The company that would come to gain national recognition as an innovative leader in the citrus business started when Dr. Philip Phillips purchased his first orange grove in Satsuma, Florida in 1894. Despite early setbacks due to devastating freezes that destroyed his initial grove investment, Doc Phillips persevered and moved further south to Central Florida, purchasing land in Osceola County that ultimately led to the creation of a citrus empire with more than 5,000 acres of citrus groves and two packing houses.
The company thrived on innovation - from the implementation of generous employee benefit programs to the operation of a canning plant where orange juice was first successfully canned. The company was the first to market its citrus nationally, opening many markets outside of Florida. The company was also the first to secure certification from the American Medical Association to advertise the health benefits of its juice products.
In what may have been the largest citrus business acquisition ever, the company sold its citrus holdings in 1954 to Granada Groves, a partnership between Investors Diversified Services and Minute Maid. At this time, the company changed its focus to real estate investments and was later reorganized as a not-for-profit corporation in keeping with the family's legacy of philanthropy.
A notable accomplishment of the company and Howard Phillips, Doc Phillips' son, is the development of the Dr. Phillips community in southwest Orange County on land reserved from the sale to Granada Groves. Today, profits generated from the leasing of properties in the company's investment portfolio continue to impact the Central Florida community through generous donations to various charitable organizations.
Dr. Phillips Inc. is a supporting organization under the Internal Revenue Code. The company makes grants to charitable organizations that focus on educational programs, children and youth services, cultural programs, health or rehabilitative programs and social services. The company also supports nonprofit organizations that seek to preserve the free enterprise system and protect private property rights. Together with The Dr. P. Phillips Foundation, Dr. Phillips Inc. has awarded grants in excess of $150 million over the past ten years.