About Us


Towlift, Inc. was founded by Gerald N. Cannon in 1965 as a Towmotor dealership in Cleveland, Ohio. Today Towlift is the authorized distributor of many product lines and has locations in Cleveland, Mentor, Columbus and Northwood (Toledo). Towlift remains a family owned business, with the third generation working at Towlift today.

Customer Care

Our customers encompass a broad range of industries. Each customer’s material handling needs are as unique as each industry is different. One company may need a warehouse layout design, another may need special handling attachments to lift coils, or rotate barrels, and another may need very narrow aisle turret trucks equipped with a warehouse management system. The variations in material handling applications are endless.

Gerald N. Cannon

Our philosophy is to provide our customers with the very best personal service through Account Representatives. We employ more account representatives than most material handling dealerships so that we are able to take the time to know each customer and their individual material handling needs. Towlift Account Reps are assigned by geographic territory and are available to customers at any time to answer all their questions regarding material handling products and services. They get to know their customers so that they provide consultation on products and services that would best suit a company’s material handling application and provide the best bottom line results. Our Account Reps receive regular product training and are sent to OEM locations to stay current on the latest industry products.

Customer Testimonials

Here are some of the customers we’ve helped:

Art.com’s ramps and power needs no problem for the Linde three-wheel electric truck lift.

In 2007 Art.com’s Facilities Coordinator David Shannon had some pain with his lift-truck fleet. Art.com has two ramps that they use to access the outside work area. "Our old forklifts did not like those ramps" explains Shannon. "However our biggest problem was we were running out of battery power on second shift."

Art.com’s work day starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 1 a.m. the next morning. They were opportunity charging their batteries but were still running out of power on second shift.


Towlift Territory Manager Darrell Richardson met up with David Shannon after he had attended a Towlift operator training class. Richardson stopped by their warehouse and performed an application survey to learn their operation, and then recommended the Linde three wheel electric lift truck model RX50-16 and a Hawker Charger.

On the demo the RX50-16 performed well on the ramps. "The big selling points for Linde was when you tilt the mast back the wheel base of the truck extends providing added stability on the ramps and in high stacking applications" explains Shannon. "The Linde also had excellent runtime getting us through both shifts with no problem."

Three years later, Shannon reflects on the change to Linde. "The Linde lifts have been a big plus to our manufacturing operations in that they are durable, reliable, and have low maintenance costs. Our previous lifts did not compare favorably to the Linde. The Towlift maintenance plan for our fleet and batteries has been effective in reducing costs and identifying operating issues and Darrell Richardson has been an outstanding customer rep for us."

Manufacturing company on the Ball keeping forklift maintenance costs down and safety up with Fleet Team’s Managed Maintenance.

Ball Corporation’s Columbus, Ohio plant is a 24/7 metal can manufacturing operation that makes approximately 4 million cans, can ends, and can domes every day. Ball’s forklift trucks log over 4,000 engine hours annually and are critical to their operations. "We can’t afford to have our trucks down," explains forklift operator John Wilson. Ball recognized that there was a problem that needed to be corrected. “With our previous supplier we had to rent lift trucks while our trucks were in their shop” comments Warehouse and Shipping Manager, Tammy Robson. The answer was a Managed Maintenance program from Fleet Team. Towlift Inc. is the servicing dealer providing the parts and service. Ball’s Planning and Control Manager, Chris Fluitt, really likes the reports from Fleet Team. "The way Fleet Team categorizes the repairs helps us identify and control our costs, we know where our money is going, and we can determine if it is an expense that we can control."


The Managed Maintenance program also automatically schedules all the planned maintenance for the fleet. Safety checks are included in Towlift’s planned maintenance, and so safety issues can be corrected promptly. Towlift’s Service Technician, Jack Watson, is the primary technician who provides the hands on service. "Response time is very good. Jack is here when we need him, and is a good communicator" says Tammy Robson.

The Managed Maintenance program’s proven results included long equipment life, low cost per hour and improved safety. Four of Ball’s 2007 Cat lift trucks logged over 16,000 hours and one reached 20,000 hours in four years. Within that time, not one of the Cat lift trucks has been in the shop for an engine, transmission, mast, or axle replacements. "I cannot remember ever having to rent a lift truck from Towlift," comments Robson. "The Cats have held up much better than any other brand under the Managed Maintenance program."

Towlift Energizes Blue Line’s DC Fleet with Solutions from Linde and Hawker

Blue Line’s aging fleet of electric forklifts were running out of charge on second shift, forcing the operators to plug them into the chargers during breaks to get them through the shift. The problem was that the old forklifts, batteries and chargers were not engineered for "opportunity" charging and this practice only shortened the battery life. "We were losing battery cells after three years" explains Warehouse Supervisor Eddie Crabtree.


Towlift specified an equipment and motive power package to solve the problem and increase the DC’s productivity. In 2008 Blue Line purchased the first of four AC powered, 48 volt Linde 346 series electric lift trucks, powered by a Hawker Energy Plus battery and Life Plus smart charger. "The Lindes run rings around our other lift trucks” exclaims DC Manager, Keith Jones. "The operators love them because they are comfortable, the Cadillac of lift trucks. And we like that the smart charger is simple to use – eliminating the human error factor - just plug it in and forget it."

Blue Line has sixteen distribution centers that supply product to Little Caesars Pizza in the United Sates and Canada. "Towlift has been servicing the lift trucks at our Columbus DC for five years. We get the same quality service no matter which Towlift technician comes to service our trucks" explains Crabtree. Darrell Richardson is Towlift’s Territory Manager for Blue Line. "If I’ve called Darrell once I’ve called him 100 times, continues Crabtree. And he always treats us like we are a major account even though we have only 11 lift trucks."

Going Green With C Series From Cat® Lift Trucks

TOWLIFT Columbus recently delivered 19 new LP powered Cat lift trucks model C3000 to Ceva Logistics cross dock operation in East Liberty, Ohio. The new C Series trucks are equipped with low emission, fuel efficient model K25 engines with a fuel saver mode. Towlift’s Service Department programmed the travel speeds to 8.5 MPH and added an optional traction control device that reduces tire spin. Ceva Logistics Senior Supervisor, Sonny Goings reports that Ceva has reduced LP tank consumption by 8 to 10 tanks PER DAY! Tire wear has also improved. After 800 hours of run time, the drive tires look like new. Accident and product damage is down significantly as well.


Towlift keeps up with technology - Services the first hydrogen fuel cell forklift in Ohio

GrafTech, a world leader in graphite material science, produces the graphite plates found in hydrogen fuel cells. President George W. Bush and Crown President Jim Dicke visited GrafTech in 2007 to see a demonstration of a fuel cell. GrafTech teamed up with Crown Lift Trucks and Plug Power and took delivery of the first hydrogen fuel cell powered forklift in Ohio in 2008. They wanted a working demonstration of the new technology. Towlift delivered the unit and currently services the truck as needed.

GrafTech has been a long time customer of Towlift for material handling equipment, parts and service, dating back to when the company was part of Union Carbide. "Towlift has serviced GrafTech’s material handling fleet for well over 20 years," comments Julian Norley. "They’re dependable and their commitment to technician training has kept them up with the latest technology in material handling equipment."


Case Study: Today’s electric lift trucks are well suited for tough recycling applications.

Recycling applications are tough environments for forklift trucks, and typically you’ll find internal combustion (gas, LPG or diesel) forklift trucks at work in this industry. Likewise, Legend Smelting & Recycling, founded in 1982, always used forklift trucks powered by internal combustion engines. That is until November, 2011 when they purchased their first 80 volt electric lift truck, a Linde Model RX60-25C. “We wanted to try electric lift trucks hoping to reduce cost,” commented John Ellis, Director of Engineering and Maintenance. “We need to buy more - our new Linde has only had one service call and that call was for a routine PM Service.” The new Linde logged over 1,000 maintenance free hours in a tough recycling application.


The truck is equipped with a Hawker Power Source industrial battery and a Hawker LifePlus charger. This high frequency smart charger lets Legend “opportunity charge” the battery during breaks, which allows Legend to run multiple shifts without the need to change a battery. Forklift truck operator Mike Davis really likes his new Linde 80 volt lift truck, “I like everything about it. It’s easy to drive, has good visibility, is smooth and quiet, and it runs for a long time on a battery charge.” The long run time is in part due to Linde’s state-of-the-art AC technology which in most cases will run up to 80% longer on a single charge than most other lift trucks on the market.

After six years Linde hydrostatic drive trucks are still hauling iron where conventional torque converter trucks huffed before three!

Liberty Castings, located in Delaware, Ohio, is a foundry specializing in gray, ductile and high alloy castings. In 2004 Liberty purchased a fleet of new Linde H Series lift trucks from Towlift Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. Troy Fischer, Vice President of Manufacturing candidly explains "we beat the crap out of our lift trucks. We’ve tried other brands, but none of them survived more than 2 ½ or 3 years. Linde’s hydrostatic drive trucks do an outstanding job for us.”

Hydrostatic drive provides many benefits; extended engine life, lowered fuel costs, longer tire life, and eliminating the need for service brakes. "In this environment I can’t keep brakes on conventional lift trucks” says Liberty’s Maintenance Technician, Mike Jones. "We have the original units we purchased in 2004; one H50D (in photo) has logged over 17,000 hours and is still operating every day."

"Our Goal is 98% production up-time; we can’t afford lift trucks being down," comments Fischer. "Long as I work here we will buy Linde lift trucks."


Towlift donates lift truck and helps Foodbank increase food storage

Towlift’s Columbus Systems Division designed and installed the racking systems for Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s new food logistics center in Grove City, Ohio. Towlift also donated a New Cat ES3500 quad mast stand-up forklift. The truck and rack systems will allow the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to maximize its new warehouse from floor to ceiling, including its new 12,000 sq. ft. freezer and coolers equipped with high density rack storage systems. The warehouse section also has a built in plan for expansion. All of this effectively cuts the cost of storage eliminating the need and expense of paying for outside storage space. The rack and donated truck ultimately allows the Foodbank to increase food storage capacity and helps further its mission of providing food to all those who need it in Central and Eastern Ohio.

"Mid-Ohio Foodbank is grateful for the generous machinery donation by Towlift. Without it, our operation would not be as efficient - both in cost and space utilization." - Matt Habash, Mid-Ohio Foodbank President and CEO


Roth Produce recommends Linde 3-wheel truck for busy dock applications

Roth Produce is a full service supplier of produce in Columbus and the surrounding areas. In 2010 Roth purchased a new Linde RX50-16, a 3,000 lb., 3-wheel electric forklift for their high demand loading dock application. Randy Borden, Roth Operations Manager, comments on the Linde forklift. “I would highly recommend the RX50-16 for demanding, low weight applications. There are all your standard trucks but this truck is superior to them.” Roth likes that the truck fits well into tight racking areas, as well as how the truck’s wheelbase extends when the mast and carriage are tilted back - an exclusive Linde feature that provides extra stability and added capacity.


Towlift coupled the forklift with a Hawker PowerTech charger. The PowerTech charger allows the forklift to be safely opportunity charged during breaks and downtime. "Run time is superior", exclaims Borden, "we can run first and second shift on one battery. Only one suggestion from Roth: "Maybe we’ll get Linde to paint the next one Buckeye colors!!"

Innovative charging technology saves TS Tech time, space, and money.

TS Tech North America, Inc. designs and manufactures automotive seating and interior trim components. Chad Englehart, TS Tech Material Services Manager, explains the problems they were having with battery changing. "There are safety issues with changing lift truck batteries, we were losing valuable production time, and the battery changing equipment took up space that we need to build products for our customers. We needed a solution!"


Towlift’s Motive Power Team did an application survey along with a battery energy consumption test to determine if TS Tech could go to a no battery change solution. Towlift Manager Steve Dountz had some concerns. "TS Tech runs two shifts, and some trucks log over 2400 hours per year. Would there be enough battery charging opportunity time between breaks, lunch, and shift change to get the trucks through two shifts with only one battery!?" Towlift answered this question by using the tools provided to dealers by Hawker Power Systems to calculate how long a lift truck will run with one Hawker Energy Plus battery coupled to a Hawker LifeSpeed High-Frequency Smart Battery Charger. The results were positive! Another key factor was the low energy consumption electric Cat Lift Trucks that feature advanced AC control systems. These electric machines provide long run times that help make the smart charger’s job a little easier.

TS Tech is currently operating (13) Cat rider pallet trucks and (11) Cat sit-down three wheel electric lift trucks under a Towlift Fleet Management long term rental program with full maintenance. A quality maintenance program is important. Chad Englehart adds "Towlift Technician Mark Logston has been great...very helpful on getting our new lift trucks and chargers programmed and set up to meet our forklift operators’ needs."


Towlift is committed to improving the safety of its employees and customers. Towlift employs a full time Training and Risk Manager, and a full time Compliance Administrator. They set safety policies and keep up with the latest government regulations. Each Towlift location has a Safety Committee that meets on a regular basis to discuss and implement safety improvements. The Service department has weekly "tool box talks" with technicians on safety topics. Employees are trained on operating forklift equipment and safety procedures. Towlift offers a full range of operator training classes for customers.

Safety Safety

Forklift safety tips for operators and supervisors.

Sustainability and 5S

Towlift is engaged in a continuous 5S program to improve the efficiencies of the company. We also have implemented a sustainability and Six Sigma program to further improve our efficiencies and reduce waste.


Towlift is involved in the greater area communities of Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus. Towlift has generously donated equipment to both the Cleveland and Columbus Foodbanks, and a needy Columbus area school district. We support the Feed Lucas County Children, Inc., and our employees participate in the United Way, Muscular Dystrophy, Juvenile Diabetes, and other charity fund raisers.

Back To Top

New Equipment

We carry the best lift truck brands for every application, and specialize in industrial batteries and opportunity chargers.

Used Equipment

Search our inventory of quality used equipment! See the brands!

Rental Equipment

When you need to rent material handling equipment, Towlift is your best solution.