Vos’ popcorn company one of thousands of Wisconsin companies that received PPP loans

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ popcorn company received a loan of at least $150,000, one of thousands that went to Wisconsin businesses as part of a federal program to help companies retain employees amid the fallout from COVID-19.

The Small Business Administration Monday released a list of loans awarded to companies under the Paycheck Protection Program, and Robin J Vos Enterprises Inc. was listed as receiving a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000.

According to the records, the April 11 loan helped preserve 44 jobs.

“His company received one of nearly 700,000 loans given to small businesses, which allowed the company to keep its workers employed during these uncertain times,” said Vos spokeswoman Kit Beyer.

Altogether, the SBA released a list of 12,355 loans to Wisconsin businesses worth at least $150,000 with another 73,104 or less than $150,000. Combined, the program helped preserve more than 990,000 Wisconsin jobs.

For the larger loans, the SBA detailed business names, addresses, business type, name of the lender and jobs supported. Those loans were broken into ranges of $150,000-$350,000; $350,000-$1 million; $1 million-$2 million; $2 million-$5 million; and $5 million-$10 million.

Those loans accounted for 75 percent of those handed out. For those loans below $150,000, the SBA didn’t release the business names or addresses.

In Wisconsin, 102 companies received loans of between $5 million and $10 million, including the Milwaukee law firms Von Briesen & Roper and Godfrey & Kahn. Another 514 accepted loans of between $2 million and $5 million, including the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

The breadth of companies that accepted the loans is expansive, including bars, golf courses, health care providers, churches, nonprofits, manufacturers, private colleges and K-12 schools, transportation, utilities and food producers, among others.

Some of those who received loans of $150,000 to $350,000 include the Clean Lakes Alliance Inc. in Madison, which advocates to improve the quality of the Yahara Watershed, and Clean Wisconsin Inc.

The political consulting firm National Consulting in Milwaukee also received a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000. Thad Nation, the firm’s founder and senior partner, said the loan helped him keep everyone on payroll so they could “pay their bills.”

“It was an important amount of security in an uncertain time,” he said.

Small businesses receiving federal aid were not limited to companies selling products or services — small private colleges and universities also received PPP loans.

Private higher education institutions statewide saw a share of coronavirus assistance. These ranged from Marian University in Fond du Lac receiving between $2 million and $5 million to Northland College in Ashland receiving between $1 million and $2 million. Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College received between $350,000 and $1 million, and Milwaukee Career College received between $150,000 and $350,000.

Marian University, which received a loan to preserve 425 jobs, and Northland College, which had zero jobs listed, were labeled as nonprofit organizations. Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College, no jobs listed, and Milwaukee Career College, which received a loan to keep 25 people employed, were labeled as corporations.

The Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities received between $150,000 and $350,000 in loans as well. A sample of public university foundations that received between $150,000 and $350,000 includes the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and the UWM Foundation.

See a previous WisBusiness story on higher education tackling the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic here.