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Polk County Citrus Label

The collections of business records document to some extent the significant role that the phosphate and citrus industries have played in the growth and development of Lakeland. The records of the Florida Citrus Commission, headquartered in Lakeland, demonstrate the continuing importance of the citrus industry to the economy of Lakeland and Polk County.

Though fragmented and incomplete, the records of the Food Machinery Corporation document the role of the company in manufacturing amphibious assault vehicles for use in World War II.

The Joudat Katiba Family papers document the success of Jodat Katiba, a Syrian immigrant to this country who settled in Lakeland in 1932. He opened a small grocery store and then bought a nearby hardware store. He named his business Katiba's Grocery and Hardware. It quickly gained a reputation as a place where shoppers could get whatever they needed and a home to hard-to-find items.