Federal loans to county businesses could exceed $ 1.5 billion


EVERETT – From New York-style pizzerias and aerospace companies, to tribal governments and car dealerships, to private schools and newspapers – they all get checks.

Since April, between $ 500 billion and $ 1.5 billion in federal loans have flowed into Snohomish County through the Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released Monday by the Small Business Administration. In total, nearly 10,000 businesses in the county have received some form of aid, a handful of which cost between $ 5 million and $ 10 million. For Bluewater Distilling in Everett, like many businesses rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, the money provided by the federal program made the difference between staying open and shutting down permanently.

“Honestly, I don’t know how we would have survived without it,” said Samantha Hill, spokesperson for Bluewater. “We had to put all but a few people on leave who stayed part-time to prepare and serve take-out orders. It would not have been enough to run a sustainable business and it was a very stressful time.

Hill was put on leave when COVID hit. The day the loan matured in April, she was back to work.

“Within a week we were back in producing and bottling spirits, offering a new summer menu with extended hours and feeling normal again,” she said. “Business has since quadrupled from what we did when COVID started, and while revenues are still down significantly from what we did before the pandemic, we are running a safe and sustainable business. We have a great team here and it’s so good to meet everyone and see all of our regulars too. ”

Madison Bauer, who has worked for Bluewater for over 3 years, takes a table Friday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Messenger)

In total, the loans would save about 70,000 jobs across the county.

Across the country half a trillion dollars went to small businesses in all industries and sizes, according to a report of the Small Business Administration. In Washington, 100,000 companies received a total of $ 12 billion.

Businesses do not have to repay the loan if they spend at least 75% of the assistance on payroll or benefits. The remainder can be spent on expenses such as rent, utilities, or other employee benefits.

If a company does not spend at least 60% of the money on the payroll of its employees, it will become a loan that will have to be repaid in two years.

Congress initially allocated $ 349 billion for this coronavirus rescue effort and began accepting loan applications on a first-come, first-served basis on April 3. Two weeks later, the money ran out.

Lawmakers approved another $ 310 billion in funding and about $ 132 billion was still available as of June 30. Last week, President Donald Trump signed a law extending the deadline for applying for a loan to August 8.

U.S. Democratic Representative Rick Larsen of Everett has supported both rounds of funding to help workers stay on the payroll and small businesses stay in business during the COVID-19 shutdown. He insisted that the rules be changed in the second round to give borrowers more freedom and time to spend the loan funds, his spokesperson said.

United States Representative Suzan DelBene from Medina, who also voted for both rounds, said the program had been a “lifeline” for tens of thousands of businesses “struggling to keep their doors open for the COVID-19 recession. I have heard from program beneficiaries in my district and they could not have continued for so long without these resources.

But she expressed concern that some funds did not go to Main Street businesses, which are intended targets of the program.

Nationally, many loans have been made to brands or celebrity-owned organizations.

Kanye West’s clothing company Yeezy received between $ 2-5 million in federal dollars. The tour companies of the Eagles, Pearl Jam and Head and the Heart have also received loans.

“It is wrong that the professional sports teams, political organizations and luxury clothing brands had easier access to this program than most rural people, women and business people of color in my district, ”she said. “It is clear that we need stronger safeguards around which entities can use this program. ”

On Monday, the Small Business Administration released the names, addresses and other information of companies that have received more than $ 150,000 from the federal agency. The data does not give exact loan amounts. Instead, it offers ranges such as $ 150,000 to $ 350,000 or $ 5 to 10 million. These organizations represent approximately 15% of all businesses approved under the program.

The remaining 85% received less than $ 150,000.

Monday’s data release did not include the names or identifiers of these companies. Several press agencies continue the government agency to access this information.

In Snohomish County, 10 companies received between $ 5 million and $ 10 million: Everett’s Compass Health, National Food Corporation, Sunrise Services and Western Washington Medical Group, Mukilteo’s Electroimpact, Emerald City Pizza, KLB Construction and University Medical Contractors, Bothell’s Romac Industries and Marysville’s Central Welding Supply Company

EvergreenHealth Monroe, a 72-bed hospital serving eastern Snohomish County, received $ 4.52 million in the last week of April. Its revenues, like other small Washington hospitals, plunged at the start of the pandemic after the governor halted elective surgeries to preserve supplies of personal protective equipment and ensure adequate hospital bed capacity.

“The funding received has been allocated to support payroll and employee benefits, allowing us to further negate any financial impact on staff as a result of COVID-19,” said John Green, chief financial officer of public hospital.

Sound Publishing, owner of the Daily Herald, raised $ 4.1 million, publisher Josh O’Connor said.

“The funding is used to support Sound’s operations in accordance with SBA and PPP guidelines,” he said. “Due to unfortunate layoffs, which reduce loan forgiveness and funding restrictions from the parent company, Sound will repay more than 80% of the funding received by the end of this year.”

The Seattle Times also received a loan.

David and Juanita Gibson, left, enjoy a bottle of wine as Kyle Gavin works on cocktail orders on Friday at Bluewater Distilling in Everett.  (Olivia Vanni / The Messenger)

David and Juanita Gibson, left, enjoy a bottle of wine as Kyle Gavin works on cocktail orders on Friday at Bluewater Distilling in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Messenger)

The same goes for the Tulalips and Stillaguamish tribes, which are said to have saved hundreds of jobs.

One of the first loan recipients was Child strive, formerly known as Little Red School House, which has served Snohomish County families since 1963. Everett-based nonprofit provides services for children with developmental delays or disabilities, and first-time pregnant women, as well ashome parenting support programs.

ChildStrive received a loan of approximately $ 1.2 million within two days of the federal funds being made available, said Jim Welsh, chief executive. It was important to move fast to compensate for a sharp drop in income due to a drop in demand for some programs and an inability to organize its big annual fundraiser, he explained.

Because all of this has been paid in wages, he is confident that it will be converted into a grant that will not need to be repaid.

“We are committed to maintaining our payroll and retaining our employees, which the program has allowed us to do,” he said.

The Snohomish County Public Defenders Association, a private, non-profit law firm, is one of a handful of legal organizations on the list.

With federal funds, clients could gain access to lawyers, investigators, social workers and other professionals working on their cases, said Kathleen Kyle, executive director of the association.

The loan, valued at between $ 1 million and $ 2 million, covered just under two months of the association’s payroll of 108 people, she said.

Monday’s data release also showed which banks had transferred money from the federal government to businesses.

Banks charge interest on loans that are not canceled and government loan fees.

The Everett-based Coastal Community Bank acted as a lender for 2,700 loans, of which more than 1,300 went to businesses in Snohomish County.

“Obviously, we were happy to participate in the program, to help our local small businesses and to keep the money in our community,” said CEO Eric Sprink.

To find out how to apply to the program, visit www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program.

Correction: one the previous version cited an earlier rule for the percentage of the federal loan that must be spent on payroll to be forgiven. The Paycheque Protection Program Loan Cancellation Payroll Threshold is 60%.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; [email protected]. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

To see a list of all the businesses in Snohomish County that have received more than $ 150,000 from the federal program, find this story at www.heraldnet.com.

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