Top 10 – 9/19/2020

Groundbreaking for the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics & Recreation Center. Congratulations to all involved in making this great project happen!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for this week 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) GFDA’s Loan Committee approved three gap loans totaling $1,624,162 to help three Great Falls businesses expand! These loans will leverage over $10.3 million investment in Great Falls. If your business needs assistance with financing to start, grow or innovate, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

2) Agro Link, a pulse crop processing facility in Glacier County, continues to grow. The company is a joint venture between Link One, a US company, and Agrocorp, a multinational corporation based in Singapore. AgroLink is making significant investment in the Golden Triangle. See Cut Bank Pioneer Press for details.

3) We submitted the next round of information for a large primary sector business we are competing to bring to Great Falls. The process has been on-going for five months, involving numerous partners providing detailed information on energy, location, permitting, and more. We hope that we end up being the best fit for the company. The process has been an excellent learning experience and Great Falls Montana will be even better positioned for the next project. If you have questions on how we respond to these types of requests and to offer assistance to the team, give Jolene a call to discuss: 1.406.750.4481.

4) NeighborWorks Great Falls celebrated the amazing DreamStreet of family-built homes. Five Guys opened in Great Falls. We have another new car wash in the works. See more in The Electric’s Business Bites. Nova Health Clinic opened in Great Falls (see KRTV). Be Loved, a new bridal shop, has opened in Downtown Great Falls(see KRTV). The River’s Edge Trail’s River Drive North improvement project is under construction (see KRTV). The Alliance for Youthopened its new Youth Resource Center in Great Falls (see KRTV).

5) Thank you to everyone who participated this week in helping to develop a new economic development strategic plan for the Great Falls market. Our consultant team listened to dozens of community members and facilitated a vision and mission discussion with the GFDA Board. The team will continue to hold one-on-one and group listening sessions online through October and will be back for face to face sessions the week of October 11th.

6) A very exciting ground breaking this week! Malmstrom Air Force Base, the City of Great Falls, and Montana Air National Guard have partnered together to build the new Aim High Big Sky Aquatic Center at Lions Park. Check out the video announcement! Partnerships like this not only help Great Falls to make competitive improvements , but help strengthen the Great Falls regionally economy. Read more on The Electric and Great Falls Tribune. This project os so exciting that I had to put it in the Top 10 twice this week.

7) We selected three finalist firms for the Great Falls Housing Demand Market Assessment that we plan to commission in partnership with NeighborWorks Great Falls and the Great Falls Association of Realtors®. GFDA is launching a Housing Development Task Force and an Industrial Space Task Force. GFDA task forces bring together the doers that make things happen. If you are interested in getting involved in either of these task forces, contact Jake Clark at or 406-403-4937.

8) The Great Falls Clinic announced a $7 million expansion of its day surgery center. The project will add over 7,000 square feet of space to the facility, significantly increasing its capabilities. The Clinic recently celebrated the opening of the Harold & Carmen Poulsen Legacy Housing Facility to help patients and their families from our vast rural and tribal region (see KRTV).

9) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: Our popular Website Bootcamp: Website in a Day in Lewistown on Tuesday, September 28. The LaunchPoint, our catch all class for starting a business is back on Tuesday, October 5th. October’s webinar topic on Thursday, October 7 is Cybersecurity. And it may seem early, but on October 12th we are starting a new session of our Website Bootcamp specifically for your business to capitalize on the Online Holiday Shopping craze.

10) Worked with a local memory care provider, MT Gems, to submit a Big Sky Trust Fund Planning Grant application. This planning grant will assist MT Gems in care expansion resulting in an additional twelve jobs. Big Sky Trust Fund Planning grants can help businesses with architect, engineering, studies, and general planning assistance to determine project feasibility. Reach out to Jolene Schalper to learn more,

11) Montana State University has announced a fantastic $101 million gift to its College of Nursing to support and expand its nursing education facilities in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Kalispell, and Missoula! The donation from Mark and Robyn Jones is the largest gift in history to a U.S. College of Nursing. THANK YOU!!!

12) We approved another phase 2 environmental assessment for a downtown Great Falls building. Did you know that many building and properties contain environmental contaminants that, if not discovered and documented properly before purchase, eliminate the possibility of cleanup funding for future redevelopment? Before you buy a property or site, reach out to our team to find out how we can help with your pre-development questions and research. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

13) Invest Downtown Great Falls is quickly approaching. If you haven’t registered yet, head over to our registration page and sign up. We’re looking for Developers and Retail/Restaurant targets to invite for Invest Downtown. If you have some great ideas on who to invite, send an email to Christian at or call at 406.836.0136.

14) Businesses in Lewistown have fared well through the pandemic, as detailed in a report from the Snowy Mountain Development Corporation (see Lewistown News-Argus).

15) Large projects and companies face as many if not more challenge as small projects and companies. We are working with a site selector to find ways to win a business expansion project that would be an $80 million capital investment for our community providing couple hundred new, high wage jobs. We specialize in project advocacy and finding tools/resources for all size projects. If your project needs help, call us 406.750.4481!

16) Mark your calendars for Development Coffee on Friday, October 1 at NeighborWorks Great Falls. Our topic will be announced in next week’s Top 10! Can’t make the meeting in person? We are offering a zoom option as well. Contact Jolene Schalper for login information at or call (406) 750-4481.

17) Is your business opening, expanding, or doing something revolutionary? We want to hear about it and tell your story to the Great Falls regional business community! Our Announcement of the Week goes out to a captive audience of thousands in the Great Falls regional business community. Contact Tyler at to get started on your announcement.

18) Thank you to our amazing GFDA Investors who make everything we do possible. Recent investments include: Premier Division — Cascade County Montana; Advance Division — General Distributing Co. and Great Falls Clinic Hospital; Flagship Division — TD&H Engineering; Pacesetter Division — Anderson ZueMeuhlen & Co., Taylor’s Auto Max, and The Hinebauch Agency; and, Supporter Division — Wendy J. Weissman, CPA and Ted & Roxie Lewis. THANK YOU! Join the team that’s working together to create economic opportunity by strengthening and growing our economy. Contact Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Another great week!

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.

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
Larry King

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 504

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 and our GFDA 2021Q2 Quarter Index.

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

September SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.973%; 20-year at 2.855%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.673%; and, 20-year refinance 2.898%; 25-year refinance 3.014%. 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

Career Opportunities
GFDA has two exciting career opportunities for Resource Director (grant writing) and Business Development Officer (food processing specialist). Download job postings and please help spread the word. 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

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Changes include increases to maximum loan amount and expansion in the uses of funds for paying and prepaying existing business debt. If your business is still struggling to stabilize and recover from the pandemic or are seeing new challenges related to the Delta variant, GFDA’s business advisors are here to help. Connect with Jason at Apply for COVID EIDL on the SBA’s website.

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.

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 version anytime! 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.