Top 10 – 3/29/2020

Normont Equipment’s new building on 9th Avenue NW in Great Falls has gone vertical!

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 27 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle!

1) Congratulations to Jamie Cole Foster who will be opening Foster’s Farmacy in Choteau on April 7th. In spite of the coronavirus crisis, this entrepreneur is taking the leap to start her business to be part of the solution in the food supply chain in rural Montana. Foster’s Farmacy is a natural grocer, filling the void left following the closure of Mountain Front Market. Jamie utilized our LivePlan business planning software, our Small Business Development Center, and our Food and Ag Development Center during her planning. Foster’s Farmacy’s press release announcement can be found on their Facebook page along with photos of the renovation of the building they’re purchasing at 714 Main Avenue North in Choteau. Read more in the Choteau Acantha.

2) For COVID-related business resources and ideas, visit the Disaster Toolkit section of our website. We will continue to send our blasts and social media posts as more resource information becomes available. Please share with us any good resources you come across so that we can share with businesses throughout the region. We continued to make outreach calls to businesses throughout the region to check on how they are navigating the crisis and see if they need help.

3) Congress passed the CARES Act and the President has signed the bill. It will take sometime, hopefully very short, for many of the details to be worked out. We’ll share the business aspects as various agencies roll out resources. The US Chamber put together a pretty good summary of the act.

4) If your business needs immediate cash to get through this crisis, and you do not have the resources, turn to your bank first. If they can’t help you yet, we may be able to help. Contact Jolene at or 406-750-4481. Existing GFDA or High Plains Financial borrowers contact Jill at or 406-590-1056. We will use every resource we can get to help previously profitable companies in the Golden Triangle survive this crisis and prosper long-term.

5) Our business coaches are working night and day to help with business strategies. Contact Jason at or 406-750-0314, or Rich at or 406-836-2078. Food and Ag businesses, contact Barnett at or 406-750-3285. If you are having issues with government contracts, contact Shannon at or 406-590-1184.

6) NorMont Equipment is working on their new building located at 2101 9th Avenue NW in Great Falls. The 12,000 structure is scheduled to open later this spring. They are moving from their 3,500 square foot space which will enable them to hire more employees and greatly expand their business. You can see a 360 degree video of the progress on the new building here.

7) Over 60 businesses joined us for Retail/Restaurant and Downtown Peer Virtual Meet Ups. Entrepreneurs voiced concerns about supply chain disruption, employees safety, financial well being, business continuity, and debt.

8) Congratulations to Father Oliver Doyle on being named President of the University of Providence this week! See

9) Presented a webinar titled, Marketing, Communications, and Sales During the COVID-19 Crisis. Click here to watch the webinar. Our next webinar, Prepare for Government Contracting During COVID-19, will be this Friday, April 3, 11:00-11:30 AM. We will give business owners guidance on how to prepare to do business with government agencies during the COVID-19 crisis. Register here.

10) If you would like a Kids Education lawn sign put up in your yard at home and/or business to show support for the Great Falls Public Schools elementary school levy, please email me, If you have time to make get-out-the-vote phone calls, sign up at

11) Congratulations to the organizations in our region who won grants from the Montana History Foundation including the J.C. Adams Stone Barn in Sun River, the Cascade County Historical Society (the History Museum) and the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, the Fort Benton Community Improvement Association (I.G. Baker House), the Central Montana Metis Oral History Project (Snowy Mountain Development) in Lewistown, the Glacier County Historical Museum in Cut Bank, the Old Trail Museum in Choteau, and the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum! See Great Falls Tribune and

12) Golden Triangle Resource Providers gathered virtually to share tools and resources to help businesses. We’ll be meeting again this week as the tools and resources available are changing dramatically. If you are a business resource provider in the Golden Triangle, join us! Call or email Jolene 406-750-4481 or

13) Business Insider ranked Montana as the 5th best financially prepared state for a recession; see article here.

14) Concerns about Supply Chain Disruption? Join other businesses for a Supply Chain Disruption Virtual Meet Up, Tuesday, March 31, 2 PM; register here. We want to hear from businesses across the Golden Triangle whose supply chain has been disrupted and what you’re doing about it. We’d like to hear from you in advance. Contact Barnett at

15) Share with and learn from other small businesses at a Small Business Virtual Meet Up, Wednesday, April 1, 2 PM; register here.This is a peer to peer discussion for small businesses across the Golden Triangle. Our business situation is changing daily. What is of most concern to your business right now and for your continued operations. We’ll have Coaches on the line and encourage you to submit questions in advance to Jolene at

16) Do you provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs across the Golden Triangle? We’re holding another Resource Partner Meet Up on Thursday, April 2, 2 PM; register here. This Zoom meet up is for our resource partners across the Golden Triangle who provide assistance to entrepreneurs to share knowledge and best practices.

17) We are still moving ahead with brownfield assessments and cleanups for redevelopment projects. Did some research for a potential property owner to clarify status on a property that once had a leaking underground storage. We were able to confirm with our partners at MT DEQ that the tank was removed, and they received a no-further corrective action letter. The potential purchaser was happy that we were able to update him on the positive outcome. Do you have questions on a site or building? Contact Lillian before you purchase to see how we can help; or 406-750-1253.

18) Keeping in touch and hearing about projects is crucial for GFDA Investors and future investors. Join us this Friday, April 3rd at 7:00 AM for Virtual Development Coffee. This meeting will be conducted via Zoom. Look for the invitation in your email this week. If you have any questions about Development Coffee, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or We cannot wait to see you!

19) Early Stage Montana is offering Virtual Mentorships to Tech-Leveraged Businesses. Innovative ideas and a strong workforce keep Montana moving forward. In uncertain times, it’s important to seek advice from experienced mentors. That’s why Early Stage MT is offering virtual training to Montana’s tech entrepreneurs. Please visit to submit a request for mentorship.

20) Montana’s representation and federal funding is determined by our population. Typically by this point the Census should be over 50% complete. Unfortunately we are at less than 25% complete in Montana. Please take a moment to complete the Census. You can do it online at or via telephone, 844-330-2020.

21) The Montana Nonprofit Association is offering a series of Virtual Town Halls this week every day at 2:00 PM, Q & A with Congressman Gianforte on Monday, Navigating Federal Relief on Tuesday, Applying for SBA Loans on Wednesday, Concrete Steps to Stabilize Your Fundraising Platforms on Thursday, and State of the Sector — End of Week Wrap Up on Friday. Register here.

22) We received proposals from seven consulting firms across the country to provide lead generation services to boost our business attraction efforts. We issued the RFP before the current crisis. Many companies will be changing their strategies and supply chains in response to current events which may create opportunities for the Great Falls and the Golden Triangle.

23) It’s time to innovate! The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a DOD SBIR/STTR Phase 1 Virtual Proposal Lab on April 7 from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM. Register here. Contact Ann Peterson at the MSU Techlink Center for more info, 406-994-7788 or

24) GFDA’s Executive Committee held a special virtual meeting during which it approved our applying to several public agencies and banks for a significant amount of additional loan capital to meet the gap and bridge financing needs of companies in the region.

25) JobsEQ released preliminary economic data for 2019Q4. Total wages in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) grew by $52 million in 2019. Average wages were up 3.1%, above the inflation rate of 2.3%. The average annual wage increased $1,096 during the year, reaching $42,262.

26) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, North 40 Outfitters for their Leadership Division investment, and Cascade Electric and Tyree Investment Group for their Community Division investments. With so much uncertainty in the coming weeks, know that our team is working diligently to maximize your investment. Whether it is through virtual meetups, tailored to suit company business needs, crisis toolkits, or individualized consulting, GFDA is here for businesses. To continue discussing how an investment works in times like this, or to talk about your investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406. 781.9499 or

27) USDA is seeking applications for grants to make housing repairs for low- and very-low-income rural residents. The grants are being provided through USDA’s Housing Preservation Grant program. Eligible applicants include town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes, and nonprofit and faith-based organizations. USDA does not provide funding directly to individual homeowners under this program. For additional eligibility information, see Federal Register. Applications are due by 5:00 PM MST on May 7. More info at USDA Montana state office.

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

Take care,

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.


“God bless perseverance. Because it’s not easy.”

Junot Diaz

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 — 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

March SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.878%; 20-year at 2.804%; 25-year refinance at 2.88% and 20-year refinance at 2.806%; and, 10-year equipment 2.839%. 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!

Protect Your Business 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.

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

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!

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

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

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

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