Reflecting on the Life and Death of Bruce Halle, Discount Tire

Reflecting on the Life and Death of Bruce Halle, Discount Tire

From many accounts, Bruce Halle was an exemplary, modest business man who preferred to stay out of the limelight. In light of his passing, we invited people from across the industry to offer their thoughts and reflections of the legendary tire dealer.

Bruce Halle, Discount Tire Founder
Bruce Halle, Discount Tire founder, died Jan. 4 in his sleep.

A year prior to opening his first tire store, Bruce Halle was broke, unemployed and $17,000 in debt. His earlier business had failed. By age 30, he opened his first store with “six tires and no plan,” from which his biography takes its name. 57 years later, Halle became the nation’s largest independent tire dealer — with a net worth of $4.6 billion and coming in at #144 on the 2017 Forbes 400 List of richest Americans, and #1 wealthiest in Arizona.

From many accounts, Halle was an exemplary, modest business man who preferred to stay out of the limelight. In light of his passing, we invited people from across the industry to offer their thoughts and reflections of the legendary tire dealer. If you’d like to add to the tribute to Mr. Halle, email me at [email protected].

“I am very thankful that Bruce was in our industry. His business model set a high bar for tire and service retailers and consumers benefited as his retail competitors had to step up their game. As an impressionable young man in the early stages of my career in the tire industry, I had the opportunity meet Bruce Halle on different occasions. Even though I was as green as a pre-molded tire, he was always very kind and respectful. He quickly became someone that I admired and who’s business and interpersonal skills I wanted to emulate. His unique business model for the automotive tire and service industry built on the delivery of a superior level of customer service around a tires only product offering was a game changer. Bruce Halle was an astute businessman, philanthropist and patriot. His life was a testimony to the American dream and he was a role model and inspiration for independent tire dealers and all those who had the good fortune to have known him.”

– Dan Brown, retired and former president of Tire Pros franchise division and executive vice president American Tire Distributors (ATD) Tire Pros

“I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Halle many years ago and being impressed with his intense focus on the customer experience before Customer Centric was a popular theme. He served as true north. He delivered himself and his company as a proper example of what being the best is and should be. And his handshake was stronger still from one Marine to another and any other veteran. He will be missed. “Semper Fi” to Bruce.”

– Armand Allaire, executive vice president of commercial tire sales at Giti Tire (USA) Ltd.

“Clearly, he broke new boundaries doing what he did having the largest tire retailer in the country, and he did it in an amazing way. He did his own training and everything from the start. You’ll hear about just how good of a businessman he was, and dealers say how good of a person he is. He really cared about people and enjoyed life. He’s that rare breed who kind of went to the top of mountain professionally without sacrificing his personal attributes along way … I got to know him over the years, and when he went into the industry Hall of Fame. He’s sort of an icon or a legend in our industry.”

-Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president

“Despite the fact that the name “Discount Tire” has become a curse word on the lips of many independent tire dealers, Bruce Halle was and is an independent tire dealer. And he is, at least in terms of pure dollars-and-cents, the most successful independent tire dealer EVER.” –

– Jim Smith, former editor of Tire Review, excerpted from his column from September 30, 2011

“I was Tire Review editor during a period when Discount Tire was really growing – adding lots of locations…. [Bruce] seemed to focus on employee training and job satisfaction. He knew that happy employees would, in turn, work hard to create happy customers. The Discount Tire approach was simple – do one thing and do it really well. And that one thing was selling tires…. I think that’s his lasting impact; he built a large network of very focused and very good tire stores. And he created good competition in any market where a Discount Tire outlet operated, making all the other retail tire shops in those markets competitive and better, as well.”

– Jim Davis, former editor of Tire Review (1985-1998), now communications manager of global technology at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

“Bruce, I would say is all about consistency. Going into his stores, the experience is always the same. They don’t try to, forgive the expression, reinvent the wheel… He found his niche, and his niche was that we’re just going to do tires and do it the best that we can, and they have. It’s a very simple model, he has a lot of stores and it’s that consistency [that makes it work]. I’ve met him a couple of times and for a man of his stature, he was a common and as [down to earth] as anyone else. Bruce was as kind as they come; he was successful, and it didn’t go to his head.”

– Alpio A. Barbara, president of Redwood General Tire, 2016 Modern Tire Dealer of the Year and 2007, 2014, 2017 Tire Review Top Shop Finalist

“I have had the honor of meeting Mr. Halle on several occasions, having done business with his company in the past. He was a trail blazer that had a profound impact on the tire industry, changing the way tire retailers ran their businesses in order to compete with his world class retail organization, Discount Tire Company. He was a gracious and humble man that ran his company based on fundamental endearing qualities grounded in integrity and character. His professional legacy can be quantified, however his impact on the number of lives he impacted is immeasurable. Rest in Peace Mr. Halle.”

– Stephen Clave, managing director of wholesale operations, Dunn Tire LLC

“From day one in about 1987 during my first dealings with corporate and John Arthurs, I could see that Discount Tire was made up of good people. As Discount got bigger and bigger, they have somehow always stayed true to form. It’s hard enough for a small business to hire and retain great employees and it is a tribute to Mr. Halle that he has achieved this going on 1000 stores. … Maybe Bruce himself was good people! My sympathy goes out to Bruce’s family, friends, and to all at Discount Tire Company.”

– Billy Eordekian, 1-800EveryRim.com

“I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce only a couple times but I especially remember the first time. When he walked into the room I was immediately struck by his sheer presence. As the meeting progressed however I was even more struck by what a genuine and down to earth person he really was. A true Gentleman and Consummate Professional. His mark on our industry set a standard and will live on for many years.”

– Rick Phillips, vice president of sales, Triangle Tire USA

 

(updated Jan. 8, 2018)

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