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GFDA Top Ten for 10/22/17


GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 16 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen our regional Great Falls economy.

1) Ulta Beauty opened its new store in the Westwood Plaza. Local entrepreneur Rebecca Hannant has opened Bloom and Bean at 1008 20th Street South. See more details on her new store in the Tribune. I had the wonderful opportunity Friday evening to meet two young attorneys who have moved to Great Falls and opened a new law firm downtown, Boland Aarab PLLPBig Bang Pizza and Burger Bunker have opened their new shared location downtown at 24 5th Street South. Falls Mechanical started renovations on their future expanded location on 2nd Street South downtown. Batteries and Bulbs opened at their new location on 10th Avenue South.
2) West Bank Landing developers broke ground on a 33,468 square-foot retail and office building, another step forward in the $65 million riverfront redevelopment.
3) Started work on response packages for two new industrial leads we secured this week. Both companies have short-listed Great Falls. Continued work on a primary sector professional services prospect.
4) "Wow, I haven't been to Great Falls in awhile and this is impressive!" was a comment this week from a participant at the 10th Annual Montana Downtown Conference. We hosted about 100 downtown and community leaders from across Montana. We also hosted commercial developers from Montana and Idaho to show them downtown and riverfront development opportunities. Great job team Great Falls! Thank you to everyone who helped!
5) Montana farmer and rancher earning were down 71% last year. We all know how important agriculture is to Great Falls and the entire region. We're stepping up our economic development efforts to expand and diversify our food and agri-processing industry. Please join us for a special announcement about increasing our economic development efforts in this critical industry sector this Tuesday, October 24, 5:00 PM at Mighty Mo Brewing Co.
6) Our efforts to help Montana Eggs expand were featured this week on a podcast by Development Counselors International (DCI), a leading economic development marketing firm headquartered in New York City. This episode of "The Project" is available on iTunes or DCI's website. A transcript is available on DCI's blog.
7) The City of Great Falls was awarded $8,000 from the Montana Dept. of Commerce for the Business Improvement District and the Downtown Development Partnership to expand the very successful pedlet at Mighty Mo Brewing Co. to other businesses downtown. Look forward to more outside dining next season!

8) Want to help pass the YES for Cascade County Jobs mill levy to keep our economic momentum going? We need sign locations! Please email or call Jolene, 406.750.4481 or
9) Speaking of the economic development mill levy, we need you to share your support! We have a logo to post to Facebook, flyer, talking points, and information. A good starting point is to read and share the Tribune articlethat explains the request.
10) Moody's issued its most recent metro report for the Great Falls metro area (Cascade County) this week. For the first time in we don't know how many decades, they moved our local economy into EXPANSION mode! For years, Moody's has labeled us in Mature, At Risk, or Recovery modes. Let's keep it in expansion!
11) The Great Falls City Planning Advisory Board/Zoning Commission voted in favor of rezoning for the Great Falls Clinic's proposed 12 guest room hotel for patients and their families. It also supported the preliminary subdivision plat for the next phase of the West Ridge housing development.
12) In an article, Great Falls has been named one of the greatest sunset experiences in the United States due to the many activities to partake in while you watch the sky turn colors.  A feature like this can really entice those travelers looking to unwind under our colorful skies.
13) Welcomed a full house of 10 entrepreneurs at our monthly pre-business workshop, The LaunchPoint. Our next training is November 2, a webinar called Employee Retention - Creating a Positive Company Culture on November 2nd. The next LaunchPoints are November 8th and December 12th from 4-5pm at GFDA. Space is limited so register early for November 8or December 12. For more information on trainings or one-one business coaching, contact Jason at
14) GFDA's Executive Committee adopted a new Business Development Plan that includes an aggressive schedule of twelve out of state business development trips from November through June. These include three networking events with site selection consultants, at least three trips to meet with prospects, lead generation missions to the Midwest, Tokyo and Alberta, two targeted industry events, and the SelectUSA Investment Summit. On our travels, we will also meet with headquarters of existing companies in the Great Falls region.
15) Jill and Mike attended the National Association of Development Companies annual meeting in San Antonio this week to learn about new developments in SBA 504 lending and to network with SBA officials and other 504 lenders. The big news from this year's conference is that the SBA expects to have their new 25-year loan option available at the end of March or early April, 2018. There were a number of updates provided in the recently released version of the SOP which will impact franchises, the definition of special use property, SBA refinance programs and more starting January 1st, 2018. If you would like information on the recent changes to the program or simply want to know more about the SBA 504 program and how it can help you finance your business's commercial real estate and equipment needs with as little as 10% down, contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789
16) Met with Melissa Darko, Community Lending Director at Rural Dynamics, to discuss RDI's creative financing tools for entrepreneurs with disabilities and how their personal products may be used for business purposes. For more information, connect with Melissa at or Jason Nitschke at
Hungry to Grow the Great Falls region!


Brett Doney
Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

"Nothing in this world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of education derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
Calvin Coolidge
Upcoming Business Events, Training & Resources
Tax Increment Financing in Montana workshop offered by the Montana Economic Developer's Association, October 24, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM, at Northwestern Energy in Butte. More info and registration here or contact Gloria O'Rourke at
The Montana State Chamber is holding its annual meeting this week in Great Falls on Thursday, October 26, from 10:45 AM - 2:15 PM at the Hilton Garden Inn. The event includes a Workforce Development panel, an Entrepreneurship panel, and a luncheon keynote by Larry Martinez, President of the Davidson Companies. Register here.
The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a wide variety of valuable workshops and trainings this fall. Visit

Our Fire It Up! business networking event sponsored by Embark Credit Union will feature roundtable presentations and conversations led by experienced women business leaders. Topics include: marketing, packaging your business for financing, networking like a pro, legalities of hiring and firing in a nutshell, and creating a company culture to cultivate a work life balance. Join us November 14 at 5:30 PM in the Dark Horse Hall, lower level of the Celtic Cowboy. Register here
USDA opened a new round of its Value Added Producer Grant(VAPG) program that helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of new products. The goals of the program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income. Eligible applicants include independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer- or rancher-cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Grant and matching funds can be used for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Visit here for more info or contact GFDA for help.
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 Brett Doney at 1-406-750-2119 or
GFDA Job Openings

Food & Ag Development Center Director. Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. Help businesses and entrepreneurs to start, grow and attract food and agricultural processing operations, develop new products, and break into new markets. Involves market research, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project advocacy and client business development services. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in food/ag processing, business development, and/or economic development. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-55,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. Help us grow this important Montana industry sector. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney at Open until we find a great candidate.
Loan Servicing & Data Processing Associate. Exceptional professional sought for new position to support the growth of economic development efforts. Duties consist of servicing closed loans including loan payments, payoff requests, file management, loan modifications, annual file reviews, and responding to client and partner inquiries. This position will be responsible for implementing new software systems and transitioning paper files into electronic copies. Must be able to maintain several different databases to be able to provide reports to funding sources and investment partners.
Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, timely submission of reports, and strong computer and communications skills. Must be detail oriented and organized with the ability to be flexible to help achieve our overall team mission. Lending, finance, CDFI, government grant management and/or accounting experience preferred. Salary range $35,000-$40,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Please send cover letter and resume to Brett Doney at Open until we find a great candidate.
Hungry to Grow the Great Falls region

Grow and diversify the Great Falls regional economy.
Create higher wage career opportunities.
Improve market competitiveness.  
The first economic development organization in the Rocky Mountain West to earn accreditation from the International Economic Development Council.

GFDA is a certified Community Development Financial Institution and a 501(c)3 charitable organization. High Plains Financial is a certified Community Development Corporation that offers SBA 504 loans statewide. GFDA and High Plains Financial are Equal Opportunity Lenders.
GFDA is proud to host a Montana Small Business Development Center
and a Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
For more info, click to our website.


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