A Tow In Paradise adapts to competitive environment

During his 14 years of towing vehicles on Kaua‘i, Roger A. Ridgley, Jr. of A Tow In Paradise has also hauled pool tables, dead horses, sheds, a hot-dog cart, farm tractors, 60-ton cranes, and other assorted items.

In order to maintain an edge in the competitive local towing business (12 companies are listed in the telephone book), Ridgley recently took delivery of a 2003 Peterbilt flatbed truck equipped with the state’s first knuckle-boom crane.

The crane gets its name because of the way it folds up and out, with joints able to move like knuckles on human fingers.

The equipment, common in Europe but only now making its way to the Mainland and Hawai‘i, allows Ridgley to recover, transport and deliver a wide range of industrial equipment and materials.

Already, he has used the device to extract from the wrong side of a guardrail a vehicle involved in a traffic accident, deliver appliances to second-floor rooms in homes, and place a roof truss atop a home under construction.

The new truck can accommodate loads of up to 10 tons, and the crane is controlled either by remote control or hand levers on the truck.

Ridgley, owner and certified operator of A Tow In Paradise, started the business in 1989 with a single flatbed car carrier, and now has a 1996 Chevrolet Kodiak medium-duty flatbed car carrier, a 1989 Peterbilt heavy-duty tow truck, and the 2003 Peterbilt with the knuckle-boom crane.

He enjoys “fishing” with the red 1989 Peterbilt, having extracted vehicles from the ocean at Nawiliwili and Maha‘ulepu, and makes his rigs available for birthday parties, parades and, at the beginning of each new year, for towing free of charge cars and drivers when the drivers have had too much to drink.

Between the variety of vehicles, the company is able to safely transport all sizes of cars and trucks, buses, tractors, motorcycles, race cars, boats, limousines, containers, helicopters, and even small planes, he said.

Also, he attends one or two towing seminars each year, to keep himself up to date with new techniques, tools and technologies in the towing and recovery industry, Ridgley added.

Having just returned from a lockout seminar that taught him the latest techniques and tools used to unlock late-model vehicles, Ridgley has given up his old-style, “slim-Jim” tool because of the damage it can cause to side-door airbags and other door mechanisms, he continued.

“Remember A Tow In Paradise when the new Home Depot opens,” he says with the well-known Ridgley smile. For more information, please call 245-8818, 823-0895, or 639-0222, e-mail mailto:atip@aloha.net, or fax 822-5520.

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