Home Archives July 2007 Losing Les means losing an icon

Losing Les means losing an icon

| Print |  Email
Sunday, July 01, 2007
{safe_alt_text}

PRINEVILLE — It was the face, a little bit Winston Churchill, a little bit down-home rancher. Framed by the Western hat and blue jacket, staring down from thousands of ubiquitous billboards, popping up on television to gruffly pitch his annual free beef promotion — it was a face that turned Les Schwab into a cultural icon.

When Schwab died last month at the age of 89, he left behind an empire: more than 400 tire stores around the western United States, more than $1.6 billion in sales in 2006, more than 7,700 employees  — 900 in Prineville alone, where Schwab opened his first store 55 years ago.

Half of each store’s profits went back to the employees who worked there. He believed that motivated employees were the key to his unflagging customers-first business model. And history proved him right.

But it was also that face — maybe the most recognizable in the Northwest — that customers connected with. Hard-boiled and folksy, it was an icon that came to epitomize what his company meant to Oregon and beyond.

— Abraham Hyatt

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

The 2014 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon

News
Friday, February 28, 2014

100best14logo ThumbnailThe 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon list was announced Thursday night at an awards dinner at the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

The future of money

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JAKE THOMAS

An ancient institution moves slowly into the digital age. 


Read more...

Buy the book

News
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2 03.25.14 thumb bookshopBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Oregon is home not only to many fine writers but also several accomplished small publishers.


Read more...

Spring thaw

News
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Spring ThawBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

The “polar vortex” of 2014 seems to have finally thawed and we believe this change in weather will bring more sunshine to the U.S. economy as well.


Read more...

Downtime with Ron Green

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Ron Green became president and CEO of Oregon Pacific Bank in August 2013.


Read more...

Eking out a living

News
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
04.08.14 thumb ourtable-coopfarmsBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.


Read more...

What I'm reading: Brad Smith & Travis Boersma

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS