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A host of Gainesville businesses received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program ranging from $150,000 to up to $5 million, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

At least 55 area businesses received relief, SBA data showed. One of those was Matt’s Motors, which filed under its parent payroll company Cocopa LLC.

Wendy Threadgill, co-owner of Matt’s Motors, has been working there for 25 years and has been an owner for the past 10 years.

She said beginning in the middle of March through the end of April, the phones never rang and they had trouble selling any cars.

Matt’s Motors received $150,000 and Threadgill said the loan was crucial to keeping all her workers employed.

“It was big,” Threadgill said. “We didn’t want to get rid of anybody because my guys have worked for me for 25 years. We weren’t making any money and people weren’t calling to make payments either. We qualified for the loan and we got it. It allowed us to keep our employees.”

Threadgill said one immediate change she had to make due to the coronavirus pandemic was to cut overtime through April, which she said many of her employees live off of.

“We were able to resume overtime schedules in the middle of May and a lot of those guys depend on overtime, but I had to cut it out,” Threadgill said. “In the middle of May, I felt like things were improving in the economy and I think the stimulus checks really helped get us back. In the middle of May, we really started selling cars and we were low on inventory. It became a problem because dealerships weren’t taking in trades, so that trickled down on us.”

Once the stimulus checks were handed out, Threadgill said they had trouble keeping cars on their lots. Thankfully, the last couple weeks, she said the market has begun to level back out.

“We got the loan and everyone bought our inventory and then we had to get more inventory,” Threadgill said. “Cars were too expensive to buy for our inventory. It’s slow because it’s summertime, but the phone is ringing and people are starting to make their payments again. I feel like we’re back to normal business-wise.”

Gainesville Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Audrey Schroyer said the pandemic has had a negative effect on the overall economy because supply chains in various industries were slowed.

“One pause in the supply chain in one industry starts a domino effect in supply chains in other industries, and then companies can’t fill orders for customers,” Schroyer said. “On the other side of the table, you have customers that are having to cut expenses or pull orders. The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has helped a lot of Gainesville companies stay in operation amid the pandemic. Some companies were able to delay layoffs or furloughs through the PPP.”

Matt’s Motors employs between 20 and 22 people and Threadgill said they spend nearly $25,000 per week on payroll.

Threadgill said it crossed her mind that her business might have to close, but it never got to the point to where they couldn’t pay their bills.

“It was a 10 out of 10 happy that we didn’t go out of business,” Threadgill said. “If the workers were worried, they didn’t express a lot of concern. Some of my employees have been with me for 30 years.”

Matt’s Motors is still using the loan and Threadgill said because business is on a recent uptick, she doesn’t think they will be negatively affected by the pandemic overall.

“We’re still using the loan, but I don’t think it will last much longer,” Threadgill said. “Our business has picked up enough that it helped us through the trying times and hopefully we can keep it going.”

According to the SBA, PPP loans will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. At least 60% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll.

Four of the 55 companies that received PPP loans were approved for between $2 and $5 million — Sharp Oil Field Services, IFS Coatings, Trident Process Systems and Quasar. Five other companies — Circuit Breaker Sales, Enderby Gas, Orteq Energy Technologies, Petroflex and Sit Safe Solutions — received between $1 and $2 million apiece.

Twelve companies received at least $350,000 and 34 received at least $150,000.

Schroyer said companies in Gainesville are crucial to the growth and stability of Gainesville and she hoped the economy turns around soon.

“Each company in Gainesville, whether they employ two people or 2,000 people, is putting our community to work so they can provide for themselves and their families,” Schroyer said. “The next few months are hard to predict, but I’m optimistic that the supply chains that help fuel our companies and the supply chains that our companies are directly and indirectly part of will return to some sense of normalcy.”

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