As a public service, Shaw Media will provide open access to information related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. Sign up for the newsletter here

The COVID-19 pandemic created unique problems for businesses and nonprofit organizations alike.

Streator Unlimited, for example, is dependent on summer fundraisers.

Executive Director John Mallaney said the agency applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan as soon as the agency possibly could – quickly enough, in fact, that it actually had to fill out a second application, because on the second day the federal government changed the original application to require more information.

“It was a good bit of work,” said Mallaney, of Streator Unlimited, which is a nonprofit agency in Streator with an emphasis on teaching skills to adults with disabilities to allow them to live as independently as possible. “I want to say it took a little over a week to hear back, which isn’t too bad for creating a brand new program.” 

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The Small Business Administration will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses.

All in all, Streator businesses received $5,026,983.65 from the Payroll Protection Program, which according to data obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request means businesses received an average of $33,072.56 from the program.

Ottawa, as a whole, received $13,014,627.47, an average of $35,365.84 per business, which went toward retaining 2,080 jobs.

In Ottawa, both Bill Walsh and Grainco received loans between $2 million and $5 million, which went toward saving 242 and 130 jobs, respectively.

Ottawa Dental Laboratory and Sigan American fell into the $1 million to $2 million bracket.

Eleven businesses received loans in the $350,000 to $1 million category: Halm Electric, Handy Foods, HR Imaging, Lotz Trucking, Marquette Academy, Ottawa Friendship House, Ottawa Pavilion, Ottawa Plant Food, Performance Pipelining, Prairie Transport and Tangled Roots Brewing Company.

Receiving loans between $150,000 and $350,000 were ABC Insulation, BDH Custard, Burger and Sushi House, Burns Machine, Crossbridge Church, Drafteck, DropTank, DSI Ottawa, Exit 90 on I-80 Trailer Wash, Heritage Harbor, Illinois Valley Surgical Associates, Red’s Truck Repair, Ruiz Construction, Sigma Graphics, SSHE RFMF, Starved Rock Regional Center for Therapy & Child Development, Stevenson Transfer, Struckel of Illinois, Cantlin Law Firm and Westfield Enterprises.

In Streator, Luckey Trucking, Vissering Construction, U.S. Truck Body and Streator Dependable are among businesses that received loans of more than $1 million, with Luckey and Vissering landing in the $2 to $5 million range. 

Deke Trucking, Iron Clad Systems, Parker Nursing Home, Streator Unlimited and United Pipe and Supply Co. all received PPP loans between $350,000 and $1 million.

Flink, Finkelstein Eye Clinic, Joe Hatzer and Sons Construction, Quik Kill, SCI Corporation, Scott Miller Trucking, St. Michael the Archangel and Star Ford all received loans between $150,000 and $350,000.

These loans went toward retaining 890 jobs.

Five Marseilles businesses received PPP loans between $350,000 and $1 million: Liberty Laser Solutions, Marseilles Cellular, Marseilles Sheet Metal, MTI Power Services and Aperion Care.

This allowed for the retention of 230 jobs.

Seneca had four businesses receive PPP loans, with Mid States Industrial receiving a loan in the $350 to $1 million range, and Pipe & Piling Supplies, Spring Brook Marina and Woodsmoke Ranch landing in the $150,000 to $350,000 range.

Ransom had two businesses receive PPP loans: Alloy, which fell into the $350,000 to $1 million range, and Illinois Valley Machine, which fell into the $150,000 to $350,000 range. 

Businesses that received less than $150,000 from PPP are not subject to being documented.

Mallaney, of Streator Unlimited, said the organization arranged for the money to go with payroll, and it started coming in May 1. It was used up by June 26, but it allowed the agency to provide an extra $3 in hazard pay to employees through the end of June.

He said the next step is to get documentation to apply for loan forgiveness.

“[The pandemic] has been challenging,” Mallaney said. “Money is always a struggle for a nonprofit, but it’s always secondary to the people we serve in our group home. They have a lot of medical conditions and they’re at high risk. If a virus gets into a home, that’s a nightmare. That’s our terror. That preoccupies us heavily.”

Streator Unlimited has had to close down most of its subcontracting work to focus on preventing COVID-19’s spread.

“We reach out to the people that live on their own and need medications, and we check in to make sure they have plenty of food," Mallaney said. “It’s difficult and it’s odd for us. The PPP has helped, and the state has been wonderful for helping with things like our day program.”

Mallaney said the PPP applications created an element of confusion because it dealt with the federal instead of state government.

“It’s different from our normal world, but all of our friends in Streator are dealing with this,” Mallaney said. “We’re doing our best to get by and keep everyone healthy and safe. For a lot of us, being cooped up is very hard, and especially hard for the people we serve.”

For more local news, visit The Times at