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

Tweeting Portland's State of the City address

News
Friday, January 30, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.08.19 PMBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

For those who were working, here are a few highlights of Charlie Hales' State of the City address.


Read more...

Imperial Palate

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Lunch at the Imperial.


Read more...

Finding a Balance

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 29, 2015
012915-passinvst-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Active vs. passive investing: what you need to know.


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

Nuclear fingerprints

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

At Oregon State University, a 21st century version of the bad dream — nuclear terrorism — is alive and well. This winter, the Department of Nuclear Physics and Radiation Health Physics created a new interdisciplinary graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics, a Sherlock Holmes-sounding program that aims to identify how and where confiscated nuclear and radiological materials were created.


Read more...

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