In 1992, Bruce Wileman and Tony Lombardi established Porterville Citrus, Inc. (PCI) with the desire of providing citrus growers with a top-quality outlet for their fruit. They purchased the Olive Avenue packinghouse in Porterville, CA from the Porterville Citrus Association and immediately affiliated with Sunkist Growers, Inc. Throughout its 120 year history, Sunkist has been a superior marketing organization committed to family-owned farms – and Bruce and Tony wanted to be a part of carrying that tradition forward.
1997 was a pivotal year in our history. A strong freeze destroyed large portions of the San Joaquin Valley citrus crop. PCI went above and beyond expectations by working non-stop hours and days salvaging the crop and maximizing grower returns in the face of the very tough season. This became an example of PCI’s commitment to put the grower first and helped earn respect in the industry. In 2003, PCI purchased the former Central Valley Citrus packing house and relocated its operations to Terra Bella, CA. This larger facility allowed PCI to increase efficiencies and bring new growers and additional acreage into the fold without sacrificing quality or grower returns.
In 2010, with a sense of giving back, Bruce and Tony sold the Company to the employees that helped create its success. Unique within agriculture and produce industries, PCI continues to be 100% owned by its employees through their Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
Led by president Jim Phillips, PCI owns and operates 6 packinghouses located throughout Tulare County and packs approximately 12 million cartons of citrus each season. PCI remains dedicated to being a world class provider of citrus to the world while maintaining the “small company” approach that growers and fruit buyers have trusted through the years.