Local store offers grace period before price rise due to tariffs

While the extra costs from tariffs won’t be seen on many everyday items until early next year, some local businesses are already feeling the sting.

The Kettering Bike shop has seen between a 5 and 8 percent increase in cost of bikes since a new round of tariffs took effect in September. But owner Tom Tegtmeyer says he’s holding off passing those duties on to the consumer until next month.

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“We are holding our old prices until the first of the month and then raising the prices up to the current,” he said. “A lot of the parts are made (in China) and the bikes are assembled over there.”

The only products in Tegtmeyer’s store that are exempt from the tariffs are helmets and lights, he added.

“Everything is ordered 90 days in advance…it was charged on items coming in when it went through customs…so things on the water still got affected when it hit the U.S. shores,” Tegtmeyer said. “All the companies just instantly raised their prices when it went into effect. We had two days notice.”

He doesn’t want to jump the prices that quickly on customers, he said. He’s also using the gap to remark all the prices in the store.

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But his biggest concern is the amount of time remarking everything takes, especially if the proposed increase from 10 percent to 25 percent takes effect in January and the whole process starts again.

President Donald Trump first enacted the 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including consumer goods in September. There were two other rounds of tariffs earlier this year.

“There’s not much I can do about it. I think in six months, eight months, we’ll all be used to it, but right now it’s something new,” Tegtmeyer said. “Whenever we have a price increase everybody gets panicky at first.”

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Trump said the duties are meant the halt China’s theft of U.S. technology and coercion of American companies to surrender their trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market.

In addition to reducing the trade deficit, Trump said the trade war will bring jobs back to the United States after they had previously moved to China where low wages make production cheaper.

“People are still going to need bikes,” Tegtmeyer said. “If they’re looking at a $500 bike, they may have to buy a $400 bike to stay within their budget. We’ll still have bikes in everybody’s budget, things have just creeped up some.”

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