Top Ten – August 23,2022


We met pulse processors from Latin America this week during the Montana Department of Agriculture tour. We discussed opportunities for processing in our region as we toured Food, Ag, and Bio Processors in the Great Falls region including Timeless Seeds in Ulm, Agrolink in Cut Bank, Columbia Grain in Chester, and Adroit Overseas in Great Falls.

GFDA’s Top 10
Here is our Top 16 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) Downtown Great Falls wrapped up ArtsFest Montana! Here are the addresses of the new locations: 525 1st Ave N, 815 1st Ave N, 420 Central Ave, 614 Central Ave, 705 Central Ave, and 721 Central Ave. Thank you to John Pepion, Louis Still Smoking, Cobre, Jack Septa, Vizsla Bacon, Sheree Nelson, Royal Dog, Cameron Moberg, and Fasm for sharing their talents with our community. Check out this great video from Visit Great Falls.

2) Submitted a proposal to the state in response to a request for information. This particular project needs 16+ acres to build a large building that will employ 200-400 people in primary sector jobs. We had two days to prepare and submit the proposal. This is why it is critical to have your properties on Loop Net or share the flyer directly with us. The more properties we submit, the better our chances. Let us know what you have available, email Jolene at

3) Congratulations to Rustic Farm Girls Co., a new bakery that recently opened on Main Street in Conrad! Danyell Morse, the owner, identifies her new business as a small bakery that serves a daily special as well as a variety of baked goods each day. They also have unique gift and snack ideas available for sale. If you have a new business or even a new business idea and have questions please reach out to our Small Business Navigator, Tony Peres at 406-750-2099 or

4) Our next Housing Production Task Force meeting is this Wednesday, August 24, at 1:30 PM. We are meeting at the Great Falls Association of Realtors: 401 13th Ave S, Great Falls. Our agenda will tackle a recurring theme from our previous meetings, the availability of buildable lots for new development, and the cost of infrastructure as a barrier to development. We look forward to seeing you there or via Zoom as we work together to increase housing production for the growing Great Falls workforce. Contact Jake Clark to be added to the Task Force distribution list and/or to get the Zoom link for the meeting; 1-406-403-4937 or

5) Sunshine Stables in Cut Bank has a long history of horse breeding, racing, and recreation. Jake and Kalen McKelvey purchased the property from the Weaver family and are expanding the business with a desire to carry on a legacy of horsemanship for years to come! Learn more in the Announcement of the Week.

6) The third in a series of STAR (Strategic Teaming Alliance Roundtable) Roundtables with Northrup Grumman and other Prime contractors will be held September 15th at 8:00 AM (MST). This roundtable is designed to be a resource for small businesses to learn how to team up and/or bid on government contracts available on or near the missile wing Air Force bases and beyond. For more information on this event, contact or register here.

7) We have nine great companies ready to launch our next PeerSpectives Roundtable cohort. If your company is growing and experiencing the pains of growth, perhaps the insights of others who are going through the same thing could be beneficial. The PeerSpectives Roundtable for second stage companies will meet 10 times per year, share experiences, and work problems in real time. TWe have room for one or two more companies, contact Jason at

8) The Montana Department of Agriculture has recently started accepting applications for the annual Growth Through Ag program. Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) is a grant and loan program designed to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agricultural industry. There is a basic “pre-application” process that applicants must submit by September 12th. For more information visit the GTA page, or contact Rich Gannon at 406-836-2078 or email

9) Congratulations Rotary Electric on an excellent Montana Multi-Cultural Fair! We are excited to see this event continue for years to come! Held in Downtown Great Falls, the event showcased the ethnic diversity in the community with a variety of performances and over 20 food samples from around the world. The event was a huge success. We are excited to see this event continue for years to come!

10) Save the Date! The Great Falls Health and Bioscience Economic Development Strategy Retreat is scheduled for September 28th. Our consultants from Tripp Umbach will join us in-person to share the results of their study and facilitate working groups with key players in our local Health Bioscience and education community. If you and your business would like to be part of the conversation and/or the retreat, please contact Jake Clark at Retreat details will be available next week.

11) Downtown Great Falls gained another great new business. Fox’s Point S Tire & Service has opened in the former Mountain Tire location at 401 1st Ave South. While we were sad to see Mountain Tire close, it allowed another entrepreneur to expand their business into Downtown Great Falls. If you’ve been thinking about opening or expanding your business in Downtown Great Falls, call Christian at 406.836.0136 or

12) Tony was back on the road in Conrad meeting with businesses and partners preparing for the Business Pitch that we held this morning! These are open events where we invite people to come share their business ideas. We’ll be in Conrad on September 8 at 11 AM at Folklore Coffee. Join us! If you have a business idea you’d like to pitch or for more information, please reach out to Tony Peres at 406-750-2099 or

13) 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 at

14) Lillian attended the National Brownfields 2022 Conference in Oklahoma City. She was able to network with brownfield leaders from EPA and Montana and compare notes with other grantees from all over the US. EPA’s Brownfields has rolled out many changes to current regulations that will give the opportunity to make more projects happen in our region.

15) GFDA team member, Jake Clark, was out of the office for the weekend to walk for his Doctor of Health Professions Education degree from Logan University. Jake has been staffing our Health and Bioscience Economic Development Strategic Planning Steering Committee this year and will be putting his education to work for Great Falls as we move forward with strategic goals in the health, bioscience, and education sectors of our economy. Congratulations Dr. Jake!

16) The continued support from our INVESTORS has helped GFDA work towards our mission. We are focused on revitalizing our community, attracting investments, encouraging entrepreneurship, and creating jobs. Recent investments include: Community Division—NeighborWorks Great Falls. Together, we are committed to the common goal of growing and diversifying our local economy. If you are interested in helping us reach our goals, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

There’s much more from last week, but I’ve run out of time and will catch up this week.


Brett Doney

President & CEO

Here is a Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our GFDA 2022Q2 Quarter Index. In case you missed it at Ignite 2022, we unveiled our new We Are Great Falls video!

Great GFDA Career Opportunity!
We’re adding a second Business Development Officer to focus on growing the Food, Ag & Bio Processing Industries in the region. Download Career Opportunity.

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

August SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 4.977%; 20-year at 4.886%; 10-year equipment loan at 4.962%; and, 20-year refinance 4.900%; 25-year refinance 4.990%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all 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

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Early Stage Montana presents the2022 Montana Startup Summit September 29-October 1 in Bozeman, a three-day weekend celebrating Montana’s innovation.

Why do entrepreneurs participate in peer-to-peer roundtables? Because there is no substitute for hearing about the struggles of others at a similar stage of business. We have received 8 applications for our new PeerSpectives roundtable for second stage companies, but need 2-4 more. If your company is second stage, this structured and confidential just-in-time-learning opportunity helps navigate the pitfalls of operating a growing business. Contact Jason at to complete a participant application.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering some great workshops: Lean 101: Lean Lego on August 17th in Missoula; Demystifying Cybersecurity for Small Business live webinar on August 3rd; FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food (offered by TechHelp) at the University of Idaho in Post Falls on August 15-17; a CISA Region 8 Critical Manufacturing Sector Security Roundtable in Billings on August 30; and free Value-Added Product Sales Under the Local Food Choice Act workshops in Missoula on August 18, in Kalispell on August 19, and in Great Falls on September 30.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your registered due to renew in the next few months? continues to have issues with the transition from the DUNS Number to UEI SAM. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at for assistance.

The Montana Indian Equity Fund (IEF) business grant is now open and accepting applications. Members of Montana’s eight federally recognized tribes are eligible to apply for up to $14,000 of business funding. This highly competitive grant program closes August 31st. For more information on the grant visit the IEF website. If you’d like help applying for the grant or have additional questions, call or email Rich Gannon at 406-836-2078 or

Invest Downtown 2022 will be held on October 20th from 10 AM-Noon at The Newberry and planning is currently underway. If you know of a great Downtown businesses to highlight or if you have an opportunity that is ripe for development, please email Christian at or call 406.836.0136.

The new CDL truck driver training program at Great Falls College MSU will launch in August. Eight local employers are partnering to get it started, but more are needed. Thank you to Sysco, Meadow Gold Dairy Farmers, Gusto Distributing, City of Great Falls, REIC – Midway, Warden Paper, Holman Aviation, Hoven Equipment for partnering with the college! See CDL Business Partnership Framework. Congratulations to the College, Great Falls Job Service, Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and industry leaders for putting this together! Contact Tammie Hickey for more info at 406-771-5104 or

We’re co-hosting the Montana Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and supporting local entrepreneurs and existing businesses. Download preliminary agenda. Sponsor a session! Contact Rebecca Myers at or me at

The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce announced the inaugural Worlds of Work! (WOW). WOW is a career expo pioneered by West Alabama Works. Though NOT a typical job fair, this event opens new avenues of opportunity for middle school students they never knew were possible. The Chamber’s goal this first year is to have sixteen Worlds, each representing one of Montana’s sixteen recognized career pathways. On October 18th, 2022, WOW will be held at Great Falls College – MSU and the University of Providence (inside and outside) from 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Area 8th graders will be divided into groups and will have a navigator who will guide them to each of the worlds, where they will explore for approximately 20-25 minutes before traveling to the next world. WOW Varsity, the block for high school students, will be in the late afternoon, and will include sophomores only for this first year. Check out the West Alabama WOW. Contact Scott Wolff for more info at

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

The Montana Food & Beverage Show will be held November 7th in Missoula. Register at: AGR.MT.GOV/FOOD-AND-BEVERAGE-SHOW.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

USDA launched a Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) to help compensate producers with their livestock losses incurred by adverse weather or attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the Federal Government. LIP payments are equal to 75% the average fair market value of the livestock. For more information visit the USDA website here.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at

Montana Rapid Retraining funds are available to help more people enroll in workforce training programs and expand industry-driven accelerated workforce training courses. The Great Falls Job Service can assist with Rapid Retaining Efforts. Contact Beth Schmidt at 406-791-5869 or For business strategy/planning help to take advantage of this one-time opportunity, contact our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) regional director, Jason Nitschke at

Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

The Montana Department of Commerce launched an investment matchmaking website for Montana business projects. The Opportunity Exchange’s – Montana Investment Portal is a website where investors can easily view and connect to projects in the state. Click here to view listed projects. Click here to get your investment project listed on the portal. For help posting your project or property on the Montana Investment Portal, contact Kristian Richardson at 406-841-2032 or

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Jason Nitschke at

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at or 1-406-403-4937.

Looking to take control of your business’s financials, increase profit, and improve your bottom line? We have had interest from businesses in scheduling a Profit Mastery course. These courses are scheduled by demand. If you are interested in taking this two-day workshop, contact Jason Nitschke at or call (406) 750-0314.

Visit our relocation website This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

We have Brownfield Clean-Up money that we want to put to work! Our low interest Brownfield Loans can be used to clean up hazardous materials including but not limited to lead paint, asbestos, etc. Are you working on a project that could use some clean up? Call Lillian today to discuss eligibility 406.750.1253 or

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. We’re proud to host an MMEC business adviser who covers the Golden Triangle region. Contact Doug Roberts at or (937) 489-3985.

Of our online business planning tool, LivePlan, one said: “LivePlan is Awesome!” The LivePlan tool is helping her streamline her strategy in preparation for presenting to bank partners. We offer LivePlan licenses for free to active clients. Learn more about LivePlan on our website.

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.