McHenry County businesses received millions of dollars and retained more than 47,000 employees through the federal Paycheck Protection Program amid statewide COVID-19 shutdowns.
The program, part of a $2 trillion relief package, covered 82% of all estimated small business payroll and secured 1 million jobs statewide, the U.S. Small Business Administration reported. In McHenry County, PPP loans up to $5 million supported restaurants, churches, private schools and corporations, guaranteeing payroll and helping cover utilities.
When Horizons Behavioral Health in Crystal Lake received its $233,800 loan, it was put to use for payroll, rent, electricity, internet and telephone costs, as well as a portion of the health insurance provided to employees, office manager Melinda Struthers said. According to records, the businesses successfully retained 23 jobs.
“When this hit – it hit everybody hard, we know that, but it also comes with more anxiety and depression, which caused patients to go, 'Oh my gosh, I have to talk to my doctor,' ” Struthers said. “So we had to do everything we could to just stay open.”
But staying open, Struthers said, might not have been a possibility had they not gotten the loan. “It was getting close to the point where somebody wasn’t going to get paid,” she said. “So [the loan] did come in at a very opportune time.”
Horizons Behavioral Health was just one of 1,149 PPP loan recipients in Crystal Lake. Six businesses in the area received loans in amounts between $2 million to $5 million. Those include Althoff Industries, Baxter and Woodman Inc., Eisenmann Corporation, General Kinematics Corporation, Jimmy’Z Masonry Corp., and Processed Steel Company. Baxter and Woodman additionally retained the most jobs, 239 of the more than 11,000 Crystal Lake jobs saved through the program.
Struthers said the organization has about $45,900 left of money from the Paycheck Protection Program, although the loan has put Horizons in a better position to become self-supporting again.
“I'm grateful that we came out on top,” she said. “I don't think we'd be here if we hadn't gotten that [loan].”
Nearly every city throughout the county benefited from the program. Woodstock businesses received between $46.4 million and $90.6 million in PPP loans, which helped retain about 6,299 jobs. Associated Electrical Contractors, MBI Staffing and Woolf Distributing company were among the five entities to receive loans in the amount of $2 million to $5 million.
In McHenry, businesses received between $54.2 million and $104 million in PPP loans, 100 of which were in amounts less than $150,000. The largest loans went to Fabrik Industries and Metalmaster Sheet Metal, which received $2 million to $5 million each, data showed. Fabrik Industries additionally retained the most employees, securing 230 jobs.
An additional 3,000 Algonquin employees maintained through PPP loans, nine of which were distributed in amounts between $350,000 to $1 million. Those businesses included Advantage Moving and Storage, Animal Care Clinic of Fox Valley, Marshall Wolf Automaton, and Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine.
In Lake in the Hills, businesses received about $6.5 million worth of PPP loans in amounts less than $150,000. The largest PPP loan went to Reliable Staffing Services Inc., which received between $5 million to $10 million.
Seven Huntley businesses also received PPP loans in the amount of $1 million to $2 million. Those businesses included Advanced Therapy Solutions, LLC; H.S. Crocker Company Inc., Hiwin Corporation and Life Span Inc.
Harvard received about $4.3 million in loans, averaging about $27,979 per loan under $150,000, data shows. Hartwig Plumbing & Heating Inc. was approved the largest loan, at $1 million to $2 million.
Overall, the program saved an estimated 594 to 616 jobs, including 209 employees who were retained at Pedigree Ovens Inc.
Executive Director of Brown Bear Day Care in Harvard, Sheila Henson, said that she applied for a PPP loan very early on, knowing immediately that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to have a significant impact on her business. The application process was very smooth, she said.
“We have a really good relationship with our banks here in town and we were able to work with them pretty closely so that we could get all of our information in and received the money a couple of weeks later,” Henson said.
At the end of March, Brown Bear Day Care was granted permission by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to continue operating as an essential business during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, Henson said.
Capacity restrictions forced them to reduce their enrollment from 306 children down to 110, meaning Henson did not need all 50 of the staff members that she had on her payroll at the time.
After receiving more than $200,000 from the PPP loan, Henson said she was able to continue paying all of her staff even if they weren't working. Now, in Phase 4 of Gov.JB Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan, all of Henson's staff are back at work and the daycare center is able to safely accommodate 170 kids.
"With the normal tuition base not coming in, we didn't have enough money in our reserves to continue to pay our staff at the amount of hours that they were previously working so this PPP loan was a godsend," she said. "Most of our staff makes minimum wage and we try to be aware of that and I wanted to pay them but I didn't know how I was going to do that."