Updated: Aug 6, 2020
By Alex Topor
Data released by the Small Business Association (SBA) in July show that 311 area businesses were recipients of low-interest Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans totaling $150,000 or more.
The names were released after the SBA received pressure from critics over its handling of more than $500 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds. Names of another 978 businesses in the Gazette 2.0 coverage area receiving the recoverable loans of less than $150,000 were not released. ZIP codes being sampled include 15108, 15136 and 15205.
In Robinson, Cranston Material Handling Equipment Corp. received a PPP loan in the $150,000 to $350,000 range. The business sells equipment to manufacturing companies and when the pandemic hit sales dropped by 87% when compared to last year.
The drop in sales forced David Cranston Jr., president of the company, to lay employees off and institute pay cuts of 25%, he said.
“The day our PPP funds were put in our bank account we restored salaries back to their normal levels and recalled our laid-off employees,” Cranston said. “The funds will be used to allow us to continue to maintain our staffing and pay levels despite our decline in revenue so that we can maintain our level of customer service and have the trained staff available to meet our customer’s needs when sales activity returns to pre-COVID levels.”
Cranston said the money allowed the company to save several jobs and recover enough to gain some sense of normalcy. As the economy has begun to slowly open up, Cranston’s sales have slowly risen.
“We are estimating our sales will be off 10 to 20% for the balance of the year. While our business is not operating at pre-lock-down levels our sales have recovered enough that we would not apply for additional funds,” Cranston said. “My business, along with millions of other businesses in my situation, was supplied with the cash needed to see us through.”
Cranston’s business is just one of the millions to receive a loan through the federal program.
As of July 30, the SBA reported more than $520 billion was dispersed into 5,063,985 different loans. Pennsylvania accounts for about 140,000 of the loans.
A small sample of local businesses benefiting from the program includes Charlie Browns Park and Shuttle, Craft Heating Co., Focus on Renewal - Sto-Rox Neighborhood Corp., J.V. Chujko Inc., Mancini’s Bakery, Mosites Development Co., Ruffed Grouse Society, Sabika Inc. and Sto-Rox Neighborhood Health Council.
Local members of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese that received in excess of $150,000 include Archangel Gabriel Parish, Archangel Gabriel School/Holy Trinity Parish, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School and St. Philip Parish and School.
Paycheck Protection Program extended through Aug. 8
Small business owners, loans are still available from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Administered by the Small Business Association the program is part of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress. Of the $2 trillion, $660 billion is allocated for the program.
The program provides private loans to help small businesses, non-profits and other organizations with payroll and other costs during the pandemic.
The interest rate of a PPP loan is 1% and the entire debt can be forgiven if 60% of the money is used for payroll expenses. Forgiveness can be reduced if the full-time headcount of employees decreases or if salaries and wages decrease. Besides wages, the money can also be used for rent, insurance or utilities.
Deadline to apply for a PPP loan has been extended to Aug. 8 and the following entities may be eligible:
• Any small business that can meet SBA's size standards.
• Sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed people.
• Any business in accommodates and food services with more than one location and less than 500 employees per location.
• Any business, non-profit or veteran organization with more than 500 employees or that meets the SBA size standard.
Access to the full list of businesses in the 15108, 15136 and 15205 ZIP codes that benefited in excess of $150,000 from the PPP is available here: