FIRST LUBE PLUS was created by Salem First Baptist Church as the first step to use the North Block to serve the community with businesses that create opportunities for job training and mentoring for work and life skills.
FIRST LUBE PLUS partners with various public and private agencies to identify people who would be best served by our program.The building that now houses FIRST LUBE PLUS was built and first operated by the DeLon Auto Group, which had various car dealerships on surrounding properties. The building was closed for a time as that group of dealerships changed hands. In anticipation of a move by the new owners to a different location in 2015, the property was put on the market in 2014.
Salem First Baptist has been on the corner of Marion and Liberty St NE since 1864 and has been committed to serving the needs of Salem from its downtown location ever since. Because of that commitment, the possibility of having property across the street from the church was certainly of interest, but not fully embraced until the vision of using the property for helping people move from feeling disenfranchised to contributing members of the community was developed.
As church leaders and others began to work towards the possibility of implementing the vision, God confirmed that we were pursuing the right course of action. We began to cross paths with people who were like-minded about our vision and able to help us understand the operational aspects of a quick oil change center and introduce us to appropriate vendors and suppliers, providing invaluable industry contacts. We also shared our vision with community leaders who understood and supported our efforts because of their benefit to the community. Most importantly, the members and friends of First Baptist Church embraced the vision as one. God again confirmed to us when the members committed, in faith, to the vision by pledging enough money for the down payment on the property and necessary operating capital, voting overwhelmingly to approve the purchase of the property and its related debt, and paying over 80% of the amount pledged within a ten-week period. These gifts came from everyone throughout the broad demographic and economic spectrum of the congregation. The stories of how God supplied for people who pledged in faith are both memorable and encouraging to all.
With this vision and support, the property was purchased on December 28, 2015, and FIRST LUBE PLUS was opened in July 2016. FIRST LUBE PLUS is operated as a for-profit entity with its mission to fulfill that original vision. It has already been implemented in its hiring practices and job training and is building its mentoring program.
If you have any questions about our story, we would be privileged to tell it to you in more detail. Please feel free to contact Timo Valencia, General Manager of FIRST LUBE PLUS. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-967-6216.