57 Camas-Washougal businesses have received PPP loans over $150K

Business owners say forgivable federal loans helped save nearly 1,700 local jobs during first months of pandemic

An overhead view of the Grains of Wrath Brewery in downtown Camas shows the restaurant's outdoor seating. Co-owner Brendan Ford said a forgivable federal loan has helped the brewery retain jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed photo courtesy of Brendan Ford)

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:

Camas businesses

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

Washougal businesses

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.

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