Top 10 – 8/8/2021

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.“ – Thomas Edison
Entrepreneur Jeff Meiser, Owner of Mountain Wave Distillery, shows off the custom made inside/outside bar and custom front windows that open toward Central Avenue in Downtown Great Falls. The window glass should be installed soon, and work is diligently being completed on the interior.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 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.

1) Joined site selection consultants for a focus on logistics at the Logistics Development Forum in Colorado. We are interested in mapping out imports/exports and mode of transportation to look at expanded transportation systems. We want to lower shipping costs for the Golden Triangle by making it possible for more services and better logistics facilities. If you’re also interested in this topic, call Jolene 406-750-4481. Two of our strategic planning consultants were speakers at the event.

2) Business Facilities ranked Montana as having the 5th best business tax climate amongst U.S. States. GFDA testified in support of the Gianforte Administration’s four areas of focus for the Economic Transformation Commission — business innovation, value-added agriculture, workforce training, and affordable housing.

3) Published our GFDA 2021Q2 Quarter Index. In our fiscal year that ended June 30th, our new business attraction lead generation account-based-marketing campaign generated 23,207 sessions on our website from 111 metro areas around the globe. It led to numerous web chats with companies interested in investing in our region. In July we added 7 new leads, worked on 11 existing leads and added 18 new companies to our CRM database. We added 7 new projects and worked on 18 existing projects. Our continued Thank You to the Salesforce Foundation for providing us free use of the outstanding Salesforce CRM platform!

4) Check out August’s Hot Jobs in Great Falls, a collection of open jobs that we’re marketing to people in talent attraction target markets (Seattle, Portland, etc.). These are jobs that people would relocate for. If you have a particularly high-skill, high-salary or out-of-the-box job opportunity to include in September’s blog, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) Thank you to NeighborWorks Montana for purchasing a $250,000 participation in our bridge loans that enabled The Arc Apartment Homes to move into construction! This week we received $1.28 million in CDFI Fund Rapid Response Program monies that will very quickly be loaned into another local project that has a financing gap challenge. We help banks and credit unions get deals done by filling gaps and providing bridges they can’t fill.

6) Fifteen building permits totaling $5,859,156 were issued last quarter for investments in downtown Great Falls. Two new businesses opened. Volunteers donated 8,845 hours downtown. There has been great movement this week on more upper-level development in Downtown Great Falls. With the completion of the Northern Lofts at 412 Central Ave, 18 more higher-end apartments in Downtown and so many more opportunities are available. If you would like to inquire about these opportunities, contact Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.836.0136.

7) The new Downtown TIF program went live this week! We will be hosting In-Person Q&A sessions on the three new downtown redevelopment Tax Increment Financing (TIF) programs: Environmental Safety, Facade Improvement, and Life-Safety Code Compliance. Tuesday, August 10, from 7:30-8:30 AM at Al Banco, 202 2nd Ave S. You can Register here, and if you have questions, please call Christian at 406.836.0136. You can view the programs and download the application at https://growgreatfallsmontana.org/downtown-tif/

8) Fiber and high speed broadband are critical infrastructure for landing deals. We had several companies participate in our monthly Development Coffee focused on broadband connectivity. If you’re interested in being part of this ongoing discussion, connect with Jolene JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org. Thank you NeighborWorks Great Falls for hosting!

9) This fire season has really put pressure on resources this year. The US Forest Service Northern Rockies Coordinating Group is looking for additional equipment to add to their Vendor Resource List. If you have this type of equipment (water tender trucks, dozer, heavy equipment), you can sign up your resources without a current contract. You have to be registered in SAM and PTAC can help get you ready. For more information, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for the Vendor Source Memo or with any questions.

10) Do you know anyone who recently (in the past couple years) relocated to Great Falls or came back to Great Falls and absolutely LOVES their life here? We want to hear their story! We have several media/marketing opportunities coming up and we want to interview dozens of people who relocated to Great Falls. Email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org with their name and contact info.

11) Ten entrepreneurs from around Montana, including one from Texas, participated in our monthly Small Business Webinar Series presentation, Financing and Grants. If you know of someone interested in the topic of accessing capital or other previous subjects, check out the recordings posted here. In July, our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) advisors assisted clients to launch three new businesses and supported clients with 147 existing jobs throughout the region. During the last 12 months, 57% of our SBDC clients are led by women and 30% are lead by veterans. Participation in our training events is up 50%.

12) We are already planning GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings for September! Model Canvas/Value Proposition Design is the topic of our monthly webinar on Thursday, September 2nd. Boots to Business, our workshop for active military personnel looking to transition to a life of entrepreneurship is back on Thursday and Friday, September 9 & 10. The LaunchPoint, our catch-all workshop for budding entrepreneurs is back on Thursday, September 9. And wrapping up the month is our popular Website Bootcamp: Website in a Day in Lewistown on Tuesday, September 28.

13) Help us assess market demand for more child care services in the Great Falls area. Take this brief survey then send the survey link to your employees, colleagues and friends. The survey closes this Friday, and we want as many responses as possible to add breadth and depth to our data!

14) We deliver print copies of the Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine around town every Friday – if you would like copies of this great recruitment tool, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org

version anytime!

15) Check out RFP for a Housing Market Demand Assessment and an the RFQ for Web Design Services we have posted. Our reach is limited, so please pass these along to personal connections and prospective consultants.

16) We have four brownfield cleanups and three hazardous material property assessments underway. Contact Lillian Sunwall if you need help assessing a property for redevelopment in Cascade County; LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

17) As part of our efforts to increase entrepreneurship in the Great Falls region, we joined with 24 other economic development organizations across the country to partner with the International Economic Development Council to submit an application for the SBA Navigator pilot program. GFDA was accepted into membership in the Angel Capital Association. Connecting entrepreneurs, businesses, and real estate developers with the equity they need will be an increasing part of our work.

18) GFDA Investors elected Roy Alexander of VisionNet to the Board of Directors. Dr. Stephanie Erdmann, Dean and CEO of Great falls College MSU joined the Board. The GFDA Board elected officers for the new fiscal year: Chair, Mark Macek of Macek Properties; Vice Chair, Errol Rice of Transystems; Treasurer, Mark Cappis of Cappis Consulting & Tax; Secretary, Forrest Ehlinger of Benefis Health System; and, Immediate Past Chair, Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing.

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.

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”
Bobby Unser

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 498


Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letter.

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

August SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.863%; 20-year at 2.744%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.591%; and, 20-year refinance 2.787%; 25-year refinance 2.904%. 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.

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 BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


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 Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147. Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. 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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 richard.roberts4@montana.edu 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.