Discount Tire was founded in 1960, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, by Bruce T. Halle. After a couple of false starts in other businesses, Halle decided to go into business on his own. He rented an old plumbing supply building on Stadium Boulevard in Ann Arbor. Halle tidied up the place and hung a sign outside that displayed his stock of six tires (two new and four retreads), and waited for new business. It took three days before Halle received his first customer, and four more before he sold his first tire. Halle admitted to having no real business plan in place when he first opened his doors.
The company grew to over 200 stores by 1990 and opened its 500th store in 2002. On Sept. 10, 2018 Discount Tire opened its 1000th store, a location in Phoenix, AZ.
Discount Tire grew from a one-man operation into the largest retailer of tires and wheels in the world. Its growth has been largely attributed to the company’s focus on reasonable prices, customer service, and its satisfaction guarantee. Halle understood that for a company to excel in a commodity market, product differentiation was a non-starter. However, improving the customer experience could greatly improve the brand's value.
Halle attributed the company’s overall growth and success to its employees, for exhibiting the founder's philosophy: treat people with respect and fairness, always do what is right, care for those in need, work hard, be responsible and have fun. The company built its philosophy around its employees rather than its customers because, as they see it, happy employees make happy customers, not the other way around. Halle taught that success comes from focusing on what each person owes to his family, to future employees and to the next customer coming in the door. Everyone has an unbreakable contract to pay forward to the next customer, the next employee and the next generation. For this reason, Halle promised his employees, "Do a good job, and I’ll provide lifelong opportunity for you." That promise resulted in a strict promote-from-within model for the company's management.