A move that has been in the works since 2007 is set to be complete Monday.
That’s when the downtown Olympia Les Schwab Tire Center will open its doors at a much larger home at 1100 Plum St. SE.
Not only is it larger, but it’s also right off the freeway and has 100-some parking spaces, said Rane Shaub, vice president of Shaub-Ellison Co., the Tacoma-based business that operates nine Les Schwab locations, including a store in Olympia.
“We shouldn’t have any shortage of parking spaces,” he said.
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That wasn’t always the case at its previous home on State Avenue. It was a centralized location but the business had to squeeze quite a bit of activity onto a small lot. And it offered even less room for servicing trucks, said Irl Rhodes, who has managed the Olympia store for five-and-a-half years and logged 32 years overall for Shaub-Ellison.
The State Avenue store’s last day was Saturday, Rhodes said. The new location is set to have a soft opening Monday, while a grand opening is planned for March 31 to April 2, he said.
Shaub-Ellison acquired three parcels at the corner of Union Avenue and Plum Street in 2007 and then waited for existing leases to expire before they set a plan in motion, Shaub said.
The former A-frame structure that housed a rental-car business was torn down and replaced with a new showroom for Les Schwab. But the existing service bays were retained and renovated. Five service bays will be used for brakes, alignments and shocks, while six are devoted to tire service.
The showroom and customer service area won’t feel like a warehouse — some tires will still be on display — but instead it will offer more amenities for those waiting, such as more outlets for devices and computers and Wi-Fi service. For those who can’t wait, shuttle service will continue at the new location, Rhodes said.
As part of the acquisition, Shaub-Ellison also received the convenience store and gas station on the same site, as well as the car wash, a former Express Lube and the espresso stand. Shaub said a restaurant is set to fill the former lube location.
They’ll also have no problem accommodating large vehicles at the new site, Rhodes said. Not only do they have the added room, but they also added a reinforced concrete slab for just that purpose, he said.
Truck business at the previous location was a hit-or-miss proposition, Rhodes said. Some truck drivers were not intimidated by the small, downtown location, but other truckers sometimes just kept on driving, he said.
Les Schwab Tire Center, Olympia
Owner: Shaub-Ellison Co. of Tacoma.
Location: 1100 Plum St. SE Olympia.
Years in business: Shaub-Ellison has thought to have operated a store in Olympia since about 1980.
Store hours: 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays.
Olympia store employees: 15
Did you know? Shaub-Ellison Co., which has been around since 1920, operates nine Les Schwab stores, mostly in Washington. Other locations include Fife, Puyallup and Shelton.