Moda Stone president sees Chinese quartz tariffs as a good thing

A woman walks through looking at granite and quartz samples in Moda Stone.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The cost of quartz countertops imported from China is up about 300% due to tariffs, but how has that affected business in the Black Hills?
According to one local business owner, it's actually a good thing.

When the cost of low-end Chinese quartz increased due to tariffs, it made it more difficult for producers of high-end quartz to keep up with demand.

"The availability of a lot of these Chinese produced quartzes has gone away and so that's driving basically the availability of the other products to, for lack of a better term, run out," says Moda Stone President Tim Rausch.

This makes it challenging to get some orders in on time, but overall Rausch says the tariffs are good for business. A few U.S. companies making quartz slabs reached out to him about doing business. He can also compete with vendors from China selling cut countertops.

"We used to be completely uncompetitive, making vanities or different tops for hotel rooms for example and basically because they could supply their own product from China for the same price we would get raw product here," he says.

Since a large part of the cost for a countertop is the labor, Rausch says for homeowners looking to remodel, their cost would go up a few hundred dollars. When looking for high-end quartz, there is less of an impact because that isn't the market in China. There would be an impact on contractors or businesses that purchase low-end quartz.

"It's probably going to be most of your commercial contractors are going to see a price increase coming for their product because they're generally the ones buying the more base colors."

A few other businesses in the area commented that for the most part their products are made in the U.S., or imported from countries other than China, so they are have not been negatively by the tariffs so far.