Michael Humphrey has managed the Crescent City Les Schwab Tire Center for more than 20 years. Recently, he discussed his business and how it has changed over the years.
Q: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
Humphrey: The company itself has been in business since 1953. Our basic focus is tire sales and service, brakes, alignments, and shocks. I've been at this location since 1985.
Q: What inspired you to go into this line of work?
Humphrey: It was back in the 1970s when good jobs were hard to come by. One of my friends offered me a job at our branch in Coquille and I just kind of stayed. There are such good benefits with the company that it makes it worthwhile staying.
Q: How has your business changed over the years?
Humphrey: It's changed quite a bit. Tires and wheels today are far more advanced. Back when I started, radial tires were just starting to get a foothold in the industry. Since then, everybody's making radial tires and every year they get better. Now, with the introduction of these 20 and 22 inch wheels and tire packages, they're a lot more difficult to work with. It makes the cars handle and perform better.
Some people are really leaning toward that style. There's no sidewall to them, so they're harder to work with. And now they've come out with tire pressure monitoring systems that are required in all vehicles as of July 2007. They have sensors built into the valve stem or attached to the wheel, and radio frequencies signal a problem that comes up as a light on your dashboard.
Q: How do you distinguish your business from your competitors?
Humphrey: We offer a supermarket selection and warranties that can be handled in our 400 locations throughout the seven western states. You can go anywhere to a Les Schwab store and have your warranty problems taken care of.
Q: What are your goals for your business?
Humphrey: Increased sales.
Q: What advice could you offer to budding entrepreneurs?
Humphrey: Just treat people as you would want to be treated..