PRINEVILLE, Ore.—Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc. will open six locations in Northern California by year-end 2001, putting the Oregon-based tire dealership within striking distance of the San Francisco-Oakland market. Brian Capp, sales and marketing manager, said Les Schwab will open a store in Rohnert Park, Calif., in late March and a store in Sacramento will open in late April. The Rohnert Park location is near Sonoma, Calif., about 30 miles north of the famed Golden Gate Bridge.
Mr. Capp said other stores will be built in the Sacramento-area communities of Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove, Orangeville, Folsom and Rosemont.
Les Schwab also wants to build a store in Vacaville, Calif., which is midway between the Sacramento and San Francisco-Oakland markets.
"We've been slowly expanding south," Mr. Capp said. "No question, Northern California is one of our growing areas."
Les Schwab now has 304 locations and ranks No. 5 in Tire Business' retail rankings. The Prineville-based chain plans to add about 20 new stores this year in the seven-state area the company now covers, he said.
Les Schwab's philosophy is to expand from town to town without skipping potential locations. "If a town can support a Les Schwab tire store," Mr. Capp said, "we're going to build it there rather than pass it to get to another larger one."
This lowers distribution costs, and the concentration of stores makes advertising more economical. "We'll get enough stores in Sacramento so we're able to advertise," he said.
When asked whether Les Schwab will enter the San Francisco-Oakland metro area, Mr. Capp responded: "Who knows? It's hard to get property in San Francisco."
There are no specific plans regarding that market, he said.