Paycheck Protection deadline nears

Wadena businesses have been supported with a total of $18,182,893 in loans as of Dec. 2020.

Eric Johnson (left), a sales consultant with Kern Laser Systems, moves a drawing into place on the laser cutting platform with the help of Adam Voigt from the marketing and sales department. The two cut out a template before cutting the plexiglass barriers for Friendly Rider. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

With 156 Wadena businesses receiving loans as of Dec. 2020, some businesses said employees have been able to continue working thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program.

The Small Business Administration loans can help with payroll costs including benefits , mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020 and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations, according to the SBA. The program reopened in mid-January with applications open through March 31. In order to reach the smallest businesses, SBA offered Paycheck Protection Program loans to businesses with fewer than 20 employees and sole proprietors only through Tuesday, March 9.

“Continuing to pay our employees their normal wages in this time of uncertainty was where the PPP funds were most helpful,” Kern Laser Systems CEO/President Derek Kern said in an email.


The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program also supports small businesses experiencing a loss of revenue. In Wadena, 51 businesses received PPP and EIDL funds, according to information analyzed by the Pioneer Journal from the SBA. Twenty-three percent of businesses received $20-50,000 PPP loans. Restaurants received $410,900 in PPP loans and $493,700 in EIDLs.

As a manufacturing company deemed essential, along with customers who produce face shields, intubation boxes and splash guards, Kern Laser Systems saw a high need for their products. Though the pandemic started with negative signs of trade show cancellations and canceled or delayed orders, as Kern said in an email.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to get in front of our customers due to these cancellations and travel restrictions that most of our corporate clients have in place,” he said.

The PPP funds also supported new systems of online meetings for employees, customers and vendors.

“Ultimately, I am happy to say we have been able to keep every single one of our employees working full time throughout this difficult time,” Kern said.

How to apply

PPP applications are due by March 31. You can apply through an existing SBA lender, federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union or Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Local lenders processing applications:

  • Central Minnesota Credit Union

  • First National Bank of Henning

  • Mid-Central National Bank

  • Star Bank, Bertha

  • Wadena State Bank

For a full list, visit .


For more information and to apply for EIDLs, visit .

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in feature reporting as well as enhancing online articles. Readers can reach Rebecca at 507-285-7681 or
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