Top 10 – 4/12/2021

HUB International Construction

Sletten Construction is getting lots done on HUB International’s new one-story, 10,000+ square foot office building. It is one of many projects coming together as we enjoy spring.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 19 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) CNBC and Realtor.com ranked Great Falls the 4th best market in the country for first-time homebuyers! All of the top markets have median home prices below the current national median of $370,000, but our Great Falls, MT median price currently sits at $208,000. Convincing enough to pack up and move? Check out LiveinGreatFalls.com, our relocation website!

2) We approved a $5.245 million bridge loan package that will leverage $28 million in private funds. This will enable a high mission project to move into construction. This is the largest bridge loan package in our history. If you have a project that has a financing gap, contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

3) The Great Falls City Commission approved the landswap enabling the Independence Bank development on the Missouri River and connection of the River’s Edge Trail to the historic 10th Street Bridge. The Commission approved an agreement with the Business Improvement District enabling the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan to move into installation. The Commission approved the construction contract and bond for repairs to the historic downtown Civic Center. Great to see these exciting projects moving forward!

4) Worked with several businesses who were seeking clarification on the many federal grants and loans currently available. If you need help navigating the Payroll Protection ProgramCOVID EIDLShuttered Venues Grant, or the Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937

5) This week’s announcement of the week was an exciting new event center in Downtown Great Falls called The Newberry; see KRTV and second KRTV stories. Check out the video announcement here – and help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to do business! If you need assistance moving your project forward, call Jolene at (406) 750-4481.

6) The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce shared their Great Falls Community Guide in e-book format. This is a great community resource, well done!

7) The labor shortage is not going away. Employers need to develop core competencies of talent attraction. Join us Tuesdays at 9 -9:30 AM for businesses talking about what works and partners sharing what tools they have to make your business successful. Register here.

8) Momentum on our Brownfields Assessments is kicking into high gear. Another application for a Phase 1 on an expansion in Great Falls was sent to our Brownfields Advisory Committee this week. We have five assessments in progress, one application waiting for funding approval, and one potential in the wings. Do you have a site or building that you are looking at for redevelopment but are stuck due to potential or perceived contamination? Contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org to see how our GFDA Team can help.

9) We boosted our talent attraction video on Facebook and it reached over 37,000 people! Don’t miss out on the action and follow Live in Great Falls on Facebook and Instagram. Be on the lookout for a new Live in Great Falls LinkedIn page next week!

10) Lots of upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings. Looking to increase sales and develop repeat customers? Sign up for a free one-on-one consultation with retail/restaurant/event business guru Barbara Wold. The popular Social Media Marketing workshop with KRose is back on April 13th. The workshop is full but you can sign up for the wait list and we will work to schedule another date. Need a website with e-commerce capabilities? Join us for our Website Bootcamp series starting April 20th. Ever considered selling goods or services to the government? Learn how in our Government Contracting 101 workshop on April 21st. Our popular Quickbooks class is back with two session options; Browning, MT April 27 & 28, and Great Falls May 6 & 7.

11) We knocked a prospect visit out of the park this week! We started by meeting with them at our office. We then went to lunch downtown. The community, the enthusiasm, the synergy that we spoke about at the office was exemplified on our walk downtown. The prospect was impressed with our Downtown community and we’re excited to work with them in the future. Contact Christian at 406.836.0136 if you’re interested in expanding or starting your business in Downtown Great Falls.

12) Local, fresh food through a food coop is in the works! If you’d like to be part of the process, here is a community survey. There is a also a Facebook Group where you can join the discussion.

13) 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.

14) Check out these upcoming training from our partners: The United States Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a Trademark Basics Bootcamp. The Montana AgTech Showcase on April 12th with our partners at Accelerate Montana.

15) We are looking for a commercial broker with rail-served industrial park experience. If you know a firm that fits the bill, please share this RFP.

16) Presented at the Kiwanis Club Zoom Lunch Meeting. We love sharing our strategies and team with clubs and associations. It’s probably time we spoke at yours, give Jolene a call to schedule, 406.750.4481.

17) Do you have gaps in your workforce? This week, Ivey Vandermissen, a business services counselor with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Vocational Rehabilitation program, joined our monthly Entrepreneurial Ecosystem virtual meetup. She shared how Voc Rehab participants are ready to work. If you’re not aware, Voc Rehab connects Montanans with disabilities with employers. And let’s be honest, nearly everyone is seeking creative solutions to labor shortages right now. Voc Rehab can make businesses more productive, more profitable, and counselors can train employers how to best use their services. Learn more about this alternate talent pool by contacting Ivey at ivey.vandermissen@mt.gov. For a more comprehensive discussion about staffing your team, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

18) GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

19) We published our Quarterly Investor Letter.

Have a great and prosperous 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.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”
Mary Anne Radmacher

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 488


GFDA has an excellent career opportunity. We are looking to expand our lending team with either a Business Development Officer, a Commercial Credit Analyst, or a Loan Officer. Download pdfdescribing the openings in more detail. Please help us spread the word!

Here is our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout.

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

April SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.073%; 20-year at 3.016%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.114%; 25-year refinance 3.058%. 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.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Do you need additional working capital? The SBA made changes to two of their working capital loan programs. The second round of PPP loans deadline has been extended to May 31st. The SBA also increased the EIDL loan limit to the lesser of 24 months of working capital or $500,000. If you have questions about either of these loans, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program provides rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Landlords can apply on behalf of renters with the renter’s co-signature and other documentation.

The Montana Department of Commerce opened applications for the new Tribal Digital Tourism Business Development Grant. The pilot program will award up to $6,250 to help tourism-related entrepreneurs with digital assets to reach potential customers and convert them into sales. The application cycle is open through April 30.

The Made in Montana program requires annual membership renewal. Email madeinmontana@mt.gov if you want to reactivate or check your info. The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is tentatively scheduled for September 10-11 in Helena. The Exhibitor application will be available in early May on the Made in Montana Tradeshow webpage.

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.

USDA announced that it is making an additional $35 million available this year in the Value-Added Producer Grant Program to support agricultural producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, $76 million is available. USDA extended the application deadline to May 4. Read the full announcement here. Contact Lea McGiboney for help at 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov.

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.

The Great Falls Livability 2021 digital workforce recruitment magazine has been released. If you’d like some print versions of this awesome talent attraction tool, contact Talent Attraction Director Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147. 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.

Registration has opened for the 2021 Montana Housing Partnership Virtual Conference, May 18-19. The event will feature more than 20 sessions, including a great one about our Great Falls housing production partnering.

The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service launched a COVID-19 Business Tax Relief tool too help businesses determine if they are eligible for tax relief. There are a number of business tax relief options currently available. Your business may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). We strongly recommend that you work with a local CPA or tax adviser to investigate this new opportunity which is retroactive to 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021. It is possible your company could qualify for up to $14,000 per employee.

Job Service Great Falls is hosting online Job Fairs on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 10-11 AM. Employers should contact a job Service Workforce Consultant at 406-791-5800 to participate.

Montana’s Incumbent Worker Training program just became easier to use. Employers can view the videos at their convenience to learn how to use these grants to fund skills-based training of existing employees. These grants area available to for-profit and non-profit employers with less than 50 employees in the state. We can help you with these if you run into a snag. Or contact the IWT program manager, michelle.robinson@mt.gov.

Attention all businesses doing government contracting: Are you aware of the regulations for Cybersecurity? Don’t know where to start? Check out this E-Book – Cybersecurity 101 for Government Contractors. By entering the promo code “4PTAC2020” at the checkout link, you can receive it for free. For more information and future trainings on cybersecurity or doing business with the government, contact our government contracting advisor Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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.

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 richard.roberts4@montana.edu 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.