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

Shipping News

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.


Read more...

The Backstory

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.


Read more...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

Tight and Loose

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

As schools implement more rigorous academic standards, holistic and flexible approaches to K-12 education flourish.


Read more...

Buyer's Remorse

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Parents and students paying for college today are like homeowners who bought a house just before the housing bubble burst.


Read more...

Startup or Grow Up?

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JON BELL

Startup culture is all the rage. Is there a downside?


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