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Coronavirus

Sandwich area businesses receive $9.6M in federal pandemic relief funds

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SANDWICH – More than 260 businesses with a Sandwich address received paycheck protection program, or PPP, loans totaling more than $9.6 million for financial relief amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to recently released U.S. Department of the Treasury data.

The average loan amount given for the more than 240 Sandwich businesses receiving up to $150,000 in PPP loans was $30,753.29, per the treasury data. A total of $4,397,720.30 loaned was purported to retain 514 jobs total. The 20 businesses receiving more than $150,000 made up a total of more than $5.2 million loaned.

It's unclear per the data how many of those businesses were in unincorporated areas within DeKalb County or Kendall County, as opposed to being within city limits.

The Paycheck Protection Program – which is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act – is meant to provide cash-flow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses or 501(c)3 nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees who maintain their payroll during the COVID-19 emergency. The program also is meant to help small businesses cover rent, mortgage and utility expenses through the loans. Individuals who operate as sole proprietors, independent contractor or are self-employed would also be eligible for the loans.

Geri Benning, executive director for the Sandwich Area Chamber of Commerce, said it’s amazing these businesses were able to receive that help, especially in this environment where businesses are completely shut down. Even if the doors of those businesses were locked, she said, they still were getting rent invoices, had to make mortgage payments and pay electrical or water bills, for example.

“It was good for them to make those ends meet during this time," Benning said.

Gjovik Ford, Inc. received between $350,000 and $1 million in April, according to the treasury data, but there was no information provided in the federal data about how many jobs that was purported to retain. Gjovik Chevrolet-Buick-GMC, Inc. also received between $350,000 and $1 million meant to retain 50 jobs in April, per the data.

Fortune Metal Midwest, LLC received between $350,000 and $1 million meant to retain 137 jobs in April, according to the federal data. Henderson Engineering Co., Inc. also received a PPP loan in the same amount range and it was purported to save 74 jobs.

Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion, Ltd. received between $350,000 and $1 million in May that was purported to retain 103 jobs, per the federal data. Open Door Rehabilitation Center also received a PPP loan in the same amount range but there was not information provided in the federal data about how many jobs that was purported to retain.

Benning said it's been amazing to see how creative businesses have gotten to bring revenue in, even in the hardest of times. For example, she said, Fox Valley Community Center – which also received a PPP loan between $150,000 and $350,000 – came up with the concept of parking lot bingo, where the number caller wore a microphone headpiece that went directly into players' car radios.

Benning said she urges the public to continue supporting small businesses and to remain patient as everyone navigates the remaining uncertainties the pandemic continues to bring.

“We’re all trying to figure it out and it’s important for everybody to be patient in this environment,” Benning said.

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