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Family Dealership Elevates Third Generation

(Akron/Tire Review) It is rare these days to find a tire dealership run by the grandchildren of the founder, and even rarer that such a business has become a complete family affair.

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But that is the case with Johnson City, Tenn.-based Free Service Tire, which recently saw a third-generation Wexler take the reins as president. Lewis Wexler Jr., grandson of founder Dan Wexler, officially took over Jan. 1. His father, Lewis Wexler Sr., remains chairman of the board and CEO.

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In addition, Lewis Jr.’s brother, Harrison, was elevated to executive vice president of commercial operations for the 87-year-old business.

Lewis Jr. began his career at Free Service Tire stores in the Tri-Cities region. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, he worked for Goodyear, then return to Free Service Tire as a store manager. He was later promoted to the vice-president of all retail operations, and has served as vice president of the company’s wholesale division for the last 10 years during which the company grew from a single location in Johnson City to four wholesale distribution centers, located in Roanoke, Va., Asheville, N.C., Knoxville, Tenn., and Johnson City. Free Service Tire also has 11 retail stores in the Tri-Cities, Roanoke and Knowxville.

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“Free Service Tire Company has met every market challenge in its history and I am excited about the future,” said Lewis Jr. “Recently, we modernized all of our operations and realigned our offering of tire brands and automotive services to provide the best value to our customers. Our purchasing power as a regional tire wholesaler enables us to offer the best prices on high quality tires. Our commercial truck service centers and retreading operations gives us tremendous opportunities for future growth.”

Harrison oversees the company’s two commercial truck and OTR tire and service centers, which service a five-state region.

“There is still room for family-owned private companies in America,” said Lewis Sr., who started with the company in 1962 and took over for his father in 1971. “I’m very proud that both Harrison and Lewis Jr. want to continue in our business and help it grow for many years to come.”

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