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GFDA Top 7 For The Week

Here is the final weekly GFDA Top 7 for 2011:
1) Secured approval from the Montana Board of Investments for two low interest loan participations totaling $347,500, one in partnership with Stockman Bank and one with Bank of Montana. These participations will assist business expansions.
2) Continued efforts to bring an advanced manufacturer to Great Falls by submitting a low interest loan participation application to the state in partnership with Harris Bank.
3) Started business strategy technical assistance work with three new small businesses, including an out of state entrepreneur planning to open a franchised food concept in Great Falls, an existing business owner needing financial modeling assistance to make a strategic decision in 2012, and a start-up entrepreneur seeking help with market research and business planning.
4) Four new Directors were elected to GFDA's Board by our private investors. Joining our Board are Deb Evans of Great Falls Teachers Federal Credit Union, Allen Funderburk of Grabofsky Van Heel & Funderburk, Shannon Hoiland of Greenup Lawn & Sprinklers, and Glenn Lambert of Cascade Farmers Mutual Insurance.
5) Bed tax revenue in Cascade County is running 8% higher than last year for the first 3 quarters of 2011. In the last 7 years, we've averaged an annual increase of 8% which indicates a strong and growing lodging sector.
6) Closing out 2011, the Great Falls metro area climbed 29 places in Policom's Economic Strength Ranking that measures how metro area economies are behaving. The ranking is based on 10 measures of personal earnings, 10 measures of dollar flow (focusing on small business, construction and retail) and 4 measures of dependence on welfare and Medicaid. Since 2006, we have climbed 135 spots with consistent climbing every year. We still have a long way to go to strengthen our economy. In 2011, we ranked 173rd of 366 US metro areas, breaking into the top half for the first time. We were ranked 308th in 2006. Amongst our benchmark cities, we ranked 8th in 2011, ahead of Idaho Falls (225th), Yakima (243rd), Logan (264th) and Grand Forks (302nd), but behind Fargo (23rd), Billings (51st), Missoula (91st), Bismarck (100th), Casper (128th), Coeur d'Alene (135th) and Rapid City (137th).
7) The Wall Street Journal published an article this week noting the importance of small businesses in job creation. ADP's payroll data for November indicated 53% of new jobs were created by businesses with up to 49 employees, 41% by businesses with 50-499 employees, and 6% by businesses with 500 or more employees.
Congratulations to Benefis for once again earning the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence for clinical outcomes in the top 5% nationwide. That makes 7 times in 8 years!
Congratulations to Bowser Brewing for opening Great Falls' first microbrewery tap room (at least in modern times)!

Enjoy a safe and happy New Year. May it be a prosperous year for Great Falls and our entire trade area!


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