William A. “Bill” Stubbs (1922)
Stubbs spent more than 35 years as the Florida Gift Fruit Shippers Association’s executive vice president. His greatest contribution came in preventing economic chaos due to an outbreak of the citrus canker. Stubbs also developed a new truck and mail delivery system that became a model of efficiency and consistency.
Florida Gift Fruit Shippers Association
Truck & Mail Delivery System
William A. “Bill” Stubbs is known best by his close affiliation with the Florida Gift Fruit Shippers Association. He spent more than 35 years as that association’s executive vice president. He was instrumental in making that segment of the industry become a major force for Florida citrus. The gift fruit shippers deal directly with the buying public through mail order or retail stores where lasting impressions of the industry’s people and products are most easily formed. Their value to the Florida citrus industry cannot be over emphasized. Stubbs made significant contributions to positive marketing campaigns and increasing the public perception of citrus products. He marketed Florida citrus as being a high quality, healthy product. His greatest contribution came in preventing economic chaos due to an outbreak of the citrus canker.
Citrus canker is a disease affecting citrus species that is caused by bacteria. While not harmful to humans, canker significantly affects the vitality of citrus trees, causing leaves and fruit to drop prematurely; a fruit infected with canker is safe to eat but too unsightly to be sold. Some citrus orchards have been destroyed in attempts to eradicate the disease. Stubbs aggressively began positive marketing campaigns to combat the negative perception of the public towards the citrus industry from this breakout. He was successful in his attempt and the industry while being affected negatively by the outbreak was not entirely decimated.
Stubbs also developed a new truck and mail delivery system that became a model of efficiency and consistency. His new system helped to replace the Railway Express Agency. His persuasive arguments in Washington led to cheaper parcel postal rates, not only for gift fruit shippers, but all other users of the service. He introduced the industry to modern and sophisticated mail-order techniques and procedures that were unsurpassed in business at that time.