Top 10 – 6/17/19


Enjoyed spending a morning with an international delegation of economic developers from Ukraine to explain how we help small businesses. Our partners at the US Department of Agriculture, US Small Business Administration, and Montana Department of Commerce all presented on the assistance available to help start and grow businesses.

Here is our Top 16 for last week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Mod Pizza opened on 10th Avenue South. I tried it yesterday — their pizzas and salads are excellent! Work started on Auto Zone’s second store on the west side of town. Minuteman Metal and Sign opened a retail store at 815 2nd Street South, see Cattleman’s Cut Steakhouse plans to open in the Great Falls Marketplace next month, see KFBB. Grove’s Taxidermy and Firearms, with The Bow Dr., opened at 821 8th Avenue South, see KRTV.

2) The Great Falls trade area — North Central Montana — is home to Japanese, French, Spanish, and Canadian-owned companies. We exhibited and networked at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington DC, the annual gathering of United States Commercial Officers and foreign business delegations seeking to invest in the United States. This is an excellent opportunity to build relationships for year round referrals. GFDA has been at every SelectUSA Summit since it started 7 years ago. This year we joined the Japanese and Taiwanese delegations for special events, and with our European partners, the Transatlantic Business Investment Council. We booked an exhibit booth for next year’s Summit.

3) The Electric City Water Park opened for the season with its newly refurbished historic bathhouse, see Great Falls Tribune.

4) We issued an RFP for consultant services for the Downtown Development Visioning project on behalf of the Downtown Development Partnership and the City of Great Falls. Proposals are due by 5:00 PM on Thursday, June 27. Contact Brett for more info at NeighborWorks Great Falls is developing an inventory of vacant upper floors downtown, see

5) Congratulations to the winners of this year’s NeighborWorks Great Falls Most Improved Properties awards!

6) Participated in a special Opportunity Zone Congressional Policy Briefing hosted by the Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America. If you are interested in learning more about Opportunity Zones, we are happy to share the information we received. Contact Jolene at

7) Congratulations to MSU Northern’s Automotive Program on being named second best in the U.S. by TheBestSchools! See

8) Worked with a client and federal agency to resolve registration issues so their account could be reactivated and a contract award could be made. Helped a disabled veteran navigate the Veterans First Verification process so their business can start looking to bid on VA contracts. For more information on doing business in the government contracting arena, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406)750-1253.

9) Congratulations to Benefis Health System on being named one of the best employers in Montana by Forbes! See the Choteau Acantha.

10) Submitted a proposal to the Montana Department of Agriculture to continue and enhance our Food & Ag Development Center.

11) A site selection column I wrote for Area Development magazine was published, “Uncertainty Driving Location Strategy Amid USMCA Debate.”

12) Congratulations to Vizsla Brewing of Havre on winning the title of Montana’s best brewery at the Montana Brew Fest in Great Falls! See the Havre Herald.

13) GFDA has retained a transload and logistics industry consultant to help us identify and pursue targeted companies, including our effort to attract a transload operator to open a facility in Great Falls.

14) Our team recently received a briefing on new resources and services available to businesses from the Montana Innovation Partnership (MTIP) at Montana State University. MTIP helps Montana innovators, entrepreneurs, and inventors access critical R&D seed funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

15) GFDA supports leading edge economic development research as Montana’s only member of the Economic Development Research Partnership of the International Economic Development Council. This week the partnership published a paper on Industry 4.0. The report dives into the strategies economic developers can can use to support small and mid-sized manufacturers to navigate the dramatic transformations taking place in manufacturing.

16) Please keep us in mind if you or someone you know is looking to start or grow their business! We have a team of certified, experienced business strategists that can help you plan your start or expansion, build a financial package, secure government contracts, clean up contaminated sites, advocate for your project, and more. We are your Team to Grow Great Falls Montana including the entire Golden Triangle! Call Jolene to discuss, 406.750.4481.

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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“Peak performers see the ability to manage change as a necessity in fulfilling their missions.”

Charles A. Garfield

SBA 504 Loans

The 25-year June SBA 504 loan debenture came in almost 1.5% below prime at 4.086%. The 20-year note faired even better at 3.978%. When was the last time you obtained business financing with an interest rate that started with a 3? SBA 504 interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going fees. If you are looking to finance commercial real estate or equipment now is the time! Contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or to find out more.

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

Cybersecurity Workshop offered through the Montana PTAC by Northrop Grumman, July 2 in Bozeman. See details and registration here.

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.