Top 10 – 10/17/2021

Check out all the great places in Great Falls to enjoy a great fall day! Here’s Elevation 3330 with the award winning hanging pedlet!

GFDA’s Top 10

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

1) Congratulations to Glacier Cinemas in Cut Bank on their recent re-opening. The two screen theater had been closed for over a year due to Covid. Full story in the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

2) Now is the time to invest in Downtown Great Falls. Reasonable market entry + copious opportunities + consumer demand = your success! Check out a new infill town home project here! Want to know more about the Downtown Great Falls Market? Participate in Invest Downtown October 28 from 10-noon both in person at the Newberry and via Zoom followed by property tours. Register here. Because of the generosity of our sponsor, NorthWestern Energy, this event is free to you!

3) Montana DPHHS will be accepting one-time Child Care Stabilization grant applications from now until December 31! These funds are meant to stabilize your business coming out of the public health emergency. The process is not competitive and licensed centers are eligible for up to 80-100% of their operating expenses. Go to and click on “Grants for Licensed & Registered Child Care Programs (Stabilization).”

4) Are you currently hiring or searching for marketing tools to help convince job candidates to relocate to Great Falls? GFDA provides Great Falls Livability magazines for FREE to employers who will use them to recruit employees into Great Falls. Request free copies of the 2020 and 2021 issues of Great Falls Livability magazine by emailing Talent Attraction Director Soren at Please include quantity wanted.

5) Great Falls College MSU is launching a program to boost cybersecurity education in area high schools; see KRTV.

6) Last chance for this month’s website bootcamp! We’ll guide you through setting up an ecommerce site you can be proud of can capture more revenue! October 19, 20 & 21 from 6-7:30 PM. This course is via zoom register here.

7) Preliminary data on 2021Q2 was released this week in the JobsEQ system we subscribe to. During the four quarters ending 2021Q2, the average annual wage in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased by 5.2% to $45,517. This was an average increase of $2,260. Great Falls remains an affordable place to do business. Our average annual wage was 71% of the national average. Employment during the four quarters ending 2021Q2 grew 8.4% in the Great Falls MSA. Total wages earned locally grew by $68 million during the same period, a 4.2% increase. In the second quarter alone, 2021 total wages earned in 2021 were $47 million higher than the second quarter of 2020.

8) A new access to capital option for businesses has launched. Crowdfund Montana is an investment crowdfunding platform, affiliated with the national platform Crowdfund Mainstreet, to bring people together to fund good business projects. Unlike traditional crowdfunding, investment crowdfunding allows funders to receive a financial return on their contribution, and in some cases own shares in the companies they are funding. An online Q&A is planned for Wednesday, October 20th from 12 Noon – 1 PM. To register and learn more, click here. NBC Montana has also published this story about the platform’s launch.

9) We are looking for a Women’s Business Advisor for our partnership with the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Lab (WELL). Work across the region and state with women entrepreneurs helping them start, expand, and innovate. Click here to learn more.

10) The Montana State Fund announced a record-tying dividend return to policyholders of $40 million; see KTVH.

11) Make sure you’re following us and get ready to see some awesome @LiveinGreatFalls content on InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn! We had a great kickoff meeting with The Wendt Agency, who will be managing our talent attraction social media marketing.

12) Our strategic planning consultants were in town for a second week of listening meetings. Share your knowledge and ideas to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy at the Strategic Planning Community Meeting. We are developing a new economic strategy and the first step in the process is to gather information about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Please take a few minutes to fill out a brief survey here.

13) We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessmentthat shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Jason Nitschke at

14) Check out October’s Hot Jobs in Great Falls, a collection of open jobs that we’re marketing to people in talent attraction target markets (Seattle, Portland, etc.). These are jobs that people would relocate for. If you have a particularly high-skill, high-salary or out-of-the-box job opportunity to include in November’s list, submit them here.

15) We have three exciting career opportunities for Content Marketing Director/Small Business Adviser, Resource Director (grant writing), and Business Development Officer (food processing specialist). Download job postings and please help spread the word. GFDA has a year-round College Intern Program with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

16) SBA 504 loan rates dropped this month. If you are looking to expand or acquire new commercial real estate or long-term equipment, contact Jill Kohles to learn how to lock in long-term low rates with as little as 10% equity; or 406-590-1056. We do SBA 504 loans statewide.

17) THANK YOU to our wonderful INVESTORS! Recent investments include: Advance Division–Pacific Steel & Recycling; Leadership Division—Pepsi of Great Falls; Pacesetter Division—Cogswell Insurance Agency; Community Division—Days Inn of Great Falls & Midway Rental. It is because of their continued support that we are able to keep working to strengthen & grow Great Falls! If you are interested in becoming an investor, reach out to Jenn Gallmeier, Investment Director, at 406-781-9499 or

I’m back on the road learning ways to help move our economy forward and making new contacts. Have a great week!


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.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Mahatma Gandhi

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.

Edition 508

Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letter and our GFDA 2021Q2 Quarter Index.

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

October SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.912%; 20-year at 2.765%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.372%; and, 20-year refinance 2.779%; 25-year refinance 2.926%. 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

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Learn how to add the most value to your ranching or processing operation in terms of marketing, financing, distribution, & quality. How do you get the most value for your beef while keeping it local? What business strategies & certifications are best for your operation? What can marketing & networking do for your business? Free workshop on November 3 from 10 AM – 3 PM. Register here.

We deliver print copies of the Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine around town every Friday – if you would like copies of this great recruitment tool, email Soren at

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Changes include increases to maximum loan amount and expansion in the uses of funds for paying and prepaying existing business debt. If your business is still struggling to stabilize and recover from the pandemic or are seeing new challenges related to the Delta variant, GFDA’s business advisors are here to help. Connect with Jason at Apply for COVID EIDL on the SBA’s website.

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. Connect with Talent Attraction Director Soren to learn about more great talent attraction tools for employers. “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.

Looking to take control of your business’s financials, increase profit, and improve your bottom line? We have had interest from businesses in scheduling a Profit Mastery course. These courses are scheduled by demand. If you are interested in taking this two-day workshop, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.orgor call (406) 750-0314.

Pro-tip: Post positivity! When you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and share something positive about Great Falls, tag @LiveinGreatFalls or @GrowGreatFallsMontana. We will like and share your posts. Follow our talent attraction effort, Live in Great Falls, on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and follow the Great Falls Development Authority to help us attract entrepreneurs and business investment on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube.

You are facing tough decisions right now. We’ve developed toolkits to help you decide what is best for your business. Toolkits include: Crisis Toolkit, Hibernation Toolkit, Business Resiliency Guide, Re-Opening Toolkit, and a Child Care Whitepaper. All of these can be found on our website.

Visit our relocation website 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

Manufacturers, if you’re not engaged with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center hosted by MSU, you’re missing out on powerful resources, services, and networking. MMEC clients report cost savings of $160.3 million, new investment of $328.4 million, $1.3 billion in new and retained sales, and 6,186 new and retained jobs since 2000. We’re proud to host an MMEC business adviser who covers the Golden Triangle region. Contact Doug Roberts at or (937) 489-3985.

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.