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Retired Fort Drum soldiers take on towing business (NY)


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WATERTOWN — Tow truck driver Sara Snide surprises some stranded motorists when she gets out of her rig to help them.

But she and her husband Jonathen have been running Snide’s Towing, Plowing and Landscaping out of their Clayton home for the last 18 months.

 

The retired Fort Drum soldiers are now expanding the business into downtown Watertown, where they’re opening an office in the Commerce Building on Public Square, so they can be closer to customers in the city.

 

After leaving the Army, they decided they liked the north country so much that they wanted to stay in the area.

“We wanted to stay local and open a business,” she said.

 

Since starting the towing truck company, the business has grown and become the AAA tow truck company for much of the north country territory.

 

The company also handles towing for commercial and residential customers, the Jefferson County 911 dispatch center and obtained the contract for the city’s Code Enforcement office. They also provide landscaping and snow plowing services.

During the first year of operation, the business lost money but has a hefty profit this year, she said. They expect to continue to grow.

 

She attributes their success to their strong work ethic, saying that she worked on a landscaping job on a recent night until 10:30 p.m. Their motto is to go out on calls that the competition won’t take, she said.

 

“We’re go getters,” she said. “We’ve built up our reputations.”

 

They started with a 2015 Hino flatbed tow truck and a service vehicle to go on mechanic service calls.

 

They’re now working to acquire a 2014 light duty wrecker to cover towing in the city of Watertown and the surrounding area. The downtown office space will improve on response times and double the number of calls, she said.

 

The parents of two school-aged children plan to hire 10 employees, a receptionist and workers to do the towing, snow plowing and landscaping, she said. They plan to pay them about $20 an hour.

 

Being in the Army as a truck driver and her husband a diesel mechanic, they’re accustomed to hard work, she said.

While she believes she’s the only woman tow truck driver in the area, their female customers feel more comfortable when she shows up to help them on a side of the road, Mrs. Snide said.

 

They’re impressed when she handles the mechanical and physical aspects of the job, an occupation that is usually dominated by men.

 

“Mothers, daughters, sisters, they get so inspired to see what I can do,” she said.

 

Last week, the Watertown Local Development Corp., also known as the Watertown Trust, approved a $40,000 loan to purchase the other tow truck and some landscaping equipment.

 

The Trust also is providing rental assistance for the three-room downtown office through the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative program that was obtained in 2017.

 

Watertown Trust board members also were impressed with the company’s plans to expand and open the second office.

“She’s really aggressive,” Watertown Trust CEO Donald W. Rutherford said.

 

The business is a good addition for downtown, he said.

 

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