Top 10 – 7/12/2020

Chelsey Stubbs, owner of The Messy Apron, boasts Montana’s largest pizza at a whopping 22”! Located in Cut Bank, you can sample all of their delicious offerings right out back at the Cut Bank Creek Brewery.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 16 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) Great Falls received two awesome rankings this week. According to Business Insider, Great Falls is the #10 best city in the Western U.S. to live in after the pandemic. LendEDU ranked Great Falls the #2 city in Montana for budget-friendliness for renters.

2) The Merriweather Crossing subdivision received conditional approval from the Great Falls City Board of Adjustments for a lot line variance. We are excited to see another NeighborWorks Great Falls self-build neighborhood! Congratulations!

3) Happy trails to Dr. Paul Lachapelle at Montana State University-Extension. Dr. Lachapelle has helped us produce the Small Business Webinar Series since its inception in September 2017. Dr. Lachapelle will be leaving Extension to return to full-time political science instruction at MSU. This month was our 38th Small Business Webinar Series production. Twelve attendees joined the Tackling Unemployment Insurance presentation. To view this or any of our 37 other business education webinars, click here. Up next is The LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop on July 23rd at 4 PM. We’ve rescheduled our Digital Marketing Strategies workshop for August 12th.

4) Started work with The Council for Community and Economic Research to explore participating in their respected quarterly cost of living research. This would enable us to more accurately tout the cost advantages of living in the Great Falls MSA. We received two proposals for our talent attraction marketing RFP, part of our work to expand the talent attraction effort we launched in January. For help recruiting talent, contact Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-0147.

5) The issue of access to child care continues to be a critical topic to our economy recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Montana Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force and Zero to Five Montana will be hosting a webinar on the topic on Tuesday, July 14th at 12 noon. To access the Child Care White Paper we published in collaboration with Family Connections, GFPS, CCHD, and DPHHS, click here. If you or your business would like to discuss opportunities in addressing the child care challenge, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org or Heather McCartney-Duty of Family Connections at heatherm@familyconnectionsmt.org.

6) The City of Great Falls is looking at creative opportunities to aid businesses in meeting the new safety requirements and build consumer confidence. One such way is through expanding outdoor dining options. This week KellerGeist expanded their outdoor seating into two curb side parking spaces; see TheElectricGF.com. If your business is interested in this type of expansion, contact Nathan Reiff, NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) ATTENTION ALL WOSB: “Imminent changes” are coming to the Woman-Owned Small Businesses certification process (WOSB). The online registration will begin July 15th. These new regulations will make it easier for qualified small businesses to participate in this set-aside. If your business is currently self-certified at certify.sba.gov you will need to act before July 15th to download your information from the repository. After that date the data will not be retrievable. For more information on this certification, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) SBA 504 rates came in at extremely low levels in again in July. The 25-year note came in at 2.406%; 20-year at 2.341%; 20-year refinance at 2.342%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going 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.

9) The Great Falls Tribune ran a great story today about Candice English of The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers, a very cool local business!

10) Worked with several companies who were struggling to get information and move forward with state grants and EIDL loans. We were able to get them the information they needed. If you haven’t been able to get answers about state grants or other COVID related funding contact Nathan Reiff – 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) There is a fun new addition to the 60 mile River’s Edge Trail system. The “River’s Edge Skillz Trail” is a chance to practice skills you can later use on the Trial’s single-track trails along the Missouri. There is a free barbecue and mountain biking clinic from 10 AM to 1 PM on July 18. You can read more about it on TheElectricGF.com.

12) We’ve started our target outreach to developers and businesses for our beautiful downtown Great Falls and we’re very excited to see what the future has in store. We’ve also been working with a location advisory group for a potential future business in our Downtown. If you have been looking to start or expand your business in downtown, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) The Great Falls Public Library is helping people without computer access to apply for jobs online. The library is open 1-6 PM. Thank you library team!

14) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Chelsey Stubbs, owner of The Messy Apron in Cut Bank. Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at The Good Wood Guys right here in Great Falls. 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!

15) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, NorthWestern Energy, for their Advanced Division investment, and the Great Falls Business Improvement District and Midway Rental for their Community Division investments. Whether it involves assisting with projects or offering various business solutions, we cannot accomplish our mission without innovative partners, leaders, and investors. If you have questions about how investment aids in growing the region, contact Teresa or call at 406.781.9499.

16) Our regional economy is at risk of prolonging and increasing the negative economic impacts of the COVID virus. PLEASE wear a mask when out and about and use common sense precautions. These simple steps could save many local businesses and thousands of jobs. Leaders, please lead by example. No one likes to wear a mask, but it is much better than further economic damage that has already cost us so much. Businesses, think about your revenue. If only a portion of your customers feel comfortable to return, what will your bottom line results look like? Federal stimulus funds that have propped up economic activity are soon going to run out, so now it is up to us to protect and get back to growing our local economy. Goldman Sachs projects that mask-wearing by every American could save the U.S. economy from a 5% drop in GDP, or approximately $1 trillion in reduced economic spending.

Thank You for everything you are doing to support and create our economy!

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.

“Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as high as it will.”
Aiden Wilson Tozer

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.


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

July SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.406%; 20-year at 2.341%; and, 20-year refinance 2.342%. 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.