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Yeoman's Celebrates 111 Years in Lake Wales

Oldest Business in City Growing With the Community

The oldest business in Lake Wales is celebrating yet another significant date. On May 15 the venerable Yeoman's Feed and Seed marks its 111th year and its first year under the ownership of John and Chuck Elam, who purchased it from Richard Jahna.

Robert Connors

The newly-expanded Yeoman's Feed and Seed now features an attractive nursery operation. Owners John and Chuck Elam plan to renovate the exterior of the building while maintaining the rustic and historic appearance.

The company has remained in continuous business in Lake Wales since 1913.

The Orange Avenue operation is receiving high marks from area residents for the many improvements the brothers have brought to the operation.

The business added a garden center about nine months ago, and now offers a greenhouse filled with colorful blossoms. A recent morning found the center filled with plant shoppers browsing the colorful displays.

"I'm getting positive feedback from all over," Elam said, while giving most of the credit for the nursery operation to his brother Chuck. "He knows every plant out there," he said.

Robert Connors

A greenhouse filled with colorful blossoms welcomes shoppers at Yeoman's Feed and Seed, located at the corner of Orange Avenue and Market Street in downtown Lake Wales.

The store was opened by the pioneering Yeoman family to cater to the area's ranchers and farmers as the town was initially settled. The citrus and cattle industry sustained it for years, but today area home and pet owners are a major part of the trade, according to John Elam.

The store offers feed and medicines for livestock and pets, including flea and dewormer treatments "a lot cheaper than going to the vet for your flea treatments," Elam said. They also offer fertilizers, potting soil, irrigation products, and more.

The brothers hail from Haines City, but Chuck is in the process of purchasing a home near the store, John said.

A renovation of the building's exterior is planned for the near future, but "it's going to look the same," Elam said, "but new. That's the original tin, it's 111 years old," he laughed. "It's got dents and holes, and it will be new, with new windows and doors."

"We want this area to look just as nice as what's on Park and Stuart (Avenues), Elam said. "It's important that we project that to the other people in the community that we're here to do business."

 

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