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Third-generation Wexler takes over as president of Free Service Tire

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Lewis Wexler Jr. has been elected president of Free Service Tire Co. by its board of directors. The board also announced that Harrison Wexler, Lewis' brother, was promoted from vice president to executive vice president, commercial operations.

Former President Lewis Wexler Sr. will continue serving as the company's chairman of the board and CEO.

The Wexler family has run the 87-year-old company, based in Johnson City, Tenn., for three generations.

"Lewis Jr. has proven himself in a variety of roles within our company," says Lewis Sr. "He has the skills, experience and desire to continue the growth Free Service Tire Co. has enjoyed for nearly a century of service to the region."

Lewis Jr. began his Free Service Tire career working in several customer service positions. Upon graduating from college, he joined Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. He re-joined Free Service Tire three years later as manager of one of the company's Knoxville, Tenn., stores.

For the last 10 years, Lewis Jr. has served as vice president of the company's wholesale tire division. Under his watch, it has

grown from a single location in Johnson City, Tenn., to four wholesale

distribution centers, located in Roanoke, Va., Asheville, N.C., Knoxville, Tenn., and Johnson City.

"Free Service Tire Co. has met every market challenge in its history, and I am excited about the future," says 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 Wexler oversees the company's two commercial truck and off-highway tire and service centers located in Knoxville, Tenn.; the Tri-Cities center near the I-26/I-81 intersection; and the company's commercial and off-highway tire retreading

operations.

"Lewis Jr. is the perfect choice for president," he says. "His experience in the retail and wholesale divisions gives him every

skill necessary to help Free Service Tire Co. grow in the future."

Lewis Sr. began his career with the company in 1962 as a store manager in Kingsport, Tenn. He served in numerous vital roles throughout the company and later became the company's executive vice president before succeeding his father, Dan Wexler, as president

of the company in 1971. Dan Wexler founded the company in 1919.

"There is still room for family-owned private companies in

America," says Lewis Sr. "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."

The board also announced the following promotions:

* Ron Jones to senior vice president, truck tire centers operations.

* Dennis Pritchett to vice-president and general manager of retail operations.

* Ron Brady vice president and general manager of wholesale

operations.

Free Service Tire has 17 outlets, including 11 retail stores in the Tri-Cities, Knoxville and Roanoke markets. It is one of the top 100 independent tire store chains in the United States, according to Modern Tire Dealer.

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