Sponsored by Lane Powell

Tire giant leaves tread behind in Crook County

| Print |  Email
Archives - February 2007
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

Umbrella Revolution

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015

Yeah, we know: Oregonians are way too cool for umbrellas. But today’s stylish, high-tech models will soften the resistance of the most rain hardened.


Read more...

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


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...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

5 companies react to lower fuel prices

The Latest
Thursday, January 15, 2015
thumb-shutterstock 233787049BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Consumers love the savings they get from low oil prices, but how has business been affected?


Read more...

Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

“We thought there was room for something new.”


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