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Utah small businesses affected by tariffs

Posted at 5:49 PM, Sep 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 12:20:40-04

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Stocks tanked on Wall Street early Tuesday, which marks the first day of trading after new tariffs went into effect over Labor Day weekend.

On Sunday, the Trump Administration started charging a 15 percent tariff on Chinese imports.

The price increase is felt extra hard on a local small business owner making a name for herself for snagging a deal.

Like any good small business story, this one begins in a garage. Before her Draper store opens, Sara Grover’s garage doubles as a showroom.

“I’m a small business. This is what I have,” she said.

Her furniture deals are so good, she’s on track to hit $500,000 in sales in the first year. But there’s a snag.

“We order directly from wholesalers, and those wholesalers do trade with China. So when the tariffs have increased two times this past year, the wholesaler has to increase their prices,” Grover said.

The trade war makes "Utah Furniture Deals" somewhat less of a deal.

“This is one of my top seller pieces, and this has gone up about fifteen percent,” Grover said, pointing to a wooden bench.

It may not sound like much, but when a dining table originally priced at $760 gets hit with a 15 percent import tax, customers pay $874.

“It worries me that when I do list that price, is it going to go up? I’m not sure. I can’t always guarantee those low prices, which is frustrating,” Grover said.

After Sunday’s tariffs, Trump vowed to keep the pressure on China, warning he’ll only get tougher on trade. China responded by hitting American products — including soybeans and oil — with tariffs.

“They haven’t changed, and we haven’t. We’ll see what happens, but we can’t allow China to rip us off anymore as a country,” Trump said Sunday.

Grover is negotiating with her wholesale furniture dealers in China, doing her best to cut costs, but she’s not confident things will get any better.

“It’s very frustrating,” she said.

A study by JP Morgan found tariffs will cost the average American $1,000.

Even more tariffs loom on the horizon. On December 15, the Trump Administration is scheduled to impose a second round of 15 percent tariffs.