Business Bites: Rock N Chalk gym moving; Hopper and Ro reopens; pharmacies closing; Corda’s new album; Embark donates to local groups; airport considering light industrial park; GFCMSU dental clinic expansion underway, launches new partnership for business programs

Rock N Chalk

Rock N Chalk Gymnastics is moving to 900 9th St. S. units 3 and 4, the former Cheer Fitness location next to the Popcorn Colonel, beginning Jan. 4.

Hopper and Ro Paint and Design

Hopper and Ro Paint & Design has reopened in their new location at 1209 15th St. N., in the Flooring America building.

Joel Corda music

Joel Corda, a local musician, has released his new EP, available here:

Anderson Family Pharmacy

Anderson Family Pharmacy is ending its established retail pharmacy after 21 years “due to unforeseen and foreseen circumstances.” They’ve sold their retail prescription business to CVS Pharmacy and that transition was finalized Dec. 15.

“Anderson Family Pharmacy will be changing its name to Anderson Specialty Pharmacy where we will no longer sell retail medications but will still be caring for all compounding and compliance packaging (blister pack) needs. We again extend our deepest gratitude to such wonderful community and patients who have truly become exactly what we intended, our family,” according to the company.

The pharmacy can be reached at its new number: 406-216-3102.

Snyder Drug

Snyder Drug recently closed the pharmacy and and prescription files were transferred to CVS at 2001 10th Ave. S.

The gift shop and soda fountain will remain open for business.

Embark Credit Union

Embark Credit Union donated $5,000 to Toby’s House Crisis Nursery and $5,000 to United Way of Cascade County as part of its effort to provide COVID-19 relief.

In early October, Toby’s House Crisis Nursery announced delays for opening due to insufficient funding. The crisis nursery is committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect by providing immediate refuge and safety for children and would be the first of its kind in Montana. Embark recognized the significant need for this nursery in the area and made the donation to help close the funding gap. With this contribution and continued support from the community, Toby’s House is anticipated to open Dec. 28.

Another nonprofit in the area, United Way of Cascade County, has been offering funds to COVID-impacted families through its program called Essential Funds for Essential Needs. Recently, the organization asked the community to match a $50,000 donation from a private family foundation. Embark provided $5,000 toward the needed match. In turn, hundreds of local families will be helped with these funds as childcare, food, and housing expenses will be fulfilled.

Great Falls International Airport

The Great Falls International Airport is considering development of a new light-industrial business park. The project would be large 80-fot deep by 250-foot long buildings that can be subdivided into individual bays. The bays would be sold as warehouse condominium units. Similar projects have been developed in other communities and they are often purchased by small businesses such as metal fabricators, contractors, logistics related businesses, etc. that need a small and flexible space to conduct their business and can’t find an existing building that meets their needs. By purchasing multiple bays, the businesses can a space ranging from 1,200 square feet to 30,000 square feet, according to John Faulkner, airport director.

Great Falls College MSU dental clinic expansion

Great Falls College MSU’s dental clinic expansion project is underway and the last of the structural steel was recently placed.

Things looked a little iffy with the early snow storms and cold snaps this fall, but general contractor “Guy Tabacco Construction is still confident we’ll be able to make up any lost time and finish in time to be open for the 2021-2022 academic year,” Carmen Roberts, executive director of the college, said in a release. “When the snow hit so early in October, I think we all got a little anxious. And then the second round of storms hit. When the weather warmed back up, there was a collective sigh of relief. In the end, we had perfect weather for pouring concrete.”

The expansion, which started this summer, will allow the only dental hygiene program in the state to accept 25 students instead of just 18 into the program each year to fill a critical shortage of high-wage jobs while ensuring graduates of our dental hygiene and dental assisting programs have experience with the most up to date equipment in a modern dental office setting.

The 2019 Montana Legislature approved $4.25 million for the project, and Gov. Steve Bullock signed it into law. The estimated total cost of the project, including furnishings and technology, is $5.25 million, according to the college, and the school will use existing resources as well as raising funds to cover the additional expenses not funded by the legislative appropriation to make up for the difference.

Dr. Susan J. Wolff, CEO/dean of Great Falls College, has worked with the college’s development board to raise about $100,000 so far in gifts and pledges with various naming rights and other opportunities.

The expansion will:

  • Increase the number of operatories from 16 to 25 and increase the square footage of each operatory from 52 square feet to 115 square feet. The increased square footage will provide a better experience for students and instructors, as well as increase patient comfort and privacy.
  • Provide a centralized sterilization station and layout more consistent with what students will experience when they go to work in a dental office.
  • Enhance the lab space and expand its capabilities as well as providing more modern x-ray space.
  • Enhance patient privacy and comfort in a spacious reception area that will also serve as a study space for dental students when patients are not in clinic.

Great Falls College MSU partnering for business degrees

Great Falls College MSU and Montana State University-Billings signed an agreement that will allow students to start their educational journeys at Great Falls College by acquiring an associate’s degree in accounting before transferring to MSU-B to get a bachelor’s degree in business.

It may be possible for students to obtain both the associate’s in accounting and the bachelor’s in business without ever needing to uproot their lives by moving since both Great Falls College and MSU-B have robust online offerings and have been leaders in the state of Montana on delivering online education.

Several of the adjunct instructors in the program also work in the field.

Great Falls College also partners with Montana State University-Northern, which offers business classes on the Great Falls College campus.

The campuses recently launched the OneMSU Network that aims to meet students where they are by having them start at the two-year institution closest to them to complete pre-requisites before transferring into a specialized program at another institution.

Great Falls College’s respiratory therapy program is the pilot for the OneMSU Network and a great example of leveraging an area of expertise by an institution and making it available to a much wider audience as Gallatin College in Bozeman and City College in Billings partner with Great Falls College.

Students from across northcentral, southwestern and eastern Montana will be able to complete their pre-requisites at the closest of the schools to them before being accepted into the Great Falls College program that will be offered fully online beginning in the 2021-2022 school year.

It is modeled after Great Falls College’s surgical technology program, which has had classes in Billings and Bozeman for several years to respond to a need for surgical technologists in those communities.

The state and nation had shortages of respiratory therapists well before the pandemic, but the respiratory illness Covid-19 has exacerbated the shortage.

The OneMSU Network soon will be offering more programs from other colleges.