Top 10 – 3/1/2020

Congratulations to the ten Great Falls families who are building their future homes in NeighborWorks Great Falls’ new Meriwether Crossing subdivision!

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 23 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy!

1) Northern Montana Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery broke ground on their new building on Bobcat Way in Great Falls; see KRTV. The Great Falls Planning Advisory Board unanimously approved recommendations supporting exciting future plans for the C.M. Russell Museum; see

2) We are close to announcing this year’s Aspire and Inspire winners for The 10th Annual Fire Within sponsored by Embark Credit Union! Are you a female entrepreneur? Have you registered yet for March 26? The event is FREE but you must RSVP. Let’s pave the way to more woman-owned businesses!

3) Calling all recruiters and HR personnel! We are hosting a Recruitment Roundtable on March 3rd at the Springhill Suites from 4:00-5:30 PM. This event is for all private sector recruiters looking to engage in a peer-to-peer conversation on talent attraction efforts in our community. Please RSVP here. Contact Soren for more info at

4) Vote yes for the Great Falls Public Schools elementary school operations levy! Join us at the Kids Education YES kick off rally on Wednesday, 3/4, at 4 PM at Springhill Suites! Do you have questions about the levy? Ask us. We are happy to help you find answers so we can work together as a community and pass this levy! Call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

5) Worked on two primary sector business attraction leads. We are always looking for the next big win and need your help! We can bring tools and resources to the table. Sometimes our role is simply to act as a connector, cheerleader, or concierge. If you know a business looking to expand into the Golden Triangle, call Jolene, 1.406.750.4481, to learn more about how GFDA can help make their move as successful as possible!

6) The Montana Department of Commerce released the 2020-2021 Montana Tribal Tourism Strategic Plan, download here. WalletHub ranked Montana as having the 20th lowest effective property tax rate amongst states at 0.84% and with the 33rd lowest effective vehicle tax rate at 1.25%; see article.

7) Traveled to Lethbridge to talk with companies at their annual agricultural event. Issued an RFP for business attraction lead generation services to explore options for our business attraction efforts. Download RFP here.

8) Great Falls-based plumbing firm, Action Plumbing Plus, was our Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) official success story for 2019. The Montana Department of Commerce released all 10 success stories for the Montana SBDC network. Check out MDOC’s release here.

9) GFDA’s Loan Committee approved $494,647 in new loans for two different projects. One project is going to help with environmental contamination clean-up to help prepare a site for redevelopment and the other loan is for a continuing construction project. These loans are helping leverage an additional $1,025,000. If your business needs assistance with financing to start, grow or expand, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

10) Congratulations to Smoked American BBQ on their storefront revitalization. Working with TC Glass they were able to revamp their facade. Stop by and check it out! But don’t forget to go inside and enjoy their delicious BBQ! Check out more on Facebook.

11) Over 20 individuals pitched ideas for the Missouri River Corridor on Tuesday night at MT Pints to over 50 individuals. Ideas ranged from a floating pontoon stage for mid-river concerts, carriage rides on the River’s Edge Trail, a multi-day SAM (Sports/Arts/Music) festival, rentals of Hydro-Boards, paddleboards, and sculling boats, wedding venues, Food Truck Parks, coffee carts on the Tenth Street Bridge, and much more. Find out more at KRTV. Do you have an idea that would be awesome on the river? Or elsewhere in the golden Triangle? We can help you put those ideas into action. We have business coaches, loans, angle networks, and much more. Contact Nathan Reiff at to share your idea.

12) We’re getting excited to launch the next phase of Live in Great Falls, our talent attraction initiative. We’ve signed a contract with local Banik Communications to build a comprehensive, community-backed “relocation website” with purpose of highlighting Great Falls and bringing talent to our community! Content will cover jobs, housing, schools, health, safety, recreation and more. For more information, contact Soren at

13) If you haven’t yet – consider making an investment NOW for the future of air service in Great Falls, Montana!

14) Calling all Tech Startups! We are partnering with Early Stage MT to promote their Tech Accelerator Program. Join us at 3 PM on Wednesday, 3/4, at Great Falls College MSU, room B139. RSVP is required. Please email or call Jolene Schalper, or 406.750.4481.

15) Worked with a property owner who is trying to expand into a property that needs clean up. We are opening the toolbox to find some solutions that will make the project move forward. If you are looking at a project or site that may have contamination, give Lillian Sunwall a call at (406) 750-1253 or email her at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.

16) Five on Black has been open just over a week and is already giving back to the community! Every Tuesday all year long, the fast-casual Brazilian eatery’s Community Nights give 50% of proceeds to a group in our community. Last week, proceeds went to Great Falls High School’s Business Professionals of America club. Thank you to Five on Black and every business in our community that gives back! Read more on KFBB.

17) Renewed engagement with an entrepreneur wanting to launch a business serving river and trail-based activities, potentially using creative financing options like crowd funding and revenue-based financing. Another long-term client has scheduled soft and grand opening dates for a rural startup. An announcement will come on that project in the next week or two. If you are interested in discussing creative financing options to start or grow your business, contact Jason at

18) Up next on GFDA’s Business Education Calendar are five trainings over the next couple weeks: March 5th from 11:00-11:30 AM – Webinar: Three Steps to Profitable Growth; March 5th from 4-5 PM – The LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop; March 12 and 13 from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM – Boots to Business; March 17th in Browning from 8:30 AM-3:30 PM – Digital Marketing Strategies; and, March 18th in Great Falls from 8:30 AM-3:30 PM – Digital Marketing Strategies.

19) Networked with a restaurant consultant from out of town this week. After touring downtown Great Falls, they identified potential in our market and plan to share that with their contacts. They were also able to network with existing business owners downtown. If you’re looking to expand a business into downtown, or have a great start-up idea, please call Christian at 406.836.0136 or

20) Join GFDA investors for Development Coffee as we discuss development issues and projects on Friday, March 6th at Skyline Preschool, 3300 3rd St NE Great Falls, MT 59404 at 7 AM. Thank you to Great Falls Public Schools for hosting this quarter’s coffees. Be sure to mark your calendar for the next addition of coffee, hosted by the Great Falls Association of Realtors, beginning in April. if you are interested in hosting Development Coffee, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or

21) Seeking Recovery has expanded into new space in Downtown Great Falls at 501 Central Avenue. JoAnne Malone, a recovering addict of 29 years herself, knows firsthand the help that’s needed for many people with addictions. She started her center in a 165 square foot space in the Columbus Center. As her client list grew, so did her business. Her new space is about 3,000 square feet and she has added another licensed counselor. Read more on and KRTV.

22) An estimated 25% of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster, according to the Institute of Business and Home Safety. Protect your small business by identifying risks relevant to your location both natural and man-made. Smart planning can help you keep your business running if disaster strikes. Potential flooding is a genuine concern in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in 2020. Participate in this webinar to find out the right steps to prevent and prepare for disaster, and where to get aid if disaster strikes. SBA is offering a webinar to help you prepare, It’s Your Small Business, Protect It! on Mar 31, 2020 11:00 AM MDT. Register here.

23) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, North 40 Outfitters for their Flagship Division investment, and Citizen’s Alliance, Five on Black, and Cappis Consulting & Tax, LLC for their Community Division investments. Your continued commitment allows our team to push for lead generation, business development, and talent attraction. Let’s continue to move the needle! To discuss investment, contact Teresa Schreiner, at 406.781.9499 or

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

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“No one changes the world who isn’t obsessed.”
Billie Jean King

Support Local Education!
The Great Falls Development Authority’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to support the Great Falls Public Schools elementary schools operating levy. Join us in supporting the critical efforts of Kids Education Yes!

GFDA Career Opportunity
We have a great job opportunity! Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-50,000+ with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, Open until we find a great candidate.

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

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available
If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or

February SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.46%; 20-year at 3.388%; 25-year refinance at 3.712% and 20-year refinance at 3.389%; and, 10-year equipment 3.791%. 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 Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

The Downtown Development Partnership signed up for the 2020 National Main Street Center’s Advanced Principles webinar series. These will be available for viewing at the BID/DGFA Downtown office. Next up, Economic Vitality for downtowns, March 17, 24, and 31, from 12:00-1:30 PM. Contact Kellie Pierce at the Downtown Great Falls Association if you would like to participate,

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

GFDA has signed up for the 2020 series of webinars offered by the International Economic Development Council. Join us for free viewing in our conference room. Next up, Revitalization through Downtown Development Districts, March 19, 12:30-2:00 PM. RSVP to Nathan at

We’re also hosting the annual webinar series of the Destination Development Association (thanks to the Montana Department of Commerce). Next up, The Five Fastest Growing Tourism Trends, March 18, 9:30-10:30 AM. RSVP to Nathan at

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

Malmstrom AFB will be hosting their second Career and Education Pathway Fair on March 19, 2020 from 2:30-5:30 PM. The focus is military members and military spouses as well as military members/families who will be transitioning out of the military — providing information on how to pursue careers i.e. required education, certification, or how to utilize the resources you offer. The event includes a hiring fair for businesses/companies that have open positions. This will be open Active Duty Military, Guard, Reserve, DoD Civilian, and dependents. For any questions, call Carmen Kubiak at (406) 731-3060 or email

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies. They are offering an excellent Lean Principles 101 introduction to lean manufacturing in Great Falls on March 26. Download flyer here.

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

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

Wholesale Buyers can register for the Made in Montana Tradeshow, March 13-14 in Helena. The 2020 show will feature 150 Made in Montana producers including more than 40 new exhibitors and a Native American Made in Montana Pavilion.

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

Mark your calendar for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Recreation, April 26-28 in Billings.