published: Friday, October 05, 2012
Wells Motor Co. celebrates eight decades of history
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
AVON PARK - Historic is one word that can be used when describing the Wells Motor Company establishment at 1600 U.S. 27 South.
Established in 1931, the business has continued to grow and mature over the eight decades it has been in existence. A family-owned and operated car dealership, Wells Motor Company has come through some of the roughest economic times and still managed to run a successful business by keeping with the work ethic of the Wells family.
Internet Sales Manager Michael Linkenbach is one of many proud employees at Wells. Linkenbach has taken up another role currently and has worked to create the Wells Motor Founder's Days events.
"This is the same family that has owned Wells since it opened," Linkenbach said. "There is a lot of history here."
J. Lawler Wells opened the company as a Dodge dealership and a Chrysler products distributor for the first seven years of business. Eventually growing an interest in flying, J. Lawler earned his commercial pilot license. The pilot flew all over the world for several years before his tragic accidental death in 1941.
Then, brother E. Ray Wells took the reins as the Wells Motor Company owner. Ray, who had worked at the dealership since it opened its doors in 1931, ran the business until his death in 1993.
The ownership was then taken over by Ray's two sons, Stanley and Kenneth. Both men currently still run Wells Motor Company alongside their children, Scooter and Sarah Jane. Stanley is president of Wells Motor Company while brother Kenneth completed schooling at Nashville Auto Diesel College and serves as the director of Service and Parts.
Over the decades, Wells Motor Company has changed locations and looks. Numerous redesigns, expansions, overhauls and updates have been done at the oldest Wells Motor Company property before the construction of a new state-of-the-art dealership in 1998.
Linkenbach described some of the unique events that have taken place at the company over the 80 years it's been open. Interesting people have come in contact with the Wells family, including Thomas Edison.
Rev. J. R. Wells, Stanley's grandfather, had written a letter to Edison, which he in turn replied to. Wells sent a letter to Edison in 1913 inquiring about information centering around tobacco use. (Edison had spent a great deal of time to smoking research and the effects it has on the body.)
Rev. Wells asked Edison for any information that he could provide on acrolene poison from cigarettes. On March 6 1913, Edison's replied to Wells' inquiry via mail and even made handwritten notes on Wells' letter. Copies of both of the letters have been framed and remain a part of the Wells Motor Company family.
In honor of the history and family-run operation, Wells Motor Company has established Founder's Days. Throughout the next five weeks, Wells will hold a weekly event at the business. Each Saturday beginning Oct. 6, Wells will bring together the community with free events and festivities for all to enjoy.
Founders Days schedule of events are as follows:
-- Saturday, Oct. 6 (Family Day) - Wells will have bounce houses, slides, obstacle courses along with free hot dogs, hamburgers and refreshments. The Cat in the Hat and Snoopy will be present.
-- Saturday, Oct. 13 (Chrysler Yesterday & Today) - Dragster Champion Don Garlits will hand out autographed photos. Dodge Vipers will be on display as well as free burgers and dogs.
-- Saturday, Oct. 20 (Fall Festival) - Join Wells Motor Company at the Avon Park Downtown Festival. Attendees may test drive vehicles to contribute donations for two local schools.
-- Saturday, Oct. 27 (Wells Heritage Day) - Beginning at 10 a.m. live music will entertain attendees throughout the afternoon. The event will feature old time photos, costumes and music.
-- Saturday, Nov. 3 (Contest Day) - Attendees have a chance to win a brand new Chrysler 200 Touring ($22,000 value). A dozen names will be drawn for the opportunity to compete by flying a paper airplane into the sunroof of the vehicle at 2 p.m. Other prizes will also be given away throughout the day. Contestants must be present to win.
For more information about Founder's Days, contact Linkenbach at 453-6644.
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