Reyna Fausto working at Doña Esther's Restaurant in San Juan Bautista. Photo by Robert Eliason
Reyna Fausto working at Doña Esther's Restaurant in San Juan Bautista. Photo by Robert Eliason

Updated to reflect additional information.

For Bonny Swank of Swank Farms, getting a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to help with expenses during the early phase of the COVID-19 crisis was easy.

“We filled out the paperwork on a Friday and the money was in the bank by Wednesday,” Swank said. “We went with a bank in Nebraska that we have been using. They understand agriculture, they know us, and they understand our needs.”

Tami Castaneda-Huaracha, owner of Dona Esther’s in San Juan Bautista, agrees that a personal relationship helps.

“As the old saying goes, it’s who you know,’ Castaneda-Huaracha said. “The bank that I have done business with for decades did not help me. I got it because I know the vice president at another bank. It was incredibly hard and I got it only by the grace of God and only because of somebody I knew.”

PPP loans are offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a means of allowing companies to keep staff on payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law March 27. That act authorized $349 billion in funding, which was exhausted in two weeks. A second round of funding on April 24 added $310 billion, including $60 billion specifically targeted to small businesses. Another $20 billion was added as part of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

There were 437 loans under $150,000 made to businesses in San Benito County, which amounted to a total of $19.7 million to cover payroll for over 2,700 employees. There were 110 loans over $150,000 which covered payroll for over 5,560 employees. 

The loan amounts are calculated based on the wages paid to employees during 2019. For the loans to be forgiven they must be used strictly for payroll, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. A minimum of 75% of the loan amount has to be used for payroll costs. Funds can be used for other business purposes, but must then be paid back within two years at 1% interest. 

In at least one local instance the loan was returned, by Infinity Staffing in Hollister, which received a loan of $2 million-$5 million. They employ 463 workers.

For other businesses, it was a struggle to get anything and many of those who applied were turned down.

“We applied and we got nothing,” said Victoria Perl, owner of Mission Cafe in San Juan Bautista. “I was not expecting much, just enough to survive. They did not even tell us; we had to call and then they just said ‘No, the money is gone.’ We are still waiting.”

The wait cost San Juan Bautista one of its signature restaurants, Perl’s Matxain Etxea Basque, which has finally closed its doors after Perl ran out of options. 

List of loans

Restaurants were one of the largest employers mentioned in the list of loan recipients released by the Small Business Administration. Forty-two restaurants in San Benito County received loans to cover a total of 840 employees.

Construction was another, with 63 companies employing 407 workers. Other housing-related businesses applied in large numbers as well, including 16 real estate agencies and 40 contractors.

Agricultural businesses got some of the largest loans, based on their employee count. E. Berry Farms in Hollister, with 450 employees, received a loan of $350,000-$1 million. CDF Parkway, owner of Casa de Fruta, claimed 185 employees for a loan of $1 million-$2 million.

The PPP loan list is broken down into two groups: loans under and over $150,000.  

The list of smaller loans does not include the names of businesses and is incomplete in the listing of total jobs. It does list the type of business, according to the North American Industry Classification System.

The list of larger loans includes business names, but does not include the exact amount of the loan. Instead, it indicates the loan range.

The largest single loan went to R & R Labor Inc., which received $2 million-$5 million with 350 employees. The smallest loan was $490, which went to a support service in Hollister.

Below is a list of all the loans over $150,000, broken down by city. The totals for the loans under $150,000 are included for each city as well.

Data on the PPP loans can be found on the Small Business Administration website

Aromas loans under $150,000: 

11 loans totaling $1.2 million (169 employees)

Aromas loans over $150,000: 

$1 million-$2 million 

  • Sky High Labor Inc. (220 employees)—Crop Farming

$350,000-$1 million 

  • CV Vista Farms LLC (250 employees)—Crop Farming
  • Los Altos Farms, LLC (91 employees)—Strawberry Farming


  • Berry Mist Farms, LP (39 employees)—Strawberry Farming
  • C & N Builders  (no employees listed)—Poured Concrete Foundation and Structure Contractors
  • Greg Patterson (33 employees)—Specialty Trade Contractors
  • Ronald G Borba (20 employees)—Crop Farming

Hollister loans under $150,000:

437 loans totalling $17.1 million (2,315 employees)

Hollister loans over $150,000:

$2 million-$5 million

  • R & R Labor Inc. (350 employees)—Temporary Help Services

$1 million-$2 million

  • Al Fresco Landscaping, Inc. (86 employees)—Landscaping Services
  • Benchmark Steel Inc. (33 employees)—Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors
  • Cdf Parkway, LLC (185 employees)—Fruit and Vegetable Markets
  • Marich Confectionery Associates (155 employees)—Miscellaneous Food Manufacturing
  • Royal Circuit Solutions, Inc. (133 employees)—Bare Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing
  • Villa & Sons Enterprises Inc. (117 employees)—Painting and Wall Covering Contractors

$350,000-$1 million

  • Al Fresco Landscape Management, Inc. (40 employees)—Landscaping Services
  • Alpha Tech Plumbing Inc. (35 employees)—Plumbing, Heating, and Air-conditioning Contractors
  • American Electrical Services Inc. (21 employees)—Electrical Contractors
  • Avtech Construction Inc. (22 employees)—Poured Concrete Foundation and Structure Contractors
  • Bhandal Bros (90 employees)—General Freight Trucking, Long-distance, Truckload
  • Bianchi, Kasavan & Pope, LLP (31 employees)—Certified Public Accountants
  • Brent Redmond Transportation (no employees listed)—Freight Transportation Arrangement
  • Carlisle Enterprises Inc (121 employees)—Limited-service Restaurant
  • Chamberlain’s Youth Services (70 employees)—Child and Youth Services
  • Commercial Exteriors, Inc. (one employee)—Commercial and Institutional Building Construction
  • Corbin Pacific Inc. (no employees listed)—Motorcycle, Bicycle, and Parts Manufacturing
  • E. Berry Farms LLC (450 employees)—Regulation Of Agricultural Marketing and Commodities
  • Filice Farms, LP (31 employees)—Vegetable and Melon Farming
  • Greenwood Chevrolet (68 employees)—New Car Dealers
  • Hollister Super Inc. (120 employees)—Clothing Accessories Stores
  • Hollister Youth Alliance (76 employees)—Social Advocacy Organizations
  • Leal Vineyards, Inc. (14 employees)—Wineries
  • Load Hub Logistics LLC (no employees listed)—Freight Transportation Arrangement
  • Mc Electronics, LLC (40 employees)—Communication and Energy Wire Manufacturing
  • Mckuin Pipeline Inc. (43 employees)—Specialty Trade Contractors
  • Ozeki Corporation (47 employees)—Sake Manufacturing
  • Paradise Electrical Services Inc. (no employees listed) —Electrical Contractors
  • Reed Manufacturing Inc. (52 employees)—Steel Investment Foundries
  • San Benito Heating & Sheetmetal, Inc. (37 employees)—Plumbing, Heating, and Air-conditioning Contractors
  • San Benito Supply (70 employees)—Highway, Street, and Bridge Construction
  • Sheban Express Inc. (45 employees)—Personal Services
  • Tfk Drywall & Construction, Inc. (40 employees) Drywall and Insulation Contractors
  • Tiffany Motor Company (30 employees)—New Car Dealers


  • Advantage Truss Company, LLC (35 employees)—Truss Manufacturing
  • Allison Jean Corporation (37 employees)—Limited-service Restaurant
  • Associated Rv Enterprises, Inc. (13 employees)—(business type not listed)
  • Berry People, LLC (17 employees)—Strawberry Farming
  • Brent Redmond Logistics (no employees listed)—Support Activities For Rail Transportation
  • Building Enterprises, Inc. (11 employees)—Sales Financing
  • Cedar Valley Manufacturing Inc. (no employees listed)—Wood Product Manufacturing
  • Cimino’s Cabinet Doors, Inc. (44 employees)—Wood Kitchen Cabinet and Countertop Manufacturing
  • Cwm Advisors, LLC (11 employees)—Investment Advice
  • Darnell Dental Corp (10 employees)—Offices Of Dentists
  • Delgado Electric Inc. (14 employees)—Electrical Contractors
  • Diablo Precision, Inc. (no employees listed)—Machine Shops
  • Emergency Vehicle Specialists, Inc. (24 employees)—Automobile Manufacturing
  • Evcon (33 employees)—Commercial and Institutional Building Construction
  • Excel Heating & Sheet Metal, Inc. (15 employees)—Plumbing, Heating, and Air-conditioning Contractors
  • F&S Farms Inc. (25 employees)—Vegetable and Melon Farming
  • Food Equipment Manufacturing Company (14 employees)—Industrial Machinery and Equipment Merchant Wholesalers
  • Forrest Transportation Inc. (no employees listed)—Support Activities For Rail Transportation
  • Frisco Paint Company (18 employees)—Painting and Wall Covering Contractors
  • G T Custom Drywall Inc.  (no employees listed)—Drywall and Insulation Contractors
  • Gt Carlisle Management, Inc. (12 employees)—Limited-service Restaurant
  • International Horticultural (31 employees)—Soil Preparation, Planting, and Cultivating
  • Intervine Capital Cienega Valley LLC (21 employees)—Wineries
  • Jayleaf, LLC (45 employees)—Crop Farming
  • Jdm Foods Corporation (34 employees)—Perishable Prepared Food Manufacturing
  • John Tobias (18 employees)—Farm Management Services
  • Josh Watt Electric Inc. (24 employees)—New Single-family Housing Construction
  • La Piedad Tortilla (36 employees)—Tortilla Manufacturing
  • Manzo Construction Incorporated (13 employees)—Postharvest Crop Activities
  • Mark Nicholson Inc. (14 employees)—Commercial Building Construction
  • Mcabee Trucking, Inc. (13 employees)—Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • N2genii, Inc. (seven employees)—Specialty Trade Contractors
  • Nor-cal Insulation Inc. (12 employees)—Drywall and Insulation Contractors
  • Ohnomyjump (four employees)—(business type not listed) 
  • Orsetti Seed Company Inc. (12 employees)—Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesaler
  • Pacific Interlock Pavers Inc. & Pacific Transfer Inc. (17 employees)—Miscellaneous Manufacturing
  • Preferred Tile and Marble, Inc. (17 employees)—Tile and Terrazzo Contractors
  • Premiere Cinemas (53 employees)—Motion Picture Theaters
  • Rbhc Foods Inc. (74 employees)—Full-service Restaurant
  • Rf Coax Inc. (22 employees)—Construction and Mining Equipment Merchant Wholesalers
  • Rjr Environmental Professional Services, Inc. (one employee)—Recyclable Material Merchant Wholesalers
  • Royal Elk Park Management Inc. (65 employees)—Recreational Vehicle Parks and Campgrounds
  • Sabbatini Plumbing, Inc. (18 employees)—Plumbing, Heating, and Air-conditioning Contractors
  • San Benito Health Foundation (24 employees)—Public Health Programs
  • San Juan Oaks, LLC (58 employees)—Golf Courses and Country Clubs
  • Sheet Metal Systems Inc. (14 employees)—Custom Roll Forming
  • Simmons Stairways Incorporated (no employees listed)—Framing Contractors
  • South County Drywall & Plastering, Inc (18 employees)—Drywall and Insulation Contractor Steel Solutions, Inc. (21 employees)—Commercial Building Construction
  • Swank Farms Produce Inc. (20 employees)—Vegetable and Melon Farming
  • The Grove, Highway 156 (two employees)—(business type not listed)
  • The Trillo Companies, Inc. (15 employees)—Plumbing, Heating, and Air-conditioning Contractors
  • Tonascia Farms, Inc. (45 employees)—Vegetable and Melon Farming
  • Top Rock Construction Inc. (no employees listed)—Poured Concrete Foundation and Structure Contractors
  • West Coast Rubber Recycling (20 employees)—Recyclable Material Merchant 
  • Woltcom, Inc. (31 employees)—Electrical Contractors
  • Your Medical Group, Inc. (16 employees)—HMO Medical Centers

San Juan Bautista loans under $150,000:

14 loans totaling $731,400 (154 employees)

San Juan Bautista loans over $150,000:

$2 million-$5 million 

  • Bay Area Builders, Inc. (187 employees)—New Multifamily Housing Construction

$1 million-$2 million 

  • Custom Ag-Pak (135 employees)—Support Services

$350,000-$1 million 

  • Durden Construction, Inc. (45 employees)—Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction
  • Jardines De San Juan (135 employees)—Full-service Restaurant


  • Dona Esther, Inc. (32 employees)—Full-service Restaurant
  • Pacific Harvest Seafoods, Inc. (no employees listed)—Fish and Seafood Merchant Wholesalers
  • Phil Foster Ranch (46 employees)—Vegetable and Melon Farming
  • Ponzini Insulation, Inc. (20 employees)—Drywall and Insulation Contractors
  • Schipper Design (10 employees)—Graphic Design Services
  • Yamaoka Bros., Inc. (14 employees)—Vegetable and Melon Farming

Tres Pinos loans under $150,000:

11 loans totaling $629,600 (93 employees)

Tres Pinos loans over $150,000:



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