Eureka Natural Foods was one of some 1,700 local businesses and self-proprietorships to receive funding from the Paycheck Protection Program. Photo: Ryan Burns.


The federal government recently released information on who got what in the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal program designed to allow small businesses keep their workers employed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data released includes 242 Humboldt County business names for those who took out loans valued at over $150,000 and above. The feds also reported the number of loans below that mark taken out by local businesses and the self-employed — around 1,400 in Humboldt — but withheld the names or recipients.

In total, the feds reported that Humboldt County recipients maintained about 20,000 jobs with the program’s help.

Administered by the Small Business Administration, the PPP doled out over $669 billion to businesses across the country in the first round of applications, with another round currently underway. On July 4, President Trump signed into law an extension to the PPP, with the termination date of the program now August 9.

The loan amounts with names released for Humboldt businesses break down into five categories — $5-10 million (two recipients); $2-5 million (five recipients); $1-2 million (15 recipients); $350,000-1 million (70 recipients); and $150,000-350,000 (151 recipients), totaling upwards of $82 million.

The companies receiving the top loan amounts are American Hospital Management Corporation, parent company of Mad River Hospital in Arcata, and the Mercer-Fraser Company, a construction firm based out of Eureka. According to the federal data, American Hospital Management Corporation saved 472 jobs and the Mercer-Fraser loan saved 90 jobs.

The businesses that saved the most jobs under the program are American Hospital Management Corporation, Humboldt State University (450), the Sun Valley Group (349), Lodestone Pacific Holding (294), United Indian Health Services (250), the Bear River Casino (233) and Blue Lake Casino (224).

Susan Seaman, mayor of Eureka and program director for the Arcata Economic Development Corporation, also dug through the numbers. In her findings she noted that 55 percent of the loans came from local entities such as the AEDC, Coast Central Credit Union and Redwood Capital Bank, among others. Seaman also found that around 90 percent of the borrowers used with a local address.

“That matters because businesses in rural communities where there were few lending options, had more hurdles to getting the funds,” Seaman told the Outpost.

One of the businesses, which was able to save around 80 jobs, was Eureka Natural Foods. Graigory Fillmore. the administrative officer for ENF, told the Outpost that without the PPP loans, ENF would not have been able to keep the cleaning and sanitation up to what it currently is. Fillmore said the PPP loans allowed ENF to switch a number of people around from the kitchens to the cleaning staff, and that around 10-15 people travel throughout the stores during the day wiping down carts and high-contact surfaces.

“If we didn’t get [the loan], we wouldn’t have been able to do the sanitation projects that we do,” Fillmore told the Outpost. “Being able to keep those people on staff and give them jobs was a huge benefit. It’s hard when all the rules change and I am proud of not only our staff but our community coming together.”

Lost Coast Communications, the parent company of the Lost Coast Outpost received a PPP loan valued at $150,000-$350,000.


Want to delve into the data yourself? Seaman and the AEDC put together this (big!) Excel spreadsheet, with data broken out by county. It includes Humboldt and several neighboring counties. Get it at this link.