Downtown Olympia Les Schwab bound for new corner

One of the more visible corners in downtown Olympia will welcome a business from another corner of downtown toward the end of the year.

That business is the Les Schwab Tire Center on State Avenue, which is thought to have occupied that spot since 1980.

But by the end of October, Les Schwab expects to be open on Plum Street near the intersection of Plum and Union Avenue. It’s a location that was once host to several businesses that have moved to make way for the tire business.

“We wanted a bigger space,” said Rane Shaub, vice president of Shaub-Ellison Co. of Tacoma, the member-dealer of eight Les Schwab tire centers in Western and Central Washington, and one in Alaska.

He added the new location will make it easier for customers to get to the business. And for those customers who were used to dropping off their car in the heart of downtown and then walking to work, they plan to provide a shuttle service, Shaub said.

The new destination was once home to three businesses: Mike’s Plum Street Automotive, Crossroads Collision Center and a rental car business for Avis and Budget rental cars. All three have moved to new locations, according to information posted on the now-vacated buildings.

Mike Shelstad, owner of Mike’s Plum Street Automotive, moved his business to Olympia’s west side on Cooper Point Road. Shelstad, who said he will not change the name of his business, opened at the new site on March 30.

Meanwhile, work will soon begin on transforming Les Schwab’s new home.

Shaub said the A-frame will be removed and a new showroom built. The building behind that structure will stay the same, although they will update the service bays, he said.

Another reason Shaub-Ellison prefers the Plum Street location is the range of complementary businesses. There’s a car wash, an oil/lube business, a gasoline station, a convenience store and an espresso stand near the new location.