Some CNY Companies Thriving Despite...or Because of Tariffs

Jul 11, 2019

Liberty Tabletop of Sherrill is actually growing because the trade war has created an awareness and demand for American made products.

Several Central New York companies gathered Thursday to share how they’re weathering the trade war now that tariffs and retaliatory tariffs are starting to be felt by many industries.  The CNY International Business Alliance held its second monthly meeting, and director Steven King says the impact varies.

"We have some companies that have been impacted quite significantly.  Other companies, it's just a small part of their costs.  So they're feeling maybe a few cents on a product that's added on, and they just absorb the costs."

King says they did discuss strategies on how to avoid tariffs, or how to defer payments to manage cash flow.  None of that is an issue for Liberty Tabletop in Sherrill.  Co-founder and CEO Greg Owens says they’re largely immune to the trade war and are actually thriving.  As the only flatware maker in the country, there are no tariffs on their products, and they buy only American stainless steel. 

"What we have seen is a broadened awareness of the whole trade issue, especially focused on China, which now represents 73 percent of the American flatware market.  The made in America movement and support for American labor has really helped us market our American-made flatware in an effective way."

Owens says they’ve grown about 20 percent over each of the past four years, and have hired more workers.  Darco manufacturing has also been growing long before the trade war began.  General Manager Laura Miller says there’s increasing awareness of the hidden costs of global sourcing, and the advantages of having a supply chain closer to home. 

Darco Manufacturing has largely escaped the impact of the trade war...for now. General Manager Laura Miller says she might have a different answer in 6 months. Meanwhile, she says business is growing.

"There's been a slow, steady trend of customers saying, 'can you machine these parts for us?'  Very often, we are competing with global suppliers.  Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.  I think we might be winning a little bit more lately, and it seems like we're getting more inquiries."

Darco makes components for original equipment manufacturers like Carrier.   Miller says they took a hit from a brief spike in the cost of raw material, but that’s since leveled out, and they never raised their prices.  She says the longer term impact of the trade war on their business remains to be seen.