Robbins Property Development, Inc. was formed in the early 1990’s as a development company to be able to make use of the resources of two local residents, Harvey and Joyce Ann Robbins. Harvey Robbins is the President and Hank Robbins is the Vice President. The offices are located at 100-B South Main Street, Tuscumbia, Alabama, with our construction shop located at 1080 Highway 20 Tuscumbia, Alabama.
It was for want of a chocolate milkshake in a metal container with enough to pour into two glasses…
Harvey Frank Robbins was born in Dayton, Ohio, on November 22, 1932, the middle son of three boys born to Stanley and Elise Skinner Robbins. His early years were typical small town, where he attended and graduated from Deshler High School in Tuscumbia. He also attended the University of Florida and the University of North Alabama.
A gifted athlete, Harvey excelled in football, basketball, track and surprisingly, rodeoing, which involved western horseback riding, calf roping, bullriding, team roping and saddleback and bareback events. This began a life-long love of “all things Western”. In 1952, Harvey married his high school sweetheart Joyce Ann McKinney. Their love of the West is evidenced by their lovely Southwestern-inspired home overloking Lake Wilson in the Shoals. Their love of the West has been passed down to their three children, Harvey Frank II, Angie, and Beverly and now on to their six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
In 1957, Harvey’s father founded National Floor Products Company, Inc. (NAFCO) where Harvey was part owner. Over the next several decades under Harvey’s leadership, NAFCO grew to a world leader in high-end residential flooring. In 1994, NAFCO was sold to Domco Industries of Montreal.
In 1960, Harvey founded Applied Plastics, Inc. which continues to operate today as an innovator in custom industrial coatings for manufacturing machinery in a broad range of industries.
Following the sale of NAFCO, Harvey turned his talents to property development and community support, focusing on the beauty and history of his hometown, Tuscumbia, Alabama. In the late 1990’s, Harvey formed Robbins Property development and embarked on the largest revitilization and development effort in his home town’s history. His first endeaver 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. He also stocked the creek with rainbow trout to lure fishermen. Harvey then turned his sights to renovating the Palace Ice Cream Shop, where he and his high school sweetheart, Joyce Ann, had shared that famous chocolate milkshake “in a metal container with enough to pour into two glasses.” Today, the Palace Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop has sold well over 25,000 milkshakes.
Initially, his plan wasn’t a grand scheme; Harvey simply wanted to give folks a few shopping, dining, and entertainment options to bring foot traffic, which would bolster Tuscumbia’s meager sales-tax receipts enough to pay for civic improvements. Soon the plan grew more ambitious. To make Tuscumbia self-sustaining, the town’s coffers needed filling, and that wasn’t going to happen with a handfull of stores that often closed at the whim of the owners and were always locked by 5 P.M. Harvey often quoted, “You can’t sell from an empty wagon”, so he became the benevolent landlord for many of the 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 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, he opened Doublehead Resort and Lodge, a 1,000 acre development on the shores of Lake Wilson 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 and four star hotel; 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. He has 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 his extraordinary accomplishments.
Harvey served as Chairman of the Board for Valley Fderal Bank and he took the company from a mutual company to a publicly traded company which was later sold to Union Planters Bank of Memphis. He is a former board member of Central Bank (now Compass Bank) and the Salvation Army and currently serves on the Boards of First Metro Bank, Helen Keller Hospital, and the University of North Alabama.
Harvey and Joyce Ann’s hard work and philanthropic endeavors have not gone unrecognized. In 2000, the Chamber of Commerce of the Shaols awarded Harvey the Community Investment Award. Both Harvey and Joyce Ann were recognized and presented awards in 2001 as the Shoals Citizens of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of the Shoals and by the local newspaper, the Times Daily, as the Times Daily Newsmakers of the Year. In the year 2003, Governor Bob Riley presented both Harvey and Joyce Ann the Alabama Governor’s Tourism Award.
Harvey and Joyce Ann’s greatest pleasure in life is to watch others enjoy the fruits of their labor and continue to delight in the rebirth of Tuscumbia’s main street.
JOYCE ANN ROBBINS
Born December 8, 1932 at her home on West 2nd Street in Tuscumbia, Alabama. While attending Deshler High School she won the title of Miss Tuscumbia in 1948 and Miss Colbert County in 1949.
After graduation from Deshler High School, Joyce Ann married Harvey Robbins, her first grade sweetheart, and they have been married for 50 years. Joyce Ann worked in the family business from 1952 until 1955 when their first child was born. They have three children, Frank Robbins, Angie Robbins Williams, and Beverly Robbins.