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GFDA Top 15 9/29/2016


GFDA Top 15
Here's the GFDA Top 15 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward. A bit late, but worth the wait.

1) Lithia started construction on their downtown improvements.

2) The Great Falls metro area real GDP grew 3.7% in 2015, on top of 2.8% real GDP growth in 2014, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Moody's had projected in May that our real GDP growth would be 3.0% in 2015, so once again we beat their prediction.

3) Loan commitment letters were signed for two exciting new projects in Great Falls! GFDA worked with Jon Boutilier at Stockman Bank to provide financing to the Farran Group for a 72-unit addition to the Talus Apartment Homes on 26th Street South near Great Falls College MSU and Centene. GFDA, in partnership with NeighborWorks Montana, will be providing $2,000,000 in gap bridge financing to help get the project constructed. These apartments will contribute a much needed boost to the local housing stock and create approximately 75 construction jobs.

4) GFDA worked with Chad Simonson at First Interstate Bank to help John and Lisa Chapman start Tacticality Workwear, a new retail workwear establishment that will sell equipment like boots, handcuffs, and duty gear to emergency responders and workers in other industries including healthcare. GFDA is providing $35,300 in gap financing to help John and Lisa provide a better shopping experience for our hardworking police, firefighters, prison guards, EMTs, healthcare and other emergency personnel. Watch for Tacticality to open soon at 1812 10th Ave South.

5) Support the School Facilities Bonds
GFDA urges you to support the Great Falls Public Schools facilities bonds. Great Falls is on a roll. We're moving forward. We're working together to build a fantastic future for our City's residents. Now is not the time to go backward. Vote YES to maintain and grow our economy. Vote YES to protect and build our tax base. Vote YES to protect our property values. Vote YES for our kids and grandkids. Vote YES because before you know it you'll have kids, grandkids or great grandkids. Vote YES because decades ago taxpayers supported the schools you attended. Vote YES because you want to see more exciting things happen around town. Ballots must be received by October 4th. It's not too late to register to vote. Help get the supporting vote out! Learn more at

6) GFDA approved a $42,248 brownfield clean-up grant to support restoration of the historic Charles M. and Nancy C. Russell Residence at the C.M. Russell Museum. The residence is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most important historic tourist destinations in Montana.

7) The Grace Home, a new transitional housing facility for homeless veterans, held its grand opening. Congratulations and Thank You to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the many community members and organizations that made this dream a reality! See Tribune article for more info and to learn how to support Grace Home.

8) On August 26, 2016 the new Great Falls FedEx Ground station opened for business. The station will serve the majority of North Central Montana. On October 17 the station will stand up its International Gateway operation joining eleven other Gateways throughout the U.S. and Canada. The strategic addition of the Great Falls International Gateway will immediately result in a Northbound service improvement. This will increase the company's international capacity and potential for growth. FedEx Ground will host a Grand Opening from 11:00 AM -1:00 PM on October 21st at its new location in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Join us to celebrate the first business to open in the Park, tour the new facility, meet the new management team, and talk with employees.

9) What impact do the new mandated FDA regulations - Food Safety Modernization Act FSMA - have on your food or ingredient business? Have you started your Hazard Analysis and Preventative Control Plan? These apply to all food manufacturers. Come chat with an industry expert, Claude Smith (MMEC) and your peers at the Great Falls Regional Food Manufacturers Roundtable this afternoon Thursday at 4 PM at the Mighty Mo. Email Jolene to RSVP,

10) Welcome TC Glass and M&D Construction for joining the Great Falls Team that moves economic development forward in Great Falls! Thank you to Woith Engineering, Shumaker, Gusto Distributing, and Edward Jones-Jerry Hood for their continued investment in Forward Great Falls! We are excited to announce the investors who support higher wage jobs, growth and diversification in our economy.  To join the team, contact Kelley Aline or 1-406-217-8384.

11) A valuable tool to help primary sector businesses in Montana to create above average wage jobs is the Big Sky Trust Fund Job Creation grant program. Depending on the salary and benefits, businesses may qualify for up to $7,150 per high wage job. We can help you navigate the process. Give Jolene a call to discuss your expansion or startup at 406.750.4481.

12) Jolene Schalper completed the International Economic Development Council course on Neighborhood Redevelopment. Topics included: Planning for Change, Place Based Strategies, Community Strategies, Business Oriented Strategies, and Sustainable Partnerships. Jason Nitschke participated in the America Small Business Development Center's national conference and completed training on the ProfitMastery financial analysis tool. Investing in our team so that we can add more value to your business!

13) Organic farmers across the U.S. sold $6.2 billion in organic products in 2015, up 13% from $5.5 billion in 2014, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Montana had 138 certified organic farms in 2015, farming 250,531 certified organic acres. Montana farmers sold $49 million worth of organic products, including 50,280 CWT of dry edible peas, 42% of the nation's total production, and 1,789,604 bushels of wheat. Montana farmers produced 52% of the country's organic durum wheat.

14) GFDA partners with banks across the state to provide SBA 504 Real Advantage Loans to businesses looking to purchase, renovate or construct real estate and fixed assets. SBA 504 loans offer the borrowers low down payments, and fixed interest rates for up to 20 years. If you're interested in learning more about SBA 504 loans or other financing to help get your business off the ground please contact Mike Archer at

15) The Transportation & Warehousing industry accounts for 994 jobs in the Great Falls metro area with average annual wages of $37,432, according to a study released by site selection consulting firm Garner Economics. The 360 local heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers earn an average annual salary of $41,950.

Congratulations to Jack Gladstone, East Glacier lyric poet and musician, on being honored with a Governor's Arts Award!

Untame Your Spirit!


Brett Doney
President and CEO

"Excellent firms don't believe in excellence -- only in constant improvement and change."
Tom Peters

Cost-Effective Industrial Sites Available
If your company needs a rail-served, 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 


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