ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Carter County’s biggest employer, Snap-On Tools, is adding nearly 50,000 square feet of production space to its plant on State Line Road.

Snap-On, which employs more than 400 people across three shifts, gained approval from the City of Elizabethton in January to add 25,350 square feet to the north side of its building. Last week, it got approval to add an additional 23,400 square feet on the building’s east side.

The Elizabethton City Commission will consider the application for the second phase at its meeting Thursday.

Grading work has begun to expand and relocate Snap-On’s parking lot. Parts of the existing lot will be used for building expansion. (WJHL photo)

“This addition will serve as manufacturing production space to improve Snap-On’s plating and machining capacity,” Plant Manager Jon Carley said in an emailed response to a News Channel 11 inquiry.

“It is a continuation of our commitment to an investment in the greater Elizabethton community today and into the future.”

Contractor J.A. Street is expected to complete the first phase by October and the second phase by January 2024.

The growth, which also includes the addition of 59 net new parking spaces, adds 27% to the plant’s current 170,000 square feet. The company wouldn’t confirm whether the expansion would result in more jobs at the site other than to say management would increase labor as demand necessitates.

Snap-On has been in Elizabethton for nearly 50 years, starting with a much smaller wrench-forging plant. The current employees produce wrenches, ratchets, pry bars, ratcheting wrenches, pullers, and several manufactured components for other Snap-on manufacturing facilities.

Elizabethton Director of Planning and Economic Development Logan Engle said Snap-On had begun talking about an expansion in 2019 but tapped the brakes when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived.

“We were excited they still had a plan to expand the facility,” Engle said. “They are the number one employer in Carter County and the largest industrial employer. It’s fantastic to see them not only maintain their commitment but grow in the community.”