Suhner Manufacturing

Suhner Manufacturing has long been a member of the Greater Rome Existing Industries Association.

Marglen Industries and Shorter University in Rome were among the early beneficiaries of the small business lending program aimed at minimizing layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.

All told, the Treasury Department’s Paycheck Protection Program authorized $520 billion for nearly 5 million mostly small businesses and nonprofits. On Monday, the government released the names and some other details of recipients who were approved for $150,000 or more.

More than 86% of the loans were for under $1 million.

The specific amount of the award is not listed but Marglen and Shorter are in the category of recipients getting somewhere between $2 million and $5 million. Marglen sought to preserve 198 jobs and Shorter’s application noted 403 positions.

Foss Manufacturing Co. in Rome, with 229 employees at risk, also fell into that category.

Among the companies in surrounding counties were Surya Carpet, Aquafil USA and Taylor Transport in Bartow County — with 250, 296 and 240 employees respectively. Gordon County employment agency 2Work, LLC, citing 500 employees, and Talley Construction Co. in Rossville, with 223, also received loans of up to $5 million.

The program, passed hurriedly by Congress in March, was designed to provide small firms with loans of as much as $10 million, based on a company’s average monthly payroll before the pandemic. The loans can become grants if borrowers use the proceeds mostly to pay workers — with some spending allowed for rent and overhead costs.

Almost from the beginning, the PPP was dogged by controversy as some publicly traded firms tapped it. Many returned PPP loans after their borrowing drew criticism. The program’s supporters say it has kept tens of millions of workers employed during the pandemic and contributed to the surprising 2.5 million U.S. jobs added in May, with an additional 4.8 million jobs in June.

Two companies in the surrounding area received loans of between $5 million and $10 million.

The application from Apache Mills in Calhoun did not project saving any jobs, according to the release; Quest Global Inc., a freight hauling trucking company in Cartersville, anticipated paying 420 employees with its loan.

News reports on the program have disclosed that members of Congress have taken or benefited from PPP loans, as well as firms that have reported significant revenue, closed facilities or filed for bankruptcy protection after getting PPP assistance.

Reports that entities such as Shake Shack Inc. and the Los Angeles Lakers got loans ahead of mom-and-pop borrowers prompted those two and others to return their loans. The recipient list released Monday includes Kanye West’s clothing line, the sculptor Jeff Koons, law firms and high-dollar hedge funds, the Girl Scouts and political groups on both the left and right.

The initial public outcry spurred the Trump administration to promise to review all loans greater than $2 million and to tell companies that had access to other sources of capital that they likely didn’t qualify for the bailout program.

More than 30 companies in Northwest Georgia received loans of up to $2 million in the first round of awards, including the Rome News-Tribune’s parent company, Times-Journal Inc., which aims to save 183 jobs.

Georgia Museums Inc. in Cartersville listed 159 jobs. It’s the umbrella company for Tellus, Booth Western Art Museum, Bartow History Museum and Savoy Automobile Museum.

The nonprofit Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers Inc. in Cedartown, which sought operating funds, and See Rock City Inc. in Lookout Mountain, with 159 jobs at stake, also netted loans.

In Floyd County, beneficiaries of up to $2 million included Darlington School, 151 jobs; Advanced Steel Technology, 96 jobs; Blacksmith OTR LLC, 87 jobs; Corgroup Inc. DBA Zaxby’s Rome, which listed 488 jobs in its application; Home Team Builder Services LLC, 145 jobs; Springfield Investments in Silver Creek, which listed no jobs; Suhner Manufacturing Inc., 117 jobs; Welborn Chevrolet, 126 jobs; and W E Hicks Inc., a Cave Spring landscaping firm, with 170 jobs.

A few of the larger employers in surrounding counties were Bartow Paving Co. and Georgia Bone & Joint Surgeons in Cartersville; Cedartown builders Duffey Southeast Inc.; Tai Ping Carpets Americas in Adairsville; and Brumlow Mills, Northwest Georgia Paving and Western Plastics in Calhoun.

California, Florida, Texas, New York and Illinois had the largest numbers of loans and the most in dollar amount approved, data show.

Overall, companies in the health care and social assistance industry accounted for the largest amount in loans at $67.4 billion, followed by professional, scientific and technical services firms at $66.4 billion; construction at $64.6 billion; manufacturing at $54 billion; and accommodation and food services at $42.1 billion.

The disclosures came after members of Congress and others voiced concern about the level of transparency surrounding the PPP.

The list posted Monday amounted to fewer than 15% of all borrowers. The Associated Press and other news organizations are suing the government to obtain the names of the remaining recipients.

A summary, also posted Monday, says Georgia entities received 156,814 loans totaling $14.5 billion through June 30 — and there is $191.5 billion remaining for distribution nationwide. Congress voted last week to extend the program until Aug. 8.

Rome News-Tribune Night Editor Diane Wagner contributed to this newspaper report.

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