Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

Photos from the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon awards celebration

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 9975cneditPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the 2015 celebration of Oregon's great workplaces.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

March 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Employment in Oregon is almost back up to prerecession levels — and employers are having to work harder to entice talented staff to join their ranks. This year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project showcases the kind of quality workplaces that foster happy employees. 


Read more...

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.  


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...

Meeting Facilities Perspective

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A conversation with Donna Earley, director of sales and marketing for the Salem Convention Center.


Read more...

All Rise

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Don’t just sit there. For a healthy workplace, move up and down — and all around.


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