From Car Dealers To Restaurants: Local Businesses Receive PPP Loans

By Johanna Cano, posted Jul 7, 2020
Tidal Creek Co-op is among one of the businesses in the region that have received Paycheck Protection Program loans to save jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic . (Photo from Tidal Creek Co-op)
Car dealerships, grocery stores, restaurants, software companies and many more are among the businesses in the region that have received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal program with the goal of preserving jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to data released by the U.S. Small Business Administration, about 759 small businesses and nonprofits in the tri-county area, consisting of New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties, have received more than $150,000 in funding.

Of those businesses, the majority, about 589 are located in Wilmington.

(Here is a snapshot of the largest loan recipients, according to the SBA. Click here for a full list of loans $150,000 and above for the area.)

The data released discloses the name of businesses, their address, business type, optional ethnicity, gender and veteran status of the owner, as well as the number of jobs retained.

According to the SBA, 24,610 jobs were retained in the three counties by businesses approved for PPP loans of $150,000 or more, although some companies listed their number of jobs as zero or left the field blank.

Other data disclosed is the loan range, which goes up to $10 million.

Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, at 1414 Physicians Drive, received a loan of $5.07 million, approved in April, which supported 334 full-time jobs at that time.

“Upon hearing the possibility of applying for federal aid, LCFL was well prepared, with help by our bank partner, on what we would need to apply and submit the application as quickly as possible,” Craig Wagner, chief marketing and engagement officer, said in an email. “We recognized the importance of preserving our workforce as a frontline healthcare provider during an unprecedented pandemic.”

He said the process was straightforward and LCFL wanted to keep its ability to care for those facing serious and life-limiting illness.

The funds will be used to maintain the LCFL workforce and to offset mortgage interest and utility costs, particularly those associated with the operations of its three inpatient care centers, Wagner said.

The PPP loan has allowed LCFL’s operations to continue during a critical time.
“We, like many organizations, have realized unexpected expenses to not only preserve but also protect its workforce with large PPE [personal protective equipment] orders and technology investments to deploy the workforce remotely and implement a telehealth option that allowed us to continue serving patients while limiting the risk of exposure,” he said.
However, the loan could not cover the extent of the needs at LCFL.
“As a nonprofit, LCFL canceled several fundraising events and realized losses due to deferred or delayed patient referrals and a decrease in the length of patient stays, due to a decline from local hospitals, facilities, and community healthcare provider referrals, who either suspended patient visits or were preparing their facilities to care for an increased number of COVID-positive patients,” he said.

Another business, Tidal Creek Co-op, also received a PPP loan. It submitted its application for the loan close to the deadline, said Anthony Gargullio, co-general manager of the grocery store.

Gargullio said they did not submit their application early on because the rules for loan forgiveness and rehiring were unclear for them. However, they applied under recommendation from their lender.

The low-interest PPP loans can be forgiven if businesses meet specific conditions, which include retaining or rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels, according to the SBA.

Gargullio said the process overall was straight forward and it will use the loan primarily for its workforce.

“We plan on using the loan to supplement our payroll,” Gargullio said. “We’ve worked really hard to maintain our workforce. We’ve only lost, and now hired back, one full-time staff member. There is a certain amount allocated for utilities and if that becomes an issue for us, we might alter the plan, but for now, we will use it to maintain our payroll.”

The loan has helped relieve some stress for the grocery store managers, Gargullio said.

“The biggest thing of course is the looming uncertainty. We are a grocery store and we initially experienced an uptick in business followed by a drop,” he said. “Prior to COVID, one-third of the business was in prepared foods. We are now doing 30% to 40% of what we were doing previously. Speaking as one of the general managers, [the loan] has caused an incredible stress relief.”

Click here to see a list of companies in the tri-county area that received PPP loans $150,000 and above, according to the SBA.
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