POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - As a Heartland nail factory bounces back from the harmful affects of steel tariffs they’re contributing to a tornado recovery effort in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Mid Continent Steel and Wire is donating one million nails to the River City Habitat Humanity in Missouri’s capital city.
Chris Pratt is the US Operations general manager for the Poplar Bluff nail factory which is America’s largest nail manufacturer.
Pratt says the company was forced to downsize last year because the Trump administration imposed Section 232 tariffs which put a 25 percent tax on their raw steel.
“We lost some significant money as a company and would we have been able to at that time to donate one million nails to a cause of this nature? Probably not,” Pratt said.
But now the company is growing and giving back by donating supplies to an area of Jefferson City where a tornado tore through numerous homes in May of this year.
“That is tragic. I mean those families lost their homes," Pratt said. "These nails that we are going to contribute are going be of the utmost quality that it takes to build and secure our future, our children’s future and the people that are going to live in these homes.”
The large donation is also a way to thank local lawmakers in the Capital city who supported the nail factory’s successful fight to be exempt from the harmful steel tariffs.
“We fought hard and we feel like we’re very fortunate," Pratt said. "Being in a rebuilding mode we are gaining customers, gaining business, hiring. We’ve clawed our way back and we understand what the town and community of Jeff City is going through to try to rebuild.”
Right now the nail factory is back up to 420 employees, after laying off more than 200 workers at the height of the tariffs.
Pratt says they plan to continue building toward the future just like Jeff City.
“If you are hit with an unforeseen circumstance, unforeseen conditions don’t turn the other cheek and don’t give up because you’ve got to continue to fight," Pratt said.
The one million donated nails will arrive in Jefferson City on September 12, 2019, where Gov. Mike Parsons is expected to speak at a ceremony marking the occasion.