Top 10 – 5/24/2020

True Brew Espresso’s second location is making good progress. Nice to see so many sidewalk crossing improvements across the city.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 17 for last week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) The Little Shell Tribe announced plans to build a healthcare facility in Great Falls using the bulk of $25 million received from the Coronavirus Relief Fund; see KFBB.

2) Worked with an expanding U.S. light manufacturer that has short listed Great Falls for their next manufacturing location. We are excited to work with this company to ensure they choose Great Falls!

3) Montana is the Most Business Friendly State in the COVID-19 Era according to; see Sidney Herald article or study.

4) GFDA’s Loan Committee approved an $85,000 loan to help finance a rural business startup in the Golden Triangle. This business will be providing a well needed service across the region. If your business needs assistance with financing to start, grow or expand please contact Jill Kohles 406-590-1056 or to find out how we can help.

5) Congratulations to Gayle Fisher of Central Montana Tourism on being recognized with a 2020 Montana Tourism Legacy Award!

6) There’s still a few seats left in our first Website Boot Camp. If your business needs a website and needs help learning how to convert to online sales join us for a four part in depth training course. Our business coach Rich Gannon is a Wix website expert and will be teaching businesses how to create a Wix based business website from start to finish, including an online store. The classes will be taught virtually on Tuesday evenings starting June 2nd. For more details and to sign up, click here.

7) Congratulations to Ron and Becky Nelson on being recognized with the Friend of the Foundation Award from the Montana FFA Foundation!

8) Personal income in the Great falls MSA increased 5.0% in 2018 according to data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That translates into a one year increase of $184 million in personal earnings in Cascade County!

9) Community members are invited to participate in the effort to create a wayfinding plan for Great Falls. Visit the Great Falls Wayfinding Facebook page for project information. We’ve set up a mapping website so you can put pins on locations and landmarks that you think should be included in the Wayfinding plan. See article for more details.

10) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Lyndsay Gutierrez from Nourish. Hear how she took innovation on the road with a food truck and why Great Falls was the perfect place to do so! Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at Spark Architecture. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hit that share button to help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to live, work, and do business!

11) The 4th annual Montana Food Show will be held in Missoula on October 26. Learn more at The Montana Beverage Show will be held in Helena on November 9. Visit for more information. The Export Montana team is hosting Riddle of the Exporter training in Billings on July 28 and Kalispell on July 30. The training is free and will help you learn about and prepare for export markets. Learn more here.

12) Building consumer confidence. That is the goal of some of the businesses we worked with this week in reopening to the public through Phase I and Phase II. If your business is struggling to figure out how to reopen, minimize risks, build consumer confidence, diversify revenue, or keep customers and employees safe, GFDA’s business advisors are free and here to help. Contact Jason Nitschke at for more information.

13) Toole County Forward continues to help businesses in Shelby and Toole county by awarding grants. This week two businesses were awarded $10,000 and $15,000. GFDA helped these businesses write business plans, a requirement of the grant application. If you own a business in Shelby or Toole County and need help applying for Toole County Forward funds, contact Rich Gannon at 406-836-2078 or

14) Alluvion Health is offering FREE Drive-Through COVID-19 testing for everyone; no charge and no requirements. All you have to do is go to the drive-through clinic located in the former Westgate Mall parking lot on 3rd Street NW in Great Falls. No symptoms? No problem. This service is open to anyone who wants to get tested. Learn more on YouTube.

15) Nominations for the GFDA Board of Directors are open. GFDA investor members are eligible to serve on the board if they hold senior management positions in their business or organization. Nominees must be investors in good standing at the Community Division or higher. If you aren’t an investor, haven’t renewed your commitment, or you have further questions about the scope of this role, contact Teresa Schreiner no later than Tuesday, May 26th.

16) The Montana Innovation Partnership is hosting a virtual meetup covering Intellectual Property for SBIR/STTR candidates and awards on June 11 at 3:30 PM. Register here.

17) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Flawless Auto Body for their PaceSetter Division investment, and Klinefelter’s Insulation, Cascade County Tavern Association, Big Sky Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Great Falls Business Improvement District for their Community Division investments. With your support, GFDA can strategically work to protect projects in our pipeline while also providing business resources and strategies for entrepreneurs and small businesses. 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.

I was honored this week to present on an International Economic Development Council webinar with the leadership of the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

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.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy

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 $45,000-55,000+ 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

May SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.758%; 20-year at 2.683%; and, 10-year equipment 2.644%. 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

Montana has nine grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit

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!

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

Does your business need a website to help it convert to online sales? Adding an online sales option can help your company diversify your revenue stream and access more markets. If you are ready to take on this challenge, join us for our new four part Website Boot Camp. We will teach you how to build your own website from start to finish including a fully function online store. For more information and to sign up click here.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center has put together a free online Montana Cooperatives 101 course. This self-paced resource includes recorded presentations, activities and custom videos that will help you learn about the cooperative business model and successful Montana coops.

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.