• Go-to Snack Is Also Favorite Donation


    Popcorn is a long-standing and popular tradition in our waiting rooms at Les Schwab Tire Centers, but more and more it’s becoming a recognizable element of our community involvement, too.

    In Monroe, Wash., popcorn is the weekly treat at the Friday afternoon Popcorn Social at Chain Lake Elementary School thanks to the nearby Les Schwab store. The P.T.A. had previously been forced to charge students for the snack. Even at less than a dollar a bag, the cost was out of reach for some kids, so for the last three years the crew has sponsored the event with 15 cases of popcorn, making it free for everybody. The Monroe store also supplies popcorn for the town’s National Night Out Against Crime, when citizens get together for an evening of community building with the Monroe Rotary Club and police and fire departments.

    The Kaysville, Utah, store is similarly involved in providing popcorn for worthwhile community events. The Les Schwab there supports the Davis County Sheriff’s office when the officers host programs for local kids. Every month, officers invite underprivileged young people to their Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, better known by its acronym, D.A.R.E. And at Halloween, they host an event called “Trunk or Treat” where classic cars line the parking lot and children wear their costumes to trick-or-treat in a safe environment. Popcorn supplied by Les Schwab powers the kids through both events.

    Les Schwab donations of popcorn and related supplies allow high school students a chance to practice valuable job skills and raise money for their activities. The Riverdale, Utah, store, for example, donates the popcorn maker, bags and popcorn to nearby Bonneville High School for the football and basketball seasons. Students who run the concession booth sell bottles of water and bags of popcorn for $1 each and get to keep the proceeds to spend on activities. For the past two years in southwest Washington, 10 stores have partnered to sponsor 22 local high schools with popcorn, oil and seasonings for lunchtime and game day booths. (The concessions are so popular that the schools have bought their own machines.) Feedback from the athletic directors is overwhelmingly positive.

    This kind of sponsorship gives the students a chance to practice the kind of life skills we know will stand them in good stead: hard work, responsibility and community involvement.

    At a city council meeting last March, Mayor Leonard Kelley of Stanwood, Wash., recognized the local Les Schwab for outstanding community service. He noted the company sponsors numerous community events, but he singled out as his favorite a story about the team donating its popcorn machine for the town’s summer Movies in the Park series.

    “Moms with kids — who weren’t customers — were coming in [to Les Schwab] to thank them for the popcorn,” Kelley said.

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    So popcorn is more than our signature snack: It’s one of the many ways we do more than take care of tires, brakes and alignment. We are members of the community who see a need and step up to meet it.

  • Utah Mom Receives Les Schwab Award


    As any parent can tell you, children are often the catalyst for us to extend our commitment to serving others. Brittanie Flint’s 2-year-old son, Lincoln, who has Down syndrome, was her inspiration for bringing a GiGi’s Playhouse to Utah.

    Last year, over the course of 11 months, Brittanie and a group of moms raised more than $100,000 in donations to establish a local GiGi’s Playhouse. The Down Syndrome Achievement Centers, which is free to all individuals with DS, now serves approximately 200 families each month with the help of 400 volunteers, and it continues to attract an average of $35,000 a month in donations and sponsorships.


    Making a Difference in Utah

    Les Schwab is always eager to recognize others who are making a difference in our community, so in January, Mike McCarty, manager of the Odgen, Utah store, and a crew of 12 other Utah Les Schwab managers assembled in the Good Things Utah television studio to present the 2015 Do the Right Thing award. They gave Brittanie a check for $1,500 to help her expand GiGi’s Playhouse.

    Les Schwab is honored to present this year’s grand prize award to an outstanding Utah resident who shares our commitment to service and contributing to our communities. Our Do the Right Thing contest is a way for us to recognize people in Utah who have a positive impact on the lives of others.


    GiGi’s Playhouse Foundation

    The first GiGi’s Playhouse was founded in Illinois in 2003 to empower people with Down syndrome to achieve their greatest potential. Now, 24 GiGi’s Playhouses across the country serve children and adults of all ages, offering 30 educational and therapeutic programs at no charge to families. The organization’s global message is acceptance, and its members and volunteers work tirelessly to change society’s outdated perceptions about the amazing potential of individuals with Down syndrome.


    Les Schwab in the Utah Community

    Les Schwab wants to celebrate people all over Utah who are doing the right thing. Some are saving lives; others are giving their time and effort to help those in need. If you’d like to nominate someone, visit this website: http://www.good4utah.com/gtu/do-the-right-thing. Nominees are announced on Good Things Utah weekly, and monthly winners are featured on the show in recognition of their service. They also receive a gift basket and $100 gift certificate from Les Schwab.

  • Les Schwab Proudly Contributes to the Pride of Salt Lake City


    Next month marks the two-year anniversary of the opening of the African Savanna exhibit at Utah’s Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, sponsored by Les Schwab Tire Centers. There are two sections: The Grasslands are home to the zoo's African hoof stock and birds, including ostriches and Hartmann’s mountain zebras, and Lion's Hill is home to the first lions to live at the zoo in over a decade. Les Schwab is thrilled to support the local community with this exhibit, part of what attracts thousands of families every year to Hogle Zoo.

    Children admiring Hogle Zoo’s lions up close through glass
    Photo: Hogle Zoo

    It didn’t take long for the wildlife in both sections to start families of their own! In January, the zoo’s second-oldest female giraffe, Pogo, gave birth to a female giraffe named Willow. Riley, the zoo’s only male giraffe, is the father. Willow was the 17th giraffe born at the Hogle Zoo and the first birth at the exhibit.

    Lion’s Hill started off with four lions: two brothers, Baron and Vulcan, who came to Hogle from Birmingham Zoo in Alabama, and two sisters, Sela and Nobu, who came from Woodland Park Zoo in Washington.

    This February, Nobu gave birth to three lion cubs—two males and a female— fathered by Baron. They were the first lions born at the zoo in 27 years. The cubs spent time with their mother for several weeks before being introduced to the rest of the family: first to Aunt Sela, then to their father and Uncle Vulcan. This process takes several weeks of careful observation and attention by keepers and animal care staff. According to Valerie Schubert, primary lion keeper, Nobu is a wonderful first-time mother; extremely affectionate toward and protective of her cubs. Zoo guests will be able to see the full pride this month when Brutus, Titus and Calliope make their debut.

    Trainer working with a lion at Hogle Zoo
    Trainer working with a lion at Utah’s Hogle Zoo
    Photo: Hogle Zoo

    Les Schwab’s sponsorship makes possible a demonstration area where zoo visitors can sit only a dozen feet away as the four adult African lions work with their trainers. Several times a day, the zookeepers encourage the lions to perform tasks on command, such as displaying their paws or opening their jaws, for which they are rewarded with treats. These tasks keep the lions mentally agile and prepare them for times when their keepers tend to their health.

    The zoo is about to open another long-awaited Les Schwab-sponsored attraction, Creekside, and this one is designed for children: an immersive and interactive playground suited to kids of all abilities. Landscaped to fit with the surrounding environment, the park features all the usual equipment plus a rock climbing wall because youngsters of all species like to play and explore!

  • Nonprofit Helps Vets ‘Continue Mission’ in Civilian Life


    Sgt. Josh Hansen and his wife, Melissa, founded the organization, Continue Mission, to help veterans returning from war transition to happy, healthy civilian lives.

    “‘Continue mission’ is something we say in the Army,” said Josh, of Salt Lake City, Utah. “Veterans know the expression as ‘Charlie Mike.’ We want to ‘Charlie Mike’ in healing and in life.”

    For Josh, who joined the Marine Corps following Sept. 11, the cause is personal. After being wounded during his tour in Iraq in 2007, he found his own transition back into civilian life more difficult than expected. Recognizing that this difficulty was experienced by many other service members, he was compelled to do make a difference.

    “Let’s heal, and let’s live life to the fullest for those we lost in the war,” said Josh, a Utah native and current resident. “We need to honor them and continue on by supporting each other.”

    Today, Continue Mission paves the way toward physical and mental health, and wellness for veterans by organizing recreational events — such as mountain biking, disc golf and skiing — as well as community service projects that allow veterans to volunteer at local schools, churches and other civic institutions. It also offers resources and referrals for mental health support, suicide prevention, recreational therapy, employment services and education.

    We here at Les Schwab Tire Centers are inspired by the work of the Hansens, all of the active and retired service members participating in Continue Mission and the work they’re doing throughout Utah. It’s an honor to support their ongoing activities as an official sponsor of this amazing organization.

    To learn more, or to get involved as a volunteer, check out the Continue Mission website, and like its official Facebook page.