It's not often that I feel the need to comment on the death of a famous businessman but I was saddened to hear that local tire legend Les Schwab. The couple of bios I've read focused on Schwab's involvement in the community, focus of keeping the corporate headquarters in rural Oregon and commitment to sharing the profits of his company with his workers. All admirable stuff.
But the thing that sticks out in my mind when I think of Schwab's company more than those things is their commitment to providing excellent service to customers. The company stands head and shoulders above any other company I can think of when it comes to provide quality service. In today's world that's just unheard of.
A few years ago the Missus and I were visiting a small Washington burg on a Sunday when the breaks went out on our car. We were able to make it to a Les Schwab that was closing with only a couple of employees left. After explaining the situation to the guys they re-opened the shop just for us and repaired our brakes, only charging us cost and not overtime and refusing tips. That led to one of the only letters I've ever written to a company praising their service.
I wish more American companies followed Schwab's model for service. I'm keeping my finger's crossed that his death doesn't lead to a downturn in such service at the company he ran so successfully.