In early 2008, as the world economy went into free fall, Capt. Shane O’Neal of Chickamauga, Tenn., had an opportunity to start a TowBoatUS franchise. He was a full-time firefighter at the time and barely making ends meet.
After a careful search, O’Neal found the perfect first boat — a 21-foot center console rigged for salvage and towing — but he didn’t have enough money to buy it.
Shane’s wife, Stacey, came to the rescue, offering up her wedding ring for cash. O’Neal reluctantly sold it to a friend who owned a pawn shop and bought his first boat.
Six years later, the O’Neals have built their business into one of the most successful TowBoatUS franchises in the nation, with nine locations and 12 response boats in locations from Tennessee to Florida.
If you think the story ends with O’Neal picking out a really nice ring to replace the original his wife sacrificed, you’re wrong. It’s better than that.