Free Service Tire Co. Inc. has opened a new store in Johnson City, Tenn. It is the company’s second store in Johnson City and its 18th location overall.
The company was founded in 1919 when Dan Wexler Sr. returned from service in WWI and started the company with partner Robert Wiley. The name Free Service Tire Co. arose from Dan's philosophy that they shouldn't charge for service, but only for the gasoline and tire patches they sold. In the early days, a fleet of yellow-and-blue motorcycles with sidecars was dispatched to deliver gas, water or oil to stranded drivers. Free Service Tire’s motorcycle roadside service was offered well into the 1930s.
Free Service Tire grew, adding stores around Tennessee, and Dan Wexler Sr. passed the business on to his son Lewis. The younger Wexler retired in 2005 and control of the business stayed in the family with his son Lewis Jr.
Over the years, Lewis Sr. and Lewis Jr. further developed their management skills. The elder Wexler took a professional management development course at Harvard, while Lewis Jr. learned the tire industry from the inside out with a career at Goodyear. Lewis's brother Harrison eventually joined the company after graduating from Wofford College in South Carolina.
Today, Free Service Tire Co. is comprised of 18 locations across five states, with 200 employees, a retread plant, four wholesale centers, 11 retail outlets, and two commercial tire centers. The company is headquartered in Johnson City.