Nearly 60 Camas-Washougal businesses have received forgivable federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in excess of $150,000 according to documents released by the Small Business Administration and United States Treasury.
Part of the $2 trillion bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March, the PPP loans were meant to give small businesses the money they needed to keep people on their payroll, rehire employees who had been laid off and cover certain overhead expenses, such as rent and utilities. The loans will be forgiven if businesses used the money for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. If not, the loans come with a 1-percent interest rate and deferred repayment plans.
Local businesses that received PPP loans of at least $150,000 included a private Christian school, at least one fast-food franchise, a company that designs and manufactures military-style tactical equipment and the parent company for a chain of craft stores. The exact number of Camas-Washougal businesses that were able to secure PPP loans is unknown, as the federal government has only released data for those businesses that took out loans of at least $150,000.
Locally, 57 businesses — 37 in Camas and 20 in Washougal — received PPP loans in amounts that ranged from $150,000 to $10 million.
The federal government released loan ranges starting at $150,000 to $350,000 and going up to $5 million to $10 million instead of exact loan amounts.
Combined, the PPP loans provided between $14.95 million and $33.8 million to Camas businesses and between $6.3 million and $15.25 million to Washougal businesses.
Most of the data shows how many jobs the businesses retained as a result of the PPP loans. In Camas, the loan money retained at least 1,092 jobs. In Washougal, at least 660 jobs were saved because of the PPP funds.
Although many businesses did not respond to the Post-Record’s requests for comment, business leaders who did said the PPP money made a world of difference during the early stages of the pandemic.
“Without it, we would not have been able to retain employees,” said Brendan Ford, a co-founder of two Camas businesses: Fuel Medical Group and Grains of Wrath Brewery. “We would have had massive furloughs.”
Ford said the process of securing the forgivable loans was not simple.
“There were hundreds of thousands of businesses applying, so it was a scary time because you didn’t know if you were going to get a loan or not,” Ford said. “We were lucky to have a private banker, US Bank, that took care of us and gave us some personal attention, which was awesome.”
Ford said the PPP loans “literally saved jobs” at both of his businesses.
“We were able to keep limited staff on at Grains of Wrath and, on the Fuel Medical side, without those funds, 90 people or more would have had to go on furlough.”
The money — combined with the fact that so many employees did not have to worry about their job status during the early months of the pandemic — helped “engerize” his workers, Ford added.
“They could say, ‘OK, we’ve got protection,’ and focus on helping the business survive and come out of this instead of worrying about having a job,” Ford said.
Ford said about 94 percent of his employees at Fuel Medical Group transitioned to a remote work environment at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and have been able to retain that type of remote flexibility as the pandemic lingers.
Although Ford has had to weather the shuttering and limited service rules connected to his Grains of Wrath brewery and restaurant in downtown Camas, the pandemic actually proved somewhat beneficial to the Fuel Medical Group’s business model, which provides support to medical practices throughout the country.
“As we were going through the pandemic, we were actually finding that our services were in greater need,” Ford said.
Although Fuel Medical saw a huge dip in revenues at the very beginning of the pandemic, Ford said the business has recovered since April.
“We’re thankful to be back to almost 100 percent of what we were doing (pre-COVID) from a revenue standpoint,” he said.
Ford said that, because his businesses spent the vast majority of their PPP funds on personnel, he expects that both loans — for Fuel Medical Group as well as Grains of Wrath — will be forgiven by the federal government.
Following is the full list of businesses in Camas-Washougal approved for PPP loans of at least $150,000:
SIGMA DESIGN: $5 million to $10 million; 219 jobs
TOTAL MECHANICAL: $2 million to $5 million; unknown number of jobs
FUEL MEDICAL GROUP: $1 million to $2 million; 105 jobs
JESON ENTERPRISES (Founded in 1980, Jeson Enterprises is the parent company of eight Craft Warehouse stores in Oregon, Washington and Idaho): $1 million to $2 million; unknown number of jobs
ROBERTSON & OLSON CONSTRUCTION: $350,000 to $1 million; 66 jobs
THE INTELITECH GROUP: $350,000 to $1 million; unknown number of jobs
CHEN INSTRUMENT DESIGN (CID Bio-Science, a 31-year-old company that designs instruments for agricultural and environmental plant research, is located in the former American Legion Hall in Camas): $350,000 to $1 million; 24 jobs
JORCODY RESTAURANTS (Wendy’s franchises): $350,000 to $1 million; 157 jobs
RIVER CAPITAL LOGISTICS: $350,000 to $1 million; 33 jobs
ALMAR TOOL & CUTTER GRINDERS: $150,000 to $350,000; 14 jobs
AMERICAN MARBLE & GRANITE: $150,000 to $350,000; 15 jobs
ARGOS SCIENTIFIC: $150,000 to $350,000; 10 jobs
BARRETT AND COMPANY: $150,000 to $350,000; unknown number of jobs
BROKER KNOWLEDGE GROUP: $150,000 to $350,000; 11 jobs
BYRV WASHINGTON: $150,000 to $350,000; 32 jobs
CHRISTIAN HOLINESS INSTITUTE FOR LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT (Camas Christian Academy is a private, Christian school with students ranging from preschool age to high schoolers): $150,000 to $350,000; 44 jobs
EARTH ENGINEERS: $150,000 to $350,000; 15 jobs
CMGC: $150,000 to $350,000; 53 jobs
HAAG & SHAW: $150,000 to $350,000; 10 jobs
JENNIFER L HOUGH DMD: $150,000 to $350,000; 15 jobs
K & C FROST: $150,000 to $350,000; unknown number of jobs
LEAK SEAL ROOFING: $150,000 to $350,000; unknown number of jobs
RTM ENTERPRISES: $150,000 to $350,000; 21 jobs
SAMSON SPORTS: $150,000 to $350,000; 24 jobs
SIGNALING SYSTEM SOLUTIONS: $150,000 to $350,000; nine jobs
T&T ACCOUNTING: $150,000 to $350,000; one job
TOP PERFORMANCE AUTOMOTIVE: $150,000 to $350,000; 14 jobs
VANCOUVER PAINT GROUP: $150,000 to $350,000; 19 jobs
GUNDERSON’S ASSOCIATED TIRE CENTERS: $150,000 to $350,000; 24 jobs
GFY LIBATIONS (Grains of Wrath Brewery): $150,000 to $350,000; 35 jobs
HEATGUY, LLC DBA HEATGUY SHEET METAL: $150,000 to $350,000; 22 jobs
REALITY ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS: $150,000 to $350,000; one job
ROOTABEGA (Roots Restaurant and Bar): $150,000 to $350,000; 34 jobs
SKT2 LLC (Kagwerks, a gun-training and military-style tactical gear manufacturing company leasing space from the Camas School District inside the former UL building): $150,000 to $350,000; 15 jobs
SURGICAL TRAINING INSTITUTE: $150,000 to $350,000; 21 jobs
THE SKORCH GROUP LLC DBA THE HAMMOND RESTAURANT: $150,000 to $350,000; six jobs
WHEN THE SHOE FITS: $150,000 to $350,000; 23 jobs
BALLARD MARINE CONSTRUCTION: $2 million to $5 million; 231 jobs
PILLER AIMMCO: $1 million to $2 million; 130 jobs
CLARY CAMAS (Westlie Ford car dealership): $350,000 to $1 million; 49 jobs
FOODS IN SEASON (A company that secures specialty foods for restaurants around the nation, which is located in the Port of Camas-Washougal industrial park): $350,000 to $1 million; 36 jobs
MCDONALD EXCAVATING: $350,000 to $1 million; unknown number of jobs
DAN’S TOP NOTCH SHEET METAL: $150,000 to $350,000; 15 jobs
DAVID J STINCHFIELD, PC: $150,000 to $350,000; unknown number of jobs
ETEC: $150,000 to $350,000; unknown number of jobs
BLACKSTONE FIRE PROTECTION: $150,000 to $350,000; 10 jobs
J. STOUT ENTERPRISES: $150,000 to $350,000; 16 jobs
KLOPMAN CONSTRUCTION MAINTENANCE: $150,000 to $350,000; 18 jobs
LKE CORPORATION: $150,000 to $350,000; seven jobs
NORTHWEST ADHESIVES: $150,000 to $350,000; 21 jobs
ORCHARD HILLS ANIMAL HOSPITAL: $150,000 to $350,000; 27 jobs
PHASE II TRANSPORTATION: $150,000 to $350,000; 16 jobs
EXPRESS FIRE SYSTEMS: $150,000 to $350,000; 27 jobs
STRONGTREE PRODUCTS: $150,000 to $350,000; unknown number of jobs
SUNBRIDGE SOLAR: $150,000 to $350,000; 20 jobs
ALLEN BROWN WOODWASTE: $150,000 to $350,000; 17 jobs
CORROSION COMPANIES: $150,000 to $350,000; 20 jobs
The information on companies that received forgivable, federal PPP loans of at least $150,000 is courtesy of a database published by the nonprofit investigative group Propublica. To find more information on businesses that received these PPP loans, including their bank representatives, visit projects.propublica.org/coronavirus/bailouts.