Top Ten 8/27/23

Lisa Cline, owner of Marketplace on Main in Cut Bank, has launched an e-commerce website built with the assistance of GFDA Small Business Advisor Rich Gannon. Visit their website to shop for made in Montana products. Contact Rich to build a website for your business at or 1-406-836-2078.

1) We made a $310,000 bridge loan to Carter Commons, LLLP for the purchase of land for the development of an affordable senior apartment community. The project is located in Downtown Great Falls and will provide 25 much needed housing units. GFDA can provide many tools to help a developer or project get closer to the finish line. Contact Jill Kohles to learn about the different options available to help your business or project, or 406-590-1056.

2) TDS Telecommunications started construction on its fiber network that will serve all of Great Falls. When the fiber network is complete, TDS will deliver up to 8-gig internet speeds for businesses and residents, along with a variety of phone and digital TV options, according to the company. See TheElectric.

3) Folklore Coffee in Conrad is among the world’s finest, according to the Golden Bean World Series; see KRTVLogan Health is opening a School-Based Health Center at Conrad Public Schools.

4) Congratulations to Henry’s Tire Service on their opening! It’s nerve wracking and exciting to launch a small business but we are here to help. Henry’s took advantage of working with our Small Business Development Center. If you have a business idea or have a small business we would love to offer you assistance and advising to help your business succeed. If you want to know more about the Small Business Development Center please reach out to Tony Peres at or 1-406-750-2099.

5) Nitro Creamery plans to open in Great Falls in mid-September. Dick Anderson is starting construction on industrial condos at the Great Falls Industrial Airport. Upland Foundations has begun operations in Great Falls. Learn more about all of these on TheElectric’s Business Bites.

6) We hosted an overseas prospect visit from an advanced manufacturer considering Great Falls to locate a new facility. Thank you to our partners who helped make the visit powerful — Great Falls Public Schools, Great Falls College MSU and GFDA Investor business leaders! Great Falls is especially equipped to support complex projects. If you are looking for the next location for your business to thrive, please look no further than Great Falls and reach out to Jake Clark 1-406-403-4937.

7) Great Falls College MSU is launching a new veterinary technician program, the first in Montana. The first class will start in the fall of 2024. See KFBB.

8) On Thursday a group of generous individuals, businesses, and community leaders stepped forward to graciously host small gatherings of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine students at various restaurants throughout our city. This initiative brought together 72 students who engaged in meaningful conversations, gaining insights into their new home. Topics spanned from the future in medicine, our vibrant arts and cultural scene, diverse food options, yoga classes, baseball, regional outdoor pursuits, experiencing Montana’s winters, and beyond. Expressing their excitement, hosts David and Melissa shared, “We are thrilled to have such intelligent new citizens living here in Great Falls. Thanks so much for the opportunity to spend some quality time with them!” A heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who embraced the role of a host, fostering a sense of belonging and warmth for these promising medical students as they find their place in our city.

9) Benefis Health System has acquired Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton. Benefis had a management contract with the rural hospital since 2015. Benefis plans to remodel the facility into a state-of-the-art critical care hospital. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

10) Helped an entrepreneur create financial forecasts this week by using LivePlan. In just one meeting they had a solid framework of easy to read financial projections. If your business idea could benefit from putting some numbers on paper, contact Rich Gannon at our Small Business Development Center at 1-406-836-2078 or email him at and ask for a demo of LivePlan. The tool is free to use for our business advising clients.

11) Congratulations to BIlly Vaughn Edwards on opening Stageline Pizza in East Glacier; see Glacier Reporter.

12) We had a very exciting site visit in downtown Great Falls this week. Through our business attraction efforts, one of our target companies made a 2-day visit to Great Falls to search for their next location. This prospect hadn’t been in Great Falls in 8 years and was extremely surprised by the growth! They stayed/dined downtown and when they left, said “We don’t want to be located anywhere but downtown.” If you have a target company you think would be right for downtown Great Falls, call or email Christian at 1-406-836-0138 or

13) Congratulations to Becky Nelson of Great Falls Public Schools on being recognized with the Athena Award!

14) Lillian met with a small business this week looking to expand and purchase a building in the downtown area. The business owner wanted information on potential environmental hazards at the property and next steps. She found the discussion about the Phase I (ESA) valuable and was appreciative of the information provided. Conducting a Phase I ESA is a critical step for any business looking to expand and purchase a building, especially when dealing with an old property. This process not only helps protect the business owner’s investment but also ensures that their expansion plans align with their long-term goals while minimizing potential environmental risks and liabilities. For more information how these tools can be used in your next project, contact Lillian Sunwall at or 1-406-750-1253.

15) Congratulations to Great Falls Public Schools, Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, and Malmstrom AFB on winning the 2023 Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Exemplary Community Partnership Award from the Military Child Education Coalition.

16) The State Small Business Credit Initiative 2.0 (SSBCI 2.0) low interest rate program is still awaiting their third tranche of funding. This third tranche is on a first come first served basis, so start talking with GFDA now, if you have a project that could move forward with the benefit of low interest rate funding. These funds are limited and will be put to work very quickly to help our economy recover and come back stronger than ever. If you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a loan participation, contact Jill at or 1-406-590-1056.

17) The Ag Committee of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Future of Ag Tour on Thursday, September 7th. Learn more and register here.

18) USDA opened another round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). If you are a meat or poultry processor considering expansion but missed the first round of funding, please reach out to Anna at or 1-406-590-1301.

19) I had fun speaking on a national webinar panel for the Council of Development Finance Agencies talking about how we connect with rural and other hard to reach entrepreneurs and small businesses in our region.

20) Fostering local economic growth demands commitment, collaboration, and the backing of our valued investors and public partners. Discover more about these crucial contributors here. They recognize that enhancing opportunities requires investing in GFDA’s initiatives, which in turn drives our mission to foster high wage jobs and broaden possibilities throughout our region. We extend our appreciation for their consistent support. To become part of the team that is leading the change, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 1-406-781-9499 or

Have a fantastic week!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Curious to see how these projects pencil out?For each of the vision projects we have project analysis that includes Project Descriptions, Cash Flow Projections, and Rent Roll Summaries.