Top Ten – June 5

Here is our Top 16 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) The Magpie restaurant opened in Downtown Great Falls at 202 2nd Ave South; see KRTV.

2) Join the TC Glass Team to celebrate their expansion into their new building! Noon to 3 PM on Friday June 10 with music by Eric Fingers Ray. Congratulations TC Glass! We are excited to be on your team!

3) Congratulations to Toni Castellanos, owner of The Cascade Courier, for being recognized by the Montana Newspaper Association (MNA) as winner of the Best Page Layout and Design award. Toni’s team will receive the award at the MNA annual conference in Glendive June 16-19.

4) SBA approved an SBA 504 loan in the amount of $147,000 for a Great Falls business that has been leasing their current space. With the SBA rates being low and fixed for 25 years this business decided it was time to own. Take advantage of the low FIXED rates for the life of the loan. If your commercial space isn’t keeping up with your growing business or you’d like to buy instead of lease please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

5) Cigar enthusiasts now have a place to enjoy the rich pastime of cigar smoking in Great Falls! Omerta Cigar Lounge opened in downtown Great Falls at 3 4th Street North. Omerta is a private, members only cigar lounge. Find out more about Omerta Cigar Lounge in the Announcement of the Week.

6) Lillian was asked to present at the City of Great Falls’ ARPA FAQ session. She updated potential ARPA applicants on the latest transition news and how to navigate the registration process.

7) Congratulations to the Cut Bank Creek Brewery on their upcoming five year anniversary. The Brewery is planning a celebration on the weekend of June 18-19; check out their Facebook events page here for more details.

8) The Assistance for Business Clinics are back after a two-year hiatus. These are excellent professional development opportunities for business owners and human resource professionals. You’ll get updated on a variety of HR topics. In collaboration with local partners, the Montana Department of Labor will be hosting two ABC Clinics in our region in June. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce will host in Great Falls on June 8th. Register here for the Great Falls training. Snowy Mountain Development Corporation will host in Lewistown on June 9th. Register here for the Lewistown training.

9) Early Stage Montana is bringing its roadshow to Great Falls on June 22nd. They are recruiting for their 2022 Accelerator Series cohort and are coming to town to meet with startups and bring the local tech community together for one evening. Entrepreneurs, advisors, or anyone interested in getting involved in the local tech startup scene are invited to attend the Early Stage Montana Roadshow Receptions. Register here.

10) Montana ranks second in bars per capita, according to VinePair, coming in just behind North Dakota. We have 48.84 bars per 100,000 people. North Dakota has 49.73.

11) GFDA’s Board approved our preliminary budget for FY 2023 that starts on July 1st. The budget enables us to continue to provide all of the match funds needed to provide Small Business Development Center, Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Food & Ag Development Center, and Women’s Business Center services across our region, benefiting entrepreneurs, existing businesses, and future entrepreneurs in many rural and tribal communities. Thank you to our GFDA Investors who continue to make this possible!

12) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced details of a framework to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers. USDA is focused on increasing options for American farmers to process locally, sell locally, and adopt practices that are both good for their businesses and the climate. To learn more about this framework and get the details please contact Justin at GFDA or visit

13) GFDA held our Annual Meeting on June 1st at The Newberry. We celebrated accomplishments over the last fiscal year and outlined our goals looking into the future. As we prepare for our next fiscal year, we held our election for the board of directors. Please welcome these new & returning members to the GFDA Board of Directors! Elected for a 3 year term ending: (incumbent) Sherrie Arey, NeighborWorks Great Falls; Neal Dubois, 406 Attorneys; (incumbent) Andreas Geranios, Geranios Enterprises; Randy Gilbertson, Pasta Montana; Seth Haak, ERA Advantage Realty; Thomas Heisler III, Cascade County Tavern Association; Shannon Hoiland, Bravera Bank; Zach Mendenhall, Admiral Beverage/Pepsi; Dr. Renee Pera, McLaughlin Research Institute; (incumbent) Dan Rearden, Liberty Electric; Denise Schnider, North 40 Outfitters; Greg Thayer, Montana Milling; Morgan Tweet, IND Hemp; Sharon Virgin, Dustin Young & Co.; (incumbent) Len Watkins, Gusto Distributing; and, (incumbent) Pat Woodall, Montana Credit Union. Elected for a 2 year term ending 2024: (incumbent) Jennifer Fritz, The Wendt Agency; (incumbent) Dani Grebe, LPW Architecture; and, (incumbent) Dave Smith, Sletten Construction. We’d also like to welcome the following ex-officio members that have joined our board this fiscal year: Colleen Hill, Little Shell Tribe Chippewa Indians of Montana, Air Force Liaison Col. Daniel Voorhies, Col, USAF, Vice Commander, 341st Missile Wing, MAFB, and Montana Air National Guard Liaison Lt. Col. Ben Royer, USAF, 120th Airlift Wing, MANG. Welcome to the team and THANK YOU for your service!

14) At our Annual Meeting, we recognized Nate Weisenburger, AE2S, for his past service on our board. Nate served three consecutive 3-year terms and was the board Chair from 2017-2018. Len Watkins, Gusto Distributing, for his past service as board chair from 2019-2021. Len has served two consecutive 3-year terms and was just reelected for his third term. These great community leaders have provided valuable perspective and insight and are incredible assets to our organization. Thank you!

15) We are excited to welcome Shannon Hoiland of Bravera Bank, Nate Weisenburger of AE2S, and Sherrie Arey of NeighborWorks Great Falls as new members of our High Plains Financial Board. A big THANK YOU to Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing and Rebecca Engum of Great Falls Tourism for their years of service on the board. Their service to our Board was invaluable and they will be greatly missed!

16) Our investors represent a large & diverse group of businesses and entities throughout the region. They are instrumental in the growth of our local economy and we could not do what we do without them. Recent investments include: Community Division—IND Hemp and ERA Advantage Realty. We are so thankful for the support and partnership from our team of investors. Learn more about them HERE, and contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or if you’d like more information on joining our growing team of investors.

Feels great to have so many projects underway across Great Falls, Cascade County, and our entire regional trade area!

And, great to have United mainline flights serving Great Falls!


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.