Top 10 – 8/20/19

More creative sidewalk paintings in downtown Great Falls, these in front of the new Tracy’s. See KRTV for story.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 11 for last week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Closed a $80,558 loan for an exciting downtown business that is expanding its operations. Downtown Dice & Games, LLC is opening Let’s Play Games And Toys right next door to their current location. They will be offering unique and educational toys in an updated and fun environment. Thank you to our partner, Tom Mathews at Opportunity Bank of Montana, for helping these entrepreneurs expand and the continued support to help revitalize Downtown Great Falls. If you have a business, or are thinking of starting or buying a business and could use some help with financing options, please reach out to Jill Kohles at (406) 590-1056 or

2) Scheels has started construction on its expansion in Great Falls. KRTV ran a story about the downtown block development visioning project. Meadow Lark Country Club celebrated its Centennial Anniversary, see KRTV.

3) The Great Falls Tourism Business Improvement District is offering a major grant opportunity of up to $100,000 to spur creation of a new multi-day events that will attract visitors to the city during the non-summer September through mid-June season. New events are events that have not previously been and are not currently being held in Great Falls. Proposals submitted shall comply with the instructions and procedures outlined in the detailed Application Instructions available to download at Apply by submitting a proposal electronically in PDF format to by 5:00 PM on September 30.

4) Worked with several businesses looking to expand through redevelopment projects using the Brownfields tools. Are you investigating the purchase of an older building or vacant site that may be complicated by potential contamination? Don’t give up. Give us a call to see how we can assist you with moving forward on these projects. Contact Lillian Sunwall at (406) 750-1253.

5) Infrastructure improvements! Geraldine’s water system received a boost with over $2.1 million in grant and loan funds from USDA Rural Development. See KFBB for details. Construction started on a new main entrance for Gibson Park in Great Falls; see KRTV. Cascade County secured funds to do more planning for reuse of the smelter site in Black Eagle; see Construction is underway on a major new water line being bored under the Missouri River; see Great Falls Tribune.

6) Several of our clients have some great equity investment Opportunity Zone projects in the works. If you’re looking for investment opportunities or are working to put deals together throughout the Golden Triangle, we’re eager to help. Contact Jolene to discuss, (406) 750-4481 or email

7) The Great Falls Tribune published a nice article about Cut Bank that featured two of our great clients. KRTV did a great story on the Rockcress Commons affordable apartment complex under construction in Great Falls.

8) Lillian made a presentation about GFDA’s newly expanded Procurement technical Assistance Center to economic development lenders at the USDA Rural Development Economic Development Roundtable. Are you interested in learning how to diversify your customer base and grow your business by pursuing government contracting? For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406) 750-1253 or Shannon Clancy at (406) 590-1184.

9) Congratulations to Jill Kohles on her promotion to Loan Officer on GFDA’s team. Jill has done an outstanding job for as as Lending Operations Manager over the past five years and will make a great Loan Officer! Thank you to Mike Archer who has done an outstanding job for us as Loan Officer over the last three years! Mike has joined a large national CDFI, the Rural Community Assistance Corporation, and will continue to work remotely from Butte. We look forward to continue working with Mike in his new capacity.

10) I plan to pitch the Great Falls trade area and network with real estate developers, brokers and retail/dining brands at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Western Division event next month. Let me know if there is anyone you would like me to try to connect with at the event. Proud to represent Montana as ICSC’s state government affairs chair.

11) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, including Vision Net, for their Leadership Division investment, AE2S for their Pacesetter Division investment, Payne West for their Community Division investment and Anderson Family Pharmacy for their Supporter Division investment. Your investment makes all of our work possible. We’ve been able to leverage local investor dollars to double and sometimes triple the resources we can put to work to grow our regional economy. Whether it is through start-ups, business expansion, attraction deals and real estate development, our team continues to drive your investor dollars toward lead generation, client service and deal closing. If you wish to invest in GFDA, contact Teresa Schreiner at (406) 781-9499 or Join the team!

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.


“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.”

Michael John Bobak


GFDA Job Openings

Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant —

Economic Development — Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development lending team. Help us to keep growing our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. This position receives, reviews and processes commercial loan documents, maintains loan application files and other duties related to the processing and servicing of the commercial loan portfolio.Reviews all gathered pending documents for accuracy, completeness, loan authority, lien position, insurance, flood insurance, collateral, appraisal, coding, risk rating, disbursements, etc. Reviews documents for compliance purposes, recognizes problems with documentation, and takes appropriate action.  Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, and have computer and communication skills. Experience with SBA 504 loan servicing and/or economic development loan funds a plus. Must be detail oriented and organized with flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-40,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE.  Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President,  Open until we find a great candidate.

Business Development Officer – Economic Development. Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for a super star to meet with existing businesses to identify needs, coordinate business development trips and events, and provide overall aid in our business development efforts. Involves coordination, event planning and management, market research, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project management, advocacy, meeting with businesses, listening, and additional client business development services. Position may involve travel in region, U.S. and Canada. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in business development. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-55,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE.
Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, Open until we find a great candidate.


SBA 504 Loans

SBA 504 rates came in at insanely low levels in August. The 25-year note came in at 3.626%; 20-year at 3.526%; and, 20-year refinance at 3.559%. There was no 10-year equipment debenture sale this month but July’s sale came in at 3.922%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going 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

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.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.