Les Schwab believed in old-fashioned hard work, doing the right thing by customers, and loyalty to his family, his employees and the community. These values were built on very humble beginnings. Born in 1917 in Bend, Oregon, Les lived in logging camps and went to school in an old railroad boxcar. His parents died while he was still a teenager. After high school, Les married Dorothy Harlan, who was his loving wife for the next 70 years. He was working as a circulation manager for a newspaper in Bend when he made a decision that changed the course of his life. In 1952, Les bought a small tire store in Prineville, Oregon, a little western town in the heart of the high desert.
Les believed in going above and beyond for his customers. He knew treating customers fairly was the right thing to do, and he committed everyone in his shop to it from the start. Word started getting around. At the same time, Les treated his employees as partners. He provided them training and opportunities to grow and succeed, both financially and personally. By creating customers for life and well-trained, satisfied employees, Les built his business from one store to hundreds of locations across the western United States, making Les Schwab Tire Centers one of the largest independent tire businesses in the country. And even today, more than 60 years since the company was founded, many employees have been with Les Schwab for 20, 30, or even 40 years.
Although Les passed away in 2007, his vision remains at the core of the company’s culture: give people more for their money…reward employees for their expertise and hard work…earn people’s trust and everyone benefits. Today, the 7,000+ employees of Les Schwab Tire Centers are proud to carry on this legacy.