Learn from a local entrepreneur why Great Falls is the perfect place to start a business.
Combine an enviable lifestyle with a blooming business scene and the result is Great Falls. Found in North Central Montana, this city allows entrepreneurs to build a sturdy, thriving business in the same place where they live in an affordable home, send their children to great schools and recreate with their friends on weekends.
More simply put, it’s the perfect place to live and have a rewarding career. Just ask Lucas Cyr, who, along with four friends, opened Double Barrel Coffee House Café in November 2018. The restaurant is known for its excellent coffee and made-from-scratch menu items. Cyr moved to Great Falls when he was 12 and has lived here for nearly 30 years. Livability chatted with Cyr to find out more about why he loves doing business in Great Falls.
Lucas and Melissa Cyr
What kind of resources and support were available to you when you started?
We stumbled upon them after we had opened, like the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce has been phenomenal. They’re by far the biggest supporter, cheerleader of new businesses and really encouraging – all their staff. They are just continually networking and promoting local stuff.
Of course, the Great Falls Development Authority has really taken off in their role the last three, four years, just in helping small businesses. And the community itself wants local. A lot of places say they support local, but Great Falls really does support local.
How has your business grown since you opened?
It’s definitely grown. Employee-wise, when we first started, we thought we would be four to seven people. Now, we’re running with 12 to 15. One thing that we’re proud of is we’re paying a lot more than we were in the beginning. We always want to be able to provide better jobs. We were committed to paying more than minimum wage from the get-go. And we’re up about 18% in sales since that first year.
Why would you recommend others open a business here?
The community and people, they are phenomenal. It’s a place to dig deep roots that’s not overdeveloped yet. Cost of living is still significantly less compared to Bozeman, Missoula and other places in the state, so that’s a huge advantage. It’s definitely growing, but it has that small-town feel and community feel. And if you want to be part of a community where you belong and are loved, cherished, this is the place to (build your business).
What’s one piece of advice you would give other entrepreneurs trying to open a business?
Look out for those around you. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Seek the best for everybody around you, for your community, and if you take care of those around you, you are going to be taken care of.