It is easy to remember and commemorate the late Bruce Halle as the founder, builder and leader of the largest and arguably most successful independent tire dealership in the world. He was all that.
But Mr. Halle, who died Jan. 4 at age 87, also stands out among independent tire dealers and business leaders everywhere because of how he ran his company, treated his employees and conducted his life.
He started Discount Tire modestly in 1960 in Ann Arbor, Mich., with one location, six tires in stock and a goal of selling five tires a day.
His philosophies were simple: To "treat people fairly," to "just be nice," to "give customers a good deal" and to provide good service.
He chose the name Discount because "discount" implied a deal, and "everybody wants a deal," he told Tire Business in a 2008 interview.
He focused on selling tires only, later adding custom wheels to the mix, a practice that continues to this day. Auto services, which most tire dealerships offer today, did not fit well with Mr. Halle's approach of getting customers in and out quickly and back on the road, so he never added them.
That is, with one exception. Discount Tire stores provide free flat repairs to customers.