i3 | September 25, 2019

Tariffs Could Tear Apart My Family Business

Scosche co-founder and CEO Roger Alves

American family businesses create over 60% of new jobs and are the main drivers of our nation’s gross domestic product. My family business, Scosche Industries Inc., is one of those creator companies.

Almost 40 years ago, I co-founded Scosche with my wife out of our own home, and our two sons will soon take over. The company has grown from a couple in a garage with a dream, to vehicle tech and phone accessory dealer that sells to some of the largest retailers in the country. We employ over 200 Americans between our California headquarters and our distribution facility in Alabama. We also design and develop most of our 4,000 products here in the United States. However, the majority 90% of our products are manufactured in China, because we cannot make them here and stay competitive.

In just the first month of the U.S. government’s $50 billion tariffs on Chinese imports last year, our business undertook significant losses. In fact, last July was a zero-profit month for us. And after the third round of U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products went into effect in September, our losses rose to over $3 million. Since then, we have moved production of key items to other countries outside of China and cut down on certain models all together to survive the increasing costs that are the direct result of these tariffs.

That’s because the retailers we sell to are not mandated to accept the tariffs. In layman’s terms, we can’t force the stores who sell our products to buy them at higher prices from us. Contractually speaking, retailers have a 60-day period to implement a price-hike. But these tariffs aren’t simply a price hike – they’re a government-mandated tax on the companies that produce tech devices and the consumers who want these products. So, our company is forced to absorb millions of dollars in lost profits, while Chinese companies undercut us and sell directly to our customers.

As an American business owner, I am crushed by losses every day the failing tariff strategy continues. But consumers are also being hit. If list 4 goes into effect, it will completely wipe out the strong economic growth President Trump is so proud of creating. It will be as if all our stock market growth over the last two years never happened. The tax cuts that Congress passed will be wiped away.


The president’s tariff strategy is intended to bring manufacturing back home to the U.S., but it is having the opposite effect. Instead, businesses like ours have been forced into the painful choice of either laying people off or shutting down. We have already had one layoff.


The longer the president waits to make a deal with China, the more significant the economic decline is that he’s creating. Already, the tariffs are creating an economic blockade on our borders, effectively nationalizing my company. The “wall” President Trump will end up with is the wall of consumer shock and spending stoppage.


Mr. President, please turn this ship around before it’s too late for my family and American small business owners like us.


Roger Alves is co-founder and CEO, Scosche Industries.