Top 10 – 5/1/19


Two exciting expansions of health services this week in Great Falls! Alluvion Health cut the ribbon on its new main clinic downtown, and Benefis Health System cut the ribbon on its new Northwest Clinic.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Big Sky Cheese submitted plans to Cascade County to build a 20,000 square foot specialty cheese plant in the Madison Food Park. This is a very exciting step in expanding and diversifying food and ag processing in the region. GFDA has reviewed the plans and enthusiastically supports this project. See more details in Great Falls Tribune and on IndHemp has started construction on its hemp oilseed pressing facility in Havre. See KRTV for details.

2) The Great Falls Tribune ran a great story about the Belt Creek cleanup project, and another story about construction projects underway across Great Falls.

3) What would be the impact if we had a .85% population growth? $13 million economic impact the first year that compounds annually. Stores, restaurants, jobs, housing all would increase. Tax base would broaden reducing the burden on individuals and allowing greater support of police, fire, schools, and parks. We commissioned a study in 2017 to map the impact. Click here to download.

4) We welcomed 12 exemplary small business owners, lending partners, and coaches, in addition to 150 supporters of Montana small businesses at the 2019 Montana Small Business Administration Awards last Thursday. Over 98% of all businesses in Montana are small businesses, and we were honored to host the event to celebrate the successes of small businesses across the state. For a list of winners, click here.

5) The Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls was reaccredited by the National Main Street Center, and joined the International Downtown Association. Stay tuned for more exciting project announcements downtown!

6) We trained another 20 people at two training events last week. To view our webinar, Creative Labor Solutions, click here. Up next on the GFDA Education Calendar are two pre-business workshops. The LaunchPoint is this Tuesday, May 7th from 4-5 PM. Boots to Business is May 8th and 9th at Malmstrom. Boots to Business is open to active duty military, veterans, and military families. Looking ahead, we will host Win the Bid: How to Prepare a Proposal on May 21st. Contact Jason Nitschke about all of our training events at

7) Congratulations to the Great Falls Public Library on winning the 2019 Excellent Library Service Award from the Montana State Library Commission! See Great Falls Tribune for details.

8) We closed a loan for $33,000 to Fresh Start Co-Op, a grocery store cooperative in Geraldine, partnering with their awesome loan officer Robert Todd at Stockman Bank, to help them purchase the property they are currently leasing. We recognize the great contributions our surrounding rural communities make to the region’s economy, diversity and character, and we want to see them prosper. We are very excited every time we have a chance to help, especially with something so critical as access to fresh foods. If you have a business, or are thinking of starting or buying a business in a rural area and could use some help with financing please reach out to Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or

9) Three more steps forward for downtown Great Falls. The Last Straw Bistro has opened at 5th and Central, see John Barnes and Neal DuBois announced plans to reopen Tracy’s restaurant, see KRTV. The downtown pedlet program opened for the season May 1st. The Business Improvement District has launched a Pedlet Passport program. Visit the pellets at the Burger Bunker, Celtic Cowboy, Elevation 3330, Enbar and Mighty Mo, get your passport stamped, and be eligible for gift certificate prizes. Passports are available at each business. See for details.

10) We have two spaces remaining for our booth at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) annual Food Expo in June. This is a great show for ingredient processors and companies in the food supply chain. If you are interested in learning more, contact Jolene at 406.750.4481 or

11) Budding entrepreneurs get the chance to bring their dreams to fruition at Great Falls Public School Shark Tank 2019. Join the fun this Thursday, May 9th at 5:30 PM  Heritage Hall, Great Falls College as six teams from CMR High School & Great Falls High present their product and their ideas! One team from Lincoln Elementary will also be presenting to our sharks. Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Great Falls Public Schools have partnered to offer an evening of food, fun and shark frenzy!

12) We are working with federal and state partners to help a property owner create a redevelopment and reuse plan for their brownfields site. For more information on our Brownfields tools, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406) 750-1253 or

13) Mike Archer and Jill Kuntz presented a training on SBA 504 loans to 15 lenders as part of the SBA awards this week. If you are interested in learning how to get a loan for commercial real estate or fixed assets  with a down payment as low as 10% and a fixed interest rate for up to 25 years please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or

14) Know of students looking for a great summer opportunity? GFDA is offering college or graduate level paid internships involving a variety of business, market research and organizational projects. Interested students should send a resume and cover letter to EOE.

15) Barnett worked with a company in the food and beverage space this week that has seen declining sales over the past several years due to distribution, human resource, and marketing issues. By working with the Great Falls Food and Ag Development Center, the client is able to improve their efforts to overcome their challenges and return to growth and profitability. If you have or know of a business facing issues within the fields of agriculture, biofuels, bioscience, food, or natural resources, contact Barnett at 406-750-3285 and

16) The City of Great Falls and partners are holding a unique BaseCamp event for young professional on Saturday, May 18, 12 – 6 PM at the Mansfield Convention Center.

17) We are scheduling meetings with developers, retailers, restaurants, and brokers for the annual RECON event in Las Vegas. We’ve heard from several brands – like FireHouse Subs – that they’d like to be in our market but need to connect with a Franchisee. If you’re interested in being a Franchisee for a particular brand or have general development ideas you’d like to discuss, reach out to Jolene or 406.750.4481.

18) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Springhill Suites, for their Leadership Division investment, and Geranios Enterprise, Inc. for their Pacesetter Division investment. GFDA works hard to ensure that our trade area participates competitively and fully in economic growth. Exploring new possibilities for business development, while showcasing our incredible features, requires continued investment, so thank you. For questions about investment, 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.

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“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

Great Career Opportunity

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 Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

Assistance for Business Clinic, Wednesday, May 15, 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM at the Heritage Inn. The Assistance for Business Clinics are designed to assist new and established employers, accountants, bookkeepers, human resource professionals and lawyers to proactively prevent unnecessary claims and/or charges by providing updated reporting of state withholding, UI Tax requirements, workers’ comp. coverage, tax incentives, minimum wage, overtime, new hire reporting, income withholding orders, USERRA laws and regulations. Register here.

The MT PTAC has invited over 25 federal, state, and local government agencies to participate in a GOVMatch 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.