In the 1930’s Lyles and Ethel Story (deceased) purchased acreage on Blue Lake in Polk County where he would retire from their merchant business and she from being an educator. The property was planted in citrus with a small garden; thus beginning a multi-generational business. Lyles and Ethel had two children, Victor B. Story and Etheleen Story.
In 1945, Victor B. Story, Sr. (deceased) returned with his wife, Frieda (deceased) from overseas fighting in World War II to purchase 100 acres north of Frostproof. The Story’s settled on the property and started a family, sons Victor B. Story, Jr. and Lyles “Terry” Story (deceased). As his father before him, Vic Sr. with his sons began to plant the property he purchased until all the land was planted in citrus. In order to support his growing family, Vic Sr. tended to the new grove as well as kept a full time job. As the sons grew up into young men they helped everyday on the family’s farm. In 1965 Story Groves, Inc. was formed when the Story’s started to purchase citrus producing properties in the area.
After college Terry Story started a successful aviation company in central Florida that he and his family operated until 2005. For Vic Jr. citrus is his passion and after the Army Reserves and college, he returned to the family business in 1965. Since that time, the Story’s have added numerous properties to their various holding companies. They started to harvest their own crops in 1980 with the formation of the family’s management company Story Grove Service, Inc. After the devastating freezes of the 1980’s Vic Jr. decided to start yet another venture in the industry, land management for customers. In 1991, Story Citrus Services, Inc. was created to service the industry’s needs from the production side. In all, The Story Companies own and/or manage over 7,000 acres of producing citrus, peach and blueberry operations in Central and South Florida.
Today, Vic Jr. is the President and Chairman of the Board of The Story Companies overseeing the direction in which each company is heading. Vic Jr. is the past president of Florida Citrus Mutual and Polk County Farm Bureau, as well as the past Vice Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission. He is also the 2012 recipient of the Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award, the 2015 Sunbelt Ag Expo Florida Farmer of the Year and a 2016 inductee into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame.
The fourth generation of the Story family has joined the industry. Matthew Story is Production Manager for the companies; his daily responsibilities include all labor and skill applications for producing fruit. Kyle Story is Vice President for the companies. He oversees harvesting and marketing division, as well as investments.
After all the changes, threats from diseases, imports, as well as supply and demand, the Story’s are committed to the continuation of their agricultural roots. The family still owns and maintains the original properties that were planted in the 1930’s.