Nearly 500 Valley firms took paycheck program loans

For a complete list of businesses with a Youngs-town ZIP code that received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Vindicator over the next few weeks will continue to examine which local companies received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. Read the print edition of The Vindicator or online at www.vindy.com on Sundays for the stories.

More than 500 businesses in Youngstown and Warren took advantage of the federal Paycheck Protection Program for loans of $150,000 to $10 million to help to keep their workers employed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Most of the loan amounts in Youngstown and Warren fell within $150,000 to $300,000 — 213 in Youngstown and 71 in Warren. There were 53 businesses in Youngstown and 24 in Warren that received $1 million to $10 million, according to the U.S. Small Business Association data analyzed by this newspaper.

The data, reviewed by ZIP code, further shows in Youngstown, 34 companies received $1 million to $2 million; 17 businesses received $2 million to $5 million; and two received $5 million to $10 million.

In Warren, seven businesses received $1 million to $2 million; 11 businesses received $2 million to $5 million; and six received $5 million to $10 million.


“As soon as the loans were approved … we started bringing people back and that was the whole point of it,” said William Weimer, vice president and general counsel for Youngstown-based Phantom Fireworks.

The company, which has its warehouse on Larchmont Avenue NE in Warren, received five loans between $3.2 million to $8.3 million.

“We took a chance in that we brought people back … proceeded to prepare for what we hoped would be a selling season and as luck would have it, we missed the early part of our season, but we were able to open in time for the big rush of the Fourth of July,” Weimer said.

When Ohio put into place its stay-at-home order in mid-March and with other restrictions in other states, the company was forced to lay off its employees and close its brick-and-mortar showrooms and temporary sales locations in about 15 states.

The warehouse could function, but only to the extent of accepting inventory and storing it, Weimer said.

“There were waves of layoffs, and at one point, all our retail was laid off, most of the office, those people who could work at home, we had working at home,” Weimer said. “But all of the office and all of the showrooms were closed.”

Various reopening strategies by state, and even by county in some cases, was one of the “major hurdles,” the company had to clear to reopen, Weimer said. Still, Phantom isn’t fully open in some states, limited by occupancy loads.

Weimer said the company hopes to have most of the loans forgiven and is now gathering the paperwork to present to its bank to seek forgiveness.

Phantom’s bank, however, isn’t ready yet to start processing the forgiveness applications to the SBA, he said.

“Are we going to get the forgiveness, I have no idea, but we hope there is forgiveness on part of the loans, but that chapter has yet to be written,” Weimer said.

Two companies that received loans of $5 million to $10 million — Simon Roofing and Sheet Metal on Karago Avenue and Schwebel Baking Company on East Midlothian Boulevard.

Simon Roofing listed 464 jobs saved and Schwebel, for this loan, listed 500.

Schwebel, however, received two more loans — one for $1 million to $2 million and another for $350,000 to $1 million — for what appear to be operations in Pennsylvania and New York. The data shows 107 jobs saved for Schwebel Baking Company of Pa. Inc. and 20 jobs saved for Schwebel Baking Company of NY. Inc.

Total, the company received loans between $6.3 million and $13 million, according to the data.

Messages left Friday with Simon Roofing and Schwebel’s were not returned.

Two companies at 1111 Crescent St. received loans — Brilex Tech Services for $2 million to $5 million to save 245 jobs and BBM Railway Equipment LLC for $150,000 to $350,000 to save 13 jobs.

Another notable company, The Vindicator Printing Co. on Vindicator Square, received a $1 million to $2 million loan to save 46 jobs.

The Vindicator closed Aug. 31 after more than 150 years in the newspaper business, citing lack of money. It had gone 20 of the last 22 years operating in the red and had drawn down substantially on its rainy day funds.

The Vindicator General Manager Mark Brown did not return an email seeking comment.

The Tribune Chronicle in mid-August acquired The Vindicator name, its subscriber list and internet domain and launched a new The Vindicator on Sept. 1. In addition, the Tribune Chronicle brought on some of The Vindicator’s staff.

WFMJ Television Inc., owned by the same family as the Vindicator, received a $1 million to $2 million loan to preserve 102 jobs.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, a nonprofit organization on West Wood Street, received a loan of $2 million to $5 million to save 342 jobs.

Thirty-one other nonprofit groups received loans.

Others in the $2 million to $5 million range were Gateways to Better Living Inc. on Mahoning Avenue, 447 jobs; Meridian Healthcare on South Avenue, 272 jobs; and Shepherd of the Valley Retirement Services on Silica Road, 249 jobs.

Nonprofit organizations the $1 million to $2 million loan range were Ohio Northeast Health Systems, Inc. on Wick Avenue, 150 jobs; Young Men’s Christian Association of Youngstown on North Champion Street, no jobs listed; and the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation on Gypsy Lane, 184 jobs.


The data dump last week by the U.S. Treasury Department disclosed business names, addresses, ZIP codes, business type, demographic data, nonprofit information, name of lender, jobs supported and loan amounts. Disclosures did not include specific dollar amounts, but amount ranges: $150,000 to $350,000; $350,000 to $1 million; $1 million to $2 million; $2 million to $5 million; and $5 million to $10 million.

The government also disclosed less detailed information on companies that received loans of up to $150,000.

The program, part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that Congress passed in March, incentivizes employers to keep their workers, or if they had been laid off, to get them back working.

The primary incentive for companies to seek PPP loans is the offer of forgiveness if most of the money — originally 75 percent but later revised to 60 percent — is used for payroll. Businesses can borrow up to $10 million based on their payroll costs; the loans carry a 1 percent interest rate and deferred payments for six months. Owners can also use the money for rent, mortgage interest and insurance. If businesses cut jobs or employees’ pay, they’d have to repay some of the money.

The program was to expire July 7, but Congress extended it through Aug. 8. It still has billions left after giving out more than 4.8 million loans since its start in early April.


In Warren, AVI Foodsystems Inc. on Elm Road NE and Empowering People Management Inc. on North River Road NE received loans of $5 million to $10 million to save 500 jobs each.

There were 15 companies that registered an address of 3900 E. Market St., the headquarters of Covelli Enterprises, which owns and operates multiple Panera Bread, O’Charley’s and Dairy Queen locations in the U.S.

The companies received $30.3 million to $65.4 million to keep 4,773 jobs, according to the federal data.

Receiving $5 million to $10 million were CAD Capital LLC, Cadle LLC, Covelli Family Limited Partnership II and Dalcan LLC. In the $2 million to $5 million category were Covelli Enterprises, Inc. and Covelli Family Limited Partnership. Covelli Family Limited Partnership III received $1 million to $2 million.

Allen Ryan, director of corporate affairs for Covelli Enterprises, declined to comment on the loans.

Another notable company with a Warren ZIP code that received a loan was Lordstown Motors Corp. for $1 million to $2 million to save 42 jobs at the startup electric truck manufacturer’s Lordstown headquarters, the former General Motors assembly plant.

Also in Lordstown, Anderson Dubose Inc., a fast-food distribution center on Tod Avenue, received $2 million to $5 million to keep 249 jobs.

There were eight nonprofit organizations in Warren that received funding, the most to Community Skilled Health Care Centre LLC on Mahoning Avenue NW and Compass Family and Community Services on High Street NE. Both received $1 million to $2 million with Community Skilled saving 144 jobs and Compass, 257 jobs.

Fairhaven Industries on Educational Highway received $350,000 to $1 million to save 352 jobs and John F. Kennedy Catholic School, too, received $350,000 to $1 million to save 54 jobs.

Receiving $150,000 to $350,000 loans were Believers Church on Schenley Avenue NE, 56 jobs; North-Mar Church on East Market Street, 18 jobs; Northeast Ohio Adoption Services on East Market Street, 26 jobs; and St. Vincent de Paul on Niles Road SE, five jobs.

Also in Warren, four companies with an address at 1 American Way, the headquarters for Avalon Holdings Corp. received loans of $1 million to $2.7 million.

Avalon Holdings CEO Ron Klingle did not return a message seeking comment.

Also, the Avalon Resort and Spa LLC on East Market Street received $350,000 to $1 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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