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GFDA Top 12 2/21/2017


GFDA Top 12
Here's the GFDA Top 12 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.

1) A sure sign that spring is right around the corner, earth work started on the new office buildings Mitch Stelling is building downtown on 2nd Street South. The Dairy Queen on Fox Farm Road re-opened after extensive renovations. Morning Light Coffee announced it's moving to a new location at 1701 9th Avenue South to make way for expansion of Columbia Grain.

2) SBA approved an SBA 504 loan for a $1.5 million project in Fort Benton. Mike met with commercial lenders in Missoula and Kalispell to let them know that we do SBA loans statewide so that they can offer their borrowers a below-market, fixed interest rate for 20 years and down payments as low as 10%. If you would like to learn more about the SBA 504 program, please contact Mike Archer at or 406-284-1789.
3) Worked with two existing businesses on potential primary sector expansions. Worked with an east coast commercial broker on a mid-box retailer considering the Great Falls market. Great Falls College MSU is hosting a fun welding competition open to all Montana high school students tomorrow, 2/22, starting at 10 AM and ending with an awards ceremony at 3 PM.
4) Approved a Phase 1 for a local business looking to purchase and redevelop a building for an expansion.  If you are looking at a potential redevelopment project on an older property, prior to purchase contact us for more info on assessment at 406-750-1253 or 
5) Continued work with three established businesses working to improve efficiencies and developing expansion plans. GFDA's business technical assistance programs aren't just for start-ups. Let us know the challenges your business is facing and we'll help strategize and provide actionable tools to help you reach your goals. Contact Jason Nitschke at
6) Would your company benefit from a local Trans-load facility? We are forming a Transload Taskforce to explore the feasibility of creating a new truck/rail trans-load facility here in Great Falls. If you are interested, come to our first meeting 2/27 at 4 PM at Great Falls Development Authority (300 Central Avenue #406). Please RSVP to Jolene Schalper,
7) The Great Falls City Planning Advisory Board approved an amendment to the regional transportation plan to begin exploring much needed improvements to the I-15 Gore Hill exit, bridge and intersections. We need to increase capacity there as soon as possible to support further development.

8) Policom released its 2017 metropolitan area economic strength rankings which are based on twenty-three measures of economic results over a 10-year period through 2015. The Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) climbed 27 places in the ranking to 151st out of 382. We're making progress, but have a long way to go to continue to grow and diversify our regional economy, and support the creation of higher wage jobs.
9) Statistics Canada released population growth counts for 2016 which showed that Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were the fastest growing provinces. From 2011-2016, Lethbridge grew by 10.8%. If Lethbridge can grow, so can Great Falls!
10) Hosted a dynamic and active group of seven entrepreneurs at our second LaunchPoint workshop of 2017. Our next pre-business workshop is scheduled for March 21st, from 4-5pm here at the GFDA offices. Space is limited, so please RSVP at or contact Jason Nitschke at for more information on GFDA's free and low-cost entrepreneurial training events.
11) Jolene completed the first week of training to become a certified Economic Development Finance Professional. This gives us more professionals with the tools and ability to structure deals. Austin participated in training with the Montana Cooperative Development Center. If you would like help in exploring cooperative forms of business, contact Austin at

12) Pulse crop production metric tons in the United States grew by 86% in 2016; acreage planted increased by 45%. Great Falls is strategically located in the heart of pulse production, making us an excellent location for pulse processing, including milling, fractionation, snacks, pasta, butters, dips and spreads. Explore the business cases we've developed in partnership with leading agri-processing industry consultants. Contact Jolene Schalper at or 1-406-750-4481.
Don't Miss these Great Events
Embark FCU and GFDA are pleased to announce registration is open for both Fire It Up! and The Fire WithinFire It Up, a speed networking evening of professional development, is on March 23 at Electric City Coffee; click here to register. The Fire Within, a celebration of outstanding women entrepreneurs, is March 30 at the Meadowlark Country Club; click here to register.

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.

"Status quos are made to be broken."
Ray Davis

Congratulations to the 120th Air Wing of the Montana Air National Guard on winning the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the second year in a row!

Business Events of Note
The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a number of excellent training opportunities including ExportTech, SME Lean, Food safety and much more. Visit
Back To Basics Coop Summit, annual conference of the Montana Cooperative Development center, 2/27-3/1 at Fairmont Hot Springs. More info at
Join us at the Montana International Trade & Manufacturing Day in the State Capitol Rotunda on March 1st. Info at
Safety, Leadership & HR Conference, March 8-9 in Billings. Visit
2017 Governor's Conference on Tourism & Recreation, March 12-14 in Helena.
Cost-Effective Industrial Sites Available
If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, 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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Physical Address
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Great Falls, MT 59401
Mailing Address
PO Box 949
Great Falls, MT 59403