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

Downtime with the director of Barley's Angels

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play with Christine Jump.


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

3 trends in the garden business

The Latest
Thursday, April 30, 2015
gardenthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Oregonians are scrambling to get their gardens in order for the summer. Here are three tips from landscaping and urban farming expert.


Read more...

6 highlights from the Craft Brewers Conference

The Latest
Friday, April 17, 2015
thumbcbcPHOTOS BY  JASON E. KAPLAN

The 32nd annual CBC attracted a record number of attendees (11,000)  to the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...

The best crisis is the one you avoid

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
crisisthumbBY GARY CONKLING | GUEST BLOGGER

Avoiding a crisis is a great way to burnish your reputation, increase brand loyalty and become a market leader.


Read more...

Make the Case

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015

10 briefcases that mean business.


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