Friday, January 21, 2011

Produce company to bring 800 jobs to Edinburg

EDINBURG — A Chicago-based produce importer will open a distribution center here to capitalize on the Rio Grande Valley’s fast-growing food import market.
Don Hugo Produce, an importer and wholesaler of Mexican produce, frozen products and avocados, will open a 227,363-square-foot warehouse by the end of this year to cater to companies that specialize in importing and distributing Mexican fruit and vegetables. The warehouse will create an estimated 200 jobs as part of the first phase in an 87-acre produce park that will eventually bring 800 new jobs and $100 million in total capital investments to Edinburg.
José L. González, the president of Don Hugo Produce, said the first warehouse will serve as a base of his shipping operations across the United States for the fresh Mexican produce he grows and packs in Puebla and Aguascalientes. But González’s investment in developing a produce park that will eventually offer nearly 1 million square feet of cold storage comes amid expectations that construction of a highway across a mountainous part of Mexico will lead more growers to ship to Texas.
“It’s my feeling that this is the time to go,” González said before an official groundbreaking for the produce park Thursday. “You’re going to see more people bringing produce into Texas.”
Located north of Edinburg on Farm-to-Market 2812, the produce park is strategically placed off U.S. 281 to provide shippers easy access to points north. The warehouse slated for a December opening is the largest of nine such facilities expected to be built within the next five years.
Pedro Salazar, the executive director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corp., said farmers in Mexico’s western states will import greater amounts of produce through the Valley once the Mexican Transportation Department completes a highway through the Sierra Madre that it began in 2005. The highway will include massive underground tunnels and dozens of bridges as it connects Mazatlan in Sinaloa state to Durango in Durango state, cutting hours of travel time off the treacherous path.
The highway will make it easier for ...