Chattanooga tow-truck maker expands to site off Lee Highway

Staff file photo / Employees put tow-trucks together in the large wrecker assembly shop at the Ooltewah manufacturing facility of Miller Industries in this file photo.


Miller Industries’ first-quarter sales of $197.2 million were up 23.9% compared to the prior-year period.

Chattanooga-based Miller Industries has bought property off Lee Highway that for decades held the T.J. Snow Co. as the growing tow-equipment maker expands its footprint.

Miller has bought about a 2-acre site at 6203 Jim Snow Way that holds a facility that the Ooltewah business will use as a parts warehouse, said Todd Harless, the company's marketing manager.

"It's close to where we are in Ooltewah," said Harless about the company that now employs more than 600 workers at its local plant and from nearly 1,200 workers across its business. "It's amazing how business is."

Late last year, Miller Industries announced it had completed a $20 million expansion of its Ooltewah production facility, which added 175 jobs in Chattanooga over the past two years, and other major expansions at its plants in Greeneville, Tennessee and Hermitage, Pennsylvania.

"We're a growing business," Harless said. "We've been fortunate over the past few years."

Tom Snow, chairman of resistance welding company T.J. Snow, said that business which is now located near Chattanooga Airport had operated at Jim Snow Way for 39 years.

"I'm pleased to see the property go to Miller Industries, a thriving local manufacturer, and I hope the new facility will contribute to their continued success," Snow said.

The property was sold by JSW Properties LLC, of which Snow is a partner. The purchase price wasn't disclosed.

According to Simply Wall St., Miller Industries' share price is up 69% in the last 5 years. Over half a decade, Miller Industries grew its earnings per share at 29% a year.

In the first quarter of this year, Miller's net income rose 29.8% compared to the same period a year ago. The company cited strong demand in its domestic and international markets while reporting first-quarter sales of $197.2 million, up 23.9% compared to the prior-year period.

Founded in 1990, Miller manufactures towing and recovery equipment.under the Century, Vulcan, Challenger, Holmes, Champion, Chevron, Eagle, Titan, Jige and Bonifac brand names.

Snow said that his father, Jim Snow, moved that company to its former location off Lee Higway from East Ridge in 1972. In 2011, the T. J. Snow Co. moved to its present Nowlin Lane address near the airport.

Snow said that two former buildings on Jim Snow Way were leased and subsequently sold to IBI Power, a Caldwell, Idaho, company that operated in Chattanooga until being bought by Koontz-Wagner.

The building just sold had been vacant since Koontz-Wagner declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July, 2018, Snow said. The other former T. J. Snow building at 6207 Jim Snow Way is currently leased to Liquid Metal, he said.

Snow said he had little personal sentiment about the Jim Snow Way location since IBI had demolished his father's original office building.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.