss their transportation opportunities and needs. We are meeting with businesses ranging from fuel products, ag commodities, consumer dry goods, food manufacturing, livestock, and more to get the big picture of transportation and logistics across our region. If you’d like to be part of the conversation, call Justin at 406-590-1301.

8) Another strategic priority we’re working on is housing production. The Governor’s Housing Task Force released a great draft report detailing strategies to increase housing production across the state. Download the Task Force Housing Report. You can submit comments on the draft by October 15th on the Task Force’s website.

9) Congratulations to not one but three new businesses that opened their doors last week in Fort Benton! The Rustic Mug is a boutique and décor shop that is owned by the mother daughter team of Leslie Hansen-Clewien and Karla Hansen. Moon Eyes Coffee is the town’s newest coffee shop and is owned by Jake Berger and Maren Engen. The Public House is a new restaurant specializing in smoked meats and is owned by Alex and Jessica Salazar. All three of these new ventures can be located nestled into The Courtyard on Front Street in Fort Benton’s riverfront area. Source: The River Press.

10) Only 5% of the animals raised for meat in Montana are processed in Montana. We’ve created a new loan fund to provide flexible gap and bridge financing to help local processors throughout the Golden Triangle to expand their processing capacity and to help entrepreneurs start new processing operations. Give Justin a call to discuss the resources available, 406-590-1301.

11) Congratulations to Brick House Bakery & Sweet Treats now open in Great Falls in Mise en Place Kitchens at 6th Street SW in the former Ryan’s Station building. Brick House Bakery & Sweet Treats owner Amanda Brooks is serving up delicious baked goods every Sunday in the new location. Learn more in the Announcement of the Week.

12) We published our 2022Q3 Quarter Index this week. Download our updated GFDA Services & Team handout. SelectUSA, America’s foreign direct investment arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has awarded us a virtual spinoff event leading up to the 2023 SelectUSA Investment Summit in DC next May. We will use the opportunity to pitch the advantages of choosing the 13-county Great Falls Montana trade area for new business operations. This week we made more progress on our new economic development website and on preparations for company meetings as part of the Montana Japan Trade Mission later this month. Japan is the biggest foreign direct investor in the US.

13) Congratulations to the University of Montana on being named America’s #1 University for Community and National Service by Washington Monthly!

14) Christian was a speaker on an International Economic Development Council webinar this week titled, “Down by the Storefront”, focusing on pre and post Covid downtown development. He was a member of a three person panel, joining Corpus Christi, TX and Grand Junction, CO speaking to over 100 economic developers about the great momentum we have going in Downtown Great Falls.

15) GFDA would like to welcome Mike Mills as the newest member on our Board of Directors. Mike serves as the representative for Sweetgass Development, one of four Economic Development Districts in our region. Mike also owns & operates Mills Motor Co. in Fairfield and works for 3 Rivers Communications in business development and outside sales. We are excited to be collaborating with our partner organization and are looking forward to the valuable perspective and insights Mike will bring. Welcome to the team, Mike!

16) Economic development is more important than ever. GFDA and the programs we implement are essential in growing and sustaining the local economy. A key path to growing is investing in economic development. Nobody understands that more than our team of INVESTORS. If you want to be a part of the team that growing our region, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

17) Register today for the Montana Economic Development Conference at The Newberry in downtown Great Falls November 14-16; see Montana Economic Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and business attraction.

18) Volunteer to help with the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce‘s inaugural Worlds of Work! (WOW). WOW is a career expo pioneered by West Alabama Works. Though NOT a typical job fair, this event opens new avenues of opportunity for middle school students they never knew were possible. The Chamber’s goal this first year is to have sixteen Worlds, each representing one of Montana’s sixteen recognized career pathways. On October 18th, WOW will be held at Great Falls College – MSU and the University of Providence (inside and outside) from 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Area 8th graders will be divided into groups and will have a navigator who will guide them to each of the worlds, where they will explore for approximately 20-25 minutes before traveling to the next world. WOW Varsity, the block for high school students, will be in the late afternoon, and will include sophomores only for this first year. Check out the West Alabama WOW. Contact Scott Wolff for more info at swolff@greatfallschamber.org.

We’re firing on all cylinders to keep momentum gaining speed. THANK YOU to our clients, partners, investors, and volunteers who make everything we do possible!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Download Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area,  our GFDA Services and Staff Team handout, or our GFDA 2022Q3 Quarter Index. In case you missed it at Ignite 2022, we unveiled our new We Are Great Falls video!

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

October SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.439%; 20-year at 6.362%; 10-year equipment loan at 5.598%; and, 20-year refinance 6.457%; 25-year refinance 6.380%. 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.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro remained competitive in 2022Q2 at 87.8% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Bozeman’s 121.8%, Denver’s 111.0%, Boise’s 109.3%, or Spokane’s 102.7%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

The Montana Food & Beverage Show will be held November 7th in Missoula. Register at: AGR.MT.GOV/FOOD-AND-BEVERAGE-SHOW. The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. TheMontana Manufacturing Extension Centeris offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

USDA is accepting applications for the new Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. $500 million in grants is available to help existing fertilizer producers to expand.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. 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.

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.

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 Ten 10/2

Crumbl Cookies Opens in Great Falls

Congratulations to one of Great Falls most anticipated businesses, Crumbl Cookies! After months of planning and remodeling the new franchise opened Friday morning, The owners, Andrea and Jamie Holyoak, have created over 20 new full and part time jobs in this popular new venture in Great Falls. See KRTV.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 21 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) We acquired 224.31 acres of land in the Great Falls AgriTech Park to strengthen our ability to attract business investment to the region. This is the first time that we have owned land in the park. Thank you to Cascade County and First Interstate Bank for making the purchase possible!

2) The Montana Department of Commerce announced a new agricultural business partnership between Big Idea Ventures and Montana State University. The collaboration will enhance research innovation in food and agricultural technologies, help create new companies, and increase jobs for Montanans. We’re excited that the MDOC business attraction team was able to bring the global Big Ideas Ventures venture capital group to Montana and look forward to connecting entrepreneurs and businesses in our region with this new resource. See full press release.

3) Invest Downtown Great Falls 2022, presented by Northwestern Energy, is just around the corner! On October 20th from 10 AM-Noon at The Newberry, come hear about recent successes, current opportunities and major project updates centered around Downtown Great Falls. If you have any questions about the event, contact Christian at 1-406-836-0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.orgRegister here!

4) NeighborWorks Great Falls celebrated it’s Dreamstreet 2022 with the ten families who are finishing their sweat-equity new homes. Congratulations! See KRTV.

5) Thank you to Sweet Grass Development and the Valier Public Library for co-hosting our Website Bootcamp class this week. Our next Website Bootcamp class is full, but you can be added to the wait list here. If there’s enough demand for another class we’ll add one this fall.

6) The Montana Premium Processing Co-op (MPPC) is opening a year-round processing facility in Havre this Fall. MPPC will provide USDA certified live-to-package processing for cattle, hog, sheep, bison. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

7) We received the signed paperwork back from USDA so we’re ready to launch our new regional meat processing loan fund. If you need capital to expand or start a meat processing operation, contact Justin at 1-406-590-1301 or Justin@GrtowGreatFalls.org.

8) Important cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research being done at the McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Studies was featured in a great article in the Great Falls Tribune.

9) Our next Business Pitch is on Monday, October 10th from 5:30-7:30 PM at MT Pints in Great Falls. If you have a new business idea or business expansion idea this a great place to pitch that idea and to network with many business professionals. All of our Business Pitch events are open to the public. If you are interested or have questions please reach out to our Small Business Navigator, Tony Peres at 406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) Thank you to the partners who joined us for a health/bioscience economic development strategy retreat with our consultants, TrippUmbach. We expect to publish their findings and proposed strategy by the end of the month.

11) Small business owners are often faced with the challenge of finding ways to make their businesses more successful. One way to do that is through government contracting. But how do small businesses compete in this complicated marketplace? You can get an edge by seeing if you qualify for a small business certifications. For more information and upcoming opportunities with the Sentinel Project & Northrop Grumman, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

12) Register today for the Montana Economic Development Conference at The Newberry in downtown Great Falls November 14-16; see Montana Economic Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and business attraction.

13) We met in Lewistown with the eight other Food and Ag Development Centers across Montana and the Montana Department of Agriculture for the centers’ annual meeting. USDA and the MT Dept. of Ag gave updates on programs, including Growth Through Agriculture and Specialty Crop Block grants.  Planning for the upcoming year was discussed so we can better serve producers and processing companies and entrepreneurs. For more information on Food and Ag Development Centers across Montana and how they can serve you, contact Justin at 406-590-1301.

14) Local food production in Montana supports 1,110 Montanan held jobs and supports $31.9 million in Montana labor income, according to a new study, Economic Value and Impact of Local Food in Montana, released by Grow Montana.

15) Volunteer to help with the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce‘s inaugural Worlds of Work! (WOW). WOW is a career expo pioneered by West Alabama Works. Though NOT a typical job fair, this event opens new avenues of opportunity for middle school students they never knew were possible. The Chamber’s goal this first year is to have sixteen Worlds, each representing one of Montana’s sixteen recognized career pathways. On October 18th, WOW will be held at Great Falls College – MSU and the University of Providence (inside and outside) from 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Area 8th graders will be divided into groups and will have a navigator who will guide them to each of the worlds, where they will explore for approximately 20-25 minutes before traveling to the next world. WOW Varsity, the block for high school students, will be in the late afternoon, and will include sophomores only for this first year. Check out the West Alabama WOW. Contact Scott Wolff for more info at swolff@greatfallschamber.org.

16) We are already planning for IGNITE 2023! This event is our annual kickoff where we announce projects and major investments in the Great Falls area that are starting or finishing in 2023. If your project, or one you know of, meets these criteria please reach out to Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org

17) USDA is accepting applications for the new Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. $500 million in grants is available to help existing fertilizer producers to expand.

18) Spoke to the Rotary Club of Great Falls this week focusing on the strategies we use to grow the economy, results we are seeing, and what’s next. If your club is looking for a speaker, call Jolene 406.750.4481.

19) Our entire GFDA staff team took part in an Economic Development Ethics workshop using the International Economic Development Council’s ethics program.

20) Development is key to building our capacity, so we sent our Resource Team to network with statewide agencies and funders at the Montana Nonprofit Association’s annual conference. MNA is the organization who keeps the pulse on the nonprofit sector both statewide and nationally.

21) GFDA relies on the support from our INVESTORS and public partners. Because of them, we are currently working with more companies than ever before. Recent investments include: Advance Division—North 40 Outfitters and Wells Fargo; Leadership Division—Great Falls Montana Tourism; Community Division—Buchanan Enterprises, Inc. They truly believe in our mission and are helping to fuel growth in the region. If you are interested in helping the region grow, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Here is a Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our GFDA 2022Q2 Quarter Index. In case you missed it at Ignite 2022, we unveiled our new We Are Great Falls video!

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

September SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 5.437%; 20-year at 5.338%; 10-year equipment loan at 5.320%; and, 20-year refinance 5.352%; 25-year refinance 5.450%. 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.

Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro remained competitive in 2022Q2 at 87.8% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Bozeman’s 121.8%, Denver’s 111.0%, Boise’s 109.3%, or Spokane’s 102.7%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshowwill be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. TheMontana Manufacturing Extension Centeris offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

The Montana Food & Beverage Show will be held November 7th in Missoula. Register at: AGR.MT.GOV/FOOD-AND-BEVERAGE-SHOW.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. 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.

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.

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 Ten 9/25

Independence Bank celebrated the opening of their Great Falls location at 901 River Drive North. Independence Bank has nine branches in Montana. The Great Falls location is a full-service bank with expertise in agriculture, commercial, consumer and residential real estate lending. Congratulations to Independence Bank on the expansion! We are proud to have helped with extensive brownfield assessments of this riverfront site.

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. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Great Falls is now accepting applications for its first class of students who will start next summer! See TheElectricAlluvion Health won a $400,000 grant to open a child care center as part of its redevelopment of the former Roosevelt School. The new program will provide 40 employer-sponsored childcare slots; see TheElectric. The A&K Diner opened in Great Falls; see KRTV.

2) Visit Great Falls reports that August was Great Falls’ best month for hotel room demand on record! The Great Falls market occupancy was 84.5% and ADR was $132.35, with many properties reporting higher occupancy and ADR. The Office of Tourism has recently updated the “Fast Facts” sheet available on BrandMT, Fast-Facts-Funding-20B.pdf (mt.gov). The 2021 Montana tourism impacts were significant, with 12.552 million non-residents visitors spending over $5.15 billion while supporting 47,810 Montana jobs. This tourism spending also contributed $387.84 million in state & local taxes.

3) Dr. Tiffany Hensley-McBain with McLaughlin Research Institute has received her first National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. Learn more about how the funds will advance the institute’s research on Alzheimer’s in our Announcement of the Week.

4) Pitched Great Falls Montana to 23 Site Selectors from across the US at the Site Selector Guild Fall Forum! We also listened to what they need when they are searching for locations for their clients. Site Selectors represent large and mid-size company’s looking to expand, re-shore, or locate initial operations. There are 384 metropolitan statistical areas (like Great Falls) and 543 micropolitan statistical areas in the United States. We build strong relationships with site selectors and companies so that we rise to the top of their searches.

5) Congratulations to automotive entrepreneur Mike Schneider and his team on finalizing the acquisition of Jim Taylor Motors in Fort Benton! Mike moved to Fort Benton from Spokane in 2019 to begin the process of acquiring this business. The purchase was finalized September 7th with the name and product lines remaining the same. Source: The River Press

6) Last chance to register! Our Health and Bioscience Economic Development Strategy consultants will be back in town for a working retreat on September 28th. The Tripp Umbach team will join us in-person to share the results of their study and facilitate working groups with key players in our local health bioscience and education community. Retreat registration is available here.

7) Hosted an aerospace and defense company site visit facilitated by the Montana Department of Commerce. This company is looking for a manufacturing and testing location. Our job is to showcase Great Falls Montana as their best location. The schedule included site locations and meetings with business partners Montana Air National GuardNorthwestern Energy, and Great Falls Airport Authority. Thank you the many partners that come together to make site visits like this a success!

8) Catching up on a few things I missed in the Top 10 over the past couple of hectic months. TheElectric ran a great story on the multiple park improvement projects completed by the City of Great Falls using the park and recreation special district. TheElectric also wrote about the City of Great Falls adopting the latest international building codes as required by state law. KFBB ran a great story featuring Blackfeet artists who participated in the 2022 ArtsFest Montana in Downtown Great Falls. The Great Falls Tribune has been running a series about local artists and musicians.

9) Submitted our first low interest loan participation in the new Montana State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program to help a local business to expand. We’re processing several more potential deals to move projects forward that otherwise could not. 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.

10) Yaron Goldman, CEO of Rib and Chop House, will be among the presenters at Invest Downtown to talk about their new downtown location. Invest Downtown 2022 will be on October 20th from 10 AM-Noon at the Newberry. We have some great tools that are available to help in your Downtown project. If you have been looking to start or expand your business in Downtown Great Falls, contact Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.836.0136. Invest Downtown 2022 is presented by Northwestern Energy.

11) USDA recently announced details of a $300 million investment in a new Organic Transition Initiative that it says will help build new and better markets and streams of income for farmers. Columbia Grain has made sizable investment across Montana and North Dakota to increase capacity and efficiency at 5 locations to better serve producers and offer more delivery options for commodities in this initiative. For more information on this program contact Columbia Grain or Justin at GFDA 406-590-1301.

12) We received our executed agreement from the EPA to launch a second Brownfield revolving loan fund that will enable us to help finance more redevelopment projects throughout Cascade County.

13) Lock in long-term fixed interest rates and lower your equity requirements for business real estate acquisitions, renovations, and expansions and long-term equipment purchases. SBA 504 rates for September, including all fees, are 5.437% fixed for 25 years, 5.338% fixed for 20 years, and 5.320% fixed for 10 years. Some refinancing is also eligible. Contact Jill Kohles at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1056.

14) The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

15) We are already planning for IGNITE 2023! This event is our annual kickoff where we announce projects and major investments in the Great Falls area that are starting or finishing in 2023. If your project, or one you know of, meets these criteria please reach out to Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

16) Brett, Christian and Jake participated in the International Economic Development Council’s annual conference in Oklahoma City, sharing and learning economic development trends and innovations. Jake and I presented an interactive session on housing and childcare that attracted over 100 economic developers from around the world. Met with federal economic development leaders, BNSF, colleagues in Alberta and North Dakota, and site selection consultants. We were the only Montana economic developers at the conference. Christian is a speaker on an upcoming IEDC webinar on Downtown Revitalization called Down by the Storefront on October 6th.

17) Join our great economic development team! GFDA is looking to add a Business Development Officer to expand our efforts to attract investment in food, ag and bio processing industries in the region. Help existing businesses to expand and new businesses to start-up. Target and pursue companies elsewhere to expand into our region. Here is a complete position description. Send cover letter and resume to Brett at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.

18) We issued our FY2022 Audited Financial Statement — another clean audit! Our Executive Committee approved an agreement with the Great Falls Business Improvement District which shares the salary and benefits expenses of our Downtown Business Development Officer — 50% City of Great Falls Downtown TIF District, 25% BIDF, and 25% GFDA. Thank you for supporting downtown economic revitalization!

19) GFDA is able to continue our work because of the support from our public partners and INVESTORS. Without them, we couldn’t provide our clients the tools resources they need to help them succeed. Recent investments include: Advance Division—Energy West and Northwestern Energy. Their continued support in our work is helping to drive the growth in our community. If you want to join our team of investors, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

20) This week we submitted a major grant application to the Community Development Financial Institution Fund, part of the United State Treasury. The Equitable Recovery Program was created as part of the ARPA Act to help areas most impacted by the pandemic to recover. If we win an award, which we won’t know until 2023, we will use the funds to help finance workforce housing developments in census tracts most affected by the pandemic throughout the Golden Triangle — the 13-county Great Falls trade area.

We have great momentum headed into the fall season. Let’s keep moving projects forward and help entrepreneurs, businesses, and developers to announce new projects!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Here is a Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our GFDA 2022Q2 Quarter Index. In case you missed it at Ignite 2022, we unveiled our new We Are Great Falls video!

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

September SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 5.437%; 20-year at 5.338%; 10-year equipment loan at 5.320%; and, 20-year refinance 5.352%; 25-year refinance 5.450%. 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.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro remained competitive in 2022Q2 at 87.8% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Bozeman’s 121.8%, Denver’s 111.0%, Boise’s 109.3%, or Spokane’s 102.7%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

Early Stage Montana presents the 2022 Montana Startup Summit September 29-October 1 in Bozeman, a three-day weekend celebrating Montana’s innovation.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

We’re co-hosting the Montana Economic Development Conference at The Newberry in downtown Great Falls November 14-16; see Montana Economic Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and supporting local entrepreneurs and existing businesses. Download preliminary agenda. Sponsor a session! Contact Rebecca Myers at medaexec@gmail.com or Jenn Gallmeier at Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce announced the inaugural Worlds of Work! (WOW). WOW is a career expo pioneered by West Alabama Works. Though NOT a typical job fair, this event opens new avenues of opportunity for middle school students they never knew were possible. The Chamber’s goal this first year is to have sixteen Worlds, each representing one of Montana’s sixteen recognized career pathways. On October 18th, 2022, WOW will be held at Great Falls College – MSU and the University of Providence (inside and outside) from 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Area 8th graders will be divided into groups and will have a navigator who will guide them to each of the worlds, where they will explore for approximately 20-25 minutes before traveling to the next world. WOW Varsity, the block for high school students, will be in the late afternoon, and will include sophomores only for this first year. Check out the West Alabama WOW. Contact Scott Wolff for more info at swolff@greatfallschamber.org.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

The Montana Food & Beverage Show will be held November 7th in Missoula. Register at: AGR.MT.GOV/FOOD-AND-BEVERAGE-SHOW.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. 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.

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.

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.