Where We Come From
Alma Tire had its humble beginnings in the heart of old downtown Mt. Pleasant, MI. The building -constructed sometime in the 1930’s and originally known as Bill Murray’s Garage- was eventually purchased in part by Richard Grace and his wife, Mary in 1957. For a 25% stake in the business, they put up $2000 – their life’s savings – changed the name to Mt. Pleasant Tire Service and poured everything they had into making their new venture a success.
Running the store personally and handling a great deal of the day-to-day operations, Dick Grace made a name for himself and Mt. Pleasant Tire by outworking the competition every chance he got, and never compromising his integrity. After a few years, it was decided that they would expand to Alma. And so a brand new building was constructed and with it, a new headquarters established. The name of the company was changed to Alma Tire Service, but they left Mt. Pleasant Tire’s name the way it was.
Over the next decade, Dick was able to buy the remaining equity of the business from his partners and become the sole owner of Alma Tire. He remained so until his sons, Jim and Jeff Grace, came home from their respective careers to pick up the torch. These two had gone away to college, had found jobs and wives, but they felt the pull of small-town Michigan and the challenge of together being good stewards of the business their father had built. And a challenge it was. There were good years, and there were more than a few tough years – especially soon after they took the reins. But Jim and Jeff had been early disciples of the Dick Grace way, and by always maintaining an unflinching work ethic and the highest integrity, they were eventually able to take the business even further than their predecessor. They built a Bandag retread facility, they started a heavy-equipment repair business, they created more jobs, they employed more people, they had fun. They still do!
Around 2010, I came home to put my stamp on our family business. I had grown up in our retread plant, rolling and stacking truck tires through high school, never imagining that I’d be here doing what I do now. As I’ve grown in my own entrepreneurial life, I love that every day I learn something new in trying to make Alma Tire the best business possible. I love that I get to work with people I respect tremendously, and that our customers are some of my best friends. I love that I never have to struggle with a sense of purpose. I just try to help people, outside and inside this organization, with whatever tools, gifts, and opportunities God has given me. This has been the philosophy of the men that went before me, and this will be the way we’ll continue onward.