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GFDA Top 17 12/22/2016


GFDA Top 17
Here's the GFDA Top 17 for the last two weeks, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.

1) Trailer Terrace mobile home community celebrated clean water for the first time in a decade and the grand opening of Eden Market. Congratulations to all who have worked over the years to make this happen! See more details in Tribune.

2) We issued a $106,300 gap loan commitment to Friesen Nutrition for construction of a new $1 million, 10,072 square foot combined office, retail and warehouse building in Great Falls, in partnership with Dutton State Bank. Friesen manufactures fortified VTM nutritional products for Swine, Poultry and Beef Cows. Their products have highly concentrated vitamins and trace minerals that are natural, animal by-product free, hormone free and antibiotic free. 

3) Networked with site selection consultants at the winter Site Selector Forum. Worked with the MT Dept. of Revenue on property tax projections for a potential major new manufacturing operation in Great Falls.

4) The November unemployment rate in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) was 3.4%, our lowest November rate since 2006.

5) Met with an existing local manufacturer looking to significantly expand. We will help them link into state resources that could support the company's growth. If your company is looking to grow, we may be able to help. Give us a call to discuss, Jolene Scalper 1-406-750-4481.
6) SISU, a month-to-month health and fitness club, launched in Belt. The facility has free weights, a cardio room, and resistance machines. They will be offering a variety of fitness classes from helping seniors to stay loose to teaching local high school students how to lift correctly.
7) Worked with two potential borrowers on potential GFDA gap loans. The first is seeking to purchase a business in one of our nearby rural communities with the help of the SBA 504 program in order to take advantage of low down payment requirements and fixed interest rates for the life of the loan. The second is looking to purchase a business and building in Great Falls and can't quite cover the down payment the bank is requiring. We will be working with the client and the bank to try to put together a second loan to bridge the gap between what the borrower can afford and what the bank is willing to lend. Are you looking to start, grow or expand your business but need some help with financing? We offer loans with down payments as low as 10%. Contact Mike Archer at for more details.
8) United Airlines announced it is adding Wednesday flights next summer to its direct GTF-Chicago service. Alaska Airlines announced it is adding 3 early morning direct flights between GTF and Seattle starting March 15. Congratulations to the Airport, Chamber and Great Falls Tourism for continued success in securing new flights and lower airfares!

9) Leadership of the Blackfeet Nation came to GFDA to discuss the tribe's proposed industrial park. We want to see shovel-ready industrial parks across the Golden Triangle and will be working to support the tribe's efforts.

10) Worked with several local businesses competing in the government contracting market to add value to current sales. Helped them with the Veterans First program and capability statements to increase visibility to federal, state and local agencies for potential contracts.
11) Great Falls Public Schools was named one of the top 5 school districts in Montana for advanced placement courses. Since 2014, GFPS has increased the number of students scoring 3 or better on AP exams by 31%.
12) Continued work with seven start-ups in various stages of the planning process, all with goals to reduce uncertainty, test financial feasibility, and prepare to raise funds. Conducted an annual financial review for a well established company. Began an initial plan review for an business preparing for growth after five decades in operation. Completed a business valuation and financial analysis for a possible acquisition. Helped a young firm as it prepares to re-structure and relocate. Is your business respected? Are you different from the competition or just another commodity? Now is the time to strategize for 2017 and create a brand that gets noticed. GFDA's Small Business Development Center helped 142 entrepreneurs in 2016. We're here to help build that brand by empowering, creating structure, and turn your vision into reality. Contact Jason at today to get started.
13) NeighborWorks Great Falls celebrated the opening of its first rental development, First Avenue Estates. The downtown property offers 12 new 3-bedroom units, 6 of which will be for low income families.
14) Provided brownfield environmental assessment information to a developer on a downtown redevelopment project.  Spoke with an environmental engineer on a potential expansion needing a Phase 1 assessment.  Worked with DEQ and a buyer on options for a petroleum site looking for additional Phase 2 assessment to complete sale of a unused property.  For more information on GFDA's Brownfields program, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406) 750-1253 or 

15) Hosted the final pre-business workshop of 2016, LaunchPoint, with five potential entrepreneurs. GFDA's Small Business Development Center trained 189 entrepreneurs and business professionals at 18 workshops this year. We're adding more skill-based training, such as Profit Mastery in 2017. Stay tuned for our 2017 training calendar to be released in the first Top 10 of 2017.
16) Worked with the board of a proposed food hub co-op in the Great Falls area. The food hub will be a marketplace for local farmers and ranchers to sell their end products to local consumers and small businesses. If you feel there is an unmet need for services in your area, a co-op could be considered to meet the demand. To learn more about co-ops, reach out to Austin Walker 1-406-231-8370 or 
17) Jolene complete the International Economic Development Council's Real Estate Development and Reuse course. If you havequestions on a potential or current real estate deal, call Jolene, (406) 750-4481.

Enjoy wonderful holidays and make plans to Untame Your Entrepreneurial Spirit in Great Falls, Montana!


Brett Doney
President and CEO
Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

"An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive business advantage."
Jack Welch

Congratulations to the Conrad High School Team for winning 3rd place in the Montana Chamber's annual Business Challenge. The team grew its starting $25/share stock portfolio to $163.04/share! Hope I can get them to manage GFDA's 401k plan!
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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