Business Bites: Community needs survey; Follain Physical Therapy opens; Family Promise receives grant; taco shop opens; Evans retires; downtown accredited again; Shakespeare in the Parks; KDS Fiber expansion

Community needs survey

Opportunities, Inc. has launched their 2023 Community Needs Assessment Survey.

This anonymous survey is open and they are asking individuals and families living in Cascade, Chouteau, Glacier, Pondera, Teton and Toole County to fill out a short survey.

The survey is part of a comprehensive Community Needs Assessment. The survey results help Opportunities, Inc. assess the needs of the communities served and build responsive services and partnerships to help meet the identified community needs.

Individuals can submit surveys with their feedback online by clicking this link to the survey:

Paper surveys are also available at the main Opportunities, Inc. location at: 905 1st Ave. N.

Business Bites: Qdoba planned in West Bank; Kenny’s downtown closed; West Bank construction; apartments underway for Touro students; game club opens; Voyagers field upgrade

Follain Physical Therapy

Patti Jo Lane is opening Follain Physical Therapy at 721 Central Ave., Suite 210.

“This has been a long time coming, fulfilling my dream of being able to help others in a way that fits my vision of healthcare,” Lane said. “What makes me different from the rest.. personalization, individualization, compassion, motivation, and flexibility. I will customize your experience to meet your needs and schedule, with the vision of you living your best life.”

For questions or scheduling, email Lane at or 406-750-8538.

Business Bites: Big Sky Quilts, Belles and Lace moving; B&B downtown building for sale; McLaughlin seeking summer interns; Give Great Falls, Home and Garden Show coming up; Craft Beer Week in June; nominations open for Fire Within Awards

COVID-19 immunization clinic

The Cascade City-County Health Department is holding a COVID-19 immunization clinic 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 5 at CCHD, 115 4th St. S.

Additional nursing staff will be onsite to accommodate walk-ins and no appointments are needed.

On April 18, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the COVID-19 immunization emergency use authorizations to permit certain individuals to receive additional doses of a bivalent immunization.

Eligibility information is summarized here.

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna bivalent formulations with improved effectiveness against the Omicron variant, a subvariant of which remains the dominant strain, will be available.

Please bring your vaccine card, if you have one, and your insurance card. Your insurance will be billed a small administration fee. All major insurance providers are accepted. If you do not have insurance, there is no charge.

KDS expansion

KDS Fiber, a local internet service provider, is expanding their fiber optic network south of Great Falls.

The network will be constructed May through October.

The expanded KDS multi-gigabit network will reach almost 500 additional rural homes and businesses south of Dick Road.

This project, as all other fiber network projects already completed by KDS Fiber, is not financed by the ARPA ConnectMT program or any other government programs, according to the company.

Family Promise grant

Family Promise of Great Falls has received a $15,000 grant targeted to help families facing eviction to remain in their current home and to help homeless families find housing so that they avoid entering a shelter.

The grant was announced by the national Family Promise program and its partner Clayton, a national home builder.

The funds are available for Family Promise of Great Falls to use innovatively to work with families so that they remain stably housed.

The grant requires at $5,000 match from Family Promise of Great Falls.

Business Bites: Bakery moving downtown; Crooked Tree second location; Buckle planned for Marketplace; Alluvion construction progressing; Les Schwab open

“Because the cost of housing has astronomically risen, many of the families we help are just one emergency expense away from eviction even though the parents have jobs,” executive director Greg Grosenick said in a release. “This grant will let us help several more families this year.”

Business Bites: Emerald City Casino demolition; West Bank Landing permits submitted; no, there’s not a Chik-fil-A under construction; Baatz project progressing; Zadick wrestling club; Wellness406 open; Family Affair reopens; local chef on Food Network; Rise Athletics teams place nationally

The $20,000 will be used to help families avoid eviction and entering shelter and will be available to families who need assistance with rent or past due rent, utilities, landlord mediation, move-in costs, and transportation.

Family Promise is working to raise the match funds during Give Great Falls this week.

Give Great Falls 2023 is May 1-6

9th Street South Taco Shop

The 9th Street South Taco Shop has opened at 1200 9th Street South in the former OP building.

Business Bites: OP closed; Paniolo Cafe open; Life in Bloom opening; Mike’s Movies closing; Act Normal Theater performing in March [2022]

Evans retires

Horizon Credit Union Market Area Leader and former Embark Credit Union President/CEO Deb Evans retired April 28 after 46 years in the financial industry and 24 years in credit unions.

She began working in credit unions in 1999 and joined Great Falls Teachers Federal Credit Union in 2001 as vice president of human resources, marketing and compliance. After a brief year-long departure from the organization, she returned in 2006 as president/CEO. She oversaw a rebranding of the credit union in 2013 to Embark Credit Union.

Her title shifted to market area leader after Horizon and Embark joined forces in 2022.

Business Bites: Ignite 2023; Central Avenue Meats, Enbar, The Block closed for upgrades

Livestock fees

The Department of Revenue recently mailed livestock per capita fee bills and reminds livestock owners they must pay their 2023 per capita fees by May 31.

Livestock owners can pay online through the department’s TransAction Portal or by mail if they have not yet paid.

Livestock owners that have not reported yet for 2023 can still report online.

Everyone benefits from programs funded by per capita fees. Livestock producers benefit from programs to monitor animal health, monitor and restrict livestock imports, track animal movements, prevent and investigate livestock theft, and manage predators. The general public benefits from programs that prevent the spread of animal diseases to humans.

Business Bites: Second legal pot shop planned; Backroads Bar and Grill opens; new casino, tap house opening; AgriTech expanding; dental studio open; Mighty Mo launches new community fundraising; downtown moves; traffic signal box call to artists; Great Falls Clinic unveils new logo

MS Walk

The Walk MS: Your Way Great Falls, MT (GFMT) is May 6 at West Bank Park.

Downtown accreditation 

The Downtown Development Partnership has been designated as an Accredited Main Street America program for 2023 for meeting rigorous performance standards.

Main Street America and its partners announce the list of accredited programs annually.

“We are very proud to acknowledge this year’s 862 Accredited Main Street America programs, and their steadfast dedication to nurture economically and culturally vibrant downtown districts,” Hannah White, interim president and CEO of Main Street America, said in a release. “The increase in the size and impact of our network speaks volumes to the power of the Main Street movement to respond to the needs of local communities and drive innovative solutions.”

In 2022, Main Street America programs generated $6.2 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 7,657 net new businesses, facilitated the creation of 29,174 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 10,688 historic buildings, and leveraged 1,528,535 volunteer hours. On average, for every dollar that a Main Street program spent to support their operations, it generated $24.07 of new investment back into their downtown communities.

City approves changes to downtown TIF programs

Great Falls’ Downtown Development Partnership’s performance is annually evaluated by the Montana Department of Commerce and the Montana Main Street Program, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet rigorous national performance standards. To qualify for Accreditation status, communities must meet a set of rigorous standards that include commitments to building grassroots revitalization programs, fostering strong public-private partnerships, nurturing economic opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and actively preserving historic places, spaces, and cultural assets.

In 2022, there were more than 40,000 volunteer hours, more than $13.1 million invested in renovating/rehabilitating downtown buildings, $225K in public investment, and eight new businesses chose to locate downtown creating about 45 new jobs in downtown Great Falls.

Food scene evolving, revitalizing downtown

The investment of over $13.1 million in renovation/rehabilitation of downtown buildings is the highest since they started collecting this data in 2011.

The DDP includes the City of Great Falls, the Great Falls Business Improvement District, the Downtown Great Falls Association, Neighborhood Council 7, NeighborWorks, Great Falls Development Authority, Cascade County, Great Falls Public School District, City-County Historic Preservation, Parking Commission and the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

Pet adoption event

The Great Falls Animal Shelter is hosting an “empty the shelters” adoption event May 1-5.

The event is part of the national Bissell Pet Foundation event.

The Great Falls shelter is offering $25 adoption fees for adult cats and dogs.

The city shelter has participated in an empty the shelters adoption event several times in recent years.

“Through the Bissell events we have been able to decrease overpopulation in the shelter while still being fiscally responsible” Laramie Smovir, shelter volunteer coordinator, said in a release. “There is a substantial cost to caring for these animals and with Bissell sponsoring adoption fees we are able to cover some of those costs and still offer reduced adoptions to the Great Falls community.”

Craig parking project

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks along with Lewis and Clark County will hold a joint meeting on May 4 at 6 p.m. at the Craig Volunteer Fire Department.

The meeting will provide information on the expansion of Craig Fishing Access Site to create an overflow parking area.

Also at this meeting, officials from Lewis and Clark County will give an update on their plans to use asphalt millings from the I-15 construction project to improve roads in Craig to reduce dust from traffic and lower future maintenance needs.

For more information contact Cannon Colegrove at 406-454-5854.

Shakespeare in the Parks

Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is launching their summer tour.

This year’s tour includes performances of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and The Three Musketeers.

The summer tour stops in Great Falls on Aug. 28 with a free performance.

This is the company’s first time performing Measure for Measure since the year 2000.

Categorized by scholars as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays,” neither neat comedy nor tragedy, audiences will be captivated by the way this play explores themes of power, class dynamics, and justice through a modern and inclusive lens.

A swashbuckling tale filled with action and adventure, The Three Musketeers will enthrall all generations of audience members as they get swept away to 17th century France, following a young hero’s journey as he embarks to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a Musketeer. Adapted by Robert Kauzlaric, this play is sure to delight audiences of all ages. This is the company’s first year producing The Three Musketeers.

This summer, the company will perform in 63 communities across 5 states including Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming, making this summer MSIP’s largest tour to date.