J.D. Harrison
Former Executive Director, Communications and Strategy


February 05, 2018


Sometimes, what happens in Washington can take months or even years to fully impact small businesses across the country. Sometimes, the true impact of a new regulation or a new law on Main Street won’t be felt for decades. This is not one of those times.

One month removed from the most significant federal tax overhaul our country has seen in more than 30 years, the impact on small businesses has been swift – and it has been overwhelmingly positive. With every new day comes another story about an entrepreneur who handed out bonuses or raises or a small employer who now has the confidence to add more employees or invest in that next location.

Here’s a look at 12 of the many small businesses around the country that have already started to invest back into their businesses and their employees thanks to tax reform.

In Cushing, Iowa, Anfinson Farm Store, a 100-year-old family business, awarded $1,000 bonuses and raised wages 5 percent for all full-time employees as a result of tax reform. Store owner John Anfinson, whose grandfather opened the shop in 1918, said tax reform will boost “money that will be available for the business overall” and that he wanted “to use it in the right places.”

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, an architectural engineering firm, announced that it had issued $1,500 bonuses to all 400 of its full- and part-time employees. Jim Susan, the company’s president, said his team decided to give out the bonuses as a result of the company’s tax savings resulting from the tax reform legislation. “We just decided it was a little windfall for the firm in general, and we decided we would share that with all our staff members,” Susan said. “It was in keeping with the spirit of the tax cut and trying to move a little more money back into the economy, so we decided for those few reasons we would do that.”

In Flemington, New Jersey, the Flemington Car and Truck Country company, a family of eight new and used car dealerships, awarded each of its full-time employees a $500 bonus, citing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The 41-year-old firm also said it would look to upgrade its facilities and hire additional workers. “We believe this is the right thing to do,” said Steve Kalafer, the company’s chairman. “Reinvesting tax savings in our employees and our businesses will make our communities and America stronger.

In Madison, Wisconsin, Musicnotes, a 20-year-old digital sheet music production firm, announced that all 55 of its employees had received salary increases thanks to the tax overhaul. As Musicnotes Executive Chairman Tim Reiland stated: “We're genuinely appreciative of our loyal and gifted team at Musicnotes and we are thrilled to share the benefit of lower corporate taxes with them," Musicnotes Executive Chairman Tim Reiland said. "It's the right thing to do and it's also smart business."

Musicnotes Chairman Tim Reiland helps students unpack new instruments

Musicnotes Chairman Tim Reiland helps students unpack new instruments

Photo credit: Musicnotes.com

In Rogersville, Missouri, Mid-AM Metal Forming announced that every one of its 140 employees had received cash bonuses because of the tax reform bill’s passage. "Mid-AM Metal Forming is excited about the positive implications the tax reform package will have both on the manufacturing industry and its employees," Mid-AM President Steve Johnson said. "We have very dedicated employees that assist in making us a success. We are excited to surprise all of them with this reward.”

In Verona, Virginia, Nexus Services announced that all employees had received a 5 percent raise thanks to “an improved business outlook for 2018 and tax reform by Congress.” Nexus also announced plans to hire 200 more workers this year, doubling the size of its workforce nationwide. Many of the new jobs, the company said, will be created in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. “We are creating new jobs in the very places where jobs are the hardest to find,” Nexus CEO Mike Donovan said.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Al Rodriguez, who currently owns 16 Sport Clips barbershop franchises, announced that he will reinvest savings from the tax overhaul to open another 12 Sport Clips locations throughout Pennsylvania. “With an average of 10 employees per location, that means 120 new well-paid, stable jobs,” he wrote in an op-ed published by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “With lower taxes and more money in our pockets, we will be able to expand locations, reinvest, buy new equipment, hire new employees and pay higher wages.

In Sonoma County, California, John Jordan, the owner of Jordan Winery and a former commander in the Navy, announced that his company would be giving all eligible winery employees a $1,000 bonus thanks to the passage of the tax reform bill. "The heart of any successful business is its employees," Jordan said.


Jordan Winery gave their employees $1,000 bonuses

Photo credit: JordanWinery.com

In Austell, Georgia, Yancey Bros. Co. announced that its employees receive a $500 bonus as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. “We are very optimistic for our business and anticipate that the Tax Reform Bill will stimulate even greater profitability next year, which will result in a greater profit sharing contribution next year,” James E. Stephenson, Yancey Bros.’s chairman and chief executive officer and vice chairman of the U.S. Chamber, said in an email to employees. “However, our confidence in this likelihood is so great that we want to share the anticipated benefits of the Tax Reform Bill now.”

In Gainesville, Georgia, Mincey Marble, a cast marble products manufacturer, announced that all 300 employees will receive a bonus of up to $1,000 depending on their length of service with the company. Mincey’s management team also decided in January to expand the size of a new facility that’s currently under construction in Gainesville. “As the owner of a family business, I want to share how tax reform is benefitting Americans at every level,” said Donna Mincey, the firm’s president and CEO. “Companies big and small are passing along tax savings to the workers who help build our economy.”

In West Palm Beach, Florida, Dina Rubio, owner of Don Ramon Restaurant, provided bonuses to key employees and plans to invest in a new takeout window, add a customer bar and install new equipment like refrigerators and coffee machines – all thanks to tax reform. “Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we will pay lower taxes and qualify for higher deductions, leaving Don Ramon in a better position than ever before,” Rubio wrote in an op-ed published by the Palm Beach Post. “We take great pride in rewarding our workers, and the new tax code makes it much easier to do so.”

In Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Dorothy Andreas, the owner of Sewickley Spa, provided the first pay raises to her 13 employees in years. With economic pressures mounting, the past decade had been hard on her firm, she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and while she always managed to provide bonuses around the holidays, she couldn’t afford permanent raises.

“But on Dec. 20 — the day Congress gave final approval to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — Ms. Andreas decided to “pull the trigger” on raises, the Post-Gazette reported. “My staff needed a morale booster,” Andreas told the reporter, adding that she believes tax reform will translate into savings she can further invest in new equipment and at least two more employees.

As U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue forecast in his 2018 State of American Business address, tax reform “will usher in a new era of growth for the American economy.”

Clearly, that era is already dawning on Main Street.

About the authors

J.D. Harrison

J.D. Harrison is the former Executive Director for Strategic Communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.