ON THE MAT: After pinning the U.S. market, Dollamur’s Gary MacDowell, left, and Don Ochsenreiter are ready to grapple globally.

Dollamur Sports Surfaces Sticks the Landing

Connections help cushion the Fort Worth-based mat maker's international growth.

Not satisfied to be the largest manufacturer of wrestling, martial arts, gymnastics, and cheerleading mats in the United States, Dollamur Sports Surfaces is now hoping to pin down the international market, too. The company’s high-density vinyl mats are used at more than 5,000 high schools and colleges, as well as at U.S. Olympic trials, Ultimate Fighting Championship tournaments, and World Cup and NCAA competitions. All of this has a trickle-down effect, says Don Ochsenreiter, the company’s president and CEO.

“These are elite teams and they practice on these mats and compete on them and like them,” he says. “When they go back home to their training facilities, they want to practice on the same mats.”

The 20-year-old company, which has about 80 employees, moved to a new 131,000-square-foot factory southeast of downtown Fort Worth last year, consolidating three locations into one. It has tripled in size in the last eight years and projects double-digit annual growth for the foreseeable future.

Dollamur was purchased in 2005 by a group of investors that includes Gary MacDowell, the company’s executive vice president of sales, business development, and marketing. Strategic acquisitions of an apparel company and a martial arts business followed in 2007 and 2008, respectively. “With those acquisitions, we made a harder push into wrestling and entered the martial arts space, which has led us to UFC being one of our largest customers,” says MacDowell, who handed over the president/CEO reins to Ochsenreiter in March to focus on international business development.

Dollamur also has a thriving online business, catering to the home fitness space, and is expanding into other “cross-pollination” markets such as yoga, CrossFit, and mixed martial arts.

Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia are all expanding. The company is seeing “tremendous growth” in Central and South America, too, MacDowell says, due to the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  “They’re making a big push to train more athletes,” he says.

Dollamur is celebrating some new milestones this year, with a mat “debut” in the upcoming movie Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell, and an order for 6,000 square feet of mats in the fast-growing Middle East market. “It’s all about connections,” MacDowell says.


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