Top 10 – 8/1/2021

I’ve been enjoying Downtown Great Falls and watching all of the new things underway, including renovations of the historic Civic Center, the new unique homes built by Geranios Enterprises, the new Metropolitan Building storefront for Mountain Wave Distilling and Brush Crazy, the KellerGeist beer garden, the Northern Lofts above Mighty Mo, the 4th of July Hootenanny, and a sneak peek looking out from the stage of the Newberry event center!!!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 20 for the last five weeks 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.

Promise I will be back to weekly from here on out!

1) The Kaboom Family Fun Center opened in Great Falls; see KRTV. Excavation started in West Bank Landing for Jersey Mike’s. The Kona Ice food truck opened; see KRTV. The City of Great Falls started construction on the facade renovations to the historic Civic Center downtown. The Great Falls Wayfinding project has been bid with plans to install the signs by this November. Big Sky Select Properties, a Great Falls based Opportunity Zone Fund, opened the Northern Lofts in downtown Great Falls.

2) High Plains Financial approved an SBA 504 loan that will support a Montana company that is expanding their business in Great Falls. They will be able to take advantage of fixed interest rates for 25 years and will only have to make a 15% down payment on their new building and equipment for their expansion. If you’re considering expanding your business and would prefer not to spend all of your working capital on a down payment please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

3) The Wild Hare is coming to Downtown Great Falls! Check out the video announcement and KRTV story. The former Lobby Bar location is undergoing a major, phased renovation with phase one bringing a tequila bar, among other things. NeighborWorks Great Falls plans to renovate a downtown building in pursuit of Permanent Supportive Housing! Check out the video announcement. The Baatz Building located at 400 2nd Ave S will be renovated into approximately 24 apartment units with the ground floor housing service providers. Looking to be a part of the revitalization in Downtown Great Falls? Contact Christian to discuss your project (406) 836-0136 or

4) Our labor force continues to recover from the pandemic. In June, the Great Falls MSA labor force grew to 38,359, an increase of 1,511 since March (Montana Department of Labor). We were just shy of our pre-pendemic labor force of 38,493 in February 2020. Employment was 36,884, an improvement of 1,623 since March, but still below the 37,050 employed in February 2020. As more people get back to looking for work, the unemployment rate increased from 3.1% in May to 3.8% in June — good news for area employers.

5) Submitted several potential sites for a large food processing operation request for information. This lead came through the state. We are getting more and more inquiries but we don’t know about all the available sites in our region. Please make sure your commercial building or property is listed with a commercial broker and up on LoopNet. We also feature available sites/properties on our website. Not only will this make you more successful, but it will help Great Falls be more competitive. Call Jolene to chat further, 406-750-4481.

6) Help us assess market demand for more child care services in the Great Falls area. Take this brief survey then send the survey linkto your employees, colleagues and friends.

7) How do we increase access to high speed internet in the Great Falls region? Join us for Development Coffee Friday, August 6th at 7:00AM in-person at NeighborWorks Great Falls, or via Zoom, for a discussion on Broadband. For questions and zoom login information, contact Jolene at

8) We released a business development video featuring ADF Groupsteel fabricators and why they chose to expand to Great Falls Montana. We also released a video featuring Pasta Montana and its Japanese parent company, NIPPN. We issued our Quarterly Investor Letter. Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area.

9) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: The LaunchPoint, our catch-all class for fresh entrepreneurs is back this Tuesday, August 3rd. Financing and Grants is the topic for our monthly webinar this Thursday, August 5th.

10) The Great Falls City Commission approved the creation of three new tax increment financing programs to spur private investment in downtown Great Falls. Own a downtown business, or curious about the new Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) programs? Join us Tuesday, August 10th at 7:30AM at Al Banco for an in-person Q&A with Great Falls city staff as well as staff from the Downtown Development Partnership to learn more about how your business can benefit from these new opportunities. For questions, contact Christian at

11) SBA approved a $517,000 SBA 504 loan through High Plains Financial as part of a $1,257,500 total project package for the purchase of commercial real estate. This business owner realized that it would cost less monthly purchasing their building, rather than just leasing it. If your business needs assistance with financing to start, innovate or expand please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or at

12) Our Hot Jobs in Great Falls: July 2021 blog has been published. This monthly blog features jobs people would pack up and relocate for. Visit the link and share with friends or family who you think would love it in Great Falls. This Hot Jobs blog series is part of our talent attraction plan to help employers bring high quality talent to our community. Are you hiring a job position that is high-level, high-salary, and/or out-of-the-box/unique/creative for which a person might relocate to Great Falls? Email Talent Attraction Director Soren at a one sentence description of the job, 3-5 of your company’s top employee benefits, salary (if listed), and link to apply for your job to be potentially included in the August Hot Jobs in Great Falls blog post.

13) Jersey Mike’s Subs is coming to Great Falls! Check out the video announcement and see KRTV. This will be the franchise’s first Great Falls location and will be in West Bank Landing. Want to learn more about the Great Falls market? Give Jolene a call at (406) 750-4481.

14) GovMatch 2021, held on July 27th, is in the books. This is an annual event for Montana PTAC, but this is the first year that a virtual format was attempted. Despite a few technical glitches, it was a very productive and successful event. There was positive feedback from attendees throughout the day. They expressed how much they appreciated the opportunity to explore new possibilities and learn more about how to do business with Federal, State, Local agencies and large Prime Contractors. They were also very happy that many agencies offered to meet with attendees one on one on another day. There were about 130 registrations. For follow up information or to find out which agencies are open to additional one on one meetings, reach out to

15) We engaged with future entrepreneurs at the Malmstrom Career & Education Fair on Malmstrom Air Force Base. The event was attended by Air Force Enlisted, Officers and Spouses. We were also able to network with other businesses in attendance about Talent Attraction. Overall, the event was super successful and were looking forward to the event in 2022!

16) Do you want to spread the word about great things going on in Great Falls? Use your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram account to get engaged! If you’d like to receive an email notification every time we post on @LiveinGreatFalls social media, email Soren at with the words “Opt-In” and she will add you to the social media notification list.

17) Welcome to Jake Clark and Jenn Gallmeier, our two new GFDA team members! Jake joins our Business Development Team. He will be meeting with businesses to learn about them and their needs, both existing businesses in our market and businesses we are trying to attract to our community. Jake can be reached at or 406.403.4937. Jenn is our new Investment Director. She will be working with our amazing investors and prospective investors. jenn can be reached at or 406-781-9499.

18) The Great Falls Livability magazine is a great talent attraction tool. Share the digital link on your social media accounts and with candidates considering relocation. Talent Attraction Director Soren will be delivering print versions of the magazine around town during the first week of August. If you’d like to REQUEST copies, email Soren at with the number of copies you’d like.

19) We have issued an RFP for social media marketing for talent attraction. If you are a firm who specializes in social media marketing, please consider submitting a proposal to work with us to grow the population of Great Falls. If you know of a great social media marketing firm, please let Soren know at or pass along our RFP directly to the firm.

20) We have issued an RFP for a Housing Market Demand Assessment. And, we have issued an RFQ for Web Design Services. Please pass these along to prospective consultants.

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.

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”

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 497

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

June SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.883%; 20-year at 2.764%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.612%; and, 20-year refinance 2.807%; 25-year refinance 2.924%. 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 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.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Exhibitor applications are open for the 2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow. 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 with your business name. Save the date for the 2022 Made in Montana Tradeshow — March 11-12, 2022 in Helena.

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.

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.

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.

Curious to see how these projects pencil out?For each of the vision projects we have project analysis that includes Project Descriptions, Cash Flow Projections, and Rent Roll Summaries.