Boulder County businesses receive $1.26 billion in federal Paycheck Protection Program loans

Cal-Wood Education Center, a nonprofit group in Jamestown, saw its operating income disappear as after-school school was canceled when the pandemic hit in March 2020.

Front Range school night excursions, many of which are in Boulder Valley, make up the majority of outdoor education centerthat’s the deal. Cal-Wood executive director Rafael Salgado didn’t know how to keep the center open.

But a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan of nearly $177,000 in April 2020, along with monetary assistance from the center’s foundation for a restoration project, has allowed Cal-Wood to continue employing its small staff, he said.

Instead of working as advisers or tending to the kitchen, staff members painted buildings, repaired railings and improved pathways. Families were also invited to camp at the site that summer, generating income while following COVID-19 distancing rules.

“We had to be creative,” Salgado said. “The money gave us time to find other options. It was a big help. »

Then came the wildfire that burned 600 acres of Cal-Wood’s property in October 2020. Cal-Wood received a second paycheck protection loan, also for about $177,000, in January 2021. Combined with community fundraising efforts, Salgado said, the center has been able to keep going, even when a variant of COVID-19 last fall again scuttled school field trips.

It wasn’t until December that the Boulder Valley School District gave schools the opportunity to participate in overnight educational outdoor trips, he said.

“It’s been pretty tough the last few years,” he said. “I don’t know how we did it. Looking back, we were lucky. It was a lot of stress. If we had closed, it would take a few years to reopen. The funding came at the right time. Hopefully 2022 will be the year we get back to business.

Cal-Wood received the only large loan — over $170,000 — from the Paycheck Protection Program to an organization in Jamestown, a small mountain community west of Boulder.

In total, data compiled by Denver Post business reporter Aldo Svaldi shows that 1,175 Boulder County businesses received $1.26 billion in loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Of Colorado’s 64 counties, Boulder County received the fifth highest amount of money from the program, although it ranks 10th in terms of population.

The Federal Loan Program was originally created in March 2020 as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act to distribute $600 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses. More money and a second application period were added in December 2020, for total funding of $800 billion.

While the rules on who could apply and what was required for loan forgiveness were relaxed after the program was created, the intention was to help small businesses retain workers or rehire those who were made redundant in due to pandemic disruptions. Loan amounts were based on average monthly salary costs.

Of the Boulder County businesses receiving loans of more than $170,000, a Boulder-based company — Gores Vitac Holdings — received the highest amount, nearly $8.5 million. The company, which did not respond to a request for comment, provides captioning and captioning services and reported 500 jobs.

The second-highest Boulder-based loan, about $7 million, went to GCSES II Holdings, an oil services company headquartered on Walnut Street that reported 457 jobs.

Spectra Logic (Cliff Grassmick/staff photographer)

The third-highest loan to a Boulder organization went to Spectra Logic Corp., a hardware company that makes storage and data management solutions that reported 373 jobs. Spectra Logic received approximately $6.3 million.

“Spectra Logic has been in business for over 40 years with its headquarters in Boulder. The PPP loan has allowed Spectra to preserve employee jobs and meet customer demands during the pandemic,” said CEO and Founder of Spectra, Nathan Thompson, in a written statement.

The five largest loan recipients in Boulder are Boulder Medical Center, with a $5.2 million loan and 387 reported jobs, and The Kitchen Restaurant Group, with a $4.9 million loan and 500 reported jobs. . The Kitchen, a Boulder-based restaurant collection founded in 2004, also received a $10 million federal grant through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

In Lafayette, Clinica Campesina Family Health Services received about $8 million, the largest loan amount given to an organization in that city. Along with the loan, Clinica received federal money through other relief programs, including money to expand coronavirus testing capacity.

Clinica, headquartered in Lafayette, provides primary care services to low-income people with limited access to health care at six community clinics in southern Boulder, Broomfield and Adams counties.

Clinica’s chief financial officer, Brian Johnston, said the paycheck protection loan was only used for payroll, offsetting the cost for the company’s 600 employees during the latter part of the pandemic. Clinica, which received the loan in March 2021, was not eligible until rules were changed that year to allow larger nonprofits to apply, he said.

He said the pandemic had a significant impact on revenues in 2020 and 2021 as fewer patients made primary care appointments. In 2020, before the loan became available, Clinica furloughed employees. Almost all of those furloughed were brought back within six months, he said.

“That (loan) was really a lifesaver,” he said. “The program did exactly what it was supposed to do and allowed us to continue to staff our organization and see patients.”

Lignetics Inc., which makes wood pellets, logs, fire starters, wood flour and animal bedding, secured a $6 million loan, the largest of any company based in Louisville. The company, which is on South Boulder Road and reported 490 jobs, did not respond to a request for comment.

Other large amounts of loans to Louisville organizations went to Fresca Foods, at $4.1 million with 413 jobs reported, and Avid4 Adventure, at $2 million with 116 jobs reported.

businessAvid4 Adventure Instructor Trevor Waters takes to the air on the XL Line on June 10, 2020 at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso/Camera file) Louisville-based Avid4 Adventure offers outdoor summer camps in eight states, including local camps. Avid CEO Paul Dreyer said in an email that considering layoffs at the start of the pandemic was “a low point in my career.”

“We run an in-person, service-oriented business that is also state-regulated and licensed,” he wrote. “Due not only to uncertainties and changing dynamics, but also state and federal mandates, we simply could not make enough money in 2020 to pay our fixed costs.”

But once the Paycheck Protection Program was approved, he said, the loan allowed Avid to keep its employees. The money, he said, went to payroll and rent.

In the summer of 2020, Avid created new models to continue operating under pandemic restrictions, including “small group adventures”, a home camp option, and an online option. Even with the new offerings, the company only served about 30% of the attendees it expected, Dreyer said.

As restrictions eased last summer, Avid saw its participants and revenue return to pre-pandemic levels. But, he said, it was still the most operationally difficult season his company had seen.

“We’ve been understaffed all summer, which has resulted in huge stressors for our entire team, as well as the need for us to cancel some camps – for the first time – due to lack of staff” , he wrote.

In Longmont, Woodley’s Fine Furniture received $2.6 million, the largest business or organization loan in that city. Woodley’s, which reported 198 jobs, did not respond to a request for comment. Sample Supports, which provides services to people with disabilities and reported 250 jobs, received the second-largest loan in Longmont at $2.3 million.

Cornerstone Orthopedics and Sports received $1.2 million, the largest loan to Superior-based businesses. Cornerstone did not respond to a request for comment. Also in healthcare, Professional Home Health Care Inc. received $1.3 million, the largest loan to Niwot-based businesses. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

In mountain communities, Black Fox Mining received $581,000, the largest loan to a Dutch company. The company, which reported 31 jobs, did not respond to a request for comment.

Lyon-based Sierra Sage Herbs received two loans of $314,700 each.

CEO Jodi Scott, who started the company with her mother and sister in 2008, said in an email that she wanted to provide natural first aid products that are just as effective as the traditional chemical-laden products available. .

Since then, she said, the 27-employee company has brought the same topical therapeutic approach to other body care categories, including creating natural products for moms, babies and pets.

At the start of the pandemic, she said, retail partners either couldn’t pay on time or asked to extend payment terms, while suppliers began demanding full payment up front. and sales plummeted as customers avoided stores.

“Our cash flow has been significantly compromised,” she wrote.

The loans, she said, have kept the business running.

“We were able to make sure we didn’t have to lay off any employees during the early days of the pandemic,” she wrote.

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