Businesses Say Prices Hikes Due To Trump Tariffs Are Passed On To Consumers

Local News

Mid-South businesses are again being hit with what they call the ‘tariff trickle down’. Suppliers say President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs with Europe, Canada, and Mexico announced Friday are already hurting budgets, and everyone, up and down the supply chain.

City council members voted to make changes to when somebody can legally roll out their trash, and when they legally must roll it back.

Trash now can’t be rolled out until 5:00 p.m. the day before pickup and must be rolled back by 8:00 a.m. the day after trash pickup.

Those at ‘HVAC Sales and Supply Company’ gave Local 24 a stack of price notices from the two separate tariffs this year, and they’ve picked up since the President’s steel and aluminum tariff announcement Friday. They say suppliers immediately hiked up items from 15% to 25%; costs pushed back on customers.

In a massive northeast Memphis warehouse, nearly every product is made in another country; goods now impacted by President Trump’s announcement last week to slap on tariffs of 25% of steel and 10% of aluminum shipped in from American allies.

“We get ready to place an order and the price gets increased before you even have a chance to get it in, then having to relay the price increase to our customer base,” said Greg Stricklin, a buyer with HVAC Sales & Supply.

In the past week, Stricklin dealt with devastating cost spikes tied to the tariffs. And Stricklin said those higher supplier costs get passed down to customers.

“You just don’t see 30% price increases just out of the blue on any product,” he said. “An air conditioning system can range anywhere from $5,000 to $25 – $30,000, so if you put 20% on that, that’s a big number.”

Other companies are also feeling the pain. The President of Hensley Heating said: “The announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs by President Trump has destabilized the metal market and we are seeing unprecedented prices increases across our supplier chain.”

“People in our industry, we are used to seeing a 4 to 6% price increase every year on something, but to get something like 30% it just blows your mind when you sit there and start putting in the figures,” said Stricklin.

And it’s not just air conditioning or home construction that’s impacted locally. The owner of the gutter repair company ‘Gutterworks’ told Local 24 he’s at a breaking point with an expected third aluminum price increase next month. He’s worried if the increases don’t slow down, he’ll have to pass those costs to customers.

These tariffs are infuriating not only company leaders, but also turning out to be an issue the leading candidates from both parties vying for Tennessee’s U.S. Senate Seat can actually agree upon, as international trade impacting local bottom lines.

Democrat Phil Bredesen supported retiring Republican Bob Corker’s critical tweet about them, responding, “These tariffs do a lot of damage to TN businesses. For my part, I call on every Democrat and Republican who cares about our state to stand with him on this.”     

Bredesen’s likely Republican opponent Marsha Blackburn said through her campaign, “Marsha has been very clear that she believes tariffs are intended to punish bad actors, not harm American consumers and manufacturers. She is increasingly concerned these tariffs are a bad deal for Tennesseans.”

“All the things drive up the cost, they are going back to the homeowner,” said Stricklin.

Aside from Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs announced Tuesday, Canadian officials also said in recent days they’d increase prices for U.S. exports of steel, aluminum, and other products.

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