Robbins Property Development was formed in the early 1990s to make use of the resources of businessman, Harvey Robbins and his wife, Joyce Ann Robbins.
“It was for want of a chocolate milkshake in a metal container with enough to pour into two glasses...”
This is how the vision of Harvey and Joyce Ann Robbins started to revitalize and share their success with North Alabama – a perfect Southern milkshake.
Harvey Robbins enjoyed his childhood in the town of Tuscumbia, Alabama, where he graduated from Deshler High School. To put it simply, he has excelled in the business world and in life. A gifted athlete, he played football, basketball, and track – traditional sports in the South – and was also gifted in rodeo activities. Harvey married his high school sweetheart in 1952. Their love of “all things Western” inspired their Southwestern-inspired home overlooking Lake Wilson.
In 1957, Harvey’s father, Stanley Robbins, founded National Floor Products Company, Inc. (NAFCO), where Harvey was part owner. Over the next several decades under Harvey’s leadership, NAFCO grew to be a world leader in high-end residential flooring. In 1994, NAFCO was sold to Domco Industries in Montreal.
Following the sale of NAFCO, the Robbins turned their focus to property development and community support, with a vision of revitalizing the beauty and history of Tuscumbia. The first endeavor was a makeover of the town’s traditional center, Spring Park, by designing and building a 48-foot-high waterfall; a bronze statue memorializing a Chickasaw Princess; a replica train running on 4,000 feet of track; and a choreographed fountain, music, and light show modeled after the dancing water at Opryland. The creek was also stocked with rainbow trout to lure fisherman.
The next project was renovating the Palace Ice Cream shop, where Harvey and his sweetheart, Joyce Ann, shared the chocolate milkshake “in a metal container with enough to pour into two glasses” all those years ago.
Initially, the plan wasn’t a grand scheme; the Robbins simply wanted to give folks a few shopping, dining, and entertainment options to bring foot traffic, which would bolster Tuscumbia’s economy to pay for civic improvements.
It was Harvey’s keen business sense and knack for success that boosted a much more ambitious plan. For Tuscumbia to be self-sustaining, the town needed more storefront businesses. Harvey often quoted, “You can’t sell from an empty wagon,” so he became the benevolent landlord for many new businesses, offering reasonable rent, whatever renovations owners desired, and advice…if they asked!
Harvey’s generosity is legendary. He coaxed new businesses to locate in Tuscumbia and even guaranteed a $90,000 loan for one new business considered by five different banks as too risky. Other business owners have been afforded his generosity by being given the opportunity to design their own shops with Robbins Property Development picking up as much as 99% of the construction tab if completed within an assigned budget.
In 1995, Doublehead Resort and Lodge opened - a 1,000-acre development on Wilson Lake near Wheeler Dam, which quickly became a destination resort attracting national attention. Included among other accomplishments were providing the land to enable the construction of the RSA’s longest Robert Trent Jones golf course, renovating over 100,000 square feet of vacant downtown buildings and turning them into vibrant restaurants, offices and retail shops, as well as the development of new access roads and Tuscumbia’s first hotel, Coldwater Inn.
The Robbins have been featured on the “NBC Today Show”, in “Southern Living”, “Inc.”, “Business Alabama”, “American Way”, “MyBUSINESS”, “American Spirit”, and “Explore the Shoals” magazines because of their extraordinary accomplishments.
Simply stated, the Robbins shared their success with the people of North Alabama. Harvey Robbins died in 2013, but his greatest pleasure was to watch others enjoy and delight in the rebirth of Tuscumbia. Joyce Ann Robbins resides in the distinctive home they built – a beautiful, striking landmark along the Tennessee River.