Businessman pivots from citrus to pest control

Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 29, 2021

The pandemic led many people to re-evaluate their lives, and in some cases, find new work.

For 30 years, Lee Jones’ life revolved around citrus as he managed groves around the state.

“I love Ag, I love being outdoors. I really enjoy studying the soil, seeing what the soil needs and getting the right balance,” Jones said Tuesday outside his western Martin County home.

He had been thinking about a new career path in recent years when COVID-19 dealt him a blow.

“My largest client needed to sell out because he was heavily invested in hospitality. When he did that, I lost 70-percent of my business overnight.”

His citrus business struggling after his main client pulled out, Jones was driving along Interstate 95 one day when he was struck with an idea.

“Looking at Tradition, I was like ‘That used to be all orange groves. I could be spraying it.' I felt the Lord drop into my spirit and said ‘You can still spray it, just spray houses,” said Jones.

So Jones started up a pest control business with his son.

“We’ve tried to balance the business with the family and not intertwine them too too much,” said son Peter Jones, who added the business is off to a promising start, partly because of their relationship.

“I think our morals are the main part of it, we understand each other.”

Lee Jones says a lot of his knowledge from the citrus grove, applies here.

“With all of the algae blooms happening, you really need science behind what you’re doing.”

Jones says he’s always had an entrepreneurial mind so even at age 53, he was ready to take the leap.

“You gotta study it, understand the business, understand the market and if you have an idea, my take on it is just ‘go for it’.”