Top 10 – 4/1/19

The Downtown Great Falls Association and the Business Improvement District announced a new logo to promote Downtown Great Falls. We now have tourism, economic development, the Chamber’s talent recruitment effort, and downtown using the same brand logo, progress for Team Great Falls!

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 20 for the last two weeks, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy. Sorry to fall so far behind. I promise to add more information about our regional economy in next weekend’s Top 10. Early tomorrow, I’m headed back up to Alberta to meet with companies and speak at the Economic Developers Alberta annual conference.

1) Congratulations to the C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls Tourism and all those involved in Western Art Week!

2) Ace Hardware opened its new store on 10th Avenue South. Town Pump started construction on expansion of their facility on 10th Avenue South. The City Planning Advisory Board approved BeeHive Homes’ plans to build two new 18-bed assisted living facilities in Great Falls.

3) The Great Falls metro area (Cascade County) added 617 jobs from February 2018 to February 2019, according to employment data released by the Montana Department of Labor & Industry. As importantly, our labor force grew by 598 people. Our labor force participation rate is still two points below the state average, which means we have the capability to add significantly to our labor force as we continue to create more higher wage career opportunities.

4) How do we stand out among 383 metropolitan statistical areas across the United States, many very similar to us? We build relationships and tell our story! We did that at the annual Site Selector Guild Conference in Salt Lake City. We built relationships and gained insight from site selectors that we hope gives us the edge. To chat about GFDA’s Business Development efforts, call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

5) The University of Providence opened its new Medical Assistant Program, see KFBB story.

6) High Plains Financial, our SBA lending affiliate, closed a $1.372 million SBA 504 loan on a $4.5 million purchase of the Super 8 Hotel in Butte this week. We also funded a $212,000 SBA 504 loan for a $585,000 equipment purchase for a family owned Great Falls business last week. As construction season begins to ramp up, please get in touch to find out how we can finance your commercial real estate or equipment purchases with as little as 10% down and low, fixed interest rates for up to 25 years.

7) Congratulations to the Homebuilders of Great Falls and all those involved in the 36th Annual Great Falls Home & Garden Show!

8) Do you think of John Deere as a tech company? Well they are and becoming more so. Technology in today’s world is ubiquitous. We are exploring technology in our community. If you’d like to be part of the dialogue, contact Jolene at

9) Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research has completed their city level non-resident visitation data and Great Falls saw 1.03 million overnight visitors in 2018, a 15% increase over 2017!

10) Investors and potential investors: don’t forget to attend Development Coffee this Friday, April 5th, at our new office in The Portage Building in West Bank Landing. Join for refreshments and development-driven conversation at 7am at 405 3rd St NW, #203, Great Falls, MT 59404.

11) Began underwriting two loans, both for woman owned businesses. One of the loans is for a business looking to move into town and the other is a long-time Great Falls based business that needs some working capital to support all of its growth. If your business is looking to start, grow or expand we have loans and resources to address almost every need. Please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or to find out we can help.

12) Congratulations to Rebecca Engum, Executive Director of Great Falls Tourism, on having her article, “Capitalizing on Outdoor Recreation,” in the Economic Development Journal published by the International Economic Development Council!

13) Looking for more prospects in government contracting?  A rare opportunity has opened up for small businesses that are members of the following socio-economic programs; HUBZone, Woman-Owned-Small-Business and 8(a).  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Small Business Professional for the Omaha District (which represents MT) has reached out to the PTAC offices.  They want to see if we know of businesses that would benefit from a meeting that would allow them to “pitch” their company.  Each contractor is given a 1 hour time (1 on 1) slot to discuss capabilities and past performance, whatever time remains is left for questions and answers. So far it has been a HUGE success.  If you think this is a fit for your small business, give Lillian Sunwall a call at (406) 750-1253 or email her at

14) GFDA was awarded funds for its pulse market organization efforts at the Montana Pulse Crop Committee’s meeting on Tuesday in Bozeman.  The awarded funds will help support outreach efforts to engage international and domestic actors to support and invest in a Pulse Crop Quality and Innovation Council (PQIC) to be formed later this year by GFDA.  For more information about the innovative work being carried out by GFDA to enhance economic opportunities for Montana’s agricultural sector, contact Barnett at 406-750-3285 and

15) Met with a property owner who had questions on remediation of potential hazardous substances in their building.  The property owner had not obtain a Phase 1 Assessment prior to purchase and didn’t qualify for EPA Assessment funding.  If you are looking to buy an older building or a property, give us a call to see how we can assist with environmental investigation prior to purchase.  For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

16) Congratulations to the Choteau Education Foundation for its successful second annual fundraiser held on March 15th. The Choteau Pub Trivia Night filled the Choteau Stage Stop Inn’s event space with teams all vying to win the coveted tital of trivia champ. Choteau businesses and community members supported the event with donations as did many businessss in Great Falls and the surrounding trade area. The annual event raised in excess of $10,000 to support the CEF.

17) Roger Sammons, owner of Pardue Grain in Cut Bank, joined Jason and Tyler at the 3rd Annual #SBDCDay event at the new Montana Craft Malt facility in Butte. #SBDCDay is a nationwide marketing event, started here in Montana, designed to raise the profile of the SBA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program which provides entrepreneurs no-cost counseling and training to help businesses start and grow. Thirty people from around the state, including four business owners, Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney, and the new Director of the Department of Commerce Tara Rice attended. Search #SBDCDay on your social media platforms to find images and videos from the Montana event as well as other events around the US. If you could use an impartial third party look at your business, contact Jason at or Tyler at

18) Teton County is working hard to confront and resolve substance abuse and mental health issues affecting the county through its Teton County Addictions Task Force established in October 2017. The Task Force has issued a new report outlining the issues and a community readiness assessment conducted as part of a meeting attended by 47 community members on January 29th. The next Task Force meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 16th from 10 a.m. to Noon at the Teton County Annex in Choteau and all are welcome to attend.

19) Networked and exhibited at the Montana Manufacturing & International Trade Day event in Helena.

20) Thanks to this weeks’ Investors in Economic Development, LPW, Inc., and North 40 Outfitters for their investment at the Leadership Division, and  Water and Environmental Technologies and Stewart Title, for your investments at the Community Division. Your investment in our community demonstrates your commitment to growing area wages, opportunities, and overall quality of life. To discuss investment in Great Falls and our 13 area trade economy, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.


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.


Brett Doney

President & CEO


Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“The future depends on what you do today.”

Mahatma Gandhi


Great Career Opportunities

Great Falls Tourism has a great career opening for a Content and Social Media Director. Contact Rebecca Engum at

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is looking for a Manufacturing Business Advisor to be based in Great Falls, working out of GFDA’s new office in West Bank Landing. See posting here.

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

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Great Falls Youth Job Fair will be held on Wednesday, April 17, 3:00-6:00 PM at the Paris Gibson Education Center. For more info, contact Becky Nelson at

SAVE THE DATE! Discover new opportunities for your business! The MT PTAC has invited over 25 federal, state, and local government agencies to participate in a matchmaking event on May 29th in Billings. The event is designed to facilitate introductions between business owners and government buyers with the intention of possibly doing business together in the future. Business owners will be able to visit with the various government buyers to discuss what products or services they provide, learn more about how the different agencies do business and find out about upcoming projects. If you are interested in seeing what government opportunities may be out there for your business, contact Lillian Sunwall at or register for GovMatch 2019! To learn more or receive assistance with preparing your business for the event give Lillian a call (406) 750-1253 to set up an appointment.