The Impact of Tariffs on Small Business

NRF amplifying the voices of business owners harmed by tariffs

NRF has played a leading role in the business community’s effort to educate lawmakers on the importance of free trade and the negative impact of tariffs on businesses and consumers. By partnering with more than 150 associations from every sector of the U.S. economy in the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign, NRF is working to amplify the voices of local businesses that are paying the cost of the trade war.

Watch their stories below and text #TariffsHurt to 52886 to join the campaign. 

A tax paid by American consumers

Carlton’s in Reheboth Beach, Del. has seen prices of its products grow incrementally in anticipation of tariffs, and co-owner and VP Trey Kraus says he wants the President to understand that “tariffs are being paid by the American people.”

Trade War will ‘hurt everyone’ in the U.S.

Kentucky small business owner, Ann Wingrove, wants Congress to understand the unintended consequences that a trade war and increased tariffs will have on her store, employees and consumers across the country.

Tariffs ‘undermine growth’

Retailers have always responded to customer needs, evolving with the market — and anything that might disrupt progress is a concern. Jimmy Edwards, president of Marshall Music in Lansing, Mich., worries tariffs will raise prices on music instruments, disrupt his connection with customers and ultimately impact access to hundreds of school music programs across Michigan.

Tariffs hurt ‘the little guy’

Tara Riceberg, owner of Los Angeles-based gift shop Tweak & Tesoro says that small businesses like hers will be unable to absorb the costs of tariffs. Yet passing along the costs to customers will make it hard for her to retain their business. 

Tariffs make “made in the US” model too costly

Vivacity Sportswear creates athletic wear that is manufactured in the United States with imported technical fabrics and components from other countries, including China. Owner Vivian Sayward is concerned that rising costs due to tariffs will make it impossible to keep manufacturing in the U.S. Watch the video to learn more.

Main Street impact

Ken Keiran, owner of Union Farm Equipment in Union, Maine, says tariffs have already meant prices increases for many of the products he sells, including both those imported from other countries and those built in the United States from imported parts. Tariffs will impact profits, be passed along to consumers and impact the whole community, he says. Watch the video.

‘A huge unknown’

With more than 85 percent of the products in her store imported from China, owner Tiffany Williams of The Luggage Shop of Lubbock says tariffs on travel goods will be detrimental to her business. Even prior to the recent implementation of tariffs on luggage, suppliers had already warned that costs will increase, leading Williams to raise prices on some items by up to 25 percent.

A ‘tax on the consumer’

American Sale has been in business in the Chicago area for 60 years and has nine locations that sell pools, spas and home recreation items, most of which are imported from China and Canada. Owner Bob Jones describes how tariffs increase costs at every stage of the supply chain and ultimately hurt the consumer. Watch the video to learn more.

No time to plan

Creative Kidstuff, a toy store in Minnesota, brings the best and most innovative toys and products for kids from all over the world to families in the Twin Cities. President Roberta Bonoff says that proposed tariffs on toys and other goods would raise the cost of imports to the point she'd have to change her business model, and ultimately raise prices for local consumers. Watch the video to learn more.

‘There has to be a better way’

Schaefer’s TV and Appliance in Lincoln, Neb., has been open since 1946 and employs 90 full-time employees. Owner Ron Romero says he’s seen the cost of appliances increase already, and he expects new tariffs to cause additional price increases which will ultimately hurt consumers. Watch the video to learn more about how tariffs are impacting Schaefer’s TV and Appliance or read more.

No ‘wiggle room’ to absorb price increases

Nicole Panettieri’s boutique, The Brass Owl, is a style haven for fashionable shoe and accessory lovers in Queens, New York. But Panettieri is concerned that tariffs from the growing trade war with China will threaten her ability to hire new employees, and warns she will have to increase prices to stay afloat. Watch the video or listen to Panettieri’s story on NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast.

Learn more about tariffs

Court of International Trade Erred in China 301 Tariff Case
Court of International Trade Erred in China 301 Tariff Case
Read more
Joint Industry Study Flags Negative Impacts of Section 301 Tariffs on American Consumers and U.S. Businesses
Trade groups released a study on the detrimental economic impacts of Section 301 tariffs.
Read more
USTR’s Patently Insufficient Response to Tariff Comments Requires the Court of International Trade to End 301 Tariffs
Trade groups joint statement on amicus brief regarding China Section 301 tariffs.
Read more