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By Victoria Fowler
Gazette Reporter 

A total of 66-plus years: Miller, Mayer will finish long careers at Les Schwab

 

December 12, 2019

Cliff Miller; Kathy Mayer

Cliff Miller and Kathy Mayer are set to retire from Les Schwab at the close of the year.

Cliff Miller has been with Les Schwab Tire Center for 33 ½ years; he has been at the Colfax Les Schwab for 13 ½ years.

Kathy Mayer, born and raised in Colfax, has been with Les Schwab in Colfax for 33 years. She became an employee one week before they opened in 1986.

On Dec. 31, Mayer and Miller will be retiring and closing out their last day at Les Schwab.

Miller recounted his first Les Schwab meeting. He and his wife sat at a table not knowing anyone when company founder Les Schwab and his wife Dorothy sat down at the same table.

Miller said Schwab started talking about the future of the company, retirement trusts, etc.

"I used to get handwritten notes from Les, he would send me a note off his old typewriter, and it would come off the freight truck," Mayer said. "I feel bad for the younger ones that join who never got to know Les. He passed away when he was 89 in 2007."

When Kathy started there were only four employees at the Colfax location.

Les Schwab currently has 492 locations nationwide. When Mayer started in 1986 there were 170 stores. When Miller started there were 130 locations.

"It's just time," Mayer said. "I want to be able to do more things with my grandkids, they live in Colfax too, along with my mom."

Mayer said Les Schwab is very career oriented, family-oriented and treats employees well.

Mayer and Miller both agreed that the most enjoyable part of their time here has been the customers.

"You build relationships with your customers; that's the biggest thing," Miller said. "The whole environment of this area, for me, being out of Missoula and Spokane, here it's pretty relaxed. You have customers that you build friendships with. The relationships you build with the customers is key here."

Mayer mentioned how throughout her time here she has met multiple generations of customers.

"Here is a farming community, everyone is like your family," Mayer said. "And the community has been good to us."

Miller said in his time with Les Schwab in Colfax they try to get involved in the community in any way they can.

"I love this community, I love being able to look out my back door and see a wheat field with turkeys and deer and not somebody else in their house," Miller said. "This is a nice community to live in."

Mayer and Miller highlighted how their time here has felt like they work with family and how they keep in touch with those who have moved elsewhere.

"We had a kid come in straight from high school at 17-years-old," Mayer said. "Now he is an assistant manager in Lewiston with a family of his own who is older than he was when he started here."

Mayer said during her time here she appreciates all of the customers that have come through and the respect that they've shown her along the way.

"It's been a wonderful career to have and share with the community," Mayer said. "The biggest thing is the friendships and relationships that we build and working for a company that will take care of its customers."

Miller said this community is a different world compared to his time in Missoula and Spokane.

"Everybody knows you here and we will still be a part of the community after we retire," Miller said.

To commemorate their time, Les Schwab will have cake and drinks available all day next Thursday, Dec. 19, to give residents the opportunity to come in and visit the retirees-to-be.

 

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