Top 10 – 5/4/2020

Yes you CAN have a food truck in Great Falls! is serving up acai bowls and waffles on wheels check out their location and menu on FaceBook

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 10 for last week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. Sorry it’s a day late. Took most of the weekend off the enjoy the Montana countryside!

1) We published a Reopening Toolkit offering tools and suggestions as you reopen your business during Montana’s phased reopening. Download the Reopening Toolkit, Resiliency Guide, Business Crisis Toolkit, or Business Hibernation Toolkit, and lots more COVID-19 related resources on our website. We hosted a webinar last week about the Reopening Toolkit. Nathan Reiff, our newest SBDC coach, presented the webinar. You can view the webinar here. Nathan will present another webinar on the Business Reopening Toolkit this Thursday, May 7 at 11 AM. Register and/or get the recording sent to your inbox. For more information on any of GFDA’s crisis tools, contact GFDA’s business advisors.

2) We funded two GFDA Business Stabilization and Recovery Loans this week. These loans help great businesses re-open or expand during the current COVID19 crisis. Ox & Son Towing & Recovery employs fourteen people operating towing, recovery, and auto auction services. This loan will allow them to ramp back up services cut due to COVID19 restrictions. Electric City Coffee is utilizing the GFDA loan for necessary working capital to implement new health and safety measures for their grand re-opening on May 4. Electric City’s new hours are Monday through Friday 7 AM to 3 PM. We are working with some great businesses that need a financial bridge to re-open or ramp up services. Many businesses are waiting on their EIDL loans but need cash to operate now. Call Jolene to discuss the GFDA COVID19 Stabilization and Recovery Loans, 406.750.4481 or Since March 18, we have closed $549,647 in loans and approved another $199,000.

3) The Old Cascade County Jail project is moving forward with bids on abatement of hazardous materials within the structure. The building is on the Historic Register so precautions are being taken to preserve various artwork painted on the walls by inmates over many years. The County Commissioners selected a photographer to take pictures of the interior and exterior of the jail to document for historic purposes. For help with brownfield assessments and cleanup, contact Lillian at 406-750-1253 or

4) We helped a client review government bid documents for an upcoming 5 year contract. We answered questions on regulation requirements, researched similar contracts previously awarded in this area and looked at strategies to be more competitive. For help with government contracting, contact Shannon at or 406-590-1184.

5) The Choteau Area Port Authority‘s new video is posted on the Choteau Chamber’s Facebook Page. The video production was made possible through a grant from the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) with additional funding from the Port Auhority and Choteau’s TBID. See Choteau Acantha for more details.

6) Be on the lookout in Downtown Great Falls this week. Pedlet season is upon us, so come Downtown and enjoy some fresh air on your favorite pedlet. Look up your favorite restaurants on Facebook and see who’s open. Celtic Cowboy re-opened their doors on May 1st. This Wednesday morning at 10:00 AM, Central Avenue Meats will officially open their doors to start serving the public! Stop by and check out what this entrepreneur has done to transform this space into his custom butcher shop. If you are looking for an opportunity Downtown, please contact Christian Leinhauser at 406.836.0136 or

7) Cassiopeia Books moved into a larger space in downtown Great Falls at 606 Central Avenue, see Great Falls Tribune. Saibeen’s Kitchen is moving into the Columbus Center, see Tribune.

8) The Montana Department of Agriculture issued specific guidelines for operating farmers markets in Montana under COVID19. You can read the guidelines here. The Cascade City-County Health Department is offering businesses an easy process to become certified that you are operating in compliance with state and county COVID rules. Make your employees and customers confident in your operations. Download the packet here, fill it out and return it to the CCHD.

9) If you have content (photography, video, information about your organization, etc.) you would like us to include on the new Great Falls region relocation website we’re building, contact our Talent Attraction Director, Soren Chargois, at or 406-836-0147. We’re looking for great content to highlight the best of living, working and playing in Great Falls and the surrounding unique communities — the entire Golden Triangle. PLEASE partner with us!

10) We will be hosting a virtual peer-to-peer discussion designed for partners who provide assistance to entrepreneurs across the Golden Triangle this Thursday, May 7 at 2 PM. We’ll discuss what you’re hearing are the needs of local businesses, and how we can work together to respond appropriately and successfully to the COVID-19 crisis. To register, contact Nathan Reiff at or 406-403-4937.

11) The Montana World Trade Center is offering a Faces of World Trade webinar this Thursday. From ag to optics, Montana is home to myriad small businesses engaged daily in international trade. Why do they do it? How do they do it? How are they managing in the new normal? We’ll visit briefly with Montana export entrepreneurs in a one-hour webinar from 2 to 3 PM on Thursday, May 7th. Learn about your neighbors and learn more about the global trading community to which we are all connected. Register here.

12) The Montana Innovation Partnership is hosting a virtual meet-up on Monday, May 11 to discuss the Department of Defense 20.2/20.B BAA and answer questions about AFWERX Phase I special topics seeking proposals for dual-use technologies. Register here.

13) The Montana Cooperative Development Center is hosting three webinars about Meeting Our Economic Needs Together — Understanding Cooperative Leverage. The first will be about cooperative Childcare, May 12, 2:00-3:30 PM. Register here.

14) Published GFDA’s Quarterly Investor Letter. Selected two finalist consulting firms to help us with business attraction lead generation. Submitted an application to the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury seeking a financial award of $500,000 in grant funds matched by our local GFDA Investors, and an $800,000 loan to give us more loan capital to put to work in our region.

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.

Please spread the word about the great job opening we have at GFDA (see below).

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.

“A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.”
Alistair Cooke

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

April SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.029%; 20-year at 2.955%; 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

If you don’t have a cybersecurity plan, you may not be able to win a federal government contract. On April 27th, we’re hosting a special training for businesses currently or planning to do business with federal agencies. Evolving Federal Contractor Cybersecurity Requirements, presented by nationally recognized contracting expert Adam Austin, will help contractors meet new cybersecurity planning benchmarks. Register here. Enter code “GFDA” at checkout to receive a $50 discount off the registration fee.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is offering a round of mini Growth Through Agriculture Grants. Projects will need to demonstrate how they expand Montana agriculture, but given the current public health situation with COVID-19 special attention will be paid to projects that strengthen and expand local food offerings, distribution, and infrastructure. Grant application deadline is May 22. See GTA website for more info. Contact Barnett Sporkin-Morrison-Morrison for assistance at or 406-750-3285.

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

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.