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GFDA Top 14 1/09/2017


GFDA Top 14
Here's the GFDA Top 14 for the past three weeks, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward. Nice to kick off the new year with some great announcements!

1) Columbia Grain announced a joint venture with Great Falls-based Montana Specialty Mills, an industry-leader in oilseed crushing and mustard processing. Marubeni, owner of Columbia Grain, announced that the joint venture will build a new plant in Great Falls with crushing capacity of 182 tons per day and refining capacity of 60 tons per day. Congratulations to these two outstanding long-time Great Falls agri-processors! 
2) Closed a $2.1 million loan package for the new Marriott Springhill Suites and the West Bank Landing mixed-use development. Our bridge loans will be paid back through tax increment financing, made possible by a partnership with the City of Great Falls. Our funds will be used for brownfield clean-up and infrastructure needed to make the project possible. This is a great example of our special bridge financing that we do to fund parts of important projects that conventional lenders can't. We have many financing tools at our disposal to help get projects done. If you need help getting your business or development financed, contact Mike Archer at
3) Town Pump announced two new investments in Great Falls, renovation of its operation at 401 10th Avenue South, and renovation and expansion of its 1400 10th Avenue South property. Construction started on the $3.8 million renovation of the 96-unit Vista Villa affordable housing apartments spread across the city. Fire Artisan Pizza started renovations in the downtown historic Montana Building. The novelty pizza company will serve up gourmet pizzas ranging from Thai, Greek, and Pesto. Target started construction on $750,000 in store interior renovations. Big Mouth BBQ announced plans to open a new restaurant in the reverfront West Bank One development. Cut Bank Creek Brewery announced it will be opening Cut Bank's first microbrewery. More announcements coming soon! 
4) Continued work with an expanding local manufacturer. Completed the review of a loan package for an area business looking to expand by purchasing an existing business. Continued start-up assistance with three entrepreneurs. Held an initial strategy session with a pair of entrepreneurs working to bring a new franchise to the city. Did you know there is free, one-on-one advising available to businesses? To find out how we can help, contact Jason Nitschke at 
5) Received a Brownfields Assessment Request from longtime local business owners who we have been working with that are looking to grow and update their business. Worked with DEQ and one of our environmental professionals on a former petroleum site for additional testing to facilitate redevelopment and sale of a underutilized property.  If you would like more information about our Brownfield assessment and cleanup tools, contact Lillian Sunwall 1-406-750-1253 or 
6) Worked with a rural manufacturer on a potential expansion. Assisted local business owners doing contracting with federal agencies on usage and problem solving of invoicing issues through various payment platforms.
7) GFDA's Small Business Development Center is hosting a two-day financial workshop, called Profit Mastery, designed to educate and enable business owners to better manage the financial parts of a business. Cost for the February 1-2 workshop is $125 to cover materials and lunches. For more information, contact Jason Nitschke at To attend, please RSVP here:
8) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering an excellent Capacity Building Roundtable business development program for manufacturers using the P5 Purpose, Process, Product, People, Profit framework. The roundtable will meet monthly in Missoula starting on January 31st.  For more info, contact Michael Manhardt at 1-406-218-9910 or

9) We work with lenders across Montana to offer SBA loans to purchase commercial real estate and fixed assets with down payments as low as 10%, and fixed interest rates for 10 or 20 years. The effective interest rates for January are 4.58% for the 20 year note and 4.59% for the 10 year note. For more information about SBA 504 loans or our gap and bridge financing, contact Mike Archer at 
10) Thank you to James Talcott Construction for increasing its investment in Forward Great Falls and to the Days Inn of Great Falls for joining the movement! These companies and many more are investing in their future by supporting the Forward Great Falls economic development strategies. We encourage you to support Forward Great Falls Investors. Click here for the Investor Honor Roll. Not on the list but interested in supporting economic growth, diversification, and high wage jobs? Contact me, Brett Doney at or 1-406-750-2119. Let's keep our positive momentum moving forward into 2017!
11) Greg Thayer, President of Montana Milling, was elected to the Board of High Plains Financial, our SBA 504 lending affiliate. Welcome Greg and thank you for volunteering!
12) GFDA won a loan capital grant of $52,500 from the Montana Dept. of Commerce, funds from the State Small Business Credit Initiative partnership with the Montana Board of Investments and the Governors Office of Economic Development. We're using the funds to help with the bridge loan package we've closed for Springhill Suites and West Bank Landing.
13)re you considering a new project? Whether it's commercial renovations or new construction, we recommend three things to help your project be on time, as planned, and on budget. First, meet EARLY in your planning process with City or County staff to discuss your project. Second, use LOCAL engineers, architects, and contractors who know our code, conditions and soils. Third, if your project is dependent on property tax abatements, apply for these with the City and County BEFORE you commit to your project. These tips will help make 2017 a prosperous and less stressful year! Call Jolene Schalper to further discuss at 1-406-750-4481. Let's get more business startups and construction starts in the ground! 
14) The University of Montana's Bureau of Business & Economic Research will hold its annual Economic Outlook Seminar in Great Falls on Wednesday, January 25th at the Hilton Garden Inn. For info and registration, visit
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.

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."
Henry Ford

Congratulations to Barb Hardy on her retirement from the Great Falls Job Service after 28 years of service, and THANK YOU Barb for all your wonderful assistance supporting our economic development efforts!
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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Great Falls, MT 59401
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