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Loans Helped Local Businesses During Pandemic

Pictured is Tom Holt, president and CEO of Lutheran Jamestown. Lutheran received $4.94 million through the Paycheck Protection Program, one of nine businesses, nonprofits or organizations in the county to receive at least $2 million. Submitted photo

Just over 1,300 businesses, nonprofits and organizations in Chautauqua County received federal assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.

The loans, which totaled between $109.2 million and $208.2 million, ranged in size from $375 to an undisclosed Jamestown business with one reported employee to almost $5 million to Maplevale Farms Inc. in Falconer with nearly 200 workers.

As reported by The Post-Journal in July 2020, nine businesses, nonprofits and organizations received at least $2 million in forgivable loans to help them retain their workforces. Since then, more data has been made available by the Small Business Administration, detailing just how much assistance has been funneled to employers of all shapes and sizes in the region.

Maplevale Farms received two PPP loans totaling $4.99 million while Lutheran Social Services obtained about $4.94 million in loans — representing what are believed to be the largest disbursements in the county.

Douglas Neckers, Maplevale Farms president, said it felt “like the bottom fell out of the world” on March 15 of last year. He said that first week, as the pandemic struck, sales dropped by nearly 50%.

“We were very fortunate to qualify for a PPP loan,” Neckers said, “and we are very grateful that it came at such a challenging time.”

The loans Lutheran received have been a “lifeline in many ways,” said Tom Holt, CEO and president. The impacts the pandemic would have on the skilled nursing and adult care industries weren’t as clearly visible at the onset. Since then, Holt has seen a “huge shift” in the industry, with capacity off by 20% and thus resulting in a one-fifth revenue decline.

“The Paycheck Protection Program gave us the ability to stay in operation and keep full levels of staff,” said Holt, adding that it remains to be seen if capacity levels will ever fully return to their pre-pandemic levels. He said more families are keeping their loved ones at home to be cared for outside traditional facilities.

Making matters worse, Holt said New York state has cut Medicaid reimbursement rates to nursing homes. That’s on top of the $1.5 million it cost Lutheran in the last calendar year for personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing for residents and staff.

Other entities in Chautauqua County that received at least $2 million in PPP loans include: Chautauqua Institution, $4.72 million; Jamestown Container Co., $4.4 million; Monofrax LLC, $4.3 million; Brooks TLC, $4 million; Hopes Windows Inc., $4 million; TitanX Engine, $3.4 million; and A. W. Farrell & Son, Inc $2.2 million.

Loans are forgiven if all employee retention criteria are met and the funds are used for eligible expenses. The Paycheck Protection Program officially ended on May 31, 2021.

According to the SBA, 12 entities in the county obtained PPP loans ranging from $1 million to $2 million; 56 received between $350,000 to $1 million; 118 received between $150,000 to $350,000; and 1,117 received an amount below $150,000.

In Cattaraugus County, four entities received loans between $2-5 million: Cattaraugus Rehabilitation Center Inc. in Olean; Gowanda Holdings Inc. in Gowanda; Olean Medical Group LLP in Olean; and Wellsville Carpet Town Inc. in Westons Mills.

In addition, four entities received loans between $1-2 million; 25 between $350,000 to $1 million; 54 between $150,000 to $350,000; and 644 up to $150,000.

Data on PPP loans involving Chautauqua County businesses and organizations can be found at: data.sba.gov

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