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22 years and still truckin'

Hannah Swayze • Updated Aug 1, 2017 at 2:07 PM

Along the long stretch of Bloomingdale Road is a large, blue building that looks like a warehouse. Behind it sits a parking lot full of cars and four colorful tow trucks. The bright green sign across the building reads “Hillbilly Towing.”

Harold Shipley is the owner of Hillbilly Towing and Recovery. You name it, he’s towed it — from cars to a plane with no wings and even one stuffed bear, the latter of which rode straight up in a standing position all across town, truly a sight to see. And he’s seen it all.

When Shipley quit his job and said he was going into the towing business, his co-workers didn’t understand, but now, after 22 years in the business, Shipley is still towing trucks and taking names right here in Kingsport. 

“The reason I own my own business is because I've worked for a lot of people, and I just never felt like I got paid what I deserved. I was doing all the work, and they were getting all the money,” said Shipley.

Shipley came up with the name Hillbilly Towing when he was working at Sam’s Club and people would give him extra tires. He’d take them home and stick them in his garage, which he called the Hillbilly Tire Store. So when he opened up his towing business, he just adapted the name.

“It takes a lot of ambition to go out on your own and try to own your business because there's a lot to do, and it's overwhelming sometimes,” said Shipley. 

The business doesn’t just tow cars, it offers a variety of emergency 24-hour roadside services throughout East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Northwest North Carolina. 

Anyone who needs a hillbilly tow, or other services, can call (423) 288-2239.