Top 10 – 5/23/2021

Rendering of the Karhu Koski Distillery to be developed in Vaughn. The 10,000 square foot destination facility, designed by LPW Architecture, is scheduled to open in June 2022! See KRTV.

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) We refinanced bridge loans we made for predevelopment support of the Big Sky Cheese project and closed a $5.245 million bridge loan package to get 216 new apartment homes into construction in Great Falls. Since January 1st, we have closed or issued GFDA loan commitments totaling $9,377,170 to fill financing gaps and provide bridge capital to move projects forward in our region.

2) The Great Falls City Commission approved a tax increment financing package totaling $762,780 for infrastructure to serve the industrial flex-space development that is a partnership of Dick Anderson Construction and the Great Falls International Airport Authority. The Commission also gave final approval of the conditional use permit and vacated roads for the Aim High Big Sky Indoor Aquatic and Recreation Facility.

3) We hosted three prospect visits this week — one fantastic tech company and two excellent primary sector, value-added agri-processors. Two of the prospects converted to client status because they plan to move forward with investments in the Great Falls trade area! The third prospect looks very promising after their second visit in the last month.

4) The Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustment approved the Missouri River Bar and Grill that plans to open soon in Cascade; see TheElectric. True Brew officially opened its second location in Great Falls; see KRTV.

5) The Great Falls Community pulled together this week to help us respond to a second round request for information for a major industrial site selection. We’ll know in June if we make the cut for the next step. Thank you to the numerous partners that helped us!

6) Love’s Travel Stops’ newest location has started construction here in Great Falls, Montana! Check out the video announcement. Love’s is an exemplary brand that has their own fuel reward program/contracts that will attract different providers to our community. We published an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Region. To learn more about various business opportunities in the Great Falls region, give Jolene a call at (406) 750-4481.

7) We continue to hear from employers that hiring and retaining employees is one of their biggest challenges. In response, we created an ongoing series of webinars focused on connecting employers with local resources designed to help attract, develop, and retain their workforce. Head over to to learn more and register for the remainder of the series, every Tuesday morning for 30 minutes at 9:00 AM!

8) The Montana Department of Commerce awarded Historic Preservation grants to several sites in the Golden Triangle, including $412,535 for the Crowley Block in Lewistown, $125,000 for the 10th Street Bridge in Great Falls, $60,240 for the Blaine County Museum in Chinook, and $9,000 for the Old Town Hall in Shelby.

9) Our team has always packaged a wealth of information for our clients, and now we have found a way to share this information to everyone. Over the coming months, we will be publishing a series of Business Technical Briefs covering a variety of must-know business topics. Additionally, all of our recorded webinar content is now available to view on-demand on our website.

10) The 2.0 version of our Live in Great Falls talent attraction website is live! Visit for a sleek, comprehensive website that highlights Great Falls, Montana and anything someone might want to know before relocating here. Explore some of the cool new features, including a Cost of Living Calculator, a new career/news/lifestyle blog and an embedded Great Falls Livability magazine!

11) 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 LaunchPoint, our catch-all workshop for those looking to start a business is back on June 2. June’s webinar is all about e-commerce: is your website laid out to generate maximum sales? Boots to Business, our pre-business workshop for entrepreneurial military personnel is back on June 17th and 18th.

12) The Great Falls Voyagers baseball opening day is May 26th. Keep an eye out for ‘Live in Great Falls’ marketing at Centene Stadium this summer! We are always trying to raise the presence of the talent attraction effort, so we have an outfield sign and a kiosk with Live in Great Falls postcards in the stadium concourse. Grab a postcard and mail to someone special to let them know we want them here!

13) Presented a proposal to continue our Food and Ag Development Center to the Montana Ag Development Council. We received high marks and were one of three centers that were approved for full funding for the next two years! This will allow us to continue our pursuit of value added ag business startups, attractions, and expansions, growing high wage jobs across the Golden Triangle.

14) Check out these upcoming training from our partners: The Prospera Business Network in partnership with One Valley Community Foundation are hosting a workshop entitled Power Up Your Nonprofit: Create your Business, Financial, Fundraising & Marketing Plan starting June 3.

15) Join us in welcoming two new team members. Staci Campbell will be joining our lending staff starting June 16th. Staci has over 15 years of experience in banking, accounting and insurance. She earned a BS in Business Administration from MSU Billings. Annabella Aline started this week as our first college intern. Annabella is pursuing a double major in Statistics and Secondary Math Education at MSU Bozeman. She will be doing market research in support of our business development and advising work.

16) Hosted a panel on creative housing partnerships in Great Falls during the Montana Housing Partnership annual conference. Thank you to Sherrie Area of NeighborWorks Great Falls, Pat Corrick of The Farran Group, and Craig Raymond of the City of Great Falls for participating on the panel!

17) Kids Count Montana issued a report on Montana Child Care and its importance to our economy.

18) Progress continues on establishing a new Women’s Business Center to boost entrepreneurship in our region. Jason sits on the new WBC’s advisory and hiring committees for the program manager to be employed by University of Montana affiliate, MonTEC, and based in Missoula. The application window has closed and candidates are being evaluated. We anticipate interviews to be conducted by June. Once the program manager is hired, we’ll begin recruiting WBC Business Advisors to be embedded with the GFDA team and with Montana Native Growth Fund in HaysWomen’s Business Centers nationwide are a federally funded resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). To learn more about GFDA’s partnership, contact Jason at

19) Received the final report from a group of Harvard students who undertook a project for us as part of a Financing Community and Economic Development course. The project they came up with assesses the feasibility of a Food Incubator Project in Great Falls.

See you at the Voyagers!

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.

“We will either find a way, or make one.”

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 494

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

May SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.933%; 20-year at 2.845%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.612%; and, 20-year refinance 2.887%; 25-year refinance 2.974%. 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

GFDA has a great career opportunities — Investment Director (Fundraising). Download pdf describing the opening in more detail. GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or Here is a current list of our great investors.

Do you need additional working capital? The SBA has increased the EIDL loan limit to the lesser of 24 months of working capital or $500,000. If you have questions, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or

Exhibitor applications for the 2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow will start being accepted at 9 AM on Wednesday, May 19. The online application will be available on the Tradeshow webpage. The show will take place September 10 and 11, 2021 at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena. Only active members will be considered for the Tradeshow. Check to see if your membership is up to date by searching your business in the Product Directory. If you can’t find your listing, send an email to madeinmontana@mt.govwith your business name. Save the date for the 2022 Made in Montana Tradeshow — March 11-12, 2022 in Helena.

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.

Beginning July 1, the City of Great Falls will be accepting small works roster applications from contractors and vendors for several categories of work. A full list of service categories, the application and additional information ca be found at:

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.

The Montana Young Professional Summit will be held June 9-10 in Sydney. Montana Young Professional provides career development, networking, and community engagement opportunities aimed at professionals aged 21-39.

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.

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 or (406) 836-0147. 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.

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.

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,

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

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.