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Top 12 for 4-2-2013

Top 12 for 4-2-2013

1) Policom released its metro area economic strength 2013 rankings on Monday. For the 7th straight year in a row, Great Falls climbed up in the rankings, from 122nd in 2012 to 120th in 2013. This is a small step up, but since 2006 we've climbed 188 spots from 308th to 120th out of all 366 US metro areas. We're making steady progress and are headed in the right direction!
2) Over 150 people turned out for the 3rd Annual The Fire Within where awards were given to six women who started businesses in 2012. Congratulations to this year's Inspire award winner, Alison Fried, owner of Dragonfly Dry Goods, and to this year's Aspire award winner, Tracy Perry, owner of The Blue Rose! Special thanks to our partners who made the evening possible, including O'Haire Motor Inn, Clark & Lewie's, Sip 'n Dip Lounge, Women's Foundation of Montana, University of Great Falls, Inkfish Creative, Wines by Wednesday, Cascade County Tavern Association, City of Great Falls and the US Small Business Administration.
3) Worked with an out of state developer looking at potential sites in Great Falls, a Northwest retail developer considering the Great Falls market, with an out of state business owner looking to relocate his 100+ employee company, and with a local primary sector company on future growth and expansion.
4) Great Falls has a new family entertainment option! Flippin' Family Fun opened its new indoor trampoline park at 5501 9th Avenue South. GFDA assisted the start-up with business strategy and gap financing. Visit their web site at or call 454-FLIP.
5) Two more condos sold at the Lofts @ 503 in the historic Montana Building downtown, continuing the success of our first downtown revitalization loan. Construction has started on additional units. Contact Beth Schoenen at 406-899-8784 for info.
6) Worked with a local entrepreneur on a market-research supported development plan and putting together realistic cash flow projections for a start-up business, and with another local entrepreneur on a sustainable business model for a new retail concept being considered for downtown. Assisted a business with moving forward in government contracting.
7) The City Commission approved a second Big Sky Trust Fund application for the ADF Group project. We submitted the grant application to the MT Department of Commerce.
8) The City Commission approved on first reading expansion of the MaltEurop area tax increment financing district to include the ADF Group project site and creation of a new TIF district for the Great Falls AgriTech Park and Montana Advanced Biofuels.
9) Ft. Benton was awarded a $588,000 grant from the US Economic Development Administration to help fund infrastructure for a 30 acre industrial park that will host an innovative $13 million barley-fed farm-fish protein and ethanol plant with 19 new jobs.
10) We delivered a workshop titled "When Technology Kills: Marketing in 2013 and Beyond" at the Made in Montana Marketplace in Great Falls for 13 wholesale buyers and 30 local business owners. We hosted marketing roundtables for 26 Made in Montana Marketplace vendors where pricing and social media strategies were discussed in depth. We also presented a webinar on market research in partnership with the US Small Business Administration with 27 participants. We're hosting a "1 Hour Plan for Growth" workshop later this month, but only 40 spaces are available. For more info contact Lillian Sunwall at
11) Worked with Buxton, a leading retail analytics company, on a free retail leakage report they offered us for the Great Falls market. The report indicated significant leakage in several retail sectors. We're sharing the report with a number of retailers and retail developers considering Great Falls. For more info, contact Jeremiah Johnson at
12) We've been active in working with the Montana legislature on several bills key to our economic development efforts. SB 45, which would classify new hydro electric generation capacity as renewable energy, has passed both the House and Senate. We testified in support of HB 513 to exempt oversize load permits from environmental review under certain circumstances. The bill was approved by the Senate and returned to the House with amendments. Testified in opposition to SB 180 that would roll back the eminent domain compromise reached last session for transmission lines and pipelines. The bill was tabled in House committee. We exhibited in the Capital Rotunda along with 23 companies in support of the Montana Department of Agriculture's Growth Through Agriculture program that strengthens and diversifies Montana agricultural production and processing.
Congratulations to the University of Great Falls on its 80th anniversary!


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300 Central Ave. Suite 406
Great Falls, MT 59401
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Great Falls, MT 59403