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More than 1,600 Evanston businesses and organizations received $164 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to a RoundTable analysis of data released by the Small Business Administration (SBA) on Dec. 2. The PPP was established by the U.S. government to aid small businesses including sole proprietorships and self-employed workers, and nonprofit organizations retain their workers during the early months of the pandemic. Since April, the program has granted more than $669 billion in low interest loans, some portion of which will be forgiven if organizations retain employees.

Evanston organizations large and small, operating in a wide variety of industry sectors received loans.  Nursing homes received about 25% of all loan proceeds in Evanston. Other notable industries receiving loans include retailers (6%), restaurants and drinking establishments (5%), computer software, service and design firms (5%) and religious institutions (2%).

The largest loans were granted to Zihuatanejo Holdings ($10 million), a limited liability corporation and owner of nursing homes – apparently none in Evanston, though it is headquartered here – and VASA Fitness ($7.7 million), operator of 45 fitness centers and owned by an Evanston-based private equity firm.

Sizable loans were also granted to Katalyst Technologies ($2.1 million), an IT solutions company, auto retailer Autobarn Motors ($1.3 million), Central Street gourmet grocer and caterer Foodstuffs ($1 million), heating and air-conditioning contractor American Vintage Home ($1 million), real estate tax law firm Richard Shapiro ($798,000), Nels J. Johnson Tree Experts ($716,000) and Art + Science Salons ($567,000).

Some of the more interesting loans were to a wealth management firm ($72,000), a towing company ($232,000), a live talk-radio production and syndication firm ($35,000) and several miscellaneous crop farming enterprises ($20,000) with a Dobson Street address. Click here for a list of the for-profit businesses receiving the 50 largest loans. 

Both for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations applied for and received loans. Evanston businesses received almost all of the loans granted (95% of total) and loan dollars (88% or $147 million).  About 85 Evanston nonprofits received on average $198,024 or $8,600 per employee.

Nonprofits receiving sizable loans include the McGaw YMCA ($1.8 million) and YWCA Evanston/Northshore ($761,100), long-term care facility Three Crowns Park ($1.4 million), religious organizations such as Beth Emet ($358,500) and First United Methodist Church ($253,500) and educational groups Garret Theological Seminary ($1.4 million), Music Institute of Chicago ($850,400), Chiaravalle Montessori School ($786,300) and Roycemore School ($507,000). Click here for a list of the organizations receiving the 20 largest loans.  

About the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The Paycheck Protection Program was passed as part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress in March, intended as a lifeline for small businesses so they could keep paying workers during the pandemic.  Administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the PPP grants low-interest loans to pay for payroll and specified overhead costs such as rent, interest and utilities, to applicants meeting certain criteria. The amount of a PPP loan is approximately equal to 2.5 times the applicant’s average monthly payroll costs. The loan may be partially or fully forgiven for applicants with fewer than 500 employees and if the organization has maintained employees and employee wages. The deadline to apply for a PPP loan, initially June 30, 2020 was later extended to August 8.

All loans are subject to review and loans over $2 million will face a mandatory audit, according to a statement by the Treasury Department. Eight Evanston businesses received loans greater than $2 million. These include Zihuatanejo Holdings; Vasa Fitness; Oh 6 Hold Company; Rock Gate Capital; Cardinal Intellectual Property; Halpin, Inc.; Lancaster Manor Rehabilitation; and Katalyst Technologies.

A list of the 900 organizations receiving loans of $20,000 or more is available here.