Coffee Republic is one of the many new developments on the 10th Avenue South commercial corridor in Great Falls.
GFDA’s Top 10
Here is our Top 12 for last week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.
1) JobsEQ preliminary data for 2022Q1 indicates that the average annual wage in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased by 6.7% in the twelve months ending with March, 2022. In dollar terms, the average annual wage increased by $3,028 over twelve months to reach $48,173. Total wages in the Great Falls MSA grew by $183 million or 11.2% in the four quarters ending in March. That’s a great increase in local spending power. Employment increased by 277 from the end of December to the end of March which we were pleased with because the first quarter of the year is usually our slowest employment quarter.
2) Pitched our region to site selectors working in diverse industries from across the US who were attending the Logistics Forum in Colorado. This forum is limited to just 65 economic developers and provides learning sessions where the site selectors teach us how they approach their areas of expertise and how our community can amplify our presence. At this event we also have ample one on one time with the site selectors. Our favorite question posed was: is your community investable? Taking into account quality of life, quality of place, and quality of assets for businesses and industry. Reach out to Jolene with your thoughts or questions, 406.750.4481.
3) Alluvion Health is renovating the historic Rocky Mountain Building at 601 Central Avenue in downtown Great Falls to be the hub for all their healthcare services. Learn more about Alluvion Health’s expansion in the Announcement of the Week.
4) The Great Falls International Airport won a Small Community Air Service Development grant that will be used to try to attract a new direct flight to Dallas Fort Worth. Thank you to the Low-Cost Airfare Initiative Partners, organized by the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, who pledged matching funds for the grant and to Great Falls Tourism that has pledged to fund a $132,000 marketing campaign during the first two summers of service. GFDA is proud to have pledged $7,500 toward the effort. See The Electric and Chamber press release.
5) We’ve already started seeing responses from Christian’s trip to Downtown Boise a few weeks ago. He went at the request of a developer and made good use of his time while he was there, visiting with other Developers and Restaurant groups. Since that trip, we’ve had 3 developers reach out to start conversations about possible investments in Downtown Great Falls, and the most recent one is looking to fly out to discuss opportunities in our market. If you have a great lead on a developer that is doing great projects in other Downtowns, send them over to Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.
6) If you are looking to support entrepreneurs in the Great Falls region, look no further than the Great Falls Farmers Market. The Great Falls Farmers Market aims to grow commerce through community. The market runs every Saturday from the first week of June until the last Saturday of September. The market showcases over 100 vendors each week with offerings of fresh produce, baked goods, crafted items, and much more. There are still plenty of Saturdays left, so stop on by the Great Falls Farmers Market!
7) The GFDA Board voted to move ahead with the purchase of 224 acres of land in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. This first purchase of land will strengthen our ability to quickly close on future business investments and make us eligible to compete for infrastructure grants to build out future Park phases. Thank you to Cascade County and First Interstate Bank for helping make this possible.
8) We expect to soon launch a new low interest loan participation product in partnership with the Montana Department of Commerce that will provide 50/50 loan participations with your bank or credit union. 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 Kohles at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org
9) Met with Livability Media to begin planning the content of the 2023 Great Falls Livability talent attraction digital and print magazine.
10) Met with a major regional housing developer team on their 6th visit to Great Falls this year as they pursue local project opportunities. We continue to work daily with this developer and with several local developers on several potential housing development projects.
11) Participated in the annual retreat of the Economic Development Research Partners of the International Economic Development Council. GFDA is the only economic development organization in Montana to be part of this work that produces cutting edge practical economic development research that helps us continually improve our work to maximize impact on Great Falls and the surrounding 13-county trade area.
12) GFDA relies on the support from our INVESTORS. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide entrepreneurs & businesses with the resources and help they need to succeed. Recent investments include: Leadership Division—Montana Credit Union; Pacesetter Division—General Mills. Our community is thriving thanks to these and other investors. If you are interested in being a part of the team that is growing Great Falls, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.
So much activity! That’s my excuse for being so late in getting this out.
Enjoy the fantastic summer Montana weather!