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Shed retailer raises prices 20 percent, says Trump tariff is to blame

Brown says Hometown Sheds was forced to raise rates by 20 percent to keep up with tariffs on steel imposed by the Trump administration in March. (Taggart Houck/WPDE)

When Colin Brown started selling sheds at Hometown Sheds in Conway three years ago, he dealt with a fairly standard rate. He said it hadn’t increased to much of anything during the year.

The next year, rates increased to 5 percent, he said. That was fairly easy to explain to customers.

But Aug. 8th, the rate changed dramatically, to a number he never thought he’d see in his career as a retailer. It was a harder sell to customers.

“I’ve had to let them know about the new pricing. They’re shocked,” he said.

That’s the day executives of the company decided to raise their rates by 20 percent, across the board, he said.

“This was basically five years [worth of rates] and that’s frightening,” said Brown.

His bosses told him it was because of the tariffs on steel imposed by the Trump Administration back in March.

We spoke with him in July, ahead of any pricing impacts.

“I expected the metal and there was an area I hadn’t even considered and I was informed that the wood prices had gone up just as much,” he said.

Both lumber and metal are a staple to just about all of his sheds, he said.

“I saw literally the days after [the price jump]...zero, zero, zero. All 13 locations,” he said. “New shed sales. Zero. Never seen that before. Zero, zero.”

The Trump Administration imposed the steel tariffs back in March.

Most recent U.S. Census Data shows the trade deficit has increased from more than $45 billion in June to 50.1 billion in July. Brown said he’s worrying about that trickling to other markets.

“If they’re gonna increase this dramatically for a shed, I can’t imagine how dramatically they’re gonna increase for the homeowners,” he said.

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