Local steel fabricating company expanding, concerned about steel tariffs
At Thursday night's rally, President Donald J. Trump is expected to talk about his record tax cuts and tariffs on steel and aluminum. We spoke with one small business owner, just two miles from North Side Middle School, about how his business is being impacted by the changes.
The booming local economy is sparking growth at Evans Metals on Johnson Road in Elkhart, according to owner David Evans.
“We’re doing really, really well," Evans said. “We’ve had a couple good years in a row."
Evans runs the small iron and steel fabricating company his father started back in 1945.
“We don’t normally buy foreign steel most of this is domestic steel," Evans said.
While Evans is a longtime Republican, he admits he doesn’t support all of President Trump’s policies –though he does welcome the presidential visit.
“It’s wonderful that he’s coming to town. I think he needs to talk about tax cuts, that’s a wonderful thing to do, hopefully that gives benefit to a variety of people business owners and employees," Evans said.
Evans also happens to be an ordained episcopal priest and worries about economic fairness and the divisive nature of politics these days.
“I think its troubling times," Evans said.
One of the storm clouds on the horizon is President Trump’s new 25 percent tariff on imported steel.
Evans says it has already driven up costs by 5 cents a pound and his suppliers say two more price hikes are looming this year.
“If we bid a job now and we bid it for this amount of money, there is no escalation clause, so as that steel cost increases we will pay a penalty over time so any tax benefit will be easily removed," Evans said.
Even so, Evans is hammering out plans to expand his cramped fabrication shop and looking to hire more than his current 15 workers.
“We have to add on because we don’t have enough floor space. We are doing that. I’ve already bought machines a year ago but I can’t put them in place—that was before any tax cuts were spoken of," Evans said.
Evans says his company has not seen any benefit from the tax cuts approved last December, at least not yet, but he’s hopeful they will help his bottom line eventually.