Top Ten for 3/27/22

Jersey Mike’s serves up subs for the Special Olympics at their grand opening in the West Bank Landing.


Here is our Top 27 for this 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) Congratulations to the Airmen of the 12th Missile Squadron at Malmstrom AFB on winning the 2021 Omaha Trophy for best ICBM unit! See TheElectric.

2) The cost of living in Great Falls was 89.1% of the national average in 2021, according to the Cost of Living Annual report released by the Council for Community and Economic Research.  We are well below the national average – let’s work to keep it that way! To see a cost of living comparison of Great Falls to other US cities, check out our Cost of Living Calculator.

3) Networked with companies at the Future Food-Tech, World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, and Animal AgTech Innovation Summit in San Francisco. Released the defense industry findings of our strategic planning consultants to GFDA investors and partners, part of our deep-dive strategic planning effort to develop a new regional economic development strategy.

4) United Airlines will offer direct flights connecting Great Falls with Chicago this summer; see KRTV. The IND Hemp processing operation in Ft. Benton is benefiting farmers throughout the region who have been diversifying into hemp production; see Shelby Promoter. The new Jimmy John’s west side location opened, Mountain Berry Bowls food truck coming to Great Falls, Vintage Nana’s is opening a cafe, and more in The Electric’s Business Bites.

5) Great Falls College MSU is working with partners to create a CDL Truck Driving program in Great Falls. They need full-time and part-time instructors — download job description — and employers to support this important workforce development effort with funds, equipment, and commitments to recruit participants and hire successful graduates. Contact Tammie Hickey at 406-771-5104 or

6) The Montana Department of Agriculture sent out letters to the ARPA Ag Infrastructure Grant award winners.  $7.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds were allocated to strengthen and diversify Montana’s industry through targeted investments in value added agriculture projects across the state, including some excellent businesses in our region. To learn more about this grant or to view award list after April 1st, visit the Montana Department of Agriculture website. Contact Justin at 1-406-590-1301 for help with starting or expanding your food, ag or bio processing company in north central Montana.

7) 22 Great Falls Public Schools high school students have qualified to compete at the National Business Professional of America competition in Dallas May 3-6, setting a record for the highest number of local students to qualify. Sponsor a Future Business Leader and perhaps your future great employee! Contact Beck Nelson at

8) The Cascade County Commission authorized C-Pace energy efficiency financing throughout the county; see The Electric and Great Falls Tribune. We supported bringing this new financing tool to Montana through several legislative sessions. It offers a way to finance energy retrofits and energy efficient construction that reduces your operating costs without tying up your working capital. Contact our financing guru, Jill Kohles, for innovative ways to get what you need done financed; or 406-590-1056.

9) Construction started on the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics & Recreation Center, see KRTV. A new interstate meat shipment cooperative agreement will expand market opportunities for meat processors throughout the state, see KRTV. The Lofts @ The Station downtown apartment development was previewed by KRTVTeam Kaizen Games of Great Falls has been awarded a $27,000 grant from the Montana Film Office for development of Burst!, the first video game to be supported by a Big Sky Film Grant; see

10) If you’ve been Central Avenue this week, you’ve seen work has started on the former Greystone Inn which is in the process of becoming a high-end boutique hotel, The Gibson. Guy Tobacco Construction has been selected as the General Contractor for the project. We have many Downtown Tools to help make your project happen, from Tax Increment Financing (TIF) grants to Bridge/Gap financing. Let’s discuss how to make your Downtown project happen. Call Christian 406.231.8064 or

11) We approved two more hazardous material assessments for potential Great Falls redevelopment projects. We can help with assessments on properties throughout Cascade County. Many building and properties contain environmental contaminants that, if not discovered and documented properly before purchase, eliminate the possibility of cleanup funding for future redevelopment. If you are looking at redeveloping a building or property, contact us to get the process started. Contact Lillian at

12) We worked on two new business attraction leads for the Great Falls area, a manufacturing firm and a technology company. Both have their eye on expanding in Great Falls because of potential savings in the cost of doing business and our strategic location within the state. If you are interested in expanding to Montana and the Great Falls region, please reach out to Jake Clark at If you have an available commercial or industrial lot or building, or great land sites for housing construction, please let Jake know. We highly recommend getting your property listed with a great local broker and up on LoopNet.

13) It’s the Final Count Down! On April 4th the D-U-N-S number goes away permanently, and the SAM-generated Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) becomes the official authoritative identifier within System of Award Management (SAM) and all federal Integrated Award Environment Systems (IAE). Beginning April 1, 2022, at 8:00 PM (ET), will be down for maintenance to complete the transition and no later than 9:00 AM (ET) on April 4th will be back online. Get the latest news on this transition from your Great Falls PTAC by connecting with Shannon Clancy at

14) The Great Falls chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is hosting “The Generations Unmasked,” a one hour seminar designed to help employers understand generational conflict in the workplace. For more information, please contact Marisa Jacobs at and RSVP by Friday, April 8th.

15) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering a Cybersecurity Challenge to Montana manufacturers. They are also offering Lean 101 workshops in May. Sign up here to get email notice of all of MMEC’s services and trainings.

16) Jersey Mike’s celebrated their grand opening Wednesday in the West Bank Landing. Great Falls is a great place to locate a new franchise because it’s such an underserved market with pent up demand. If you are interested in launching a franchise in the Great Falls region, call Jolene Schalper at 406-750-4481.

17) The US Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Montana District Office featured one of our success stories in their recent Treasure State Tuesday Spotlight. Check out how GFDA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the Glacier County Port Authority were able to add value to Los Tacos De Montana of Cut Bank, by clicking here.

18) Jake and Jolene are gearing up for ICSC Las Vegas 2022 (formerly RECON), a gathering of dealmakers and industry experts, who are driving innovation and evolution in the Marketplaces Industry. We are expanding our target list of businesses to approach for attraction to the Great Falls area. If you know of any national or regional brands you think would be successful in our market, please reach out to Jake Clark

19) The US Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) notified us that Jason Nitschke has been selected as one of six national Boots to Business Instructors of the Year for 2021! Congratulations Jason!! Our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has supported this national effort since 2013, primarily delivering the Boots to Business: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship curriculum at Malmstrom Air Force Base as part of the Transition Assistance Program.

20) The new Housing Production Task Force will kick-off on March 29 at 4:00 PM. If you would like to participate in the task force, email me at even if you can’t make this meeting so I can add you to distribution list. The task force is going to brainstorm creative ways we can make more housing development happen in our market, then work to implement the best ideas.

21) The Montana International Trade & Investment Day will be held May 4th in Missoula.

22) Nominations are open for the 2022 The Fire Within – a celebration of women entrepreneurs! We are seeking nominations of female entrepreneurs from throughout the Golden Triangle for Aspire Candidates, women who have been in business under five years, and Inspire Candidates, who have been in business over five years. The awards are achieved by showing strong business acumen and a track record of business success. Nominate your candidates here.

23) A Q&A session on How & Why to Hire and Attorney For Your Business is being offered this Wednesday, March 30, 12:00 PM by Accelerate Montana’s Rural Innovation Initiative.

24) Pat Woodall of Montana Credit Union has been appointed to our GFDA Board of Directors, replacing Steve King of Montana Credit Union. Thank you for your service and support Steve and welcome Pat!

25) Heidi Gibson started work as our new Resource Director. We have a new GFDA Career Opportunity for a Small Business Navigator. Download a description of our great career opportunities.

26) Employers, a statewide Job Fair will be held at the Montana State Prison on April 27. Contact Beth Schmidt, Manager of the Montana Job Service Great Falls and all-around great resource for workforce recruitment and training; or 406-791-5869.

27) Our region is seeing growth like never before thanks in part to the support from our investors & public partners. Recent investments include: Pacesetter Division—Douglas Wilson & Company, P.C.. Because of their generosity & continued support, we can keep working to Grow Great Falls! If you want to join our team of investors, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Great to be back in Great Falls after three weeks traveling across the country. Congratulations to the Great Falls Association of Homebuilders for the Great Falls Home & Garden Show this weekend!

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.