Al’s column

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COMMUNITY PRIDE: Here’s a heartwarming, Small Town, USA, story where the floor is the centerpiece of the tale. White Lake, Wis., is a tiny town—population is less than 400—in the northeast part of the state. As FCNews was going to press, the community was holding the groundbreaking of a $3.5 million community recreation center at the White Lake School building. Its gymnasium floor will truly be a one-of-a-kind, unique floor thanks to 90 cords of hard maple logs donated by local residents from their land. The idea was spawned by resident Todd Lambert who said he was thinking about ways to get people involved in the project after it had passed a referendum.

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SEEDLING TO TREE: After getting agreement, White Lake organizers at first wanted to get a few dozen cords of wood to offset some of the costs. But it became a source of pride among community members and before long everyone got involved. Dan Wickersheim, who served on the building committee and coordinated the effort, told the Antigo Daily Journal “One simple little idea ended up being a pretty good project. As the word got out, we had people giving everything from just a few trees to full truckloads.” Donors even included landowners who had voted against the center, saying, “the referendum passed and I’m on board.” White Lake School District administrator Bill Fisher noted, “I’ve never experienced anything like this.” Nearly 40 landowners donated trees and several dozen more residents donated equipment, time and labor.

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MILL SUPPORT: White Lake, which was built on forestry, happens to also be home to sport flooring manufacturer Robbins Floorings, and like the rest of the community, it too, stepped up to the plate. Robbins, which has been part of the town since its founding in the early 1920s, marked the wood as a donation and graded the timber as it moved through the milling process. Along with milling, Robbins gave the school a break on the subflooring. Doc Smith of EDS Builders, general contractor of the recreation center, said the camaraderie and community spirit shown by the people of White Lake could serve as an example of what a small town can accomplish: “It’s something I hope gets contagious.”

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FUTURE PRIDE:  Of the floor itself, Smith said, “We’re getting a college floor for the cost of a high school floor. It’s going to be beautiful. And when people see it, they will say, ‘It’s our own floor. It’s from White Lake.’” Wickersheim added, “This is about putting our wood on our floor. People will take their grandchildren into that gymnasium and say, ‘That’s our wood.’ There will be some sentimental value there.”

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VERY PINTERESTING: If you haven’t heard of the latest social media craze Pinterest, or given it much of a thought, maybe you should. In virtually no time whatsoever, it has jumped to the third most popular social networking site in the U.S., behind Facebook and Twitter, according to Experian. And, with 60% of its users being women, and 55% of those between ages 25 and 44 it is a prime area for retailers. At least that’s what Amazon, eBay and Harrods believe. The two online giants have added Pinterest buttons to their product pages, while the luxury department store is using the site to encourage consumers to design a store window display as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. If the big boys are using it, it pays to pay attention. Speaking of leading the way, FCNews was the first flooring publication and one of the first in the industry to use Pinterest. Check us out at pinterest.com/fcnews.

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