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A temp agency, a mysterious entertainment company and a medical clinic are among the Utah businesses that last year snagged federal relief loans of $10 million, maxing out on the funding available to them through the Paycheck Protection Program.
More than 52,000 Utah companies received an infusion of cash during the first round of the small-business lending program, with 824 of those employers getting more than $1 million from the government.
For some of these businesses, the forgivable loans served as a financial life raft to get through COVID-19, helping them stave off employee layoffs or insolvency even though their profits were tanking. The payments could be used for costs from payroll to rent and utilities to interest due on existing loans.
“Because we had the loan, we didn’t even think twice about laying people off,” said Greg Howell, chief financial officer at WesTech Engineering, a Salt Lake City-based company that employs about 430 people.
Other businesses found they didn’t rely as heavily on the funds, although the money did provide them with much-appreciated security in an unpredictable time.
Overall, the $5.3 billion in PPP loans that went to Utah businesses last year helped the state emerge from 2020 with job gains and one of the nation’s strongest economies, said Marla Trollan, who heads the Utah office of the Small Business Administration.
“Our businesses here in the state are very resilient,” she said. “And they have been able to make it through.”
Here are the 10 companies that received the most PPP money in 2020, followed by those that received at least $5 million.
Central Utah Clinic — $10 million
This group of clinics better known as Revere Health saw its revenues plunge by nearly a quarter “literally overnight” with the onset of the pandemic, CEO Scott Barlow said.
That financial hit came, he said, as Revere drastically reduced the number of surgeries it performed and also limited nonessential medical services — measures aimed at preventing the spread of infections.
“It was cataclysmic in terms of our workforce,” said Barlow.
Revere’s staff totaled nearly 1,500 when the public health emergency began, but the company lost more than 300 employees in the first month of the pandemic, between layoffs and voluntary departures, he said.
The PPP loan arrived months after these staffing cutbacks but helped Revere rebuild its workforce as it ramped its services back up, Barlow said. Without the funding, he added, “we would’ve had to pare back a lot more on our staff, and I’m not sure how many of those we would’ve gotten back.”
Sizzling Caesars — $10 million
Sizzling Caesars reported employing about 500 people, according to federal loan data. The Murray restaurant management company works with a number of Little Caesars Pizza locations, state business records show.
Intermountain Employment Service — $10 million
This North Salt Lake-based employment agency, which does business as Ascend Staffing, reportedly provides 500 jobs, according to federal data. It has branches across the U.S.
Allison Baver Entertainment — $10 million
While the company owned by former Olympic speed skater Allison Baver told the federal government it employs 430 people, groups that follow Utah’s business community were unaware of her entertainment venture.
Neither the Utah Office of Economic Development nor the Utah Film Commission had heard of Allison Baver Entertainment when contacted by The Salt Lake Tribune last year.
The address of the business reported in the federal database appears to be in a residential area of Taylorsville and is listed in court records as Baver’s address. Her company did not respond to emailed questions from The Tribune.
Ogden Clinic — $9.7 million
Ogden Clinic, which provides health care in northern Utah, runs 21 locations and has more than 1,000 employees, according to a recent news release. Its headquarters is in South Ogden.
ZAGG — $9.4 million
This Midvale-based company sells screen protectors and other mobile accessories online and has brick-and-mortar stores in Utah and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada. It reportedly has 484 employees, according to the federal loan database.
WesTech Engineering — $9.4 million
With supply chains thrown into disarray by the coronavirus emergency, WesTech — which produces equipment for water and wastewater treatment — struggled to get the parts it needed and saw its revenues drop while its operating costs remained the same, Howell explained.
The roughly $9.4 million in PPP loans “absolutely” helped the company avoid employee layoffs, he said.
Supply chain delays are still a problem, Howell said. But because of the company’s recent sale to a global group with plenty of cash, WesTech is in a strong financial position, he said.
Tanner Memorial Clinic — $9 million
Tanner Clinic pulled back on some procedures early in the pandemic, as did other Utah health providers that had to comply with the state-mandated hold on non-urgent surgeries. During that time, the clinics did reduce some staff hours, said Theron Stoker, the company’s chief operating officer.
The business, which operates nine locations in Weber and Davis counties, resumed those services once the state declared it was safe, he said.
While the clinics did appreciate having the PPP money “in reserve,” they might end up returning some of it to the federal government, Stoker said. “The funding was helpful in knowing that it was there if we needed it,” he said.
Granger Medical Clinic — $8.6 million
With more than two dozen locations scattered along the Wasatch Front, Granger Medical Clinic told the federal government it provides 500 jobs.
Great Basin Industrial — $7.9 million
Great Basin Industrial, based in Kaysville, constructs industrial tanks and other steel structures for oil, gas and mining operations and other industries. It employs 467 people, according to the federal loan data.
Other companies that got $5 million and up:
BH, Inc., $7.8 million.
Harris & Hart, $7.7 million.
Zullas, $7.6 million.
Nicholas & Co., $7.5 million.
C&R Management, $7.2 million.
Spartan Companies 300, $7.1 million.
MasterControl, $7 million.
Whitaker Construction Co., $7 million.
Associated Brigham Contractors, $6.9 million.
Westminster College, $6.8 million.
KNDRS, $6.7 million.
MLSC Holding Co., $6.7 million.
Younique, $6.6 million.
Parsons Behle & Latimer, $6.5 million.
Jas. D. Easton, $6.4 million.
XANT, $6.1 million.
HB Boys, $6.1 million.
Sizzling Platter, $6 million.
ShipEX, $5.8 million.
Utah Navajo Health System, $5.5 million.
Jackson Group Peterbilt, $5.4 million.
RBM Services, $5.4 million.
ConsultNet, $5.4 million.
Nature’s Sunshine Products, $5.4 million.
Jason Curtis/JF Curtis Trucking, $5.3 million.
Connexion Point, $5.3 million.
DHI Computing Service, $5.1 million.
InteriorWorx, $5.1 million.
Packsize International, $5 million.
ASEA, $5 million.
This story was completed with information from Reveal’s Reporting Networks, revealnews.org/network