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COVID-19 Relief In Pittsburgh: Corporations Received Millions In PPP While Small Businesses Struggled To Secure Loans

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- New information shows that Pennsylvania businesses took in $5 billion in loans from the Payroll Protection Program.

The PPP loans helped businesses try to survive the pandemic shutdown, with Pittsburgh receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in PPP loans.

Data shows, however, the majority of this money went to big companies, while mom-and-pop shops scrambled for the crumbs.

At Flavors Famous Street Food in Brighton Heights, they're still serving up wings and fries despite the pandemic. But it wasn't easy. They failed to get a PPP loan.

"It's almost like a punch in the gut. Because we tried so hard to get this money," owner Curtis Drane said.

But Drane's corporate competitors got millions.

KDKA learned how much through a watchdog website called It compiled data the Small Business Association released Tuesday night. The database details state and cities and who got PPP. It's searchable and sizeable.

For example, KDKA found three Southwestern Pennsylvania restaurant chains that collectively took in more than $22 million.

"They were snatching money so fast, that the funds started to dry up," Drane said. "The small mom and popos had to wait for round two and round three. We couldn't get anything because big corporations had already taken it."

The intent behind PPP was to help small businesses keep the payroll going and keep jobs on the books in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn't just restaurants. Large contractors, including ones that already have big government contracts, took in millions too. In fact, $21.7 billion went to commonwealth businesses.

Many receiving millions, several receiving nothing, including Drane.

"I was asking for $100,000. I asked for $50,000. I asked for $35,000 and I got turned down," Drane said. "We know how to make a pizza, we know how to make a burger. We open up a restaurant. No one has a formal education in accounting."

Drane eventually got a bailout from the Urban Redevelopment Authority. He's hoping there's another round of loans coming out of Washington. He says this time, he's got an accountant.

The full data from can be found here.

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