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Les Schwab inching closer to relocation

Store will move into the old Safeway building

by: Photo By Tony Ahern - Dave Bell, manager of the Madras Les Schwab, says the tire company’s new location in the old Safeway building will be more customer friendly.

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   April 23, 2003 — The Madras Les Schwab store should be in its new northside location by August, if not July.
   The 33,171-square-foot store, to go in the former Safeway building at the North Y, is twice the size of the present Schwab site.
   The move has been in the works for several months. The tire company purchased the property last year. In January and February, Schwab corporation construction crews, with help from local Schwab workers who otherwise would have been laid off, removed the flooring in the old store. The place presently is gutted and ready for the extensive remodel.
   The project calls for a July 16 completion date, said Dave Bell, manager of the Madras store.
   "As soon as they're done, we'll move in. The crew is very excited. We can't wait."
   Bell noted several improvements the new store will bring: new, modern equipment; all work done indoors, a substantial plus during adverse weather; and a beautiful, modern facility of which to be proud.
   Bell added a new air compressor purchased within the past two years will be about the only substantial equipment moved from the old store to the new. The new store will have substantially more retail area.
   Les Schwab's prides itself on its customer service, and a hallmark of its history is meeting customers as they approach the store. At the present site, that is often impossible as many patrons approach on the side of the store where vision is blocked by walls.
   "At the new site, we'll be able to see people as they drive up, and we can come and greet them," said Bell, the Madras manager for the past five years.
   The tire store isn't changing the existing parking lot much, but the blacktop on the east side of the building will have to be removed, the area leveled, and a concrete pad laid to create a work area for semi-trucks and large commercial vehicles. A fenced area at the northeast corner is planned for outside storage.
   The large majority of the storage will be inside the structure, though.
   At over 33,000 square feet, the Madras Schwab's will be one of the largest in the corporation that has about 350 stores throughout the West. The headquarters of the corporation is in Prineville, where Les Schwab started his tire business. The Madras store was the fourth opened, and has been at the same southside location ever since. It has undergone five remodeling additions.
   One business is already operating at the new Schwab location. Gloria's Espresso has leased a pad site on the southeast corner of the parking lot and is up and running. The southwest pad site has been sold, though no business for that location has been announced, and none is imminent.