Coronavirus

Lynchburg area companies receive millions in PPP loans

Coronavirus

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Tens of millions of dollars have come into local businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan and grant program meant to help businesses continue to pay salaries and other expenses through the pandemic.

“The PPP has allowed our businesses to stay afloat,” said Megan Lucas, CEO of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, “to retain employees, to continue to produce, which contributes to our overall economy.”

Those loans become forgivable grants if at least 75 percent of the money goes to pay salaries, so Lucas says that’s helping a lot of families get by.

“That allows us to shop and buy the food we need, the groceries, the gas, and the things we need to support ourselves, pay our rent, pay our insurance, pay our healthcare.”

According to data from the Small Business Administration, more than 50 companies in Lynchburg and nearby counties received at least $1 million.

“There’s a formula you have to go through and you have to fill out this form,” explained Gerald Prante, an economics professor at the University of Lynchburg, “it’s kind of like a tax form that businesses have to fill out, and it’s based on mainly how much you paid your employees. The idea is how much you would have been paying your employees had you been able to stay normal.”

The biggest recipient is apparently Delta Star, which received at least $5 million in May.

The company said in a statement that they had to lay off employees in March:

Since its founding in 1908, Delta Star, Inc. has been an industry leader in providing superior, innovative client solutions that meet the energy needs of the future, through a culture of best-in-class customer service. With a company history that dates back more than 100 years, Delta Star has witnessed firsthand the effects of situations anywhere from small disruptions to disastrous events.

The rippling effect of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a major business disruption globally, impacting nearly all industries, as world governments attempted to quarantine areas in an effort to limit the spread of the illness. Due to the unpredictability of COVID-19, Delta Star was forced to lay off a number of employees in March of this year. Delta Star applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan due to a shifting economic landscape.

Delta Star West (DSW) located in San Carlos, California, was greatly impacted by the pandemic as San Mateo was the first county in the country to shut down and issue mandatory stay-at-home labor notices. Production at the San Carlos and Lynchburg facilities was cut by more than 20%, a move that the company is continuing to recover from.

“Delta Star has drastically shifted the way we do business, including daily business operations, face-to-face interactions, customer visits, and travel,” said Jason Greene, President and CEO of Delta Star. “We’ve had to make tough decisions and will continue doing so as necessary, but that hasn’t stopped us from working tirelessly to protect the health and safety of our employees while continuing to serve our customers, local communities, and North America with the deliverance of quality products and services.”

Delta Star has not determined the amount of the loan that will be used at this time but plans to use the loan for payroll costs with a smaller amount being directed to utilities and rent per the Federal Act.

Statement from Delta Star, Inc.

“The idea behind the PPP was to make sure that when the pandemic is over,” said Prante, “that businesses won’t use this as an excuse to lay off people.”

“If we can’t keep people employed, people can’t pay their bills,” said Lucas. “If people can’t pay their bills, the suffering continues to increase.”

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