TRAVERSE CITY – Clark Manufacturing Company received a million dollar loan several months ago through the State Paycheck Protection Program, a comprehensive effort to keep U.S. businesses running during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a direct incentive for small businesses to Keep employees on their payroll.
The money enabled Clark, 2485 Aero Park Drive, to use its 75 employees on two projects that will directly impact the national medical response to the pandemic.
“It helped us keep operations going,” said CFO Mike Novik of the loan. “We worked on two major projects related to Operation Warp Speed that the government was running.”
“We worked with another local company to make over 100,000 parts for ventilators here,” he said. “Ultimately, the product went to GM. We also made parts for a new assembly line they built to make vials and syringes to store them so they would have them when the vaccine was developed.
“That happened shortly after the PPP, in the May period,” said Novik. “The (PPP loan) helped us complete some of these Operation Warp Speed projects.”
Clark Manufacturing is one of 3,916 partnerships, sole proprietorships, corporations, corporations, and nonprofits in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties that used PPP loans to keep employees on payroll.
Those 3,916 loans – many of which have the potential to be granted and effectively converted into grants – brought local businesses nearly $ 350 million at a time when they needed cash to keep paying their employees. The grants were launched last spring, but full information on some of them is only now available.
The federal government released loan amounts and names of recipients for PPP loans of more than $ 150,000 in July. But for loans less than $ 150,000, only dollar numbers were released at the time, while the names of the recipients were withheld.
A dozen national news outlets filed a lawsuit accusing the Small Business Administration of failing to comply with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The SBA had denied FOIA requests, claiming that disclosure of government loan information, which comprised $ 717 billion in taxpayers’ money, could reveal business information that should be kept secret.
A federal judge sided with the news agencies in November and ordered the SBA to release credit details. Federal Judge James Boasberg described the SBA’s claim that disclosing the amount of the taxpayer-funded loan would expose a company’s payroll as “fundamentally flawed”.
On December 1, the SBA released the names of 4.5 million recipients of loans for less than $ 150,000.
The list states that Traverse City Guitar received a $ 23,647.50 PPP loan. The company applied for the PPP program in early spring.
““ My accountant said at the time, ‘Apply for anything. You have to try to stay alive so apply for anything, ‘”said Patty Hansen, administrator and wife of TC Guitar founder Gene Hansen. “We actually got our PPP money right away. What was good and bad because everything has changed so much. “
“In the beginning, you had eight weeks to use this money. So we got the money but weren’t open so technically we couldn’t use it – but you had to use it. So time was ticking, although we couldn’t use it, ”she said. “We brought our employees back immediately, that was helpful for them.”
Just before those eight weeks ended for TC Guitar, the government changed the rules by extending the useful life to six months.
“All in all, I think this program is excellent,” said Hansen.
She said the company had completed the paperwork required to apply for the loan waiver.
“You started accepting these applications some time ago. Many have already been taken, ”said Sid VanSlyke, senior vice president and market leader at West Shore Bank.
The SBA grants loans if all employee loyalty criteria are met and the funds are used for eligible expenses. They have an interest rate of 1 percent.
Business owners still aren’t sure how much taxes will cut the benefits of federal aid even if the loan is waived.
“From what I read, the IRS is going to bite us in the end,” Hansen said with an income tax bill for the full amount of the loan made. “The program was very useful, even if it had small bumps.”
Kathy Gwizdala, owner of Fife Lake Lodging & Party Store (Kathy’s Party Store LLC), received a PPP loan of $ 9,633.03.
“Last spring, every little bit helped than everyone … I don’t even know how to put it. Simply different, ”she says.
Gwizdala didn’t think her business was important during the spring lockdown, so she adjusted by keeping customers out.
“We just opened our window and did service through the window and hoped people would come – and they did. They absolutely loved the window service. “
It fell on only two employees. She usually has three or four on her payroll this time of year, but she can’t afford more than a minimum of staff.
“It’s slow. Actually, very, very slow,” she said this week. “Which surprises me. I don’t know if people are just cautious about the situation – maybe they’ll wait and see what the next week brings.”
The PPP loan helped her stay open to continue serving her neighbors.
“I am very thankful for that. It was a blessing, ”she said of the loan.
Wide range of loans
PPP loan amounts paid out in the five counties ranged from a few hundred dollars to $ 6.7 million for Hospitality Syracuse Inc and Pizza Hut franchises.
In between there were loans of varying amounts to a broad cross-section of the local business landscape: manufacturers, retailers, plumbers, restaurants, property managers, art galleries, building contractors.
The Grand Traverse Salad Company has received a loan of $ 2,985. Northport Physical Therapy, LLC received $ 5,040. Hillside Feed & Supply LLC of Suttons Bay received $ 7,559. Kathy’s Fife Lake Party Store received $ 9,633.03. Chaney Creek Construction Inc. of South Boardman received a $ 30,445 loan. Arndogs Oilfield Services in Rapid City received $ 57,113.37. KISS Carpet, Inc. of Mancelona received $ 112,500. Traverse City Glass received a loan of $ 161,483. Golden Fowler Home Furnishing Inc. has received a $ 207,800 loan.
Maple City Inc.’s Maple Valley Nursing Home received $ 306,015. The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy received $ 421,285. Cherry Capital Foods LLC received $ 497,100. Catholic Human Services, Inc. received $ 522,535. Northern Building Supply received $ 604,567.50. Oryana Food Cooperative, Inc. received a loan of $ 710,284. Magnum Hospitality received $ 921,145. Cherry Republic Inc. received $ 1,278,500. RJG Technologies Inc. of Traverse City received $ 1,830,792.50.