Class of 2003

Jim Stoehr
It is only fitting that the MFMA recognize "Jim" as he celebrates the anniversary of his 25th year as owner and Chairman of the Board of Robbins, Inc. Robbins is the "oldest" member of the MFMA when considering the tenure of current ownership.
Jim Stoehr has worked tirelessly for the maple flooring industry and served as President of the MFMA from 1990 to 1999. This decade of service becomes the second longest presidential tenure in the 105-year history of the association. During his time as President, Jim was the driving force towards an association focused on marketing to the industry through the use of funds generated by marketing dues paid on each square foot of flooring sold. His vision and leadership for the funding mechanism, along with the creation of a marketing committee, helped position the MFMA as the "authority" on maple sports surfaces in the eyes of the end-user and architect.
Following his college days at Brown University, James H. "Jim" Stoehr entered the Air Force as a pilot, served in the Korean War and was honorably discharged at the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He joined the family business full-time in the fall of 1955 and was a third generation family member involved in the contracting and installation of hardwood flooring.
Jim followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Robert A. Stoehr, founder of The Cincinnati Floor Company in 1894, and his father, James H. Stoehr, Sr. Working with other family members, Jim, and his cousin Robert A. Stoehr III, was part of a team leading the Ohio-based company through numerous growth cycles including hardwood flooring, and commercial interiors. The company quickly established respect in the industry by following the examples set by the Stoehr family predecessors adhering to the German principles of quality and service.
As its reputation for quality products and skilled craftsman grew, major national projects requested their expertise. Such notables include the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, with eight acres of teak herringbone wood floors and the National Art Gallery, in Washington D.C. with four and a half acres of plank wood flooring. In addition to these significant commercial projects, the company also installed numerous gymnasium floors throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia including Ohio State University's Larkins Hall and the Myrl Shoemaker Sports Center located at the University of Cincinnati.
Following the death of his cousin, Robert A. Stoehr, III in 1988, Jim sold the name of The Cincinnati Floor Company and the assets of the flooring division to Doug Drenik, a long-standing and loyal employee of the company.
The Robbins Flooring Company was founded by the Abendroth family of Rhineland, Wisconsin in the early 1920's and operated the White Lake, WI and Ishpeming, MI plants to the early 1960's where it was sold to the E. L. Bruce Company of Memphis, Tennessee. By the late 1960's, the company's assets were sold to Memphis-based, Cook Industries as Bruce divested its holdings to numerous entities including Triangle-Pacific, a manufacturer of kitchen cabinets.
Jim Stoehr purchased the assets of Robbins Inc. from Cook Industries of Memphis, Tennessee in 1977 to continue the manufacture of maple flooring for the sports and recreational industry from the White Lake and Ishpeming plants.
Under the direction of Jim's guiding hand, these two plants manufactured random length strip maple and other maple flooring products along with introducing to the industry a number of innovative products, including Strip-Titeâ, a patented "nailed-channel" design, Sportwoodä, Bio-Cushionä , Bio-Channelä and more recently Air-Channel Star ä, Mach Oneä, and Sportwood Ultra Starä.
In addition to these revolutionary sub-floor designs developed for use beneath the Robbins random-length maple strip product, Jim also developed and refined the process of manufacturing an engineered maple strip utilizing a patented finger-jointing process. This product was developed and is marketed as Continuous Strip XLä. His contracting experience helped him to recognize the detrimental effects on installation efficiency brought about by changing hardwood grade rules and uncertain lumber resources. Jim Stoehr's new manufacturing process continues to revolutionize the maple flooring industry by producing a "uniform length" maple floor that counters the efforts required to fasten the growing number of short boards manufactured in the older random-length process. In addition, the "engineered seam" method provides the owner a surface that is documented to increase overall flooring strength when used in both generic and proprietary flooring systems.
Jim Stoehr was also the driving force in bringing to the North American market a systematic method of quantifying the performance characteristics of today's sport floors. His desire to provide the facility owner a measurable form of objective evidence of performance enhancing bio-mechanical properties, led Jim to invest in the research and development of DIN 18032, Part 2 testing procedures. Until this "Robbins-driven" concept took shape in the U.S., only anecdotal evidence existed to compare the performance of sport floor systems. In the past twelve years, and since its introduction in this country, the DIN Certification testing process has become the default standard by which floors are measured. It is now recognized and used by numerous purchasing bodies and has become the minimum standard for flooring performance published by the American College of Sports Medicine.
In addition to the innovation in maple flooring manufacturing, Jim Stoehr led Robbins to recognize the need for multi-use floors, or surface working in combination with maple. Robbins introduced to the North American market a line of synthetic surfaces under various trade names to complement the maple sports surface industry.
James H. "Jim" Stoehr today serves Robbins Inc. as Chairman of the Board and Director of Strategic Thinking.
Back to top
About MFMA