Top 10 – 6/28/2020

Kim and Louie (pictured) Stoltz have worked hard to create a community gathering location that happens to serve excellent Beers and Ciders in Cut Bank Montana. www.cutbankcreekbrewery.com

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 20 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) Welcome to West Bank Landing! Citizens Alliance Bank broke ground on their new riverfront building this week. This will be the fifth building in the West Bank Landing development, joining Springhill Suites, The Peak at West Bank Landing, Five on Black, and The Portage Building (home of GFDA, PayneWest Insurance, AE2S Engineers, Woith Engineering, and Edward Jones). Congratulations and thank you for investing in Great Falls Montana!

2) We approved another COVID19 Business Stabilization and Recovery Loan to another fantastic and profitable business! Nourish Food Truck was set to open as a cooking school and event caterer in March of this year. Then the world changed. Lyndsay Gutierrez changed with it. She adapted and with a borrowed food truck and trailer was able to open Nourish. We’re excited to help her stabilize and build her assets. If you have working capital needs due to COVID, contact Jolene at 406.750.4481.

3) Congratulations to Todd Lyons on his purchase of Rods Music and the opening of his new business, Todd’s Music & Sound at 809 1st Ave North in downtown Great Falls. Watch a full tour of his store given by Todd himself on Facebook. Phil Joseph has opened Wicked Hair Co. downtown at 117 2nd Ave. N; see TheElectricGF.com Business Bites.

4) The state removed the 50 employee cap on business adaptation grants. The deadline for business innovation grant applications is July 1st. Talk with your lender about the new loan deferment program. See more info about all the state CARES Act grant programs at https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

5) Assisted several SBDC clients deal with denials of SBA EIDL loans. There are lots of programs and opportunities for business assistance right now, and we want Montana companies, entrepreneurs and gig workers to tap into these resources. If you are having problems with PPP, EIDL, Montana Grants, or other COVID related business questions, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

6) Join us on Tuesday, June 30, at 2 PM on GFDA’s Facebook page for our next Doing Business in the Golden Triangle with Louie Stotz co-owner of Cut Bank Creek Brewery. Do you have a great story to tell? Have you worked with our team? Call Jolene to chat about a potential story, 406.750.4481.

7) MSU-Northern is expanding its four-year business degree offerings at Great Falls College MSU. See KRTV for more details.

8) This week marked the end of the first round of our Website Boot Camp classes. Two participants have already launched fully functioning e-commerce websites. Ashely Clark of Ashley Clark Fitness created a website where customers can sign up and get access to on-demand fitness videos, meal plans, health coaching and live virtual video fitness classes. Kim Winchell of Montana Mutt created an e-commerce site where customers can order her all natural dog treats and paw balm. Does your business need a website to help it pivot to online sales? Sign up for our in-depth 3 session e-commerce website design class. We are scheduling a class to start in September – sign up here. If you are interested in taking a class sooner, email Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or call 406-836-2078. If there’s enough demand for a summer session we will create one.

9) Worked with a business owner who is looking at moving their business to downtown Great Falls from out of our market. If you have a business located in Montana and are interested in exploring expansion opportunities in Downtown Great Falls, please contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) 18 businesses are signed up for the first Destination Creation course to take place in Montana starting June 30. They will learn to increase their revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability. If you are interested in making your business a Destination Business, add yourself to the waiting list for our next course by contacting Nathan Reiff NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) The Great Falls 4th of July Parade is on! This year’s theme is “Open for Business – Celebration on Parade.” Parade entries are available at Great Falls Lumber, 310 6th Street South. More volunteers are needed this year; contact Lola Sheldon-Galloway at 750-4721. More details on Great Falls Tribune.

12) Assisted a PTAC client looking to research a Prime Contractor for sub-contracting opportunities. Our PTAC team doesn’t just help with SAM updates. We can help with examining whether government contracting is suitable for your business by exploring and pinpointing target markets, reviewing bids and proposals, learning how to locate bid opportunities and much more. We would be happy to let you know how you can diversify your business by checking out how to contract with federal, state and local agencies. Contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org for more information.

13) It has been two weeks since the LiveInGreatFalls.com website went live! As of Friday, there have been 1,800 individual page views across several countries. We have received lots of positive feedback – thank you! Contact Soren Chargois at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org if you have relevant content that could be included on the site.

14) Brett and Jill attended the SBA 504 trade organization NADCO’s 2020 Virtual Spring Summit. This was 2 days’ worth of SBA 504 knowledge that stressed the proactive way SBA is trying to respond to COVID19, including originating, underwriting, closing and servicing 504 loan deals. SBA recognizes how 10-25 year, low fixed rate loans are going to be key in getting small businesses started or helping them expand. If your business needs assistance with financing to start or expand, please contact Jill Kohles 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org. Last week Brett participated in the CDFI trade group, Opportunity Finance Network, small business lending virtual conference to learn more about how other Community Development Financial Institutions like GFDA from across the country are responding to COVID challenges and opportunities.

15) EPA gave us an extension on brownfield funds so we can finish cleanup projects that were delayed due to COVID. We are excited to keep these projects moving forward toward redevelopment. We have clean up loan funds available, so give us a call for more details. Stay tuned for a very big announcement about GFDA from one of our federal partners scheduled for this Wednesday!!!

16) The City of Great Falls provided the fourth payment of tax increment financing funds to reimburse more of the $4.5 million that GFDA and Pacific Steel & Recycling invested in infrastructure to create the first lots in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. To date, we have been reimbursed for 19% of the infrastructure costs for the first phase of the Park.

17) Are you planning to submit a Phase 1 SBIR or STTR proposal to NIH, FDA or CDC in September? The Montana Innovation Partnership is accepting applications for the NIH SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab that will start July 14, 2020. At the end of this 6-session course, you’ll gain deeper understanding of the NIH SBIR/STTR programs, specific aims and research strategy, registrations, proposal forms and submission portals, evaluation criteria, building a team, and more. During the course, you will have developed a working draft of your Phase I proposal and you’ll receive follow-on coaching and proposal reviews. The course will be held twice a week, for three weeks from 3:00PM – 5:30PM MDT on July 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30. For more information, contact Ann Peterson at techlinksbir@montana.edu.

18) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, JCCS for their Leadership Division investment, and PayneWest Insurance, Montana Eggs/Wilcox Farms, and Family Connections Montana for their Community Division investments. Your support is always something to celebrate. More than ever, we want to convey our appreciation for your investments with our organization- whether paid in the form of time, energy, or financial support. Your investment provides for the tools, resources, and technology that drives our mission. To discuss investment, contact Teresa, or call 406.781.9499.

19) GFDA’s investors reelected to our Board of Directors — Steve King of Montana Credit Union, Dwight Holman of Holman Aviation, Mark Cappis of Cappis Consulting & Tax, LLC, and Ron Nelson of Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, P.C. And, elected to the Board — Dave Smith of Sletten Construction, Jeramy Myers of Flawless Autobody, Peyton Johnston of K & K Trucking, Inc., Josh DeVos of Dick Anderson Construction, Eric Hinebauch of Hinebauch Insurance Agency – Farmers Union Insurance, Heather McCartney-Duty of Family Connections Montana, and Jennifer Fritz of Wendt Advertising. Welcome and congratulations to all! Thank you for your willingness to serve as GFDA’s leaders.

20) On Friday, the Montana Chamber of Commerce issued the following:

“The implications of the recent rise in Covid19 cases is not only a threat to our health, but has the potential to further devastate the Montana economy. A rollback to Phase I restrictions, or some version of that, would be a blow that many businesses could not survive.  

In consultation with the Governor’s Office and other business leaders, the Montana Chamber of Commerce agrees that everyone needs to take the rise in Covid19 cases very seriously and that Montanans should wear masks in public along with the other precautions we are already accustomed to and practicing.

Montana cannot allow itself to be overcome by Covid19 cases. The threat to our health and economy are real.  

Protect your communities, protect your customers and protect your employees by revisiting safety precautions.

And in that list of precautions, be sure to include face masks as a necessary safety standard.”

Better to take precaution to keep our economic recovery moving forward and protect our communities.

Take care and thank you for your untamed entrepreneurial spirit!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
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“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
James Baldwin

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.


GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Assistant. 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, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. 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 JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

June SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.597%; 20-year at 2.522%; 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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 TheElectricGF.com article for more details.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Montana has many grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! 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 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 Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. 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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/

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.

The 4th annual Montana Food Show will be held in Missoula on October 26. Learn more at https://agr.mt.gov/MTFoodShow. The Montana Beverage Show will be held in Helena on November 9. Visit www.beverageshow.mt.gov 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.

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