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Sunniland: From Roots to Roofs for 136 years

Sunniland
Sunniland

Not many companies in North America can say they’ve been in business for over seventy-five years. Far fewer can say one hundred. And the over-125 class is minuscule. So, yes, Sunniland Corporation – a Florida-based company that specializes in fertilizer and roofing supplies – is virtually in a class of its own when it comes to their “years of service.” They’ve been doing business in the deep south for a remarkable 136 years!

Sunniland Corporation began as Chase & Company in 1884 in Sanford, Florida. Initially, the company served the local citrus growers by selling fertilizers, supplies, and crop insurance. However, it didn’t take long before the company purchased their own groves and became very successful in selling oranges to the northern markets. Thanks to their success in finding these markets, other growers came to them for assistance and soon Sunniland became the largest shipping point for oranges in the entire state of Florida.

Unfortunately, The Great Freeze of 1894 and 1895 devastated Florida’s citrus industry. While numerous companies went bankrupt, Sunniland survived those difficult days. And in the coming years Sunniland dedicated itself to restoring the industry. This perseverance and commitment paid off.

And, thanks to this hard work and persistence – as well as a solid business platform built on honesty and integrity, which has remained a long-standing hallmark of the company – Sunniland was in a position to build its first fertilizer plant in 1904. And, shortly after this, the company opened its first retail outlet and began selling baskets, seed, hand tools, shingles, and tar paper to local farmers.

As Florida began to realize substantial growth and development in the early and mid 1900s, the company began to focus on selling fertilizer products to the fast-growing residential market. And, to this day, over half of the company’s fertilizer products are sold to this market segment at popular outlets such as Walmart, Ace Hardware and Lowes. However, commercial buyers – such as growers and golf courses – have been, and continue to be, a key market for Sunniland.

Not surprisingly, the roofing division of Sunniland also has a long history. It dates back to the early 1900s when the company began to supply shingles, hand tools, and other roofing supplies to commercial and residential customers. Today the company owns and operates over 20 roofing supplies distribution centers in Florida and south Georgia. “From roots to roofs” is definitely an appropriate tag-line for Sunniland! “Throughout our history of steady growth and diversification, Sunniland has never lost sight of its dedication to its customers and the ideals, integrity, and hard work that made this growth possible,” says Lee Moore, the Chemical Division Manager at the company.

“There are not a lot of companies out there that can say they’ve been family owned and operated for six generations,” says Moore. “But besides our rich history, Sunniland prides itself with its extensive list of quality products and timely, first-rate service. We are a name that professionals, including golf course managers and superintendents, have grown to trust.”

And, in terms of the golf industry, that “trust” has resulted in millions of dollars in fertilizer sales to golf courses around the state of Florida and beyond. “I don’t have the exact number, but there are hundreds of golf courses in this region that have relied on our products to keep their turf healthy and vibrant,” says Moore. “We provide numerous fertilizer products, including our exceptional liquid products, to every type of facility in the golf industry. From small 9-hole operations to extensive 36-hole courses, there are many courses that use our products from wall to wall. Sunniland is a go-to brand that numerous superintendents have a lengthy relationship with.”

Besides the long list of quality products (more on that later), the company has always adhered to providing timely and dependable service. “Fertilizer is a just-in-time business,” says Moore. “When a golf course is needing an application, the availability and delivery of that product needs to be reliable and happen quickly. Due to weather changes, storms, excessive heat, turf stress, you name it, timing is critical. Late or partial shipments just don’t cut it. And at Sunniland we take great care in giving our golf course clients the service they need to get their job done well,” says Moore. “A superintendent knows full well that his job is on the line if these applications aren’t completed. At Sunniland we are well aware of the pressure these highly-skilled professionals are under.”

In terms of their fertilizers, Sunniland has an extensive product line. They offer precision-formulated fertilizers and chemicals that cover the full gamut of what a typical warm-climate golf course requires for strong, vibrant turf. A few of their most popular turf grass products include their in-house Weed & Feed Fertilizers, which they guarantee will make your turf beautifully lush and green. These fertilizers work exceptionally well on grasses – such as Centipede, Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine – common to the warm-weather climates and the state of Florida.

And if you’re waging a battle against unwanted invaders, Sunniland offers a powerful assortment of herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides that will alleviate your problem. Custom-blended fertilizers and water soluble products, which are top-sellers for their many golf and sports field clients, are also proven winners with the company.

“If you’re not sure what product is right, we have a team of trained professionals that are readily available to give you advice on what you need,” says Moore. Considering they’ve been in business for 136 years – and have a proven track record for giving their customers what they need and when they need it – you’d probably be wise to consider their council.


Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work has appeared in many leading golf publications throughout North America, including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Golf Channel, Golf Canada, and SCOREGolf Magazine. Contact Andrew at andpenner@shaw.ca

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