Brandon Durham of Durham Gravel Works, of Payette, scoops dirt at the site of a new service bay at the Les Schwab store in Vale. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – The Les Schwab tire store is about to get a facelift.

And a lot more.

Work is already underway to build a 3,600 square-foot service bay east of the current structure. The tire store is at north Main Street next to Dentinger’s True Value Hardware.

The new building will contain four service bays, tire racks, an internal tire wash and hoists for vehicles.

The nearly $1 million project – one of the largest commercial projects in recent time in Vale – is part of an ongoing modernization program by the longtime central Oregon firm.

“We always try to keep our stores up to date. The one difference here is we are getting a little bit more organized around some of our stores that need a little more work than maybe what we would have done in the past,” said Dale Thompson, chief marketing officer for Les Schwab.

Store manager Shad Harrison said the project “will help us better serve our customers.”

The inside of the current store will also be remodeled, said Harrison.

“We will move the office and put a customer waiting area in, new windows, new flooring and there will be some tires in the main show room area. It will be a little bit of a more open floor plan,” said Harrison.

Harrison said the new tire bay not only is good for his employees but also for tire customers.

Now almost all of the tire work by employees is done under a canopy in front of the store. 

The renovation will eliminate that configuration.

“We are trying to make it a safer area so customers don’t have to walk right through where we are working,” said Harrison.

Eight employees work at the store, which opened in 1969.

Thompson said the Vale Les Schwab construction project is important. 

 “We have older stores out there and we want to make sure we continue to make them comfortable and nice for the customer and a nice place to work for our employees,” said Thompson.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.