Olympic, NBA, NCAA ties trace back 100 years ago to Robbins White Lake, WI lumber mill

Cincinnati-based Robbins Sports Surfaces’ Wisconsin plant hits century mark, commemorating successes from grassroots beginnings.

Robbins Sports Surfaces, an international leader in sports flooring, is celebrating its 100th anniversary at its White Lake, Wisconsin manufacturing plant. Originally a sawmill carved out of the upper Wisconsin wilderness in the early 1900’s, the plant now – 100 years later – offers sustainably harvested hardwoods used in world-class sports. Fifteen of 30 NBA teams including the Cavaliers, Lakers, Spurs and Pacers, as well as storied NCAA teams such as Duke, UCLA, North Carolina and Kentucky, all play on Robbins Sports Surfaces. Since 1976, Robbins Sports Surfaces has also installed flooring at the Olympics.

Robbins’ rich history, achievements and global reach started a century ago with pioneering lumber titans, including the founders of the Yawkey-Bissell Lumber Company, predecessor to Robbins. These early innovators built one of the most advanced and modern sawmills at White Lake, laying dummy line railroads out into the timber, where it was harvested and brought into the mill at White Lake. The logs were stored in the lake, then drawn out and sawed into lumber.

In addition to being an integral part of the lumber industry, the plant helped establish the town of White Lake and has been a leading employer to generations of hard-working, dedicated employees.

“Robbins has been really important to this community over the years,” said Robbins Vice President of Manufacturing John Williams. “Many of the homes were actually built by the company years ago. It has just been a tremendous impact on the overall development of this community and area.”