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Tom Snow, right, CEO of T.J. Snow Co., talks with Bill Cooper of Crime Prevention Resources about installing protection systems at the new Airport Road location. Sam Snow, center, listens to the exchange.


The company makes welding machinery. Many of its customers are involved in making components of sheet metal and wire that go into autos and trucks, such as seat frames and exhaust system components.

A longtime Chattanooga manufacturer has bought a 12-acre tract near Lovell Field where it will shift its entire operation as company officials take the business nationwide and expand sales.

"We think moving over there will be a way to improve the efficiencies of the business," said Tom Snow, chief executive of T.J. Snow Co. Inc.

The company, which manufactures standard and special-design resistance welding machinery, has bought the former Vacon and TB Woods tract off Airport Road for $1.7 million, according to Tom Kale of Commercial Associates.

The manufacturer is renovating a 50,000-square-foot building on the tract at Nowlin Lane, which Snow hopes to occupy in August. He said the company, which employs about 65 people, is spending a six-figure sum to refurbish the building.

Snow said the added efficiencies of having all its operations housed in one single-level, climate-controlled building should help the business expand sales without increasing overhead. Snow, whose father started the business, now operates from two buildings off Lee Highway.

In addition to expanding sales across the country, the company plans to develop its Mexico business, Snow said.

"We're blessed with some really good machine sales," he said. Snow declined to discuss revenue figures.

Snow said many of the company's customers are involved in manufacturing components made of sheet metal and wire that go into autos and trucks, such as seat frames and exhaust components. That includes helping to support the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

"We are pleased to be working in a supporting role with VW's resistance welding operations and we hope to earn more of their business in the future," Snow said.

The company also sells to manufacturers of "white goods," appliances such as stoves and refrigerators, Snow said. Another key market segment is represented by companies that resistance-weld fabricated wire products, such as oven racks and store displays, he said.

Henry Glascock, who represented T.J. Snow in the land deal, said the portion of the parcel fronting Airport Road had potential for redevelopment into retail, industrial or commercial space.

"If there was a specific office use with a need to be close to the airport, they'd have the ideal location there," he said about the site that's a few minutes away from Lovell Field passenger terminal.

The company will lease the buildings it's vacating, Snow said.

"We had looked at the Nowlin Lane building for several years and having the opportunity to purchase it was an answer to prayer," he said.