Forty-one years later, Alan Brown Tire Center is a thriving business. Ken Brown oversees operations at the Newport store, and his brother Tad manages a second location in Toledo, Ore., six miles away. (Mr. Brown's uncle, Lauren Young, runs the Les Schwab franchise in Roseburg, and a cousin Scott Cameron, is in charge of the Les Schwab outlet in Sutherland, Ore.)
However, things were a little bare-bones in the beginning, Ken Brown remembered. The Newport store opened May 5, 1972, in an old lighting supply store the family had spent two months renovating. Two sawhorses with a door on top served as the cash drawer.
"Our billing department was everybody sitting around the dining table after dinner, stuffing envelopes," Mr. Brown told Tire Business.
"I've done just about everything you can do at a tire dealership, including emptying the garbage cans and sweeping the floors," he said.
Everything a customer expects at a Les Schwab store, including all services and all tire brands, are at Alan Brown Tire Center, according to Mr. Brown. "There's no way you can tell the difference between a company-owned store and an associate dealership," he said.
Mr. Brown's parents are still active in the business, he said. "We like to say that it's Dad's name on the sign, but it's Mom who's really the boss." he said.
Mr. Brown and his wife Stephanie have a six-year-old daughter, Annabelle, who so far isn't showing much interest in tires. "Right now she's more into princesses," he said.