Tire giant leaves tread behind in Crook County

| Print |  Email
Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tire.jpg

PRINEVILLE — Les Schwab Tire Centers may be moving its headquarters from Prineville, but city leaders predict the departure will have fewer economic and cultural effects than might be expected for a city of 9,000.

Schwab built the company from a single store in Prineville five decades ago to 410 stores, 7,700 employees and $1.6 billion in 2006 sales. The move will leave 800 workers behind at the company’s tire-retreading, warehouse and distribution center, but 350 employees will head 35 miles south to Bend and a 120,000-square-foot office building that will be finished in 2008.

It’s not a devastating loss, says Prineville city manager Robb Corbett, because the city has tried to develop a broad economic base — including industry, tourism and the regional railroad — as Les Schwab has grown.

However, he and others in the region wonder how the loss of Les Schwab’s highest-paid employees will impact restaurants and other businesses. The company has acknowledged the potential consequences: Days after officials announced the move, Les Schwab gave Prineville a $50,000 grant for economic development.

As to the city’s identity, long tied to its famous resident, Crook County commissioner Mike Mohan thinks Prineville’s character will remain essentially the same. Much of the company’s top brass already lives outside the county and isn’t involved in the community.  

The move is a homecoming of sorts for 89-year-old Schwab, who reportedly spent much of last year in the hospital. (Company reps will not comment on the move or his health.) He was born in Bend in 1917, and graduated from high school there. But as his company grew, Prine-ville held his heart. In his 1986 autobiography, he wrote that any drawbacks of being headquartered in a small, isolated city had been offset by the quality of employees he found there.

“Les Schwab is really interwoven in the community,” says Corbett. “But they grew faster than Prineville did.”

— 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

Living the dream

News
Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


Read more...

Greenpeace (temporarily) prevents Shell oil ship from leaving Portland

The Latest
Thursday, July 30, 2015
hangersBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the St. John's Bridge in an attempt to prevent a ship from heading to the Arctic.


Read more...

Child care challenge

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Read more...

Quake as metaphor

Linda Baker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
071515-earthquakia-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.


Read more...

Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Read more...

The Cover Story

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 27, 2015
01-cover-0915-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?


Read more...

Aim High

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

We get the education we deserve.


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