Some local workers say Trump's tariffs could be good for Michigan long term
Flint, Mich. - President Donald Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will effect many industries in mid-Michigan, including a popular sign making company in Flint.
Signs by Crannie makes signs for local and nationwide companies. The Genesee County company has made signs for major stores like Perfumania, Sephora and Del Taco. It's making the massive welcome sign that millions of visitors will see when they drive into Frankenmuth.
It's owner, Dan Crannie, started the company more than 30 years ago. He says workers use steel for some parts of signs, but they use mostly aluminum.
He says aluminum sheets cost an average of $300. But after the 10% tariff on aluminum imports, it could cost around $330. He buys steel and aluminum from a supplier and doesn't know if they are imported or American-made. But Crannie says if his metals increase, like other companies that rely on aluminum and steel, those costs will be turned over to consumers.
Sales manager Gary Gebhardt has worked for Signs by Crannie for 28 years. He doesn't think the tariffs will decrease their business.
"They might need to budget more money," he says.
He says many companies get financing for new signs so the increase would only add a few dollars to monthly payments.
"The average mom and pop that we work with that might spend $20,000 on a sign like that. They might see a 400 dollar increase," he says.
He says that would only increase the monthly payment by eight dollars.
Gebhardt does think the tariffs could help Michigan and the country long term.
"The United States is not running up to capacity to be able to produce aluminum because foreign suppliers," he says.
"What happens if we don't have aluminum producers in our country and it's all dependent on China and we have a conflict in China and now we don't have aluminum," he worries.
Gebhardt says taxes on imports may be the only way to ensure companies like Signs by Crannie can survive another three decades.
"I want to see more stuff produced by American hands and protect American jobs," Gebhardt says.