Six Robblees’ Inc., having been open for business since 1913, is excited to be celebrating its 102nd Anniversary. The following is a brief history of the first 101 years.
The company was originally started as J.A. Robblee & Co. in Tacoma, WA by three brothers; Jim a sheet metal worker, Bill a locksmith and Herb a bicycle repairman. Although repairing bicycle wheels brought in the majority of their business, by the end of the World War I their experience in tuning bike spokes had been transformed to racing car wheels for drivers of the local Indy car circuit. Over the next several years, other brothers joined the company and lent their expertise. By 1920, a second location was added in Seattle.
Founding brother, Jim passed away in 1930 and willed his interest to his six remaining brothers; Bill, Herb, Fred, Ted, Hank and Dick. The company was then renamed Six Robblees’ Inc. The locksmithing operation was sold to some nephews in 1948 when Hank and Dick bought out their retiring brothers; Bill, Fred, Herb and Ted. Dick started Six Robblees’ Inc. of Oregon in Portland in 1940 and worked there until selling to Hank’s son, Dave in 1987. Hank opened a third location in Yakima in 1964.
Dave Robblee started in 1966 and through the National Wheel and Rim Association (NWRA) expanded the business into custom wheels, installer undercarriage auto parts and a complete line of tire shop supplies and equipment. He was active in signing Six Robblees’ up as members of buying groups Heavy Duty America (HDA) and Ascot Tire Supply. In addition, he grew the company by adding 12 branches throughout Alaska, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Amongst some of the branch additions were the purchases of Union Rubber Company (Oakland, CA), Motor Wheel and Parts (Seattle, WA) Dee’s Truck Parts (Wasilla, AK), Northwest Wheel (Great Falls, MT), Montana Wheel (Missoula, MT), WIM (Kennewick, WA) and True Wheel Inc.
The purchase of Motor Wheel and Parts of Seattle, WA and Bearing & Rim of Spokane, WA in 1992 thrust the company into the small trailer parts market and added a solid third market segment to the already thriving truck parts and tire shop supplies categories – all three centered around the wheel.
The new millennium opened with the retirement of Dave Robblee and the promotion of longtime sales & general manager, Tom Ogren, as president. He opened 4 branches, two of which were through the purchases of Tech Supply (Eugene, OR) and Gamo Truck Parts (Grants Pass, OR). Tom retired at the end of 2008 and handed the title of president to Andy Robblee (Dave’s son). Andy has added 3 branches and expanded the company into Idaho and Wyoming through the purchase of Milo’s Auto & Truck (Casper, WY) and Valley Brake & Truck Parts (Twin Falls, ID). In addition, he facilitated the purchase of two Anchorage, AK companies; Custom Truck Inc. and Mobile Trailer Supply.
Six Robblees’ Inc. has grown from a small family business with 3 employees to a small family business with 22 branches in 8 states. Our product offering has expanded to include car, truck and trailer wheels as well as small trailer components, light truck accessories, tire shop supplies, equipment and heavy duty parts. We have seen tremendous growth and improvement in product offering and service; preserving the belief – “Customers deserve great service!” We hope you will join with us as we grow in the future.